At Women’s Marketing, we openly admit that we’re a little obsessed with beauty. We’re plugged into emerging industry news, always checking out what the most successful beauty brands are doing on social, and learning about cutting-edge products…and that’s how we discovered our favorite podcast, Fat Mascara.
Beauty Marketing Insights from the Founders of the Fat Mascara Podcast
During the weekly podcast, the founders and hosts, Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire's executive beauty and health editor, and Jessica Matlin, Cosmopolitan's deputy beauty editor, give listeners the inside scoop on the latest miracle-working products, interviews with industry experts, and their own (often hilarious) adventures in beauty.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Jess and Jenn about the podcast, marketing beauty to women, and how the role of influencers has changed the beauty biz.
Women’s Marketing: Why did you decide to launch a podcast about beauty?
JM: What I’ve always loved about beauty—even before I got into the business—was talking about it with friends. Growing up, my friend Melanie and I would talk about makeup for hours and go through magazines just dissecting looks. When I got into the industry, I got to meet these creative people in the industry, which was just a dream. But all of the meetings and conversations never made it to the page, naturally due to space. When I got into podcasts a few years ago, I thought this was the perfect place to have an open, unedited conversation about beauty. Jenn was the perfect partner: She and I became friends through work (our magazines are in the same building), and we’d crack each other up in the cab rides back from events. I didn’t to get out of the car! And she is so freaking smart. She knows about every study, every ingredient.
Women’s Marketing: Why a podcast instead of a blog or a vlog?
JM: Podcasts really are the best medium for thoughtful conversation. They’re also convenient—women today are busy! I love podcasts not just because they’ve taught me so much, but because I’ve been able to become a more informed, empathetic person while doing my laundry or walking to CVS.
JG: Women today are used to doing a bunch of things at once, and sitting down to read a blog or watch a YouTube video all the way though takes your full attention, at least for a few minutes. With a podcast, you can listen while you’re doing other things, like commuting, driving, even while you’re working, depending on your job. Plus, there are so many fan-boy, mansplaining, dude podcasts out there that we thought the medium needed more female voices like ours.
Women’s Marketing: You have the unique perspective of being both magazine editors at two of the biggest fashion and beauty titles and “influencers” through your podcast, how do you think your audience views your opinions differently in each role?
JM: I think our audience views us as experts and appreciates that we have the inside track on the beauty world. We talk about what we see at press events and trips, products that are yet to launch, and share details conversations we have with experts. Listeners get to be a fly on the wall. Also, they’re seeing us as we really are. Fat Mascara is truly a representation of who I am. It’s like I’m loosening my tie after a day at work and really talking shop.
JG: One beauty trend would be interpreted and covered very differently by Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and Fat Mascara—and a beauty obsessive would want all three takes on it! Think about it this way: If you like basketball, you don’t just watch a game on ABC, you also tune in to SportsCenter for highlights, you read BasketballInsiders.com for their take, you follow SI on Twitter, you listen to The Ringer podcast, etc. As for how our opinions differ in each role, when we write for our magazines we use the voice of those brands. But on Fat Mascara, it’s truly us—and, to be honest, I think our take on beauty tends to be a bit more jaded and definitely a lot goofier than either of our magazines are. We also offer more of a trade/industry angle than consumer magazines usually do. For example, we’ve talked about the factories where particular makeup brands are produced and the cost stylists pay to rent chairs in salons.
Women’s Marketing: How do you believe bloggers, vloggers, and social media stars have democratized beauty marketing and how do you think they’ve contributed to the renewed surge of interest in beauty?
JM: Bloggers, vloggers and other social media stars have made beauty a lot more democratic because you’re not just looking at the lady at the counter or a supermodel who is dictating what’s beautiful: You can have a 15-year-old girl with black lipstick doing tutorials in her bedroom telling you what’s up. And she’s caught the attention of millions of others who shared her aesthetic. (I would have killed for this girl when I was a teen! I might have been her!) Whoever is getting the eyeballs has the power, and now some unlikely folks have big brands paying attention to them (and making products inspired by or created for them). I think the more people at the party the better, but I am staunch believer that one should pay respect to the people who have paved the way and paid their dues.
Women’s Marketing: What would you say are the three most important things brands should know when trying to market to women?
JM: Be yourselves! Ethics are important. Get a good copywriter.
JG: Don’t try to be all things to all people; be consistent across media (many of the same eyes are on your TV and print ads and your Instagram feeds—and if they don’t match, it ain’t good); and, finally, everyone loves a free sample.
Women’s Marketing: Why do you think indie beauty brands are so successful? What need or desire have they been able to tap into that long-established brands haven’t been able to fill?
JM: Indies tend to be personality-based and therefore hinge upon some sort of authentic story—that resonates with people. Also, their size allows them to stay true to values like being cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and to that end, not full of superfluous packaging. Many people are increasingly concerned (if not curious) about ingredients’ origin, and if they’re told that something is good for the environment (and like the product), it will set their expectation for future products, shaping their taste.
JG: Totally agree on the personality angle. Also, some of the indie brands have niche products that traditional brands probably thought were too specialized or they wouldn’t be able to sell enough of to justify production. But it’s not just the product mix. Many of the indie brands also tend to have great service and interact directly with customers via social media, so customers feel like the brand listens to them, and then they feel like they’re part of the brand family, and then they turn into brand advocates (aka, free marketing that drives even more sales).
Women’s Marketing: In your opinion, why is social media so engaging for beauty enthusiasts? Whose Instagram feed do you love?
JM: Social media is entertainment and it’s informative. Beauty is an escape for a lot of people, so any chance to extend that experience—and give them tips on how to use the stuff!—is a win. My faves: @thekatvond for inspiration; @ctilburymakeup for tips (and just because I love her and buy into her world of glamour for everyone); @rmsbeauty because she informs me about environmental and societal issues that corporate brands wouldn’t touch with a 20-foot pole.
JG: Because beauty is visual, it works well as static images or videos, and there’s a service/advice element to it that makes it usable and shareable. On Insta, some of my favorite beauty feeds are @thealexbox, @sugarbearhair, @isamayaffrench, @vladamua, @milkmakeup, @bleachlondon, @guy_tang, and @missjazminad. And @cakefaceunicorn cracks me up.
Women’s Marketing: The entire process of discovering and shopping for beauty products has changed dramatically – what do you think the next innovation will be and how will that affect how women buy beauty at retail?
JM: The success of Ulta is very telling. It doesn’t lead with luxury; it leads with convenience. I would not be surprised if stores like CVS, Walgreens, Target, even food stores like Wegmans, rev up their beauty game with add-ons at the checkout much like they have candy, tissues, pocket fans. Women are seeing beauty as a highly integrated part of their lives, something that has to be done. I expect beauty to be seen more as a convenience, viewed less as a luxury item. On that note, luxury beauty will need to do (way) more to justify the price!
JG: I think apps that make the brick & mortar retail experience easier are really changing the way women shop. For example, Kokko, the foundation-finding app that one of our guests talked about on the podcast, is going to drive women to retail and spur sales. And something like Think Dirty, which scans product barcodes to deliver information on cosmetic ingredients, makes the retail experience more transparent and educational. But, to be honest, I usually prefer to shop virtually. I can’t wait for the time when there will be an (optional!) “click to buy” function for every screen in my life, from TV, to Snapchat and Instagram on my phone, to YouTube on my computer. I think we’re just starting to see how that might work, with technologies like the new buyable pins on Pinterest and Amazon.com’s Style Code Live, where you can shop during the video content. Also, never underestimate the power of QVC, HSN, and infomercials—I’m excited to see how those selling platforms will evolve into mobile. I think it’s only a matter of time.
Women’s Marketing: What’s your favorite way to buy your favorite beauty products – in store or online?
JM: As a beauty editor, I can’t pretend I buy a TON of beauty products as we’re sent samples, BUT, I will say I like the experience of buying from a person. I recently splurged on a very pricy Roja candle from Harrod’s Fragrance Salon, but it was a super-luxe experience. I had someone take me on a “Fragrance journey” for about 30 mins before I decided – the experience was part of the price, or at least that’s how I justified it.
JG: I love independently owned beauty supply stores. I get my eyebrow razors from this family-owned shop on my block in Brooklyn where they follow me around the entire time like I’m going to steal something. And when Jess and I did a photo shoot at Optima Beauty Supply, downtown in NYC, we had so much fun shopping—there were a lot of imported products and cool stuff you just can’t find in mass or department stores. For makeup and skincare, I usually go online to Sephora.com, Dermstore.com, or Amazon.com. And I like to buy my fragrance in cool boutiques where I’m scared of the salespeople and everything is lit like a theater set. As for hair products, I don’t think I’ve bought any in at least 10 years—I just use whatever samples are sent to me at work.
Women’s Marketing: What beauty trends are you personally most excited about?
JM: I love that dark lipsticks are back. In general, the Nineties aesthetic was a great time for beauty.
JG: Bold brows forever! I hope that trend never dies, and even if it does, I’ll still be rocking them. Also, I don’t think I personally need microblading, but I’ve seen the results on some friends and it’s really cool—I hope that service becomes more than a trend and continues to evolve with regulation and standardization so it’s safe and offers consistent results for everyone. Also, would you call tattoos a trend? Because I love tattoos and plan to keeping adding to my collection (sorry, Mom!).
Just as Jess and Jenn give beauty addicts their weekly fix, Women’s Marketing keeps brands up-to-date with the latest media trends and offers insight into the way women shop for beauty today. Contact us to learn more about marketing to women and the most effective ways to reach them throughout their day.