Take-Home Tips from Kotex`s Pinterest Campaign

What can you do with a 90-year-old brand in a product category nobody wants to talk about? How do you appeal to young, hip customers who don’t want to be reminded that they need your product – or that their grandmothers used it? When that brand is Kotex, you find ways to break the usual mold of advertising and engage in social media.

Jennifer Cario tells the basic story over at Search Engine Guide. Kotex engaged Israel-based marketing company Smoyz. Smoyz, in turn, chose an approach that was elegant in its simplicity. They knew their target market was young women, so they went to Pinterest.

Pinterest, as you’ve probably heard ad nauseum by now, is a social website that lets you “pin” images and websites of interest onto “boards.” You can make these boards public or private, or share them with a few people, collaborate, give them titles, and even browse other people’s boards with the site’s search engine. It gets used a lot by visually-oriented people, such as artists. It’s also a great place to collect all of your ideas for a particular project – say, redecorating the living room – in one spot.

For Smoyz’s purpose, what mattered the most was that Pinterest’s membership strongly skews towards women. For an event they described as “Women’s Inspiration Day,” Smoyz found what they describe as 50 “inspiring women” on Pinterest. You can probably assume that these women were highly influential, active users, with lots of online connections and followers. Smoyz then looked over these ladies’ public Pinterest boards to see what inspired them.

The next step is where the genius entered the equation. Using the information they got from the boards, Smoyz created personalized gifts for these women. All they had to do to receive these gifts was repin the image of it to their Pinterest account. At that point, the gifts were delivered to the users.

Once they got the gifts, the women posted about them to Facebook, and Pinterest, and Twitter, and other places. According to the video, nearly all of them discussed it online. From 50 gifts, Kotex and Smoyz saw a return of 2,284 interactions, and 694,853 impressions. That’s not a bad return on investment.

If you’re reading this, you might not have seen more than the video and a few stories about this ad campaign. That’s because, as near as I can tell, it was run in Israel, which might make for difficult searching. Still, one can learn a few great lessons from Smoyz’s approach, and apply them to one’s own marketing campaign. Let’s take a look at what they did, and see how it might be duplicated.

Kotex sells feminine hygiene products. This meant Smoyz knew exactly who their target market was: women of child-bearing age. But that’s an incredibly broad market! These women have only one thing in common, really. So Smoyz decided to play off of that, by customizing each gift to the individual woman.

What’s the lesson? Your target market is interested in a lot more than just your product. If you want to reach them, it helps to appeal to the whole person. Let them know that you SEE THEM, not just that one need your product fills.

Another thing Smoyz did right was go to Pinterest. Specifically, they went somewhere they KNOW their target audience hangs out. If you’re going to reach your market, you have to be where they are.

But just being there isn’t enough when you’re using social media. You must study and engage. Smoyz studied Pinterest to find fifty influential female users, and then dug deeper to really understand them and learn what they’d find inspiring. If you’ve ever gone shopping for gifts for multiple women, you know that tastes vary tremendously; that pearl necklace your aunt might love would just make your little sister gag. So this was not exactly an easy task, but necessary for the next steps.

Smoyz put the gifts together, and let the women know they were there – and to get them, they’d have to repin. That’s a vital point that most marketers seem to grasp; if you want to get your audience talking about you, you need to offer them ways to engage with you on social media. I’ve seen lots of that on Facebook, along the lines of “post this in your status for a shot at winning a prize.” Speaking as a user of social media, it’s much nicer when there’s a guarantee that you’ll get a prize.

But here’s the really interesting part: the women themselves took the next step. Once they repinned and received their packages, they themselves chose to talk about them on other social media platforms. Now I’m not going to pretend that Smoyz didn’t include a little note with those gifts that encouraged the lucky recipients to talk about them online. But it’s not like they were obligated to do this beyond the original repinning, as near as I can tell.

This is worth keeping in mind for your own campaigns: make something wonderful enough, and people will choose to talk about it themselves. On the other hand, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. My guess (and it’s only a guess, since I haven’t seen any of the gifts) is that the contents of these packages were thoughtful things that the women might not buy for themselves, but that they found inspiring. Judging from the video, they might have included artist supply samples, paints, glitter, feathers, and a whole variety of “inspiring” materials. Clearly, they know that women would rather feel free to play than think about their periods!

The best part about this – aside from the way the message got spread online – is that Kotex (with Smoyz’s help) basically let their target market know that they “get it.” Potential customers want to know that you understand where they’re coming from. Smoyz’s campaign for Kotex did this in a simple but elegant fashion, and showed us all how to take advantage of the unique qualities of Pinterest’s platform.  Understanding your target market, and showing them that you understand, is half the battle. Good luck!

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