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[People Story] Elena, Product Marketing Manager at Melixir

[Interview] Melixir’s Elena talks about her experience as Melixir’s 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 an Product Marketer at Melixir, I am responsible for effectively conveying our Melixir message and for connecting with our customers.

What are the characteristics of marketers and what capabilities do you need?**

In the States, we plan and manage our products on Amazon and on our own U.S. 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 through our own site, we often collaborate with our Logistics team to decide how we will allocate inventory and promotion resources to either channel. If we run a promotion on Amazon, we plan inventory operations in advance so 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 Melixir’s products on Amazon and for supporting communication between the Melixir team in Korea and overseas customers.

We also frequently collaborate with our developers. As we built our own U.S. online store and customers would use the site, I would point out a workflow that was inconvenient and our developers would make it seamless. The important thing in collaborating with developers is that the planner cannot know at the planning stage whether the desired function or interface can be realized. So, we check available options 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. I am also interested in looking at the code and know how to handle it a bit, so it has been fun to see the various functions of the website realized by our developers.

I don’t get too stressed out about planning, coordinating opinions, and communicating with others, which are very important skills in sales. A sales job that requires collaboration across multiple people 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 important to sales. 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 sales by product data. In a particular sales channel, we will check which products are performing well and how 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 that analysis on to our team for improvement. For example, a customer in the U.S. wrote a review that the color of the Lip Butter was not what they were expecting. We then told the Marketing and Design teams that we needed a more accurate way to communicate the color and we fixed the issue to provide our customers with a better description. 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 single items. 

You recently started developing a website for the US. What have been the hardships and advantages?**

At first, the site was rubbish, but it was fun to see the site change and look better day by day. I am able to see what I have planned being implemented right away, so I would like to experiment more and 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). The thought that there are people who believe in Melixir and buy our products gives me encouragement. In the United States, users who had 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 the customer's point of view. Because skin types respond differently to the same product, we read customer reviews of our products as well as competitors' products to understand what American consumers want. We also conduct surveys for buyers. I've never bought anything on Amazon (laughs), so I was worried about suddenly taking over the U.S. channel, but I'm getting through it by thinking about the customer 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 Melixir brand and our products, what the differences are between Korean and American customers and how we can connect with our customers in the two geographies 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 online 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 and I subscribed to a lot of content about implementing Amazon ads. I also frequently visit Amazon's mobile app in the United States and refer to successful, well-run brands. I also look at the products that compete with Melixir’s to understand why people like these 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 interesting and kind person. 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’ve recently lived a lazy life because of the Coronavirus (laughs). Our team at Melixir is very interested in health and exercise, so I am constantly inspired by them. I am getting back into Pilates. 

I am also getting into writing. I have an inspiration notebook and try to write down 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 important to speed or perfection?” (laughs). Then, I naturally think deeper about my daily 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 life. I am also optimistic by nature. If you think of work as work it will never be fun. It's fun 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. 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 week. 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. It feels like everyone I work with is the strongest player on the team. In college, I almost always played the role of a leader, but here, I am also a follower and it’s fun to work synergistically with my team members who are strong leaders themselves. The downside is that everyday is so busy, I don’t always get to socialize with the team (laughs). I'm a person who gets a lot of energy from other people, so I want to get closer with Team Melixir over delicious meals and social bonding.

The Melixir team is also compact, so we collaborate well in everything we do. We have flexibility and the ability for quick execution to immediately improve if there is a need. What makes me a little concerned is that we are growing rapidly, so it is necessary for us to create a system. As with any organization, I think it is important to create a system that improves our efficiency in execution.

The products at 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.