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CMO, CIO embrace social media, IoT to win customers

Clint Boulton | Jan. 20, 2017
Marketing and IT leaders at Clorox partner closely on digital marketing and IoT initiatives intended to buttress the consumer packaged goods company's corporate growth strategy.

Clorox' Sense and Respond team is producing specific content based on consumer online activities and interests. It uses several technologies from leading companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM and Oracle to track breadcrumbs consumers leave as they visit a website, watch a video or purchase a product. Although these tools help inform Clorox social media branding and marketing campaigns they also create a lot of data, which is difficult for any CPG with dozens of brands to churn through.

"We collect vast amounts of data and cutting through noise and finding relevant data us getting more and more difficult," Singh says. "And the technology to help you sort through that noise is still evolving." Even so, Clorox views such predictive analytics as essential in helping it glean consumer insights and adapt to them in real time.

Tapping IoT to reach the consumer
While social media can help CPGs cultivate a direct relationship with consumers, Clorox and its competitors must also figure out how to crack the messaging nut, says Charlene Li, founding analyst of the Altimeter Group consultancy. Facebook Messenger, SnapChat, WeChat and other platforms have become increasingly popular among millennials and Generation Y but they remain largely invisible to brands unless a user posts something to social media. "All the more reason why you want to develop a direct relationship with people through social media so they start following you," Li says.

Independent of the Sense and Respond activities, Clorox offered a glimpse of what may be the future of commerce for CPGs companies last year when it rolled out a smart Brita Infinity water pitcher equipped with sensors that senses how much water passes through its filter and automatically reorders a new filter from Amazon.com as needed. Singh says consumers can expect to see additional IoT services from Clorox.

"The beautiful thing about IoT and sensors like the Brita pitcher is that it just orders it for me," Li says. She says the data generated from sensors could help Clorox and other CPGs generate powerful insights. For example, she says that smartphone sensors could eventually enable Clorox and other brands to triangulate exactly who is consuming a product by their proximity to it in a household. "If I could detect who is using a product that begins to change things," Li says.

Reynolds says the company will go wherever it must to serve customers. "The way consumers can find and buy products is going to explode in ways that will be more frictionless," Reynolds says. "Our challenge is to make sure that as shopping behaviors change that we are there."

 

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