With beauty products coming to market at a faster pace, the role of the product development marketer is increasing in value. Years ago, if a product developer shared with someone what they did for a living, the response usually was, “wow, that sounds like a fun job.” – And, it is. Today, the response is generally, “wow, there are a lot of growing companies that can use someone like you.”
But what exactly does a beauty product developer do? This is a hard question to answer in just a few words or even in an elevator pitch. If one would say I’m an investment banker, a chef, a lawyer, or a coach, one can quickly understand the expertise that lies with that position and the value-added belonging to that role. But when it comes to beauty product development, there needs to be further explanation.
According to Steven Shiel, scientific director at L’Oréal UK & Ireland, when referencing the role of marketing product developers in Marketing Week, he said, “Marketing are the people who best understand how and what to communicate to their target audience, which is going to maximize whatever product it is that I’m involved in designing. I may be very good at designing a product, but I don’t necessarily have the skills to translate that into something that is compelling and relevant to real people. So, I absolutely think marketing adds value.”
The product development process generally starts with marketing initiating the tedious task of analyzing where a brand has a gap or white space in their beauty collection. Once this gap is identified, product development marketers in partnership with R&D and many other internal teams, take on the role of bringing the product to life from concept through to finished product.
When speaking of value added or product impact, new technology generally is the focus. Product development marketers gain insight to new technologies either through internal team meetings where R&D showcases new technologies they’ve identified as effective, or with a newer acceptance of product development marketers themselves attending conferences where one on one conversations are had directly with the raw material suppliers. The reason for these conversations between product development marketers and raw material suppliers is so that developers can dig deep into the technology to understand how it works to deliver the product experience to a consumer’s mindset. Gaining insight to where a material is sourced, how it is processed, understanding extended tests that were performed with the material and even literature verbiage all help a product developer add value and impact to the finished product.
Additionally, creativity enhanced with an understanding of multiple sciences like how color works, skin physiology and a high-level skill set of giving aesthetic direction to chemists during development are wrapped into the product developer’s skillset.
Not only are technical means needed by the product developer but stepping out into the world of consumers’ mindsets and developing the technique for identifying approaching trends need to be considered. Treks to museums, food shows, botanical gardens, technical expositions, and conferences outside of the beauty industry all add ideas and possibilities to the development process. Stepping out, also means stepping into what’s trending with consumer lifestyle, think tank ideas and keeping pace with raw material technology launches.
So, is it fun to be a product development marketer? Yes it is! Do product developers bring value to the finished product? Yes they do! Do you need one for your next product launch? You do! And remember, it’s the behind the scenes details, technicalities, creativity, social awareness, team camaraderie and consumer mindset that is imperative to this role that adds value and impact to the final beauty product. So go out and make friends with your product developers, you’ll be happy you did and so will your customers!
Visit in-cosmetics North America for more information on the Focus on Marketing Tour – customized for marketers in the personal care ingredients industry >> northamerica.in-cosmetics.com/marketing-program
To find out more about in-cosmetic North America’s marketing programs consultant Cherie Buziak – visit BeautyEdge LLC >> beautyedgeinc.com