At Marketing Trends, we are discovering what drives Australia’s top marketers. Go-To Skincare was founded by Australian beauty editor and author Zoë Foster Blake. Since its founding in 2014, the company has grown non-stop, building a strong organic community around it. In this interview, Leonie, Go-To’s CMO, gives us her insights and perspective on the beauty industry, the rising power of community commerce, and shares with us some of her sources of inspiration.
It’s a must-read!
Career & professional background
Leonie, how did your career in marketing start?
I was so lucky to begin my marketing career as a Marketing Assistant at Estee Lauder and work my way up the ranks over the following years. However, it is fair to say that my interest and love of marketing started far earlier when I was working part-time in a jewellery store while at school and university.
I loved the insight into in-store activations and the corresponding sales results, as well as the customer interaction. It really set me on the path to a career in marketing!
If you hadn’t pursued a career in marketing, in which other industry do you think you might be?
Travel or beauty - I love both and have managed to weave both into my marketing career, but I had always considered working for an airline, it seemed so glamorous to the teenage me!
Could you tell us about your role as CMO at Go-To Skincare?
It's a big fun role, with lots of autonomy and the ability to be agile. I have a talented team of people across content, ecommerce, design and customer service, and it's fair to say I spend a great deal of time working with each business unit to ensure we get the best results.
Outside of my direct team, I spend a lot of time with the formulations and product team, as well as our Founder Zoe and CEO Brad.
Marketing & Industry Trends
What type of impact has COVID- 19 had on your industry?
Skincare really had a moment during lockdown as consumers looked to moments of self care and joy in their day. Not having to wear a lot of makeup and having daily zoom calls meant that healthy skin was a focus, and we were one of the lucky businesses who benefited from this.
Those brands that had strong eCommerce platforms and were digitally native, like Go-To, were able to capitalise on this increasing demand. From a content perspective, the beauty industry really had to re-assess content streams to ensure, not only sensitivity to the challenges a pandemic creates, but also to ensure content was entertaining and relevant, as the lockdown gave us an opportunity to capitalise on a more captive and engaged audience.
What is the most exciting trend or innovation happening in your field in terms of growth?
The emergence of community commerce. The consumer is now looking for a more interactive community orientated shopping experience. I think we will see real inroads over the next few years in how the customer shops.
Shoppable social media is just the first step in what will be a bigger change to come. Community and bio-positivity will be integrated into the shopping experience to meet the demands of Gen Z, a cohort that expects better things from brands and an easy, seamless shopping experience in return for their loyalty.
As a marketer, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing your industry in the future?
Pathways to launching a beauty brand are fairly easy to navigate now, with few barriers to entry, and so cutting through the noise and earning a meaningful share of voice will be challenging.
On a larger industry level, the beauty industry has some heavy lifting to do in terms of sustainability and environmental impacts. It is a tricky pathway for smaller brands to navigate with limited buying power and leverage on things, such as recycled materials and access to recycling programs. We really need to see the bigger player forging the way and investing in technology and innovation in this space.
Tools, recommendations & sources of inspiration
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you structure your week?
A typical day is full of team meetings and planning sessions with small windows to answer emails and follow up where needed. I try to spend a lot of time with my team to ensure that they have the tools and support to do a great job, which in turn helps me do a great job!
I also ensure I have some bigger, meeting free calendar blocks during the week for planning, writing board reports and focusing on the budget. Every quarter I take a day out of the office to think about the bigger picture for Go-To and what we need to focus on to reach our goals for the year.
What brands do you take inspiration from?
Oh so many! My social media feed is loaded with brands and content creators across fashion, beauty, homewares and travel. I think Australian brands, like our retail partner Mecca, are creating some really great beauty content.
I also love educational skincare accounts like @sciencemeetskincare @thecowell and @ranellamd for their easy-to-understand educational content.
Software and tools recommendations: what is the one software you can’t work without and why?
All the usual suspects, such as the Google Suite, of course. But analytics is such a big part of effective marketing, that we have recently implemented two platforms to give us greater insight; Glew, which connects into our eCommerce platform to give greater insight into sales, customer and product behaviour, and Dash Hudson, a platform to help create, predict and measure what visual posts will perform on our social channels.
What are three resources you would recommend for anyone working in your field?
- Read, listen and learn. I spend a lot of time reading industry case studies, interviews and articles on everything from how to be a better manager / leader to how to increase conversion rates.
- Podcasts are also a great way to learn about how other marketers and industry leaders think and work.
- Different perspectives and insights into multiple fields and strategies are so important for marketers. You need to really understand the customer and your product, and the more you can dive into that with a wide lens, the more successful your strategy will be.