Masters of Marketing Series: Catherine Termolle, VP of Marketing, Induction Therapies – Tips and Tricks

Induction Therapies’ VP of Marketing, Catherine Termolle has over 15 years of experience in the private label skincare arena. Here, she shares a few of her gems and tidbits of wisdom.

The Downfall of Retail is a Real Problem

When it comes to the retail side of the market, Termolle feels that its fall is a real problem. People are always going to want to go and touch and feel and see things before they buy. But there’s so much more of an assortment online. Take Sephora. They offer a large assortment of products in their stores, but an even larger one online. “There are multiple retailers that have that sort of approach, and then people are always looking for a bargain.” So people are moving towards online shopping, where they’re finding better bargains and larger selections.

“I shop at Lord and Taylor. I used to go to one that used to be really well-stocked. I’ve been going there for years, but I went in recently and wondered what happened. They changed the product mix, so I’m not as apt to go in there anymore. They don’t really have things I like anymore,” she shared. “For these chains, the buyer is so critical to knowing what the audience wants because geographically-speaking there are differences.” In private label skincare, what does really well in New York, doesn’t necessarily make it in Texas. Part of that is due to climate, some is consumer profile. “I think that department stores need to look around and not just blanket what they’re going to do. They need to have their individual stores really cater to who their customer is.”

“We’re seeing a lot of stores closing down as a result, and it’s crazy. I think a lot of it is strategy. If you’re offering the right product mix for your customer, that customer is more apt to come into your store.” People like to see things before they buy them. If stores would only go back to carrying a variety of choices, customers would return to view them.

Learn From the Best

Termolle recalls Lynne Florio, someone who really influenced her early in her career. She is the former president of La Prairie where Termolle worked for over seven years. She credits Florio with teaching her everything she knows. “She’s a rockstar. She’s so smart and good at what she does.”

“The thing that’s always in my back pocket from her is ‘it’s all in the details.’ When you think about a brand like La Prairie, you get that package home, you unwrap it, you open up the jar, and there’s that perfect peak of cream. It was always about the details and that carried over to everything involving that brand. We left no stone unturned and did whatever it took to make that happen. It was such a learning experience, and every time I approach major projects I always think about her and how she would say: ‘It’s all in the details.’”

In this day and age, Termolle feels that taking a stand on any sort of major political or social issues could have a very real negative impact on your brand. “If you take a stand on anything, you’re going to offend someone. I just caught Jerry Seinfeld the other day talking about how so many comedians can no longer touch so many subjects that they can’t even be funny anymore.” That fear of hurting someone’s feelings and creating a very real backlash has companies and brands staying very conservative in their approach. “The only things you can do are donate to cancers like breast cancer. If you donate to kids, you’re okay. But if you take a stand on anything else you have to wonder who loves you and who hates you.