Sephora Innovation Lab VP Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

04/14/2015 10:17 am ET | Updated Jun 13, 2015

Bridget Dolan, Vice President, Sephora Innovation Lab, will address these 4 questions;

  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?

Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would us to interview to

Bridget Dolan is Sephora's Vice President of the newly formed Innovation Lab evaluating new technologies, inspiring an innovation culture, nurturing strategic relationships and setting the future vision of technology within Sephora. Bridget has led Sephora's online marketing efforts for the last 14 years, launching social site features such as BeautyTalk, The Glossy, SephoraTV and The Beauty Board, as well as expanding Sephora's social presence and engagement in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google Plus and Instagram. Prior to Sephora, Bridget worked in online advertising for, Amazon, and and worked in offline marketing for Castrol and Walgreens.

1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

I'm most passionate about finding new ways for a woman to use her own mobile device as a way to personalize her store shopping experience.

2. Why is this so important?

I've seen our clients come to rely on mobile during so many phases of the shopping experience. Whether she's at home watching a video tutorial on her phone or scanning products in the store, the phone has become her own personal shopping assistant. We see women use their phones in our stores daily to text beauty looks to friends, scan their Beauty Insider cards, and pay with a stored eGift Card or Apple Pay.

3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?

Mobile empowers the shopper to have all the information they need at their fingertips at all times. Millennials learn through watching and doing. Women who want to learn a skill will search first on YouTube and see it in action. Women's phones are an extension of her hand as she shops, and she can finally use her phone to personalize the store shopping experience and learn more about products she's considering by watching videos, reading ratings and reviews, and even seeing the products being worn by other women on The Beauty Board.

Part of our job is educating our shopper -- if we have not taught her, we've failed her. Since mobile has become an extension of her hand, we put all this content easily accessible when and where she needs it. We've crafted the mobile experience to help her find the information she needs while in our stores -- like Augmented Reality to allow her to easily hover her phone over a product to watch informative videos and demystifying new beauty trends like contouring with our new Pocket Contour tutorial. Now we can use mobile to connect with clients to teach them how to use products in very personalized ways. For example, with Pocket Contour Class, clients upload a selfie to the mobile site and receive step-by-step contouring instructions and product recommendations that will complement her unique features.

We want to empower clients to be in control of their shopping experience and have everything they need to be confident in their purchases, while making the omni-channel shopping experience as seamless as possible -- and mobile is at the heart of these initiatives.

4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?

We've already started to see the impact that mobile has had on our marketing programs. With our mobile-first digital gifting strategy, for example, we saw eight times eGift card revenue growth in the first year and an over 70% lift in average in-store purchase size over the initial gift card value. The growth of mobile gift cards is huge, but the ease of redemption is game changing. We partnered with CashStar to be one of the first to allow clients to save both their Sephora eGift Cards and plastic Gift Cards to Passbook, as well as to our own app for iPhone. Clients now have their gift cards with them whenever they are in our stores, because they never leave home without their phone. So we know mobile is effective and impactful to the bottom line, and will continue to invest in this area through our new Innovation Lab.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?

When I'm not working, I hike and explore the forest and creeks of Healdsburg, California with my 3 imaginative kids and husband. The WiFi is horrible, so I get to think deep thoughts and truly connect.

Ernan Roman
President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp., (ERDM)

Inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame based on results companies achieve with three Customer Experience methodologies he created: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing and Opt-in Marketing.

ERDM specializes in conducting Voice of Customer research to identify Customer Experience strategies that generate significant increases in response and revenue for clients including IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC, Microsoft and Norton AntiVirus.

Named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the "2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries" and by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".
Ernan's latest book is titled, "Voice of the Customer Marketing". He also writes the widely read and Huffington Post published blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices".