By  on February 13, 2009

When Plato wrote that necessity is the mother of invention, the problem he had in mind probably wasn’t how to reignite sluggish sales of beauty products. But as the recession continues to exert an ever greater impact on the global economy, with signs of a recovery still far off, our thoughts when putting together this issue turned not to what now, but rather to what’s next. To that end, our reporters went off in search of opportunity and came back with some eye-opening results.


Take electronic retailing. Not too long ago, a prestige brand worth its hexapeptides wouldn’t even dream of selling on TV. Today, it’s not a question of whether TV selling is right for a brand—it’s whether a brand is right for QVC or HSN, the two networks that dominate the arena. Although QVC is by far the bigger of the two, reports beauty financial editor Molly Prior, HSN is quickly catching up under the direction of chief executive officer Mindy Grossman. The result is a battle royal over beauty sales. Discover how the TV shopping wars are shaping up and what it means for brand marketers in “Remote Control.”


When thinking about opportunity, analyzing the natural products market seemed, well, natural, too. After all, consumers continue to clamor for green in all areas of their life, including beauty. But women also demand efficacy from their products, especially in skin care—easier said than done when it comes to formulating products such as shampoos and antiaging specialists. We asked European editor Jennifer Weil to investigate when natural and organics might rival their chemical-based brethren, an answer you’ll find in “When Nature Meets Science.”

In the relatively new field of mobile marketing, there are as many questions as answers. While the possibilities inherent in the medium are boundless, navigating the landscape isn’t for the faint of heart, as I discovered when reporting “Upwardly Mobile.”  The numbers alone, though, mandate that it’s an area marketers master—there are four billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide versus one-and-a-half billion Internet users. As Daniel Rosen from the London-based ad agency AKQA told me, “If you were to lock a scientist up in a room and ask him to come up with the ultimate marketing device, he’d come up with the phone.”

Happily the phone exists. And now, as in so many areas, it’s just a matter of figuring out how best to optimize it to power your business forward through the recession as well as prepare for the recovery. We hope this issue helps point the way.

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