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Kimberly-Clark Sees Mobile and Social Steering Future for CPG



Jeff Jarrett
Vice President, Global Digital Advertising
Kimberly-Clark Corp.

Jeff Jarrett, vice president for global digital marketing, spoke with eMarketer about the most effective ad formats for consumer packaged goods, and how online CPG sales have required the industry to establish a larger footprint in digital.

eMarketer: Looking at the digital portion of Kimberly-Clark’s marketing budget, where have you seen the most growth?

Jeff Jarrett: We’ve seen increases in digital reaching 100% over the past three years, and we’ve seen a nice return on investment from our digital spending. We continue to be fairly aggressive with paid online advertising. We’re doing a lot in search, which continues to be a good ROI vehicle for us. More than anything, we are following where our consumers are going, and increasingly they’re looking to engage with our brands in social media and on mobile platforms. So we are doing a lot in the owned and earned [media] side. Ecommerce has also become a big driver in the CPG space.

eMarketer: What forms of mobile advertising are most effective for Kimberly-Clark?

Jarrett: We haven’t found the secret sauce yet on mobile. We’re testing a variety of formats in ad networks. We’re having pretty good success with mobile search, so we’re increasing our spending there. Mobile platforms are driving a lot of multichannel behavior, and we see mobile as a key platform for us going forward.

We launched our first mobile site for the Huggies brand in North America last year. We have a few mobile brand sites up now, and we see nice gains in traffic. It’s a great opportunity to do a lot of multichannel marketing. Nearly all of our brands will have mobile sites by the end of this year.

eMarketer: Have you had any success with mobile coupons?

Jarrett: We’ve been experimenting there, but one of the hurdles is that mobile coupons depend on the mechanism. There aren’t a lot of retailers besides Target that have the mobile bar code readers in place yet.

“We haven’t found the secret sauce yet on mobile. We’re testing a variety of formats in ad networks.”

Most of what we’ve done is around downloading mobile coupons onto loyalty cards. We’re having some success with that, but I think there are still some challenges with the efficiency of mobile coupon delivery. Also, from a consumer behavior standpoint, once you deliver the coupon, if it’s on a loyalty card, the issue is whether the consumer remembers he or she has a coupon from you. Doing this in real time is sometimes challenging, too.

The development of NFC technology will be a key driver for mobile coupons to take off. We’re watching it closely and we’ll stick with a test-and-learn framework. We want to get some learnings and then see where it goes.

eMarketer: You mentioned that social media is an increasingly important channel to reach consumers. How are you currently approaching the social space?

We see a merging between social and mobile as two really popular platforms coming together, not only for ecommerce, but also to drive multichannel behavior. It’s just incredibly dynamic, and we’ve really adopted an integrative planning framework that takes into account the consumer journey and how the consumer is using digital channels and platforms. That’s become the driver for how we plan our entire marketing strategy and budget.

For our Kleenex brand, we launched a program called “Share the Softness.” The goal was to demonstrate Kleenex is the softest tissue as a brand-equity feature. For this program, we used social media and invited consumers to share a box of Kleenex tissues with their friends and family, to “share the softness.” We had over a million people share.

“We see a merging between social and mobile as two really popular platforms coming together, not only for ecommerce, but also to drive multichannel behavior.”

We also had virtual sharing—they could send coupons to their networks, which could be redeemed for Kleenex tissue. What was cool about that program is you could track on a map where the sharing went. This coupon program was on our Facebook page and our brand website, and was integrated with Twitter as well. It also had television and print components. The digital piece of it, though, really captured engagement through the participation of sharing the product. It brought in a strong emotional connection.

eMarketer: I’ve noticed some packaged goods brands are using online advertisements to drive consumers to Facebook pages or other social sites. Is a social media page becoming more important than a brand website?

Jarrett: The brand website is no longer the center of the universe—it’s often easier and more effective to capture a bigger audience on Facebook. And, if you’ve got something that can go viral, it’s just the right platform to be focusing the effort against. If you looked at where we were three years ago, the biggest increases in our investments have been social first and mobile next. I would say there isn’t any commercial program that we do today that doesn’t have a really strong digital core as part of its DNA.

eMarketer: Kimberly-Clark turned a lot of heads with the U by Kotex campaign a few years back. How are you keeping that message updated in digital?

“We invited our target audience—teenage girls—to come in and submit designs for feminine care pads.”

Jarrett: More recently, we launched a “Ban the Bland” campaign for Kotex. It was based upon crowdsourcing. We invited our target audience—teenage girls—to come in and submit designs for feminine care pads. We had a configurator on the site where consumers could design fun and bright designs. We then tied the event to New York Fashion Week, and had participants vote for their favorite designs out of about 15,000 submissions. We gave consumers a toolkit to work with, but it was amazing to see how many people participated and the kind of buzz that was generated.

And over the last couple of years, we’ve used digital as a key driver to engage teenage girls to really kind of change the feminine care category. We shifted toward dramatic colors and extremely strong social media engagement. Participation is really a core element of what we’re doing. It doesn’t always have to be digital, but getting consumers to participate is a core element of engagement. We use all channels to facilitate that, but digital typically finds itself in the center of that activity.

A longer version of this interview is available to eMarketer Total Access clients only. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Total Access client, click here.

Check out today’s other articles, “From Clicks to Completion: Online Video Ad Effectiveness” and “Entertainment, Online Video Draw Internet Users in Brazil.”

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