Interview with Valeria Colangiulo

Loreal, is a multinational company with more than 50 brands all over the world, and more important Loreal products are sold in 130 countries, we have the opportunity to speak with Valeria Colangiulo Trade Marketing Specialist, to find out how is to work for this big company

Why did you apply for your current job?

I graduated in Business Managment&Marketing when I was 24, and I spent 5 years in college listening to lectures and classes about marketing and all the big marketing-oriented companies in the world, especially in the mass market (which is the sum of all the product categories sold to a large amount of people – food&beveradges, cosmetics, but also telephonic services, clothes, home supplies, etc etc..). So when I graduated, I decided I wanted to take the first steps of my career in one of these companies.

L’Oréal was one of the companies I sent my resume to. Why? Well because… I’m worth it!! :))) L’Oréal is a multinational company, whose products are sold in 130 countries, its leader in many categories, has roughly 50 brands all over the world, featuring some of the most beautiful women as testimonials… working there, especially for a girl, was like a dream coming true!!

Also, they immediately hired me for an internship, so I was very very excited!! They hired me in a very particular department, called merchandising. I spent my internship there (9 long long months), and then I was hired permanently in the same department (I worked there for the next two years).

I was responsible for the displays of L’Oréal brands (especially makeup) for the Italian market. Let me explain that with an example: when you walk into a store that sells makeup (i.e. DM or Douglas in Austria, Limoni in Italy, Sephora all over the world) you don’t find the makeup products just laying there on the shelves (like shampoos): they’re always placed in particular displays, that have the company’s logo, color codes, that show and explain the different product, give some hint about the season’s trends, with a specific logic and reason behind why that product is in that spot, next to that other product, and so on. Well, I did that for L’Oréal Paris makeup Italy: I was in charge of these displays, where to put them, how to place the products in them, and so on.

I learned a lot during those 2 years, about making upmarket in general, about my brand specifically, its values, the logic behind the products, how to explain to my customers why they should buy my mascara or foundation instead of some competitors’ brands… 2 intense years, after which I was transferred to another department, slightly connected to merchandising: the Trade Marketing Department (my current position).

Describe what do you do in your work?

My current job title is Trade Marketing Specialist; I work with the Sales Department.

I’m in charge of all the marketing activities towards a particular type of L’Oréal distributors. L’Oréal sells its products through distributors, not directly to final customers. These sellers often need our support in order to sell our products in the best way; let’s consider it some sort of consulting, about the range of products in the stores, the different needs of customers, different ways to promote the company’s products, and so on. We Trade Marketing Specialists do this, so we must develop a deep knowledge of the products that we sell, even more, profound knowledge of the distributor, the competition, the customers’ behavior, etc.,

Among all L’Oréal categories, my focus is on Make Up (L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline NY, Essie)

What do you like about your work?

Definitely the thing I like most about my job is the opportunity to learn really a lot about the products, the distributors and the customers, so it’s a 360° knowledge (in fact you can say that I’m a Makeup expert by now!). Also, working on makeup means that I get to try all the new launches way before they hit the market, I get to see the commercials in advance before they go on TV, I can always express my opinion about product strategies and how my clients and customers would react to them, anticipating the results in terms of market share (our ultimate goal at the end of the year).

What is the most exciting project you have worked on?

I don’t have a specific project to mention, because the trade marketing specialist has some little projects every once in a while, but mostly we follow a day-by-day, month-by-month routine of activities.

Since the quantitative part (data analysis) is very strong in my job, perhaps the most interesting project I’ve worked on in the past 2 years is creating a system to predict the share of market of my brands (L’Oréal Paris makeup, Maybelline) in the Italian market for the present and the next year. It’s a complex excel file, full of numbers, it was very hard to build and it’s not so user-friendly if you don’t know exactly how to read it, but at the end is full of graphs and tables to summarize the results.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive in the office?

Well, I grab a coffee with my co-workers 🙂 In L’Oréal, the networking part is very important since you use it to share information, to gain access to other functions’ activities, even the office gossips are relevant sometimes!

After that, there is the reading emails part of my morning: we work mostly through emails, with colleagues inside and outside the office (for example, the sales force), with clients, etc. We all have a smartphone to read our emails even when we’re not in the office or when we don’t have our PC with us.

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