Social CMO Profile – Ted Rubin of e.l.f. cosmetics

Social, approachable, driven and eager to share are all traits that come to mind when I think of Ted Rubin (@tedrubin) the affable Chief Marketing Officer for e.l.f. ~ eyes lips face.

When I first approached Ted through Twitter to talk about a case study relative to the use of social media at e.l.f., Ted said “Well there’s nothing written down on it I can just send you, but I’m happy to book some time and talk with you about it.” resulting in this Social CMO profile.

Surprising perhaps to some, but not all, when we began discussing Web 2.0 and social media success at e.l.f. the discussion really began about the ongoing importance of continuing to leverage Web 1.0 technologies, especially email.

In fact if we didn’t know better based on our discussion, the “e” in e.l.f might actually be email based on the key role these lists and messages have played in fuelling ongoing social media success at e.l.f.

The initial email list at e.l.f. was built from scratch and no other lists or services used to create it. An outside resource who has been intimately involved in the process since early on continuously markets and expands the list and is paid based on results.

And the results have been nothing short of phenomenal! Growing exponentially from early numbers of 300,000 to now over 2,000,000 subscribers with less than a .5 percent unsubscribe rate. Stellar numbers like these have been driven by programs such as e.l.f’s Tell a Friend promotion of their two current email newsletters.

But most importantly, Ted credits much of their recent social media success on the connection these email letters and announcements allow e.l.f. to have with their customers. After launching their Facebook identity a year ago e.l.f already has more than 30,000 group members and on Twitter more than 40,000 followers. Equally powerful are their 5,400 direct YouTube channel subscribers and combined 56,000 views which is only the tip of the iceberg as many e.l.f customers create and post their own spontaneous e.l.f testimonial videos on personal YouTube channels. has also opened up an important feedback channel and 99% of comments and responses to date have been positive allowing e.l.f. to intertwine social media and customer service effectively.

Other recent innovations that continue to drive social media success are the “The New Face of e.l.f., Beauty at All Ages” contest and “WISH FOR THIS” app, which in the first 3 weeks alone have generated 14,500 wishes, over 2,000 retweets and more than 200,000 impressions, and automatically uploads to a “Wishes” tab on their Facebook Fan Page and to a widget that now lives on Bloggers sites.

According to Ted Rubin, it is truly the integrated use of Web 1.0 tools supporting both the growth of Web 2.0 social media platforms, and real world marketing events such as e.l.f’s recent retail launch with Target, which results in reaping the rewards of synergies expected from their investment in social media.

2 thoughts on “Social CMO Profile – Ted Rubin of e.l.f. cosmetics

  1. It’s inspiring to read about how social media is creating so much traction and customer engagement. I was talking about this yesterday with a colleague and we both agreed to have a success social media strategy it has to be integrated with all other marketing efforts as you point out with e.l.f. Social media alone doesn’t work but if it’s integrated with PR, advertising, email marketing, and Web 2.0 platforms then you’ve got a winning formula.

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