The role of a beauty product developer
| July 06, 2018
A lot goes on behind the scenes in the world of beauty when it comes to bringing a product to market. But just how does that item develop from an idea to a finished product?
It takes a team, and there are a few ways. But they all depend on the visions and goals of the company launching the brand and the role of the marketing beauty product developer.
The marketing product developer is a key player, the creator and the liaison between internal teams. This person is the individual on the team that brings consumer insight, aesthetic experience, and the marketing story to the product.
The product developer title can also refer to the chemist on the research and development (R&D) team who develops the formula at the bench in the lab. For this article, we are talking about the marketing product developer.
What exactly does a beauty product developer do? A product developer brings enhanced creativity with an understanding of multiple sciences like skin physiology, how color works on skin, and a high-level skill set of giving aesthetic direction to chemists formulating the product during the development process.
Product developers help maximize the impact of the communication of the product to the targeted consumer, making it compelling and relevant, with value added.
Let’s hypothetically look at the steps and teams that a product developer engages with to develop a product for the skin care category.
Hypothetical Development of a Facial Product
Below are the core steps a product developer contributes to the development process.
Product developers look at the competition and identify key players in the category. Analysis of the competition will help to target the "white space" or opportunity to create a new product for the brand.
If there is funding in your budget to purchase a competitive analysis from a marketing firm, all the better. This evaluation can be time-consuming when performed manually.
Will your product "break into new areas of technology"? Or will it be a "me too" product? Neither is right or wrong, it depends on the positioning of your brand.
On one hand, a product can be a breakthrough product with cutting-edge technology, while a "me too" product can have a spin on newness as well by simply repacking a formula in a new component.
Aesthetic texture, performance, and dispensing
This entails creating the aesthetics of the formula with the chemist.
What will the formula feel like on application? Will it have color or not? Will it be fragranced or unfragranced?
Above all else, what is the sensorial experience that you would like the consumer to experience while using the product that will make them come back for more when it’s time for repurchasing?
What type of component will it be dispensed from? How much product will be dispensed in one use, and over time? What is the use-up rate?
Technology is the story of the product that is romanced in the product concept. Today’s technologies are endless. Here are a few that are currently popular.
High-Tech — Specifically targeted to improve skin, with claims, clinical data support, and impactful results. Currently, technologies like this are anti-pollution, blue-light protection from digital light, pro-biotics, and dermaceuticals, to name a few.
Organic, Natural, Clean — These are specific ways that materials and ingredients are grown, processed, and manufactured.
Free From — Paraben-free, vegan, fragrance-free, soap-free, alcohol-free, preservative-free, and so on.
Philosophical — More than just where the ingredient is sourced or processed, the ingredient story is about a specific sense of good will because of the way the material is sourced, along with communicating an internal “feel good” that the consumer is helping a people group or the planet.
Delivery Systems — Innovative vehicles in the formula that enhance and determine how the materials are delivered to skin.
Sensorial Technologies — Sensory ingredients that help to elevate consumers’ experience in product use with how the product feels on application, how it looks and smells. For example, is it soothing, cooling, tightening, firming, and so on.
Nutritional — Ingredients offering healthy benefits, like vitamins, minerals, superfoods, or potent antioxidants.
Illumination — Materials that diffuse light on skin, offering a natural-looking sheen or glow, or even a soft color or tanning effect.
Additional Teams the Product Developer Works With
The product developer introduces this team to trends, the product’s concept, its aesthetic formula benchmark, and the desired product performance claims.
R&D will generally identify a technology for a fit to the product once the concept is turned over; however, a product developer can share insight to technologies that may give the item an enhanced product story. Additionally, the product developer will lead the chemist in giving direction for how the aesthetic of the product should look and feel in use.
Every company’s roles are different when it comes to marketing. If there is a product development team separate from a marketing team, the product developer keeps marketing looped into the development of the product.
It provides the final, finished formula with all the deliverables of performance, product story, and product claims that the marketing team has requested.
However, the marketing team is the overall responsible lead for the final look, execution, and sell-through performance of the product. The product does not move forward without the marketing team’s final sign-off.
Marketing Services or Project Management Team
This team tracks the gateways of the development process, timing, and countdowns to launch date.
Engineering, Design, and Packaging Teams
Product development’s interaction with these teams focuses on finalizing the best component for the formula’s dispensing, while incorporating the brand’s artistic design on the primary and secondary package, all working to deliver desirables initiated by the marketing team.
Consumer Science Teams/Legal/Regulatory Teams
Product development works with these teams to develop the desired performance claims and to ensure that what is being stated about the product follows FDA and global guidelines.
Product developers generally write a lot, including the first rounds of copy for concepts, positioning, claims, product use, fact sheets, and the technology story. All the writing is then turned over to the copywriters to finesse the finished pieces and to brief beauty editors.
At the end of the product development process, there is a finished product. Distribution channels, costs guidelines, and sell-through can involve the product developers, but generally they are managed by the marketing team that plans the launch and execution of the product's sell-through.
So, does it matter whether a marketing product developer is on your team? Yes, it does!
Look at it this way. The global cosmetic skin care market was valued at approximately $138.09 billion in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of around $190.40 billion by the end of 2023, growing at around 5.5 percent per year between 2017 and 2023.
If you’re launching a skin care product, wouldn’t you want to have someone on your team bring your product to market with speed, creativity, and impact?
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