Juliana Chu, the Director of Digital & Analytics in APAC for Kimberly Clark, spoke today at the Festival of Marketing about how Kimberley Clark’s agile approach to analytics – particularly in utilising CRM and social listening tools – has helped the company generate higher levels of consumer engagement and drive sales for its baby and personal care brands (including Huggies, Kotex, and Kleenex).

Discovering new product opportunities through social listening and survey tools

Research from MIT suggests that organisations with a higher level of maturity in analytics are twice as likely to report stronger consumer engagement than those with lower maturity. For Kimberly Clark, analytics has become a key part of the company’s wider digital marketing function.

Juliana Chu explained how, before Covid, Kleenex’s Korea division used social listening tools to uncover new trends (and quash presumptions) related to masks. One of these beliefs was that consumers only wanted masks for preventing dust – not for any other purpose.

“On Instagram, we did a correlation between the number of posts (featuring masks) versus different seasons, so we found that during cold seasons people were actually wearing masks a lot. During dusty seasons, there would actually be days where there was a very high demand for masks and other days a very low demand – and that was the reason for inaccurate forecasting.”

Kleenex also discovered that a large percentage of young people were wearing masks in the morning to protect themselves from the sun and during exercise, as well as wearing masks for other occasions such as going out (resulting in the demand for more fashionable masks). 

“Social listening has really opened doors to finding some new things that we didn’t know about masks,” Chu says. “Because of this, we have expanded our product portfolio to include masks that are targeted to the winter season as well as for sports. That has also led us to drive new partnerships with other brands, for example sports companies. We also changed our way of doing demand forecasting, putting a weather element into the overall demand forecasting exercise.”

Chu also explained how Kimberly Clark relies on digital consumer survey tools, which generate a large amount of insights in a short time span (compared to third-party market research companies, which typically take two to three weeks to return results). 

“We ran a survey reaching out to almost 10,000 consumers to ask about the most important consideration factor for diapers.” On finding that breathability and thinness were the two most important factors, Chu says that Kimberly Clark’s Huggies brand in China developed a new product technology that combined both. “That was actually a product technology that we IP’d… because of the survey insights.”

Kimberly Clark FOM
Juliana Chu speaking at the Festival of Marketing, on ‘How an agile approach to analytics helped Kimberly Clark grow sales by optimising consumer engagement.’

Making intelligent product recommendations

Kimberly Clark uses Salesforce’s CRM tools and marketing cloud to help generate intelligent product and content recommendations. In Korea, for example, Einstein – Salesforce’s AI engine – uncovered product recommendations based on behavioural data sourced from MomQ, Kimberly Clark’s direct-to-consumer website.

“After switching on this feature, we actually saw more than 10% incremental sales conversion… This [tool] also opens up some predictive analytics as well. For example, if you are a woman that falls within the same age group (as the target market) for Kotex and Huggies and you are not really a shopper for Huggies, the engine will also recommend a new product that you’ve never bought on this site before.”

“This is also a very good way to target existing shoppers who are only buying one category at present.”

Chu explains how the company also uses the AI engine for segmentation; grouping customers into different segments (based on email behaviour), and driving different actions from customised content. “Some segments are loyal customers – those are the customers who will click and open most of the time. Other segments are window shoppers who will click but not convert,” she says.

“What this engine does is predict the best time for sending the email to different segments, and the same for frequency. By applying the recommendations from the engine, we did see an increase in conversion as well.”

The content itself, “the wording, the images, the emotional touch of the different messages” is also key. For example, from its analysis, Kimberly Clark found that the most effective subject lines for lower-tier products typically include a ‘buy one get one free’ or discount offer, while subject lines that emphasise the more premium elements of higher-price products do better. “We have optimised content based on the suggestions that the engine tells us, for different product segments.”

Kimberly Clark has also used social listening tools on ecommerce reviews to help optimise content, including Amazon and First Cry in India. Upon discovering that the number one concern for consumers of Huggies was diaper rash, the company created banners addressing the topic on ecommerce platforms. 

“That actually increased our conversion rate for one of our products by 150%,” explained Chu. Similarly, for the launch of its new product, Wonder Pants, Kimberly Clark customised most of its online content with diaper rash in mind, resulting in more than a 30% uplift in conversion rate.

Aligning content with ‘hot topics’

Another area of priority for Kimberly Clark is to be a source of help and information for the consumers of its products, particularly new mums who often search the topic of pregnancy and babies online. 

“We have an agile, always-on approach to organic search,” says Chu. “So we do website audits, divided into four different components.” Two of the most important areas include technical, which involves looking for broken links or imagery, and content, which centres around relevant keywords, meta tags, and descriptions. 

“We also do a keyword focused search audit, so we review the current settings, and improve performance based on keywords and ad copy.” This means ensuring that the company is investing in relevant keywords, as well as identifying newly emerging and high-ranking keywords. 

Using an SEO audit tool BrightEdge, for example, Kimberly Clark recently discovered that its target audience for Huggies in Australia was searching for information related to pregnancy and Covid. “We then took this opportunity to really ramp up our content on our website… to create new content that is specific to pregnancy and Covid.” 

Elsewhere, the Kotex brand in Singapore has used social listening to help generate content for social and marketing campaigns, based on ‘hot topics’ being discussed by its target market of 18 to 24 year old women. “Love, single girls, best friends, and girl’s health were four hot topics that we identified,’ says Chu. 

From this, Kotex delved down into sub-categories, finding that ‘vacation with your best friend’ was ranking highly underneath ‘best friend’. The resulting campaign was a Facebook competition that centred around fans nominating their top-three holiday destinations with their best friend.” Unsurprisingly for a campaign based on real-time consumer insights, says Chu, “that created a lot of good engagement.”