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An Interview with Alessio Rossi

Global Chief Digital Officer at Shiseido

Alessio Rossi joined high-end skincare and cosmetics company Shiseido in January 2016 as chief digital officer, bringing to the Tokyo-based company 15 years of experience in online retail and marketing strategy. He is well versed in the global luxury market, having worked with brands such as Lancôme, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Ducati. Before joining Shiseido, Rossi was vice president of digital marketing, ecommerce and customer relationship management (CRM) for Lancôme.

What are your business priorities over the next 12 months?

Alessio Rossi: We are leveraging centralization to accelerate our digital transformation. The goal is to turn into a more consumer-centric and data-driven company in the shortest possible time. The Digital Center of Excellence has been set up with this primary purpose.

Beyond digital, Shiseido Group is undergoing a huge transformation as a company. We have a lot of new blood coming in and mixing with an already extremely rich heritage. There is so much we have to say and to inspire with our values. We believe that The Digital Center will be a key enabler of our new strategy.

What are your biggest challenges today for your business?

Rossi: Our challenges are similar to many other players today. It’s typically about time to market, identifying trends, creating new ones. Most importantly, it is about understanding the consumer journey and interjecting in the path with valuable touchpoints. The space changes so fast that it requires constant practice of your tactics.

For change to come from within we believe that the entire organization has to be mobilized towards the new goals. Shiseido Group offers a collaborative and nimble environment. It is truly an entrepreneurial space that is embracing innovation in a determined way. However, to cope with such a fast changing market environment, ongoing learning is key.

Knowledge needs to be easily available, snackable, portable and very democratized. This has been historically a challenge given specific skills, i.e. digital ones, have been ‘contained’ in a few individuals only.

How does eMarketer PRO help your business?

Rossi: Today, digital is marketing and sales and basically everything that relates to the consumer. This is why I connected with eMarketer when I started in my new role at Shiseido. We closed the deal around February or March 2016.

I felt partnering with eMarketer was a way to enable the company with data points so that everybody—not just the digital team, but literally everybody in the company—could make decisions in a more educated way.

How did you become an advocate for eMarketer?

Rossi: I worked with and used eMarketer in my previous jobs. It’s been one of my basic tools for a long time. At Shiseido, we have a cross-functional, Open Access license for everybody. Internally, we constantly promote it and make sure it’s internationally adopted.

How were you able to get buy-in for it?

Rossi: We started with the US where there was already some awareness. I have to say, in the US, people can be overwhelmed by the volume of information [sources], and specifically in New York City, where there are so many conferences and events you can attend. Even if you don’t look for it, the information gets to you.

But in other places, that’s not necessarily the case. So, we also deployed eMarketer PRO globally by using the onboarding services.

How are you internally encouraging the team to log on?

Rossi: We constantly monitor adoption and send out reports globally. Our employees in Hong Kong and South Asia Pacific, for example, use it a lot, and that’s where many of our users are. Other regions are taking a little longer due to some language barrier, but overall the international reach has been fast and effective.

We regularly send out links to regions about articles and reports that we know will catch their attention. Sometimes they are surprised about the wealth of the information that is already at their fingertips.

It’s a change-management process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but we are confident that in time people will rely on eMarketer as a valuable source of content.

How does it compare to other resources?

Rossi: eMarketer is great at concentrating a number of aspects and disciplines, and at putting them into one place in an easy format.

We still use other sources of course, but they typically provide you with a specific angle. It can be very financial or technical or marketing oriented. Whereas on eMarketer, we have a 360-degree representation of the phenomenon.

What are some of your favorite features?

Rossi: Overall, the PRO platform is very easy to use. I like the fact that brings me the content that is most relevant to me.

Sincerely, there are times I don’t click through the daily email because it’s a hectic day. But when I open it I always find some piece of information that is valuable and that I can use.

And even if I don’t open it at the moment it gets in, I’m aware that information exists. I will go back and search for it. The search engine is valuable in that way. I also like that I can fine-tune my search and really hone in on what I’m looking for.

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Alessio Rossi

On eMarketer:

“Today, digital is marketing and sales and basically everything that relates to the consumer. This is why I connected with eMarketer when I started in my new role at Shiseido.”


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