Under CMO Kory Marchisotto, e.l.f. Captured That Elusive ‘Lighting in a Bottle’

The beauty brand achieved growth via innovation such as CBD skin care products and a ground-breaking TikTok campaign

Kory Marchisotto
Since Kory Marchisotto joined e.l.f., the company has gone on to achieve six consecutive quarters of sales growth. Adweek
Headshot of Richard Collings

Since Kory Marchisotto joined beauty brand e.l.f. Cosmetics in early 2019 as CMO, the company has managed to capture that “lightning in a bottle” that many brands find elusive.

Speaking at Brandweek today, Marchisotto ticked off the company’s successes during her tenure thus far, including six straight quarters of net sales growth and gaining market share even with the added challenge of navigating a pandemic.

And “how the e.l.f.” did the company manage to achieve this growth?

“We truly believe that anything is e.l.f.ing possible,” Marchisotto said, “when you have your feet on the ground, your head in the stars and the ability to adapt at e.l.f. speed.”

She said it all starts with having a team of “e.l.f.ing superstars” who possess both talent and passion while working as a team and maintaining a relentless focus on the consumer.

“I personally read thousands of comments every week because it’s about an intimate connection to the consumer’s needs, wants and desires,” Marchisotto said. “It’s about understanding who they are and what they want from your brand, and more importantly, how they feel,” she said.

Being in sync with the customer helps e.l.f. stay laser-focused on its mission of making beauty available to every “eye, lip and face,” Marchisotto emphasized. “We let our consumers decide what they love most about our brand,” she said.

That includes completely vegan and cruelty-free products that are both premium and affordable.

“We never assumed what it was that our consumers wanted to see and hear from us,” she said.

During the pandemic, customers asked the brand to offer products that bring them joy during difficult times, for example. In response, e.l.f. introduced a line of full-spectrum CBD skin care products, just one of the company’s many innovations under the CMO’s leadership.

“If you can dream it, you can do it,” Marchisotto said, pointing out that dreaming is just a form of planning.

That idea harkens back to the company’s founding some 16 years ago on the premise of selling premium color cosmetics for a dollar on the internet, which was unheard of at the time, and in essence blazing a new trail for what was possible in color cosmetics.

E.l.f. also embarked on a new marketing campaign that not only employed eye-popping visuals, but also an entire new language or lexicon derived from the company’s brand and dubbed “e.l.f.isms.”

And then, of course, there was that hashatag challenge on TikTok that ended up generating more than 6 billion views, becoming the most viral campaigns on the platform.

The billion-dollar beauty brand is building on those successes by launching the first reality show on TikTok and creating a beauty line with singer and songwriter Alicia Keys.

In Marchisotto’s own words, “We’re just getting started.”


@RichCollings richard.collings@adweek.com Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.
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