Unilever’s approach to digital marketing

Caroline Slootweg, digital and new media marketing director, Unilever says online started off being so focussed on ROI that it “shot itself in the foot by being too measurable”.
Also Unilever (and other FMCG companies) were late to the party but now have caught up. She says the big shift was away from campaigns to 24/7 always on support. This has meant moving from banners and websites to search, gaming and other more integrated online experiences. “We are now breaking out of the confines of the word ‘digital’,” she says. “Six months ago I banned the word ‘website”.”

The web is inherently female – women are flocking online, blogging, chatting, shopping… hence In the Motherhood – a site in which women are invited to share their real life stories, vote of them and the best ones then become part of the script of the associated TV sitcom. This was a partnership with MSN and a production company, and not through an agency – quite a threat to the agency world, you would think, given that Unilever is the second largest advertiser in the world.

“Only the web can deliver things which are almost as powerful, if not more powerful, than TV”. Hope yet for those of us who have online properties without effective ROI-based options…

Karl Schneider asks what metrics would be valuable. “Integrated metrics – we are not looking for independently measured metrics. We are throwing them all into research.”

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