Five questions with Glossier CMO Ali Weiss

Glossier’s Ali Weiss was promoted to CMO of the beauty brand last week.
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· 5 min read

In the Nancy Meyers film What Women Want, Helen Hunt’s character begins her tenure as fictional ad agency Sloane Curtis’s leading lady by telling her direct reports, “Any success l have is a direct result of the team of people that l work with. l know that two heads are better than one. l know that five heads are better than two.”

Glossier’s Ali Weiss—who was promoted to chief marketing officer of the beauty brand last week after serving as its SVP of marketing—is entering her new role with a nearly identical mindset. “It takes [a great] team to build what we've built, and so I'm very grateful for the team and everyone we've worked with in order to make this happen,” she told Marketing Brew.

  • Weiss (no relation to CEO Emily Weiss) originally joined Glossier in June 2015, making her one of the now nine-year-old brand’s most tenured leaders.
  • Like many industries, the beauty world had a tough 2020 (raise your hand if you didn’t touch your going out makeup for almost the entire year 🙋). But Glossier’s product portfolio saw growth across all its categories—which include makeup, skincare, fragrance, and merch—throughout the year, per a statement Glossier shared with Marketing Brew.
  • In October 2020, Weiss oversaw the rollout for Glossier’s Body Hero Exfoliating Bar and Dry-Touch Oil Mist, as well as its campaign with the WNBA, making Glossier the league’s first beauty partner.
  • And in March 2021, she also spearheaded “Lash Slick: The Movie,” a campaign highlighting Glossier mascara through out of home placements on movie theater marquees.

Marketing Brew sat down with Weiss to chat about her new role, what the future holds for Glossier—and what she wishes she'd known when she first started at the company.

Marketing Brew: What’s your advice for climbing your way to the C-suite?

Ali Weiss: That no one can do it alone. It takes incredible teams, and teams evolve in shapes and sizes over time, so one thing I'm extraordinarily grateful for over the past six years at Glossier has been the team that makes it all happen every single day.

MB: Looking back at your time at Glossier, what would you tell your past self on your very first day with the company?

AW: When I try to think of one word about what we’ve built and what I would have loved to know on my first day, it’s the word “experience.” One of the perspectives I've built over the past six years, which I think would have been really helpful for me to know and articulate concretely on the first day, is that the approach to marketing that has worked really well for Glossier—and I believe can be applied more broadly to other types of products and companies and brands—is that marketing is ultimately all about creating compelling and impactful experiences.

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If you don't have compelling, impactful experiences, then you don't have anything to talk about. And ensuring those experiences are of the quality you expect and are excited about, and ensuring they are centered on the customer as the user, is really important. For us that happens through our e-commerce business, through our social presence, and through the conversations we have with our communities.

MB: What can you tell us about your plans for the future of Glossier’s marketing strategy?

AW: What I'm really excited about is continuing to strengthen our product portfolio from the perspective of ensuring we have makeup, skincare, and other category offerings that people have told us they want Glossier to make. I'm excited about that coming up.

I'm looking forward to a world in which we are able to create more offline experiences again, where people can interact and have a sense of togetherness. That’s something that's so core to our brand: Conductivity, connection, and conversation drive enjoyable beauty discovery.

MB: What are some of the biggest makeup trends that have emerged from the past year, and how is Glossier leveraging them, specifically in marketing?

AW: We did a study where we looked at consumers, and 66% of the people told us that coming out of the pandemic, their routine would be different than it was before. It could mean they’re reincorporating fragrance into their routine. It could be that they valued self care throughout the pandemic and therefore have changed their skincare routine. It can take lots of different shapes and forms, but ultimately what our approach will be is something that it always has been, which is providing marketing and experiences that are rooted in a strong belief that personal narratives provide the most fulfilling and joyful beauty experiences.

MB: What’s your favorite campaign you’ve worked on over the past six years?

AW: I can absolutely not pick a favorite! Our partnership with the WNBA was one of my favorite campaigns. It was this incredible time within the players’ careers, with their experience of being in the “Wubble.” They shot the content themselves and really pursued this mantra of “I deserve this.” And for me, that was just so representative of where we were in culture at that time, and I was so proud of the partnership and the campaign that we built.

One of my very early favorite experiences was one of the first out of home campaigns we did in the New York subway. That seems like such a long time ago, but I do vividly remember the white board where we were mapping out the placement of every single advertisement and exactly what they would be, and the level of detail and involvement it took. There was just a moment of such pride for us that we’d had that achievement of getting there.

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