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Marketing and R&D Magic: Dissimilarities Pull the Best from R&D and Marketing

By: Nancy McDonald and Salvador Pliego
Posted: December 10, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

Editor’s note: This is the introductory installment of a new column about the crucial relationship between marketing and R&D, written by two industry professionals who have seen the best of what can happen when these departments really work together.

Introducing Sal and Nancy

In describing our relationship to colleagues, we often use the term “symbiotic,” resulting in puzzled looks. What we mean is that this “mutually beneficial relationship of two dissimilar biological organisms” pretty much sums us up: It is our dissimilarities that are initially the most apparent.

Sal, the male in our relationship, is a true research and development scientist whose credo, “Facts Rule,” guides his behavior and approach to the beauty and consumer goods business. Highly rational, analytical and intellectual, he is firmly rooted in reality, and is quite certain that God is in the details.

Nancy, the female in our relationship, is a type-A marketeer who favors the big picture, and whose right brain tendencies—intuitive, conceptual, creative—explain her love affair with the beauty category. A touch of analytical reasoning brings great relief to her male partner.

Surprisingly, we work and play well together. Let us introduce each other: Salvador: My partner, Nancy McDonald, is president of McDonald Marketing, and was born and bred in the beauty and fragrance business. Working with some of the best and brightest at Clinique, Elizabeth Arden/Unilever and Avon, she expanded her marketing skills through a wide array of consulting projects, partnering with Cosmedicine, L’Oréal, Bath & Body Works, Penhaligon, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Gerber, Mustela and Kiss My Face. Nancy prides herself on using her accumulated insights to consistently innovate the world of cosmetics.