The Speed of Culture Podcast: All Things Beauty All in One Place

Karla Davis, vp of integrated marketing and media at Ulta Beauty on driving growth through loyalty programs

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Ulta Beauty has established itself as America’s premier beauty destination, offering customers an unparalleled selection of over 25,000 products from 500+ brands. From cosmetics to fragrances and everything in between—including the store’s private label line—Ulta is about enabling individuals to explore possibilities and experience the power of beauty daily.

To learn more about Ulta Beauty’s success story, we spoke with its vp of integrated marketing and media, Karla Davis. She joins Suzy founder and CEO Matt Britton on the latest episode of The Speed of Culture podcast to share her approach to establishing Ulta Beauty’s unique brand, driving their growth through loyalty programs and delivering an exceptional beauty experience for their customers.

Davis is an award-winning global marketing executive whose vision and impact are redefining beauty. She was named Brand Innovators Women to Watch in 2019, was recognized in the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2020 and is a three-time Effie Advertising Award recipient. Before Ulta Beauty, Davis held various roles in marketing at Fortune 500 companies including PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods. She began her journey in the beauty industry at Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

Learn winning tactics for building a successful beauty brand by checking out the key takeaways of this episode below.

Key Takeaways:

  • 07:35 – 09:26 – All things beauty all in one place – Davis joined Ulta Beauty on a mission to reach new heights, and from the start of establishing the brand, she explored what made them truly special. She delved into the core insight—that Ulta was an unparalleled destination for all things beauty all in one place—and then set off to communicate that in an elevated and emotional way. 
  • 10:48 – 12:38 – Ultamate rewards – Ulta Beauty has seen remarkable success with their loyalty program. With 40 million members, they have assembled a following larger than the country of Canada! Their point-based program is not just about rewards, but around the idea that beauty loves you back—creating an emotional connection that continues to fuel growth year after year.
  • 16:02 – 17:45 – The ‘royal’ content – Davis believes content is king, helping brands weave themselves into people’s lives and moments. She takes a deep dive into understanding consumer media behaviors and goals in order for Ulta’s message to truly resonate with the right audience. 
  • 20:16 – 22:30 – An omnichannel experience – In today’s digital world, it is critical for beauty brands to remain competitive in both physical and online stores. Consumers may be browsing your website or reading social media reviews even when shopping inside your store, and expect a seamless experience between the two channels. Therefore, creating a consistent omnichannel experience is essential for continued growth and success.