Ulta Beauty has named Michelle Crossan-Matos as its Chief Marketing Officer, effective immediately.  In this role, Michelle will oversee workstreams across integrated marketing, creative, store design, member loyalty, public relations, consumer insight, and UB Media, the beauty company’s retail media network that launched in May 2022.

Prior to Ulta Beauty, Michelle served as Samsung Electronics America’s Chief Marketing, Citizenship, and Communications Officer.  Prior to that, Michelle held various leadership roles with Samsung, Vertu, and Procter & Gamble where she gained extensive experience in beauty and personal care.

Michelle succeeds Shelley Haus, who died in June 2022 from cancer.  She had been CMO since 2019.

Most recently, Ulta Beauty reported stellar third quarter earnings primarily due to the resilience of the beauty category, retail price increases, and the impact of new brands and product innovation.

During the quarter, Ulta enhanced their wellness assortment, and in September brought in intimate wellness as the sixth online-only pillar of the Wellness Shop.  While wellness represents a small part of the overall business, Ulta believes it is a significant longer-term growth opportunity given the incrementality of purchases and the strong emotional connection consumers have with self-care.

Also, during the quarter, Ulta introduced a new layout in about a dozen stores to showcase categories better, improve navigation, enhance services experiences, and create more opportunities for discovery.  The most noticeable changes include the repositioning of skin care, an important growth category, to the front of the store.  All products are grouped by category with delineated fixtures and visuals, and a flow from prestige to masstige to mass.  Elevated gondolas showcase key iconic and service brands.  New beauty bars offer brow and makeup services, as well as support in-store events.  Dedicated space in the front of the store feature brand and product launches across categories.  A relocated checkout is now closer to the salon.  This new store layout will roll out to new stores, remodels, and relocations.

Industry eyes are on UB Media, a content platform that offers brands personalized advertising to connect with Ulta’s highly engaged audience of 37 million loyalty beauty members.  Retail media networks are being seen as increasingly critical within the modern marketing mix, and for retailers, a valuable opportunity to strengthen brand partnerships.