Cosmetic use has been popular since the ancient Egyptians began using kohl eyeliner 6000 years ago. And we’ve constantly been improving the product, eliminating toxic ingredients (the Romans used lead and crocodile dung as skin whiteners) and finding new ways to make ourselves pretty. As 2019 dawns, we’ve also begun to focus on using digital channels to get personalized products, messages, and tips to beauty conscious consumers. Let’s take a look at the state of online cosmetics marketing, and the changes that can be made to optimize this corner of the industry in the coming year.
Lessons Fenty Can Teach Us
Fenty has been a giant success for a multitude of reasons. The company, led by pop megastar Rihanna, has leveraged a number of trends to quickly become an industry leader. Their social media feed, fueled by RiRi’s millions of fans, has allowed them to spread messages instantly and effectively. Their make-up tutorials on Youtube received 132 million views in a month! WWD reported that Fenty almost immediately rose to the #3 spot in earned media value, a marketing metric that “evaluates the worth of a product in social terms.” They beat out established brands such as Urban Decay, Kylie Cosmetics, and NYX, and wound up behind only MAC and Too Faced Cosmetics.
But Fenty’s astronomical growth hasn’t been fueled solely by Rihanna’s celebrity. Fenty recognized that many retailers didn’t carry foundation that matched all complexions and that finding the right shade online was almost impossible. Fenty offered 40 shades of foundation, and marketed itself as the solution for women of all colors, and tapped a market that had been underserved for decades. Viral Instagram posts from elated women who had finally found a product that worked for them made Fenty a feel-good story, and landed the brand on Time Magazine’s list of the top 25 inventions of the year! The company isn’t resting on their laurels either, they’ve just launched a line of 50 shades of concealer with a New Year’s day Instagram post. Fenty’s success has shown us that, after 6000 years of making cosmetics, there are still consumers out there who are still waiting to find the right makeup products, and that delivering them can bring joy to millions!
Other Companies Continue to Innovate
Fenty isn’t the only beauty brand leveraging innovative online marketing techniques. High-end UK company Charlotte Tilbury has launched a “Tag Your Tilbury” campaign which combines shoppable Instagram posts with user-generated content. The pictures they display of real women wearing their products have shoppable links to their products which take users to the sales page of the cosmetic on display. This strategy allows the brand to showcase their products while limiting total adspend with targeted and segmented campaigns that run on sites devoted to their users' beauty concerns (spots, pigmentation, pores, etc.).
As Forbes has noted, segmentation is essential for companies that are looking to succeed in the industry. You need to know your audience. If you learn where they go online, and what problems they’re looking to solve, you can win their loyalty far more efficiently than by casting a wide and expensive net.
Selling The Future of Makeup
While Fenty and Charlotte Tilbury are today’s success stories, data and technology could soon offer everyone a degree of personalization that has only been available to the glitterati. PROVEN Skincare Company (although its CEO claims they are “a data and technology company more than a skincare company”) is using algorithms to customize products for every consumer. They formulate proprietary products “relevant to a customer’s genetic background, age, local climate and environmental quality, ethnicity and skin issues.”They’ll even change the product to optimize it for users as they grow older and change in other ways.
PROVEN’s founders have noted that there is so much information about beauty products out there that it’s impossible for consumers to make thoroughly informed decisions. In an interview with Techcrunch, she notes that “the average person spends 45 minutes to 1.5 hours researching products before they buy any beauty products and even after they buy… 55% of people are still unsatisfied post-purchase. And that’s because of the proliferation of information that’s out there.” If PROVEN and other companies leveraging AI to make thoroughly customized products affordable, celebrity and influencer based campaigns might be a thing of the past. Who cares what concealer is perfect for Taylor Swift if there’s one formulated just for you? If such a sea-change were to occur in the industry, making sure your marketing strategies offer the most convenient path to purchase possible could ensure that you stand out in a crowded field of customized products!
Don’t Forget to Concentrate
Procter & Gamble’s new DS3 technology could also transform the cosmetics industry. The massive brand is currently offering personal care and home cleaning products in a super-concentrated form. They become activated when mixed with water. DS3 products could become a huge success with environmentally conscious consumers, as they’ll eliminate a massive amount of waste (800 million gallons of water travel 73 million miles to stores each year) in the supply chain. They’ll also be a boon to eCommerce retailers, as their compact size allows for fast and easy shipping.
Mirrors Are Getting Smarter
A recent article from Digiday outlines the smart mirrors available currently on the market. They come with features like anti-fog technology, magnification settings, Bluetooth speakers, and naturally, Alexa. The HiMirror can even track your blemishes, percentage of fine lines, and pores, as well as what make-up products you’re using with a barcode scanner. The implications of this are huge for the replenishment economy, as users could order more mascara with a simple voice command. You can ride the smart mirror wave by creating diagnostic and educational apps for common skin problems and makeup tips. If you can convince a smart mirror connected user that your product works, they are likely to replenish their supply of make-up, as well as your revenue streams.
A La Mode for 2019
Fenty is in fashion now, but a decade ago nobody saw the rise of Instagram and influencers coming. Styles are always evolving, and the way we keep abreast of fashions and trends will continue to shift as technology evolves. We’d wager customization, personalization, segmentation, and concentration will be all the rage for attracting consumers in 2019. Offering your customers the easiest path to refilling their empty bottles will keep them coming back.