Ulta Chief Executive office Mary Dillon

Ulta Beauty may stock mass products, but it will no longer be taking a mass approach when it comes to marketing.

Speaking at Wednesday’s CEW event, Ulta Beauty’s chief executive officer Mary Dillon regaled the crowd of 600-some people with a tale of one of her early visits to an Ulta Beauty store after being named ceo. “I went to a store on Christmas Eve, and I observed a guest with a big stack of coupons and the customer was, like, ‘Hey, I just want to know — can I use this on this and this on this and this on this?’” Dillon said. “[At the time] I said, ‘We’re not going to be doing this three years from now — we’re not going to be dependent on price promotion.’”

Dillon is driving the brand’s marketing efforts away from coupons and print circulars to a mix of digital marketing and television advertising. Ulta Beauty is known for its mix of mass, prestige and salon products, but Dillon wants to steer the brand’s image away from being lumped in with drugstores and grocery stores.

“Someone who shops in a drugstore or grocery store, they’re viewing beauty as more of a routine,” Dillon said. On the other hand, the store’s customers are deemed beauty enthusiasts. “It’s a mind-set, not a demographic.”

Beauty enthusiasts are defined as women who are passionate about trying and learning about beauty products, and are especially interested in what is new and trending — Dillon has zeroed in on Millennials and Hispanic women as key groups that make up the beauty enthusiast base. To capture their attention, Dillon is turning to a digital and social media marketing campaign, which includes tutorials with video bloggers and publishing content on Ulta Beauty’s editorial site, ulta.com/mix. “If she’s researching before she comes in, we need to be there,” Dillon said. “Social media and the influence of bloggers — [because of that] our guests are coming in informed and self-directed.”

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