Profile: Greg Kearns, Kimberly-Clark
Greg Kearns came from the agency world, starting in more traditional advertising with Hill Holliday in Boston and mostly with financial services clients. He saw shopper marketing as a growing discipline in the ad industry and was lucky enough to land with JWT Action (Geometry Global). It was a more natural transition to Kimberly-Clark from there working with a few different customer teams to get to where he is now.
Please describe your current role and responsibilities.
KEARNS: I cover shopper marketing strategy and execution for the drug channel, across all Kimberly-Clark brands.
How does your company promote digital innovation?
KEARNS: Digital competency is a priority for us and for our industry. Kimberly-Clark continues to work with the North American organization to build our baseline understanding of the technologies that are available. This includes excellent training to help us further push our boundaries and understand the key areas to explore for growth.
What is the future of digital marketing?
KEARNS: In the next few years, I see our shoppers becoming much more aware of how valuable their data is and start demanding equal value in return. It will challenge all brands to be more shopper-centric and create marketing that is truly enhancing the shopping experience.
How can brands – in general – take better advantage of the opportunities in digital?
KEARNS: First is using digital to give our shoppers a more personalized experience and more reasons to engage with our brands. The technology now enables us to find the right shoppers and show them how our products can meet their specific needs. Since digital programs are so much easier to turn on and off than traditional shopper marketing and provide better performance metrics, it allows for much more rapid growth in efficiency and effectiveness.
What digital devices and services do you use most often, and how much of an omnichannel shopper are you?
KEARNS: For me it all starts with my phone and the Dunkin app. For everything else it is a good mix of online and in-store shopping. I frequently use the Walgreens and CVS apps for discounts and loyalty when shopping those stores and Amazon for reviews and price comparison in mass outlets. Grocery shopping for my family is still all about the in-person experience.
How do you keep an ear to the ground in such an ever-changing digital landscape?
KEARNS: Aside from keeping up to date with the trade publications, I find that meeting with current and new vendors has helped the most at keeping a pulse on the landscape.
KEARNS: I really love the work we do for Huggies around our No Baby Unhugged campaign. We are in the third year of the program and it keeps on growing. All of the elements of great shopper marketing are there. It is about working hand-in-hand with our customer, leveraging digital capabilities to target our crucial markets and the philanthropic aspect resonating with our shoppers to build brand equity for Huggies and our customer alike. Using social amplification and targeted digital marketing in tandem has been key in driving the success that makes this program viable year after year. At the end of the day it is not only supporting a great cause, but driving sales as well.