Beauty marketers have always been at the edge of innovation, setting new trends and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in product and how to connect with consumers. The industry's early adoption of e-commerce is a testament to this, which was a catalyst for other retail sectors. And as the beauty sector and its consumer expectations keep evolving, so does the role of the beauty CMO.
Gone are the days when beauty executives dedicated their entire career to one single “shade” of the market, such as eye color or skincare. The fixed category lines that once defined the beauty executive are now more fluid than ever. Beauty is now a melting pot of talent, with professionals coming from other sectors and offering fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the industry. This new era highlights endless possibilities for creativity and growth.
“Derms Are the New Influencers”
The prevalence of social media and the increasing acceptance of aesthetics procedures are big drivers of this shift. Consumers are more informed and discerning, seeking long-term solutions and packages that cater to their unique needs. In response, the aesthetics market has expanded rapidly, with a predicted growth rate of 12 to 14 percent per year over the next five years. To put this into perspective, over the past five years, more than 400 aesthetics clinics and care centers raised $3.1 billion from investors, making them the fastest-growing segment of the aesthetics industry.
With this increased demand for aesthetics services, as one professional beauty CMO put it, “derms are the new influencers.” As retailers like Sephora bring in professional brands founded by derms, such as Shani Darden and Obagi, and L'Oreal's active cosmetics division rebrands itself as "Dermatological beauty," it's clear that the trend is here to stay. And it's not just in medspas that these services are becoming more accessible. Home-use beauty devices are also growing rapidly, with an estimated compound annual growth rate of 19 to 26 percent through 2030. These devices cater to a wider age spectrum, targeting hormonal-based challenges and utilizing technical advancements such as lights, lasers, and microneedling.
The Beauty CMO Search: Opening the Aperture
This evolution of the beauty industry creates unique opportunities to find leaders with experience beyond the traditional categories within the sector. As CEOs, founders, and investors think about their leadership team or succession planning, they have the chance to look beyond their usual pool of candidates and seek out consumer-minded, insight-driven leaders who can bring new value to the industry. Even for brands and businesses not directly involved in the aesthetics market, this kind of thinking can bring a competitive edge and a fresh perspective to the leadership team. Particularly, three areas stand out:
- Consumer durables. Executives from this industry bring a deep expertise in user-centric design, as exemplified by Dyson's revolutionary blow dryer. They have a keen eye for product life cycle and technology platforms that can fuel multiple iterations of innovation, understanding differentiated supply chains, and evaluating capital investments. These insights can help guide the team to think about build vs. buy decisions when it comes to device technology and consumable innovation plans that are adjacent to these hardware innovations.
Product. These executives excel at problem-solving and embracing insights grounded in consumer truths. They can help build a more agile development process with their product roadmap-led mentality and help multi-functional teams conduct rapid test-and-learn experiments. Their expertise can help organizations grow more seamlessly and quickly across silos, with a customer-centric focus, ultimately resulting in potential faster time-to-market, hyper-charging innovation through new organizational structures and processes.
Pharmaceuticals. These executives possess a deep understanding of engaging with key opinion leaders (KOL) and healthcare professionals (HCPs). They excel at incorporating HCPs in product development upstream and how to go-to-market in a less open-sell, more curated environment by understanding the importance of building trusted relationships with this audience. They know how to bring sophisticated science to market in a compelling, credible way, with longer format story-telling beyond claims at shelf.
Beauty is one of the fastest moving sectors, from adopting e-commerce and driving technology (as any marketer who has had to capture and convey perfect shade match online or to bring a fragrance to life via e-comm would agree), to the rampant rise and embrace of social media, as both a communication touchpoint and a source of new brands and innovation.
At the core, though, beauty has always been a business of deep human understanding and inspiration. These trends point us to the fact that senior leadership can think creatively about where their leadership team can come from to bring new perspectives to capitalize on this moment and cater to their consumers’ evolving needs.