While her company was still small.
Estee Lauder embarked on an innovative promotion
strategy. Her advertising budget of $50,000 was too
small to hire a leading ad agency. So Estee Lauder Estee
pioneered the free sample as a marketing ploy. She
invested all the money in samples to be offered through
direct mail, charity giveaways and as gifts with
purchases. (This “free gift with purchase” technique
would become a company trademark and later, a standard
industry practice.) The result was thousands of new
Creative Marketing Tactics
Estee Lauder wanted something, she used highly
creative tactics to get it.
She resorted to one such tactic to break the prestigious Galleries Lafayette
account in Paris. When the manager refused to stock her products, Lauder
“accidentally” spilled her first women's fragrance Youth Dew on the floor
during a demonstration in the middle of a crowd. As the appealing scent
wafted through the air, it quickly aroused the interest of customers, who
began asking where they could purchase the product. Seeing this, the manager
capitulated and gave Lauder her initial order.
The Power of Touch
Mrs. Lauder's important legacy was her
belief that in order to
make a sale, you must touch the customer. She spent
a great deal of time advising customers and teaching Beauty Advisors.
"Create your own style," Estee Lauder said. Apart from
making and selling cosmetics she was also deeply
involved with the package design of her products. Among
her many contributions was the choice of Estée Lauder's
signature blue, which she believed would coordinate with
the décor of most bathrooms and bedrooms.
Upscale Department Stores
In what would prove to be an ingenious
Estee decided to sell her products only through upscale
department stores. Her first target was Saks Fifth
Avenue. She convinced Saks to place a large order for
her skin creams, which the store promptly sold out of
within two days. Her success with Saks convinced Estee
that she could compete with cosmetics giants. She
became a persuasive traveling
salesperson dedicated to
penetrating every fine department store in the
When the company began to
advertise, Mrs. Lauder
insisted that its images portray beauty that was both aspirational and approachable.