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Personal care

Marketers need to demand that Facebook, Google work with others

April 9, 2018

Estée Lauder looks to build a unified look at consumers. Image credit: Estée Lauder


NEW YORK – At Forrester’s Consumer Marketing 2018 conference, an executive from Estée Lauder exhibited the importance of breaking down silos, a problem its own business faces as online divisions control access to the customer.

With digital devices becoming mobile and extremely disruptive, marketers are aware of the ticking clock on the need to break down barriers within their businesses and operate as omnichannel within. But as discovered during the panel “The Future of Omnichannel Advertising Must Be Customer Obsessed,” the Estée Lauder exec revealed that while the beauty group looks for a holistic approach within the business, it is not as easy as it seems.

“Sometimes the online team owns the customer and the technology,” said Doug Jensen, vice president of CRM and corporate marketing analytics at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. “My job, as the analytics guy, is to bring it all together.

“How do you combine the upper and middle with the lower funnel?” he said.

Consumer marketing
Breaking down a system that has been created throughout decades can be an extremely daunting task.

While Estée Lauder has succeeded in doing so in many ways, the battle is ongoing.

Estée Lauder's Lead Beauty Forward initiative has propelled its omnichannel growth. Image credit: Estée Lauder

The online sector of its business largely controls access to the customer, because of the two-way relationship digital can create. Mr. Jensen is hoping to see this changing in the coming years.

But the disjointed consumer experience is also caused by factors outside of the business.

While big data companies such as Facebook and Google offer a start to finish look at the customer on their own platforms, they do not work with others to show the full view of the user.

Yes, consumers are spending a significant portion of time on these platforms, but they are not spending all their time there.

Unfortunately for marketers, they are getting a disconnected view of the customer because these big data companies do not work with others.

Mr. Jensen and Forrester analyst Joanna O’Connell are urging marketers to attempt to coerce these companies to play nice with others. However, that will be no easy task.

Estée Lauder is using augmented reality to train its retail staff. Image credit: Estée Lauder

In an example of how to unify a business, Japanese beauty group Shiseido determined the importance of unified customer data after it was able to unearth the potential of data from its digital marketing platform.

The beauty manufacturer had inadvertently created a series of silos within its customer data that led to a disjointed view of the audience and left sales that could be obtained through personalized marketing on the table. Shiseido partnered with data platform Treasure Data to come up with a solution that built an ID for each individual customer and gained insights based on four criteria (see more).

Mass market versus programmatic
Throughout the session, the executives also displayed that each brand needs to take strategies that suit their needs.

For instance, Estée Lauder once attempted to target consumers through a mass marketing approach.

However, the brand quickly learned that this is not something that is possible for its brand, since it carries products such as a $200 skin care bottle. Most consumers will be uninterested in an item such as that, which makes programmatic advertising extremely important to the beauty maker.

Estée Lauder needs to be able to pinpoint which consumers will be more receptive to its brand and use resources to cater to these individuals.

The beauty conglomerate saw massive growth in sales revenue over the last fiscal year driven largely by the group’s mobile-first, digital-first ethos and the rapid expansion of the Chinese market.

During the group's presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2018 Consumer & Retail Technology Conference, CEO Fabrizio Freda spoke at length about how the company plans to take advantage of its favorable position in the market as well as what strategies brought it there. Mr. Freda was particularly proud of the time-to-market improvements Estée Lauder has experienced and touted the company’s impressive flexibility for its size (see more).

"In years past we were a prestige media company but then we had a new CEO come in who wanted to bring a mass media idea into our company,” Mr. Jensen said. “What we found was that it wasn’t working, but it helped us pivot.

“It didn’t take us very long to prove that didn’t work,” he said. “So we’ve pivoted to digital.”