Elena, Product Marketing Manager
[Interview] Melixir’s Elena talks about her experience as a product marketing manager, and how she works to help the brand connect with customers in markets beyond South Korea.
Hello Elena! What is your role at Melixir?
As a product marketer at Melixir, I am responsible for effectively conveying our brand message and connecting with our customers.
What are the characteristics of a marketer and what capabilities do you need?
In the States, we plan and manage our products on Amazon as well as on our own online store to give customers a consistent Melixir brand experience. Because we plan and publish digital content in collaboration with our design and marketing teams, we must have the ability to cross-coordinate and plan the overall content schedule accordingly. Also, because we manage the inventory of products sold through each channel, whether it be through Amazon or our own site, we often collaborate with our logistics team as well to decide how we will allocate inventory and promotion resources to both channels. If we run a promotion on Amazon, we plan inventory operations in advance so that we do not run out of stock of any single product, even when we have high volume buyers. We are also responsible for responding to customers who purchase our products and for supporting communication between the Melixir team in Korea and our overseas customers.
We also frequently collaborate with our developers. While building our own U.S. online store and as customers slowly started to use the site, I would point out the purchase flow that seemed inconvenient and our developers would take this feedback and make it seamless. The important thing in collaborating with developers is that it's hard for the planner to know at the planning stage whether the desired function or interface can be realized. That is why we first check the available options thoroughly and prepare plans "A, B, and C." The process of actually implementing, testing, and collaborating with developers to find the best option is both difficult and exciting. It's also interesting to look at the code and understand why something is written the way it is, so it has been fun to see the various functions of the website produced by our developers.
Luckily, I don’t get too stressed out about planning, coordinating opinions, and communicating with others, which are very important skills in marketing. A marketing job that requires collaboration across multiple teams and functions is a good fit for me. It's fun to work with a variety of people, to look at data and create a strategy, and to watch your brand grow as sales increase. I also think the ability to view and analyze data is super important. Once you look at data consistently, you get a sense of it. Data must be analyzed based on clear and consistent criteria to be interpreted properly. I mainly look at the sales by product data. In a particular sales channel, we will check which products are performing well and how the sales of that product increase with certain promotions or pricing. And then based on that insight, we create new bundled products or plan future promotions. We also look at customer service-related data to assess customer satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) and pass on that analysis to our team for improvement. For example, a customer in the U.S. once wrote a review that the color of the Lip Butter they purchased was not what they were expecting. I then told the Korean marketing and design teams that we needed a more accurate way to communicate the shades of our best-selling Vegan Lip Butter, and we fixed the issue immediately to provide our customers with a better description and visualization. These days, to help lower the cost barrier of experiencing a range of vegan cosmetics for the first time, we are planning to create a trial kit with a wider variety of products rather than selling just single items.
You recently started developing the e-commerce site for the U.S. What have been the hardships and advantages?
At first, the site was rubbish, but it was fun to see the website change and look better day by day. I am able to see what I have planned be implemented right away, so it makes me want to experiment more. It's also amazing to see how there are sales coming through even though the site still has a lot of work to do (laughs). Knowing that there are people who believe in Melixir and buy our products gives me encouragement. In the United States, users who used to come across Melixir through Amazon or our own social media accounts now seem to come through searches or social advertisements. I don't have much personal experience in the U.S., so it may be difficult to understand U.S. customers, but I always try to think from a consumer's point of view. Since different skin types respond differently to the same product, we carefully read customer reviews of our products as well as competitors' products to fully understand what American clients want. We also conduct surveys after purchase for more insights. Not going to lie, I've never bought anything on Amazon (laughs again), so I was worried about suddenly taking over the U.S. channel, but I'm getting through it by thinking about the customers and putting them first.
As a marketer, what is your biggest challenge?
I think communicating accurately is the biggest challenge. “How do we communicate accurately and effectively with our American consumers and with our team?” is a question I often think about these days. I think about how we can best convey the value of the brand and our products, what the differences are between Korean and American customers, and how we can connect with our customers in the two geographic locations with the same, single piece of content. We want our customers to have a consistent customer experience with an overall tone and we try to communicate with the same brand voice across geographies and across our Amazon and own D2C stores.
How have you become a better marketer?
I didn’t know a lot about American cosmetic brands when I started, so I did a lot of research. I chose some American brands to use as benchmarks. I like productivity tools, so I learned how to use Notion, a project management and note-taking tool, and I also subscribed to a lot of content about implementing Amazon ads. I also frequently visit Amazon's mobile app and refer to successful, well-run brands. I look at products that compete with Melixir to understand why people like those offerings.
I heard that Melixir is your first job. How did you come to work at Melixir?
Originally, I was interested in start-ups and while I was working as a student journalist in college, I had the opportunity to interview the CEO of Melixir, Hana. I thought the brand was fascinating and that Hana was a very passionate and kind leader. I ended up getting an internship at Melixir and have been working here since.
What are you most concerned about nowadays?
Right now, I really want to exercise more. I'm currently living a lazy life because of the Coronavirus (laughs). Our team at Melixir is also very interested in health and exercise, so I am constantly inspired by them. I am getting back into pilates.
Additionally, I'm starting to get into writing. I have an inspiration notebook and try to write down all the good thoughts that come to me. If someone says something that resonates with me, I write it down. While I work, I also write down my daily worries and concerns, such as “What is more important - speed or perfection?” (laughs). Then, I naturally think deeper about my everyday life or what I have written. I also like going to stationery shops. I recently bought a beautiful notebook and I plan to write a lot in it.
Everyone says you are always quite energetic, how do you maintain so much energy?
I try to find joy in my daily routine. I am also optimistic by nature. If you think of work as work it will never be fun. It's mind-blowing to watch our brand grow and change, so I try not to think about it too hard. I spend a lot of time at work, but I spend a lot of time with my family, too. I also shop online a lot. I have a bag coming this Friday (laughs). I'm going to see a musical soon, which I’m very excited about. The anticipation of going to see a musical can make me happy for the entire week leading up to it. I think that finding happiness in everyday life is a great way to spend the day.
What are the pros and cons of working at Melixir?
First of all, I like that I have a lot of autonomy over my work. People value my opinion and it’s nice to be able to implement my own ideas. Of course, this means we have a lot of responsibilities. The people who work at Melixir are very unique and have strong personalities, so working with each other is fun and I learn from them a lot. It feels like everyone I work with is the strongest player on their respective teams. In college, I almost always played the role of a leader, but here, I am also a follower and it’s new but worth it to work synergistically with my fellow co-workers who are strong leaders themselves. The downside is that every day is so busy, I don’t always get to socialize with them (laughs). I'm a person who gains a lot of energy from other people, so I want to get closer with my team over delicious meals and social bonding.
The Melixir team is compact, and we collaborate well in everything we do. We have flexibility and the ability for quick execution to optimize something quickly if there is a need. What makes me a little concerned is that we are growing rapidly, so it is necessary for us to build a system. As with any organization, I think it is important to create a system that improves our efficiency in execution.
The products of Melixir are also really good. I've grown so much through learning about the power of great products and strong branding, both of which Melixir has.