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Methods & Processes
Formulators and Marketers: Working Better Together
By: Nancy Trent, Trent & Co.
Posted: November 26, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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What about younger employees? They have grown up with digital devices that provide an excellent means for encouraging communication between marketers and formulators. An Information Week article4 titled “Communication Gap” discussed techno-savvy young people. In the article, Raj Goel, chief technology officer at Brainlink International Inc., an e-commerce and Web-hosting company, is quoted as saying, “Anyone under 25 right now, especially in the 15- to 20-year-old crowd, will not function” without being connected to their omnipresent connections. Goel supervises ten interns who work with advanced technology systems for his company’s customers. “In the office, our primary method of communication is instant messaging, even if we’re sitting next to each other,” he says.
The important thing to bear in mind is that by connecting regularly, marketers and formulators will not feel as though they are in foreign territory and a mutually beneficial relationship can be built.
“It is important for marketers and formulators to mutually respect each other,” said Guy Langer, president of The Qumulus Group, a consulting service for personal care companies providing technology transfer and licensing representation. “Marketers should understand the demands made on research and development, and how realistic their directives are. Also, letting formulators know who the market is, i.e., demographics, age, sex, etc., would increase their effectiveness and could save time, money and frustration.”
John Kressaty strongly agrees. An independent consultant and formulation chemist, Kressaty is an experienced veteran of the cosmetics and skin care industry. He believes the gap is especially wide when marketers are not specific about their requirements.
“It’s like night and day when the marketer merely says, ‘Give me a product that smoothes wrinkles,’” said Kressaty. “The formulator will provide a liquid, when the marketer wants a cream. What one person says is not what the other one hears.” Kressaty recommends a detailed new product brief to bridge the gap. “A product brief can save years of wasted development work, tens of thousands of dollars, and avoid any confusion between formulator and marketer.”
By the same token, smaller companies who do not have dedicated marketing or development teams can use the resources they have. By using the staff and knowledge base at hand, one can find surprising marketing and sales insights from a chemist and tips on the latest ingredients from a PR pro. Also, using consultants or even acquaintances on a per-project basis can lend insight into how to develop and sell more effectively.