The Most Challenging Interface of Product Development


Finger-pointing and sneers are not new to the cosmetic product development dynamic. Marketing changed its mind about the package or moved up the launch date. Or R&D couldn't hit the pricepoint—or deadline.

"It is often said that the most challenging interface during product development is the one between R&D and marketing," wrote Cosmetics & Toiletries columnist Bud Brewster some eleven years ago (in 2008); I would have guessed further back as it seems the same holds true today.

In fact, as far back as 1985, the Journal of Product Innovation Management published a study on the R&D-Marketing Interface in high-tech firms. Not surprisingly, the authors found significant barriers existed between these two key product innovation functions. Furthermore, individuals at this interface disagree about what they should do together, according to the report, which added that R&D folks are reluctant cooperators. 

Nancy Trent, owner of Trent & Company Inc., a global marketing communications firm focused on beauty, and guest columnist for Brewster wrote, "When people really understand something well, they are more likely to be enthused by it." She added, "Combining the forces of research and formulation with sales and marketing can create an excited and informed atmosphere in all aspects of a product’s life cycle—from concept and development, to production and manufact­uring, to sales, marketing and public relations." 

She continued, "Opening the lines of communication between different departments or individuals can only enhance and improve the product’s impact on the industry." (Not to mention close the gaps and misunderstandings costing precious development time and money.) "Unfortun­ately, those communication lines are not always connected and hazardous gaps occur," she added; remember, this was written in 2008.

So how far have we come, really? Consultants are still brought in-house to connect departments, troubleshoot stop-gaps and foster innovation. Cosmetics & Toiletries is still publishing articles about consumer vs. scientific language and the reverse, translating data into claims.

So it seems to be a universal truth that never the two shall meet—or could they? This idea served as the founding concept for an all-new event we've created for the cosmetics and personal care industry: Beauty Accelerate. It joins together the beauty product stakeholders at companies of all sizes in multiple formats to share insights and create unique tools to more seamlessly integrate the entire product development process.

From a collaborative workshop led by top consultants and forerunners in beauty innovation, to the boutique-style exhibition of prototypes, IP, packaging, turnkey solutions and more—plus, curated roundtable discussions to network with industry thought leaders—it's the ultimate think tank for beauty product development that you won't want to miss.

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