Clorox: Using Speed and Insight to Become a Bricks to Clicks Success Story

Clorox: Using Speed and Insight to Become a Bricks to Clicks Success Story

The Clorox Company manufactures some of the most recognizable household cleaning products. Even with their brand dominance, the company isn’t taking anything for granted, let alone its future. Since 2013, the company’s “2020” strategy has included an aggressive digital sales and marketing tactics, all while planning to move as many products on the virtual shelf as it has historically in physical stores.

The plan appears to be working. This year, digital sales account for 4% of the company’s revenue (compared to 5% of their primary competitor, P&G). According to CMO Eric Reynolds, this number represents a 50% uptick in online sales, with 98% of that coming solely from Amazon.

“We see e-commerce as both a merchandising channel and a marketing channel. We treat Amazon the same way we treat Google, YouTube and Facebook, for example.”

Eric Reynolds
CMO
Clorox Company

Reynolds, in recognizing Amazon’s singularity in the marketplace, invested a hefty portion of the company’s online marketing budget to Amazon paid search. Those sponsored product ads show up when consumers are looking for similar products on the online behemoth, and while it may not always turn into a sale, it reinforces brand awareness.

Reynolds is running similar strategies on Target and Jet.com, utilizing data from their promotions to target ads based on demographics. In many ways: this is branding 101. It’s also an excellent strategy deployed by what we call a successful "bricks to clicks” brand. With over half of product searches now starting directly on Amazon, Clorox recognized that their ad spend needed to shift. Reynolds and his team already acknowledged that they needed to move aggressively, bringing all of their agencies and internal marketing divisions under a single umbrella.

In a 2016 Digiday article, Reynolds said: “If I have to make every marketing decision, the company would come to stop [sic]. We found that mid-level employees are really good at running brands, and we have to be more comfortable giving them more resources and freedom to execute.”

The results of failing to execute, per Reynolds: extinction.

“Consumer packaged goods companies are essentially dead in the next decade or two unless we fundamentally change the way we work.”

Eric Reynolds, 2016


Lessons from Clorox

If one of the largest consumer goods companies in the country thrives after a major reorg, applies a new emphasis on responsiveness and speed, shifts and tweaks its online ad spend while never losing sight of brand messaging: there’s no reason that any brand can’t follow suit. For brands to remain successful, relevant and even recognizable to consumers in the future, they have to go deep into digital.

Capturing data alone, though, isn’t enough. How brands, agencies, and sellers deploy that data makes all the difference between success and death-by-data. Clorox got it right by working with Amazon and Target’s internal ad networks.

We know, from our own experience working inside companies like Walmart, that successful bricks to clicks companies have certain pillars in common:

  • Trust: Build teams with a clear mission and autonomy
  • Measure: Set clear goals and targets with third-party measurement software that provides equal parts value and transparency
  • Execute: Empower your team to move quickly and innovate as quickly as the numbers allow

Winning the shift to online means that most of us have to let go of everything we thought we knew about branding, and be willing to learn new lessons every day. Because Clorox (and other consumer packaged goods companies including Mattel and L’Oreal) use the Content Analytics dashboard, we have some insights into how to meet their business goals by leveraging the data we collect for them.

However you shift your business operations, deploying analytics and reporting tools that both empower your team and measure success is not only a must, it could mean the difference between survival and failure.

 


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