Huggies Tests Out Cost-Per-Lead Marketing

Kimberly-Clark is getting experimental with marketing efforts behind its Huggies brand. The packaged goods giant has been slowly moving away from TV, at least for now, and instead turning to smaller startups in its quest to reap maximum ROI online.

Take for instance, the Huggies team in Neenah, Wis., which has been working with Pontiflex, a Brooklyn-based cost-per-lead marketing company, for about six months. Pontiflex is one year-old. (It closed its first round of venture capital funding last year, and got an additional six and a quarter million in March.)

Kate Johnson, consumer relationship marketing manager for Huggies, said the brand turned to Pontiflex to help it seek out pregnant moms via means other than direct mail. “In the past, we had relied on offline channels, whether it was a postcard or magazine lists, but it wasn’t very efficient,” Johnson said, adding that online is where Gen Y moms are.

Unlike other K-C brands like Cottonelle or Kleenex, the “lifetime value of a Huggies consumer is such a small window,” Johnson said, with zero to 48 months being the prime window of opportunity. “It’s such a quick term where you need to get in and get [moms] loyal to our brand, and we need to learn to do that and to do it fast,” she said.

Hence, Huggies last month launched “Enjoy The Ride,” a customer rewards program that offers moms a year’s worth of free diapers. Using Pontiflex’s cost-per-lead technology, Huggies was able to reach moms with the right message, ensuring the marketing didn’t fall on idle eyeballs, Johnson said.

Pontiflex users only pay for the “lead,” said CEO and co-founder Zephrin Lasker. The model is more efficient because “when someone says: ‘I’m opting in to receive information about your product or services,’ there is a much higher statement of intent.”

Other consumer packaged goods companies that have used Pontiflex’s technology include Colgate-Palmolive, on its Hill’s Pet Nutrition line.

Huggies also benefits from CPL technology because such databases, once acquired, can be saved and applied to other brands, Johnson said. (K-C didn’t reveal how many moms its current database contains.)

Digital efforts like this one have resulted in 50 percent cost savings for Huggies. In the past, the brand would “double dip from the way we acquired consumers online and offline,” Johnson said. “Offline is not built for speed. [Digital] is, which is why, if I’m going to spend my ad dollars, it has to be a slam dunk.”