Bi-Weekly WTF :: Vol 20 – Quantity over Quality

Over the last two years, I haven’t found makeup as inspiring as I once did. There are several reasons for this, but a significant part of this is the way the industry has handled new releases for a while.

It has felt like brands have been in a non-stop release cycle. Instead of investing time and money into the thoughtful development of quality product, consumers have been buffeted with an onslaught of subpar, uninspiring product. I’ve noticed this the most with prestige brands, but I’m sure it permeates each level.

Why Quantity over Quality

I can’t give a definitive answer, but here’s my prevailing theory on why.

As the millennial and post-millennial generations became more substantial customer bases, brands assumed that these customers demanded constant engagement and gratification. In so doing, they opted for a near-constant release cycle. Releasing products nearly constantly means a few things

  • Less time for testing
  • Less money to invest in development per-product

Likewise, as a part of these marketing strategies, brands have thrown an absurd amount of money at influencer-based marketing. Without getting into that topic in depth, the reality is that the relationships between brands and influencers has evolved. Over the years, significant portions of marketing budgets are allocated for:

  • PR packages – which aren’t just a normal shipping box with product anymore, but lavish, ridiculous limited-production PR-only kits.
  • Compensation for Influencer Content
  • Other Spending – like brand trips, etc.

The Bottom Line

We can’t know the details of how brands allocate their budgets. It is pretty clear that budget is not being allocated to product development, though.

I’m a reasonably business-minded individual and I cannot fathom the thought process here. Regardless of your offering, consumers want quality first and foremost. Even enthusiast consumers willing to spend thousands on cosmetics each year will fill their space with mediocre dupes. Eventually, consumers are going to slow or stop their purchases apart from products with shorter shelf lives.