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Kimberly-Clark exec: Building brands in digital world requires versatile specialists

Kimberly Clark

Kimberly-Clark's products

SAN ANTONIO, TX – A Kimberly-Clark executive at eTail West 2014 discussed a series of digital trends that are moving conventional marketing skills to include a comprehensive understanding of creative, strategy and finance.

The CPG brand executive laid out the trends in the “Driving Business Strategies at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology" session. Additionally, the marketer pinpointed several untapped opportunities for marketers with mobile and digital.

“The concept of marketing technologists, which converges the conventional skills of marketing and technology, and I’ll expand that and say you’ve also got to understand creative, you have to understand strategy and also finance,” said Mayur Gupta, global head of marketing technology at Kimberly-Clark, Irving, TX. “We believe in building brands in a digital world.

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“I realized as a marketing technologist, I cannot do justice in driving consumer experiences unless I learned how to drive PNL, unless I learned what is the best content, what is the best offer that I can give to her to make her life simpler and make the experience more valuable,” he said.

“There is a tremendous need for us to become these multi pie-shape specialists as opposed to just being T-shaped.”

Blurring the lines
The first trend that has changed retail marketing is around content. Marketers can now push out content using speed and agility to hit a wide group of consumers.

While this is an opportunity for retailers, it also means that marketers need to be capable of churning out constant content at any time of the day.

The second idea is around media silos converging into omnichannel approaches.

Previous to digital, marketers regarded the point of purchase as the first moment of truth. The second moment of truth was the experience that a consumer had with the product at home to build loyalty.

Google shook up this notion for marketers with the term, “zero moment of truth.” This means that consumers are experiencing multiple digital moments before touching the brand at the point of sale.

The third topic discussed is the change from push to pull marketing.

The conventional school of thought for marketers is based on engraining a brand message into consumers through in-point campaigns. Now, marketers need to have an always-on mindset where consumers are in control and are able to pull information about a brand at any time that they want.

Mr. Gupta’s fourth point is around the shift from communication to experiences with marketing.

Creative and content used to be the key goals of an advertising campaign in driving brand awareness. In addition to creative and content, experiences are now equally as important for brands.

For example, Apple makes it difficult to differentiate promotions and the company’s products.

The final trend is agility, which is increasingly becoming more important for marketers.  

According to Mr. Gupta, media planning will never go away, but the point is that marketers need to listen and respond to consumers every time they are saying something about a brand through digital platforms.

Is digital working?
Despite the change in consumer behavior, Mr. Gupta outlined three reasons why the five trends presented are not working for marketers.

The first reason is that technology is moving too fast for big brands and marketers to adapt to. 

Although there is certainly still a ways to go, brands are beginning to catch up with the pace of the consumer.

The second challenge is fragmentation. With all of the digital mediums available to marketers, marketers need to prioritize their initiatives around driving value for consumers.

The third thing that marketers are struggling with is changing the fundamental structure of an organization with the rise of digital.

Take Kimberly-Clark’s main demographic of moms, for example.

Moms touch a brand through mobile to receive coupons and then go to a retail store and walk down product aisles. These consumers are therefore more prone than other demographics to participate in sweepstakes and promotions.

This means that simply having a CRM program that only includes mobile or email is not enough. Instead, CRM efforts need to be based on data that is linked throughout the consumer experience.

Changing retail
According to Mr. Gupta, there is not a difference between the analog and digital worlds for retailers anymore. 

With this change, retailers are constantly trying to catch up with new types of technology. 

“It’s unprecedented scale at which we are changing at an unprecedented speed, so the bar is not being raised,” Mr. Gupta said. “I think the bar is being completely moved and technologies are powerfully disrupting all of that.

“The consumer is actually right at the center of it all as well – as marketers, we’re all just consumers as well,” he said.

“It’s the modern consumer who is omni present and is pretty much everywhere.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Strategy, Mayur Gupta, Kimberly Clark, mobile, mobile marketing, CPG

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