Q&A: Denny Downs, VP of global marketing, Smashbox

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Denny Downs, Smashbox
Denny Downs, Smashbox

Before he was brushing up on bronzer, Denny Downs was polishing his vocals. But Smashbox's VP of global marketing soon discovered that working behind the scenes can be just as rewarding as taking center stage.

What was your dream job when you were a kid?

I was actually a singer. I fell into beauty when I moved to New York…to pursue a singing career. [I] landed at the Estée Lauder companies and fell in love with a whole new industry.

What's your favorite part of working in the beauty industry?

I know it's going to sound cheesy, but it really is empowering women. I think that the emotional response I see from women when they find out that I work in beauty, it's like nothing that you've ever experienced. It makes me want to create products, and create campaigns, and create things that women are going to enjoy.

What's the biggest misconception that marketers have about the beauty industry?

That it's glamorous. They should follow me around for a day. I think beauty and fashion seems like it's a pretty glamorous industry, but at the end of the day, we're all rolling up our sleeves and doing the same things to engage our clients and to drive our business, whether it's dog food or lipstick.

Is there one makeup product that you think will last and is not just a fad?

I definitely think that the primer category is here to stay. I think that there are still so many women who aren't aware of the amazing benefits that primer offers, and I think it's a category that's going to have legs.

If you had to give someone who was new to the marketing industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would say to just know your target audience well and know the sweet spot because it really all starts there.

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