Sunday, March 14, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Dear bloggers, partners, associates, contacts and friends,

I need to report, with regret and sadness, that Tuesday 2/23 was my last day at e.l.f. Interacting with you all has been my favorite part of being the CMO here. e.l.f. Cosmetics has been a fabulous place to work and building the social media presence, and all the re...lationships as a part of that, including all the partnerships and co-promotions, is something that I consider one of my greatest accomplishments. As much as it pains me to leave, it is time to move on and pursue my passion... the continuing evolution of social commerce and growth of the social media/marketing community.

Rest assured you will be able to communicate with me at email for the next few weeks (also and and that I will do my best to connect you with the appropriate people within e.l.f. in order to continue working together.

My expectation is to continue to grow the relationships we have built together and work with you all going forward.

I recently became a member of The Opensky Board of Advisors (, and will be taking an active advisory role assisting them in building their social media presence, engaging and interacting with the blogging community, and working with other worthwhile potential partners. I anticipate a long-term relationship advising Opensky and will continue to wade through other opportunities.

Please, as always, feel free to reach out anytime for any reason. Looking forward to hearing from you all. Sincerely, Ted

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How e.l.f. Became a Social Media Giant

How e.l.f. Became a Social Media Giant

BRANDWEEK Feb 9, 2010 Todd Wasserman

Few brands have had as singular a focus on social media as e.l.f., a cosmetics line that does zero in the way of traditional advertising yet has strong working relationships with about 500 bloggers. As the CMO for e.l.f. (the acronym stands for Eyes Lips Face), Ted Rubin is known for his active use of Twitter (where he has 20,000 followers) and his responsiveness. Rubin, a former protege of Seth Godin, says he responds to every tweet he gets. The social media outreach, along with distribution at Target, a recession-friendly price of $1 per item and a positive review in O: The Oprah Magazine two years ago have helped e.l.f. build a strong brand on the cheap. Brandweek spoke with Rubin about his thoughts on traditional advertising, social media and why larger brands like Coca-Cola can benefit from e.l.f'.'s strategy. Excerpts from the interview appear below:

Brandweek: Your philosophy is not to spend any money on traditional media, right?
Ted Rubin:
It's more than a philosophy, it's part of our business model and part of what allows us to sell products at the prices we do. So it's not just a philosophy and the reason I point that out is I work with a lot of bloggers and as bloggers are getting more sophisticated and are earning money from certain brands, they come to me for sponsorships and things and I can legitimately tell them that I can't do it. It's not that we don't want to do it or we don't want to spend the money there, it's just not the way we operate.

BW: We've seen companies like Google and Starbucks that never advertised suddenly advertise. Do you see that happening at e.l.f.?
It's hard to say. I believe at some point it will have to change, but I believe that the founders—and take this in the most positive light—are very spoiled. They got success from day one and they're very used to things working right away. So they're not used to putting in money to make things work, but if you want to grow and expand past a certain point there are chances that you have to take and that could mean trying out traditional ads.

BW: Regarding social media, is most of your focus on Twitter or is it Facebook?
My philosophy is that Twitter and Facebook are what leads into other forms of social sharing. I consider Twitter a place to lay the groundwork where other people pick up things. I make a great use of Twitter and Facebook not only to reach out to the public, but to build relationships with stronger mediums, like the blogging community. We have 500 bloggers that I deal with regularly that are on my list regularly to contact about products, about changes, about updates and they're not like an e-mail list that you'd get on if you sign up with e.l.f. With the bloggers, it's a much more direct relationship. I focus on Twitter and Facebook because they're scalable platforms, but I do that to build up what I feel are the real advocacy groups which are the bloggers and the people on YouTube.

BW: How much of this is CRM and how much is marketing?
Personally, I believe CRM and marketing go hand in hand and I believe it is a problem in a lot of corporations. I think customer service should come under that realm as well. In a company where customer service doesn't come under the CMO or at the very least if there's not somebody in charge of customer service who's not working hand in hand with them is a big disconnect, because if you're saying one thing in, especially in social media marketing and they're experiencing something else, there's going to be a problem.

BW: How did you amass such a big Twitter following? You have more than any other CMO, including Barry Judge of Best Buy or Jeffrey Hayzlett of Kodak.
What's nice about that is it's helped me build relationships with them as well. Being a small brand, I now have relationships not only with all the guys on that list but with others who have recognized what I'm doing there...I think it's a lot about my personal branding. I reach out a lot, I'm incredibly communicative. I don't just talk about media, I talk about marketing, I talk about being a divorced dad with teenagers. Why do I do that? Because I think the more people get to know you for who you are then you're not just a guy trying to sell them something and I write about things I believe in. People will realize quickly if you're writing about something that's not truly you.

BW: Isn't the goal to sell more product?
The goal is absolutely to sell more makeup. Our immediate goal within social media is not click-throughs, not like our direct marketing path that we have with our e-mail marketing. Bottom line, e-mail marketing is about click-throughs and open rates and sales. I can't say that everybody here agrees with me and I think it's a fight that most CMOs are focusing on social media have with the C-suite, our founders and owners. I think that everyone's been spoiled in the last 10 years because everything's so trackable and most of them forget that the way they built their company originally was on branding. Who would buy $1 makeup if there wasn't a brand attached to it that led them to believe it was quality? If we didn't have the social media presence where bloggers and tweeters and Facebook people speak about us all the time and literally a day does not go by where there's not a user-generated, unincentivized video uploaded to YouTube about e.l.f., not a day. I do believe in sales, but there's not a true device that [tracks the link between] social media and sales that's really working. Right now, I think the most important thing is engagement and interaction because it allows you to do branding on steroids. Before, branding was putting up a GoDaddy ad on the Super Bowl and following up with a billboard.

BW: Do you think a large brand like, say, Coca-Cola, can learn from what you do?
I think they can totally learn. Coca-Cola could do it much better and it would be easy for them. Look at the amount of people who would love to follow Coke if they were doing something of value and making people feel like they were doing something more than buying a product.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Message to my Daughter on her Bat Mitzvah...

Niki… you are my precious gift, a light that lives in my life always. I walk around every day still feeling the weight of your adorable little body clinging to my shoulders, sitting in my lap, and holding my hand. I think you spent more time on my shoulders and in my lap than in your stroller. I treasure those days.

No one can see the future or know what it holds but I could not have dreamt about a daughter who could have made me feel more special as she grew up. The way you used to insist on running down the stairs and jumping in to my arms every time I dropped you off at your moms before I could leave… it was ritual and we never missed a chance. If I could have chosen a daughter I know in my heart I would have reached out for you, wished for your quick wit and dreamed of your SPIRIT and STYLE. I’d have hoped for your love and affection, as I do now, imagined your beautiful smile, and looked out for your best interest… always.

Life isn’t days and years, it’s what you do with time and with all the goodness and grace that I know is inside you. Think for yourself, follow your heart, and make a beautiful life…the kind of life you deserve.

I am hoping you will always remember the thing most important by far… how much you are loved, how proud I am, always and no matter what, and how wonderfully special you are.

I love my girls not because everything in them is lovely and according to my liking, but because there is a real incomprehensible bond which is stronger than anything life can throw our way. I will always, always love you… no matter what.

You made me so proud today and I will hold that feeling in my heart, take it with me wherever I go, and cherish the memory.

Nothing can be regarded as valuable unless it is assessed in relation to something with a higher value. I love you Niki, with all my heart, and that will never change.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Next Step in Blogger Feedback

From: Ted Rubin
Sent: Thu 1/28/2010 5:22 PM
Subject: e.l.f. ELITE

Dear Bloggers,

The e.l.f. Elite is for those bloggers who have shown a sincere interest in being involved with things like comments/questions for our new site design before we launched, advance knowledge of new product releases and samples of those products, helping to choose new colors, products, etc. We are so happy to welcome you into this group. You are now part of an exclusive group within the e.l.f. blogger community and we are so very excited to be working closely with you all.

Once again, thank you all for the valuable feedback, comments and questions with regard to our site re-launch and Welcome to the e.l.f.! ELITE. Please understand this is a two way street and we welcome your input at anytime. Going forward, until we come to recognize you as a member, please identify yourself as part of this group when reaching out.

The first email you will receive after this one, from Kelly Krainik, will include a Gift Certificate code for $30. This certificate is for you to use when we contact you about a new product launch that we would like you to see and try early. We will notify you when it is first uploaded to the site so that you can be the first to order and receive. When we notify you the email will also include a FREE SHIPPING Coupon Code so that you do not have to use any of the $30 credit up on shipping. Please only use this GC for this purpose so that we can keep track. As you know we are happy to supply product for other events, etc. when they are requested.

We look forward to a long-term partnership and will be in touch soon. As always please feel free to reach out to me personally anytime.Sincerely,

Ted Rubin
Chief Marketing Officer
e.l.f. Cosmetics "Affordable Luxury"
elfonomics… Why Pay More? "SPREAD THE WORD"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blogger Feedback in Action


From: Ted Rubin
Sent: Fri 1/22/2010 7:19 PM
Subject: site redesign

Dear Bloggers,

Thank you for all your wonderful feedback. The incredible number of responses, in such a short period of time, far exceeded our expectations and is greatly appreciated. The responses provided were carefully reviewed and helped to make our site re-launch a great success.

The following are the changes that we made due to your feedback and suggestions:

- Navigation bar changed so you can shop by type of product (i.e. Makeup, Tools, Gifts) or by brand (i.e. e.l.f., Studio, Mineral, etc.).

- Homepage dropdown announces $1 brand under e.l.f. at the bottom of the dropdown.

- You can now put $1 in search and $1 products come up.

- Brand break down definition on pages and dropdowns.

- More models used on the site.

Once again… thank you for all the comments and suggestions. We look forward to working with you all now and in the future, and will be in touch about the e.l.f. ELITE early next week. Sincerely,

P.S. Please check out the following links and the attached article about e.l.f. in WWD today. Also feel free to connect with me and/or e.l.f. via any of the social media links in my signature below. Have a great weekend!

Ted Rubin
Chief Marketing Officer
e.l.f. Cosmetics "Affordable Luxury"
Office: 347-227-4621 Mobile: 917-613-1947

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From: Ted Rubin
Sent: Wed 12/30/2009 6:09 PM
Subject: site redesign

Dear Bloggers,

Hope everything is great with you all and the holidays have treated you well. We are about to launch something called The e.l.f. Elite for those bloggers we choose, and who would like to be involved, with things like comments/questions for our new site design before we launch, advance knowledge of new product releases and samples of those products, helping to choose new colors, products, etc. Would love for you to be involved if you have the inclination.

Please let me know tomorrow if you would like to participate as we want to get started with a preview of our new site design along with some questions for you, and comments from you, about the site before we launch.

We are excited to launch our new design and now have a test-site for you to preview. We hope to launch by the end of next week, latest a few days after that, so need your feedback by early next week. I know it is a holiday weekend, but hope you can find a few minutes to give your input. Thanks so much, and if you choose to participate… welcome to The e.l.f. Elite.

Here is the link, please do not share this with anyone else (this is not yet our operational site)…
Check-out has been intentionally disabled.

The following are the questions we would like addressed…

1) How easy is it to find a black eyeliner pencil? How many clicks did it take?
2) Do you know what “e.l.f.” vs. “studio” is throughout the site?
3) Was it easy to find $1 e.l.f. products?
4) Where was the first place you clicked on Homepage?
5) Is it clear what e.l.f. cosmetics is about? As a brand, a retailer, a blogger, etc.
6) What do you think overall of the new site… anything you liked or didn’t like or think is missing?

Thank you… your feedback is valued and appreciated! Have a beautiful day!

Sincerely, Ted

Ted Rubin
Chief Marketing Officer
e.l.f. Cosmetics "Affordable Luxury"
Office: 347-227-4621 Mobile: 917-613-1947

elfonomics… Why Pay More? "SPREAD THE WORD"