FIT’s annual Capstone Research Presentation by the 2013 graduating class of the school’s Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management
 Master’s Degree Program has made the rounds, for sure. In addition to its initial presentation to the beauty industry in June, this year’s Capstone Research, titled “Beauty In a Digital World”, was also unveiled at HBA Global Expo, Macy’s headquarters for their senior management staff, and most recently, Cosmoprof North America.

Why the grand tour?

“There was always a missing piece in regard to connecting the data to the real world and to people who are running beauty companies,” said Andrew Videira, Senior Brand Manager of Beiersdorf, Aquaphor Skincare.

Andrew served as Group Leader for the Digital Marketing portion of the research, one of three sessions presented. The other two were Digital Commerce and Digital Analytics. The data, overall, proved to be extremely relevant as it ultimately yielded new business models and digital imperatives for the beauty industry. Capstone’s research partner was Google; Beiersdorf NA served as corporate sponsor.

In the Digital Marketing session, Andrew and his team discussed the role digital marketing should play in the overall marketing mix, as well as how to best measure ROI of tools such as social media.

“Everyone gets into ‘shiny object syndrome.’ Our research is about understanding how each piece of marketing communicates, interacts and most importantly informs the other. The M3 model [the three different roles digital plays] is about using micro-targeting and micro-engagement to create micro-marketing campaigns.”

Some of the concepts behind M3 include finding out what’s best for your business. “You need to know what will be the best method of engagement for your business, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. You need to understand who and what you are and use that ability to engage on a deeper level with your consumers.”

One of Andrew’s observations plays on the very nature of the beauty industry.

“As beauty companies, we are very risk adverse because each and every day we make product that sits on our hair and face and is potentially ingested. So it’s in our nature to play it safe. So they [brands] have for the most part played it safe when it comes to marketing and communicating. Few can throw out a campaign and not keep it for two years,” Andrew said. “But it doesn’t have to be safe. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it shouldn’t be. It has to be authentic. And brands don’t have to spend millions. Consumers want raw authentic communication. A lot of companies’ ads are cookie cutter, and then they wonder why it doesn’t break through. The best marketers can be found at startups, where they launch and constantly optimize, rather than wait and spend for perfection.”

One trend identified in Digital Analytics is how businesses are moving away from “Big Bets” and going to micromarketing.

“I often hear that a small business person just spent $5,000 on making a video. And that was their whole budget,” Andrew said.

In comparison, most major beauty brands spend millions between production and ad testing.

“But that’s changing,” he noted.

Andrew also pointed out how advanced brands are realizing the potential that exists in a fluid development process.

“Many beauty brands get stuck in the standard process—six months of conceptualizing, shooting and testing—only to wait another six months to realize it may not have worked. And, they’ve already spent a few million dollars.Brands with an M3 mindset, on the other hand, maintain a constant, deeper engagement with their consumers.They launch, optimize, re-launch…and repeat.”

In the Digital Commerce session, topics include how mobile has forever changed the world of branded consumer goods and the opportunities for beauty brands to integrate in-store experience, education and service with technology.

Ultimately, the evolution of traditional brick and mortar to a more localized and curated approach to retail will further enhance the consumer shopping experience, leading to increased sales.

According to Capstone’s white paper on Digital Commerce: “The online retail environment will replicate the high-touch store environment through an interactive screen experience. Motion-activated technology will allow consumers to literally browse aisles of products and make selections for purchase directly from the screen. Brands and retailers will have the opportunity to use this platform to invite consumers to experience their best and most unique stores. It introduc­es a new type of exploration for two reasons. Consumer interaction with products will evolve into an environment that replicates the engag­ing layout of a store as well as the opportunity to enjoy ‘entering’ and experiencing far-flung boutiques such as the Chanel flagship in Paris or the new Sephora flagship in Shanghai.”

The embracement of “Beauty in A Digital World” empowers beauty executives with boundless opportunities for a successful future.

“M3 is not meant just for major corporations. M3 is a mindset,” said Andrew.