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Connecting data, tech, and creative at a 100-year-old CPG

Connecting data, tech, and creative at a 100-year-old CPG Nanette Marcus

In 2011, there were 150 vendors in the marketing technology landscape. There are more than 3,500 this year, and everyone's chasing digital transformation, explained Aaron Chan, associate director of marketing technology at The Clorox Company, during the iMedia Brand Summit in Coronado, California.

"Our senior leadership saw this coming at the CPG industry," Chan said. "And they're pushing this from the top down to do this transformation."

He shared a quote from his company's CMO Eric Reynolds that's helped shaped the brand's new approach. "It's hard to imagine anyone succeeding in marketing in the next decade who is not incredibly resilient, loves what they do, and is willing to challenge not only the entire marketing mix and approach, but the eco-system it lives in."

The Clorox Company, which includes brands like Pine-Sol, Tilex, 409, and Hidden Valley, amongst others, doesn't sell directly to consumers. The company's challenge is figuring out how to get and translate the aggregate data in a way that makes sense for their company.

Big data has change the game. Companies can target anyone, anytime. Marketers can deliver to an audience of one, but how?

The Clorox Company has taken a new approach with what Chan described as "sense and respond" marketing.
Sense asks, "Which data matters? How do we integrate?" And it creates a challenge. Chan and his team found that they needed to integrate its teams. They founded a team to sit between IT and marketing. "We need someone to understand the technology to fill this data depot," Chan noted.

The "respond" portion of the equation is having to communicate across all the solutions. The Clorox Company wanted to coordinate a campaign that reaches multiple touch points and learned that pushing that out seemed nearly impossible in a world when it hadn't been done before.

Shane Greenwood, creative director at The Clorox Company presented its Clorox Digital Labs (CDL). Greenwood helped build a creative, design, and dev group in-house for The Clorox Company's owned properties.

One of the first tasks CDL took on was building an in-house Wordpress CMS to consolidate all of its websites onto a single platform. They took on a new process to go from the old waterfall approach to more of an Agile, overlapping process. "We can iterate together," Greenwood explained.

Chan knew that they had to develop a prototype campaign to unearth a list of technical requirements. They needed to build a marketing campaign with some sort of personalization to run across multiple channels. And his team's motto is that it's better to be "doing" than just talking about it, so they implemented it quickly just to see what would happen.

With a Hidden Valley campaign, the team simplified the targets to drive them to the website for a personalized experience. It ran with a control group to see if personalization matters. The team wanted to figure out the gaps and what in this process is of value. They took its plan of campaign testing framework to the creative team and asked them to create a campaign for it.

Greenwood and his team were thrilled when they realized it was a pretty solid user journey, which they then broke down into simplified templates. They came up with a target-agnostic campaign, asking "What's in season for you?" and developed regional email campaigns with tips and a coupon. These were distributed across targets of a control group, men, Millennials, and moms.

Chan said the team had to see what it took to do this kind of performance marketing, and even keeping it simple was a stress on The Clorox Company's system.

Although the campaign launched just two and a half weeks ago, the group learned an amazing amount just setting it up. They've had to fix the flows and load times to try to optimize all along the way.

A crucial element for being able to do this new kind of digital work quickly was access to solid brand standards. The data enabled the team to build a library of assets and photography, moving beyond just "moms and feeding veggies to the kids," Greenwood said. The group did a lifestyle photo shoot for three days, adding 4,000 shots for their library. "It really taught us that we need to start working with our photographer and vendors. We had no shot lists for photographers -- we told them just to shoot." And their approach came out to about $17.50 a shot.

"The only way to do it is to do it," Chan noted.

Nanette is iMedia Communications' executive editor.   In addition to her roles at iMedia, Nanette has served as a specialist in content marketing, editorial content, public relations and social media for various clients. She's contributed to...

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