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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.

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Nancy and Sal: These experiences woke us up to the respect, understanding, open communication and strong sense of partnership required in the relationship between marketing and R&D. This relationship must be established and nurtured at the beginning of the project and fortified throughout the development cycle to deliver perfect results. As you can see, our partnership is based upon mutual respect for our individual—and very different—personalities and areas of expertise. Like all “couples,” we often have similar points of view: Sometimes we agree to disagree, and at other times we can get quite vehement about our opposing perspectives. In all cases, however, we work hard to maintain the positive, synergistic and symbiotic relationship that is a necessity for the most magical of lotions and potions. We consider our relationship—the marriage of marketing to R&D—to also be uniquely magical.

So, What’s Happened to the Magic ?

Nancy: This dynamic industry is losing heart. It is time for the beauty industry to re-group, re-evaluate and re-energize. This applies not only to marketing and R&D teams, but beyond to each and every one of us who calls this business their own. We have simply got to muster the courage to take action and re-invigorate the entire beauty category.

Salvador: I’m not sure about the industry’s heart, but unique and exciting product innovation is certainly becoming rare. This is even more unfortunate as interesting technologies are continually opening themselves up to us. Fortunately, every so often a beauty visionary or even a major beauty company launches a truly imaginative product. But then everyone jumps on that particular horse … after it’s proclaimed a winner, of course. It doesn’t have to be like that, because science and technology are at their peak, and the low-hanging fruit is there for the taking.

Nancy: I totally agree. A perfect example of the magical combination of imagination and science is Bare Escentuals, brought to you by the lovely and talented Leslie Blodgett. She took a solid idea and gave it an astounding marketing spin, like turning straw into gold.

Salvador: Nancy, that’s key to “getting it.” Leslie’s idea was an awesome marketing coup. By ensuring that her brilliant concept fused with a great formula, fostered no doubt by her R&D team, she gave a facelift to cosmetic ingredients that have been successfully used in makeup foundations for years. She combined her vision with proven science.