Ulta Beauty Hires New Marketing Chief

Beauty retailer

Ulta Beauty Inc.

has tapped Michelle Crossan-Matos, a former Samsung Electronics America marketing leader, as its new chief marketing officer. 

Ms. Crossan-Matos will oversee all integrated marketing, loyalty, creative operations, store design, public relations, consumer insights and retail media activities, according to the Bolingbrook, Ill.-based company. The chief marketing officer role was previously held by

Shelley Haus,

who died of cancer last June.

Most recently, Ms. Crossan-Matos was chief marketing, citizenship and communications officer at Samsung Electronics America. She previously held posts including senior vice president at Samsung, overseeing areas such as corporate strategy and product innovation, as well as CMO at luxury mobile-phone company Vertu and various brand leadership roles in skin care, cosmetics and fragrance at

Procter & Gamble Co.

Michelle Crossan-Matos, Ulta Beauty’s new chief marketing officer.



Photo:

PRM Creative, Inc.

Ulta in December reported earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 29 that suggested consumers were continuing to spend money on beauty products even in the face of inflation, leading the company to raise its outlook for its fiscal year.

Ulta sells an assortment of products across all beauty categories and price points, allowing consumers to trade up or down as needed to meet their budgets, the company said.

“I think beauty care is probably going to be one of the most resilient categories, and then I think Ulta Beauty will be even more resilient, just because of the portfolio that Ulta Beauty has and the type of guests that come in—they tend to be much more resilient,” Ms. Crossan-Matos said. 

Ulta will stay focused on social media, video, beauty tutorials and experience-based marketing in the year ahead, said Ms. Crossan-Matos. She added that she expects customers to seek more of an experience, whether that is in its stores, at its salons or through its app with virtual try-ons. 

Ms. Crossan-Matos said she plans to try to get as close to customers as possible. 

“I will be selling in-store, I’ll be working in-store, I’ll be working in our distribution center, I’ll be listening to customer service, so that I can really understand what the guest really needs and wants, because that is what marketing does,” she said. “We are trying to deliver the best products to them and tell a story in a way that really helps them, but how can you do that if you’re sitting behind a computer?”

Ulta, like many other retailers, raised prices throughout 2022 and is hopeful it will retain some pricing power in the new year, even as inflation begins to slow. But consumers and businesses are expected to pull back on discretionary spending and be less tolerant of price increases as they become more budget-conscious.

Ulta Beauty Chief Executive

Dave Kimbell

 said on the company’s third-quarter earnings call in December that its efforts to strengthen customer loyalty in personalized ways is driving growth of its loyalty-plan membership, with 39 million active members by the end of the quarter, 9% more than in the prior-year period. He said overall spending per member had risen, driven by increased frequency of purchases and higher average transaction totals. 

Write to Megan Graham at [email protected]

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