Glossy Beauty x Wellness Summit 2018

5 takeaways from the Glossy Beauty Summit

How to best leverage data and technology in order to improve the customer experience

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to share the Glossy Summit stage with the delightful Jill Manoff to discuss how beauty brands can best use data and technology to power offline and online consumer experiences. Here, I share just a few of the highlights and takeaways from our conversation:

Digital leaders are educators and chameleons

Because data and technology are powering both online and offline channels, digital leads have taken on the role of omnichannel orchestrators at brands — advocating for both open architecture with wholesalers and 1st party data-driven models. As change agents, we must lead the digital transformation of our company across all channels, and not only direct-to-consumer. Additionally, the ever-growing wealth of consumer data and infinite possibilities of personalization puts digital executives in a place where they have to remain the student, keeping their finger on the pulse of what’s new, while continuing to teach cross-functional and leadership teams on the core evolutions of the business. For example, what traditional marketers think of CRM is still very much just “emails,” while it can power every message and touch point. For this reason, digital leaders have to become chameleons — agile middlemen who can switch their hats from Creative to IT to Legal in a flash.

Tech is transforming the brand experience, and the product

For beauty, technology is changing every step of the consumer journey. Tools like AR mirrors are revolutionizing how consumers experience and buy a brand or a service, whether it’s online or in-store. The growth of direct-to-consumer options on brand sites and social media is also creating new paths-to-purchase. But that’s not all. Technology is becoming the beauty product itself. The most pervasive example is the rise of Black Tech in China. Consumer devices and technologies are slowly replacing traditional beauty products, like anti-aging creams. Lastly, todays’ technology is helping consumers personalize their beauty products. Supported by smart machines, DIY beauty is a trend that is going to grow, allowing more and more customers to create custom shades, textures and packaging on-demand.

Personalization vs. brand equity

We live in an age where “real-time” has been sanctified, to the detriment keeping a brand’s creative strong. Every day, we see marketers and their agencies jumping on what’s trending, and that is exactly how we end up losing their brand identity and equity. Although personalization is critical in order to better resonate with consumers, it is even more critical for beauty companies to figure out what personalization means to them — as a brand. Because of the amount of data we have today, the possibilities are infinite, so a brand must pick its battles. For instance, NARS personalizes content and product recommendations based on one’s individual skin tone, as we celebrate diverse beauty.

Focus on 1st party data

There’s an urgent need for brands to better understand and segment customers. Most communications will not be effective if they’re not targeting the right person with the right message — and because the media and influencer landscape is so fragmented, it makes the job difficult. That’s why beauty brands should invest in CRM to a greater extent. By capturing individual data points at every touch point — online and offline, marketers can prioritize spend and cater to what their customers want. But, don’t do that à la Facebook. There’s a value exchange that needs to happen. So first build trust with consumers, and then give them something that is useful and can really help them in their purchase journey or search for inspiration.

There are two types of in-store customers

What do customers want from an in-store shopping experience? The short answer is: We can’t put all consumers in one bracket. Some want self-service and speed. That is their own version of luxury. For those, AR mirrors, NFC and easy check-in from tablets work best. But, some others want to interact with a human being for guidance on products and looks. Those consumers will always turn to a sales associate or an makeup artist, and it’s our job as marketers to develop technologies that support them.

H-Artificially Yours 👾

Want to react, share your input, or contribute? Email benjaminplord@icloud.com.

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