CEW is effectively using technology to further its mission of connecting members.

Cosmetic Executive Women is upgrading digital resources for its members.

The group has a web site overhaul planned for March and is updating MentorMatch — its mentorship initiative — in order to better serve existing members and appeal to potential newcomers, including prospective Millennial and Gen Z members.

The changes are meant to engage beauty’s future leaders, according to the organization.

CEW’s mobile-responsive web site, designed by Foundry, will feature a new home page, membership page, updated association-management system (which will handle ticket purchases), and lots more content, according to the group. This is the first user-experience update to the site since 2013.

“Overall, we’ll be utilizing a more content-friendly platform,” said Andrea Nagel, vice president of content for CEW. “The new site will utilize content to engage members and recruit new members. We’ll have lots of ungated content, which isn’t the case now, and we’ll be investing in some videos — we’re hoping that videos will play a large part of our content going forward.” CEW has done some video experimentation — but expects that to ramp up in the future, Nagel noted.

“[Right now] most of our content lives on the Beauty Insider page, so you have to be a member to access our content,” Nagel said. “With the new site, we’re going to sprinkle the content throughout the site so you don’t have to be a member to experience the content.”

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CEW Insider, which launched in 2012, will now be called Beauty News, Nagel noted. About 15 percent of CEW members join for the content, according to the organization, and the idea is to entice potentially new members by giving them access to some content before joining the group.

Certain in-depth industry reports, which are exclusive to CEW, will also be in front of the paywall.

“We’ll be doing more of the industry reports because those really drive the open and clickthrough [rates] for our newsletter,” Nagel said. “They are really our unique proposition as it relates to content.”

That content is one of the things for which CEW members look to the organization.

“[Members] turn to us for content,” said Leslie Hutchings, vice president of membership for CEW. “And that’s something we’ve been hearing through past surveys…that’s one of the reasons for the big refresh. Another reason is…we’re highlighting the member benefits throughout our web site now.”

The goal is to make it easier for members to know what their benefits are, and for non-members to understand what CEW can help provide, she said. “We knew members aren’t always clear on what the benefits are so we wanted to be really explicit about that,” Hutchings said.

“We’ll also be featuring Q&A’s in copy form and video,” Nagel said, where members will talk  about what they learned at their most recent CEW event, why they joined the group, about professional development — “things a beauty [professional] would think are important to know about,” Nagel said.

Events — including the Connected Consumer conference, Beauty Awards and Achiever Awards — will each have their own pages, which are meant to give more information and help drive membership.

“Some of our events are members-only, and we do find quite a bit that people will want to join specifically because they want to get the discounted member rate,” Hutchings said.

Indie Beauty, which now comprises about 13 percent of CEW’s members, will have its own page dedicated to that subset of companies and entrepreneurs.

“They have such a different set of needs from the other members that we needed a place that they can have [to serve] their own needs,” Hutchings said.

“Indies are their own unique animal — they experience the same challenges from one company to another and we found they’re very willing to share information to help each other out,” Nagel said. “So we’ll be utilizing the indie page to get a lot of this information out.”

The page will feature different indie founders and members talking about what being part of CEW has brought them, and their personal experiences being part of the group.

“[It’ll show] different indie founders and members talking not only about why it’s important to be a CEW member, but their personal experience as indie businesses and entrepreneurs so other indies can learn exclusively what things they should know,” Nagel said.

Back on the events pages, content will be a main feature as well.

“One of the important reasons to break out the event pages is to let the user — both the member and non-member — understand what the value proposition of the event is,” said Alexandra Saland, senior director of marketing for CEW. “We have a main page where you can see all the upcoming events, but to really understand that the digital conference is covering all these topics, versus a speaker series that’s a super-dedicated conversation with a c-suite executive in the industry, it’s a totally different experience and type of event. In order to properly funnel someone through the marketing process, we need to be able to say, ‘here are the benefits, here’s why you should register.'”

The new web site also gives CEW more data related to what visitors to the site are up to in order to better personalize the experience.

“It allows us to understand what the user is doing, so if someone is hovering over a certain topic it enables us to serve them up a piece of content, or if they’re hovering over a piece of content for that matter, we can serve them up a relevant ad,” Saland said.

It also allows CEW to collect data on web site visitors and to target members versus non-members, Saland said. CEW had some data tools before, but they were “not as expansive” as they will be on the new site. The tools should give CEW capabilities to serve up personalized ads and look at the flow of information on each page to know if it’s working.

“[The] marketing team [can look] at the new analytics to see [if] we need to change the flow of content on [an] event page because people are jumping down to the speaker names,” Saland said, as an example.

As part of the overall refresh, CEW is also modernizing MentorMatch, a program that matches mentors with mentees across the industry. The group’s app, which launched in the fourth quarter of 2018, also strives for a more modern experience, and is being used for Q&A’s during CEW events.

“Right now we have about 25 percent of members join [CEW] to find a mentor, to access industry knowledge or to build their network,” said Hutchings. “Mentoring is a huge part of those goals…we wanted to make it more user-friendly, and more modern.” The MentorMatch relaunch is sponsored by Shiseido.

The new program will feature an algorithm that matches people based on areas of expertise or areas of need. It will be mobile-friendly, and is meant to be easier to find on the revamped web site with its page.

“It will have its own page where people can apply,” Hutchings said. “It’ll be easier to find on the new web site…it’ll be on the membership page, it’ll be on the indie page, it’ll be all throughout the web site, making it a lot more visible.”

“It’s the industry’s only cross-company mentoring program,” Hutchings said. “Any CEW member, regardless of what company you’re with, your career level, what state you’re in, you can find a mentor or mentee anywhere within the beauty industry as long as that person’s a CEW member.”

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