There have probably been Marketing / R&D clashes in companies since the very beginning of companies. On the one hand, Marketing presses for tighter deadlines and for formulas that are complete and low cost, with a surprising and superior to those of competitors. On the other hand is R&D, with a routine of tests and more tests, dependent on suppliers, with tight deadlines and serious restrictions in the costs of formulas. Both departments work to satisfy the consumer and make the company prosper. Both need to surprise the client to make him continue to buy the same product. The task of leveraging sales and making the new product known is Marketing’s, but pleasing the consumer and satisfying his cosmetics needs with efficacious and safe products is R&D’s. Describing products’ advantages, their differentials and the ingredients responsible for their appeal on the main labeling falls to Marketing, which has to dive into the world of ingredients. On the other hand, knowing and recognizing promising ingredients which can be used without destabilizing the product is generally the task of R&D.
If these two areas have such complementary sets of responsibilities, why do they not become closer and join forces to achieve even greater results? There has to be this conflict of interests, this attrition between the areas, to drive the search for improvements. It is only this conflict of interests that can be associated to a joint effort, as happens in other areas. The financier, for instance, charges always for the best cost-benefit alternatives, and the accountant charges invoices for everything. If it weren’t for this, the greater part of a company’s expenditure might be unnecessary, excessive, or even without any suitable justification or allocation.
This micro-universe sketched here serves to alert us to the need to integrate all areas of a business so the main goal of the effort expended can be attained – to win over the consumer. How can we offer an anti-cellulite cream if the novelties in that field do not square with a formula’s limited cost? How to innovate if boldness isn’t allowed? Brainstorming sessions between Marketing and R&D are always fruitful. Marketing professionals do not know the day-to-day – or the difficulties – of laboratories and research and so suggest ideas which initially seem impossible. Often legislation makes them impossible, but if we undertake a clear-eyed analysis, and one not walled in by technical understanding, we might find a way through. A possibility of getting close to that focus. In addition, and to speak more pragmatically, R&D staff usually suggest safe ideas with no bells and whistles, but which if worked on, could be turned into valuable products for the consumers.
So, next time you there in R&D get together with anyone from Marketing and vice-versa, please work on not shooting down everything said. Remember that challenges propel the human race. Synthetic detergents would never have been developed if everyone had been happy with animal-fat soap. There would not be so many alternative tests if there’d been no intention to do away with animal testing.
From productive and cooperative interaction comes promising ideas and best-selling products. But don’t stop disputing deadlines and costs: R&D for a loosening of the deadline and an increase in the cost and Marketing for a tightening of the deadline and a decrease of the cost. Remember that the endgame is to please the consumers…not stroke your ego.
Gustavo Boaventura is the editor of the blog Cosmética em Foco.