Huggies Seeks Stronger Bond With Moms, Moms-to-Be

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Kimberly-Clark Corp. introduced a $3.5 million online network for its Huggies baby-care brand to support new mothers and pregnant women, replacing sites like Huggies.com and parentstages.com.


The new Huggies Baby Network precedes a K-C decision to quadruple its Huggies relationship marketing budget next year. It is positioned as a one-stop information resource for women from conception to early motherhood.


"This is Kimberly-Clark's largest consumer marketing relationship program to date," said Mark Cammarota, the company's director of marketing for North American baby care in Neenah, WI. "The company has invested two years of dedicated research to understand what moms and moms-to-be are looking for in an online resource."


Huggies is a leading brand, along with Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pampers, in the $10 billion baby-care category. Sales of diapers, baby wipes and bath and body products account for 60 percent of that total.


The Huggies Baby Network (www.huggiesbabynetwork.com) launch comes two months after a full Huggies toiletries line was introduced. Across other divisions, K-C debuted Scott Extra Soft Bath Tissue and Pull-Ups training pants with wetness indicators. The business-to-business group introduced the next line of WypAll wipers.


K-C's strategy with the network is three-pronged. First, fulfill a market need by offering relevant information, fun activities to involve mothers with their babies and engender an online community of these women.


Next, the company wants to support its consumers at this key juncture in their lives. Finally, it has created an earlier touch point for consumers with the Huggies brand. The network ideally should build a longstanding relationship with mothers as their child grows.


The network essentially comprises two colorful sites under a common umbrella. The Happy & Healthy Pregnancy section has priority information, support and fun activities for expectant mothers. Visitors there also can expect expert advice from Sandy and Marcie Jones, co-authors of "Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource to Pregnancy and Childbirth."


The Happy Baby section targets mothers with children from newborns to toddlers. The focus is on having fun with baby and family as well as offering support.


K-C installed tools to add an air of exclusivity around huggiesbabynetwork.com. There is a Virtual Room Creator, Activities Playhouse and Keepsake Storybook.


Both areas of the site feature interviews on National Public Radio with Parents Journal host Bobbi Conner. Sweepstakes and special offers via enrollment on a mailing list are also available.


K-C also decided to continue running the "Best of Web" series from parentstages.com with 20 articles weekly from leading pregnancy and parenting sites. Readers can find another 300 exclusive Huggies Special Picks articles available only on the network site.


"In our research, we found that nearly half of women agree that there is no single Web site that meets all their needs through pregnancy, birth and the journey of motherhood," Cammarota said. "Women in our research couldn't pinpoint exactly what they wanted. They just knew they weren't getting it from their current Web experiences."


If all things go as planned, K-C expects to attract more online traffic for the new site than what Huggies.com and parentstages.com combined averaged monthly: 500,000 unique visitors generating 1 million hits.


K-C is using public relations to drum up initial awareness of the effort. Starting next month, the huggiesbabynetwork.com address will appear in most print and television ads from K-C ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. The print ads will run in selected parenting and pregnancy magazines like Parents and American Baby.


On the direct side, panels will feature the network's Web address and logo in all K-C mail and materials aimed at pregnant women. A dedicated freestanding insert is planned for July. Banner ads will run on parenting sites such as BabyCenter.com, Yahoo and BabyZone.com.


The company's relationship marketing team worked with Spectracom, a Milwaukee-based interactive agency, to develop the Huggies Baby Network from scratch to execution. K-C is satisfied with the network's outcome.


"We wanted to create one online information source that reflects the Huggies brand and provides our customers with wider breadth and depth of content in a more customized fashion," Cammarota said.


"We also wanted to develop content that allowed us to connect with women at an earlier stage in their journey into motherhood, from the time of conception throughout their pregnancies," he said. "Previously, our focus has been primarily on mothers from the time of birth into toddlerhood."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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