Female Media Opps Update: Ulta loses CMO (Score 42)

Update: Ulta Beauty lost its top marketer when its former CMO, Shelley Haus, recently passed away after a battle with cancer. Haus joined the company's marketing team almost a decade ago and became its CMO around two years ago. A new CMO could lead to strategy shifts that result in higher spend and/or agency reviews, so we'll let you know when Ulta finds a replacement.

The company is primarily targeting Gen-Z and millennials, and it's currently utilizing national TV, digital, paid social, print (magazines), OOH, radio and local broadcast. Read more details about Ulta's recent spend in the article below.

Agency & martech readers - Contact soon to be top-of-mind when the company finds a new CMO. Your competition includes PR AOR Zeno (2021), creative AOR McCann NY and media AORs MullenLowe NY and Mediahub BostonRise Interactive provides additional digital and social assistance.

We originally published the article below on June 7:

Ulta Beauty is experiencing a surge in sales as makeup makes its post-lockdown comeback. Per the company's latest financial results, its net sales jumped to $2.3b, up from $1.9b YOY. This particular growth is reportedly due to TikTok trends that have popularized things such as under-blushing and lip contouring trends. I expect this to lead to even higher spend promoting Ulta's beauty products, so sellers able to offer high-ROI strategies among relatively young women should get in touch soon to secure last-minute ad dollars.

Per iSpot, the company has spent approximately $169.1k on national TV commercials YTD, a huge drop from the approximately $3.1m spent by this point last year. Ulta ended up spending approximately $25.7m on this channel last year, up 24% from the approximately $20.7m spent in 2020. The company's 2022 commercials have aired during programs such as NASCAR RaceDay, Chicago Fire, Don Lemon Tonight, Morning Express With Robin Meade and The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer.

So far this year, Pathmatics reports the company has allocated roughly $35.9m toward digital ads, up 24% from the roughly $28.9m allocated within the same 2021 timeframe. In 2021, Ulta's estimated full-year spend of $86m reached more than twice that of $39.6m in 2020. The company has earned around 3.9b digital impressions YTD via Facebook (51%), Instagram (27%), desktop video (19%), desktop display (2%) and mobile display (1%) ads. Most (97%) of this year's desktop video ads have been placed site direct onto youtube.com.

As you can tell, TV spend is dwindling while digital spend surges. This shift, along with Ulta's focus on TikTok trends, leads me to believe that its typically female-oriented target demographic currently skews strongly toward Gen-Z and millennials. These generations tend to engage well with digital channels, so Ulta may make future forays into additional digital channels such as OTT and/or podcast. According to Kantar data, the company also invests in print (magazines), OOH, radio and local broadcast.

Agency & martech readers - Get in touch soon to see if any project-based work is available; however, I don't see major signs of imminent reviews right now. Zeno became Ulta's PR AOR in February 2021. The company also works with creative AOR McCann NY, along with media AORs MullenLowe NY and Mediahub Boston. Ulta receives additional digital and social assistance from Rise Interactive.