Colgate-Palmolive puts mobile first

24 February 2014

NEW YORK: Connecting with consumers via their mobile devices is not just an opportunity, but a necessity, according to the vice-president of global advertising and digital at Colgate Palmolive, the household goods giant.

In a "Mobile Marketing Challenge" presentation at the 2014 Interactive Advertising Bureau's Leadership Conference in Palm Springs, California, Jack Haber noted that out of a global population of 7bn more people now own a mobile device than own a toothbrush.

"I really think that there is a big gap in the world of marketing," he said. "There's a gap in money and there's a gap in what marketers need in global marketing." (For more, including the Colgate-Palmolive's analysis of the mobile-marketing opportunity, read the exclusive Warc Event Report: Colgate Palmolive moves mobile to the center of marketing content.)

Of that global population of 7bn, Haber said, two-thirds have a Colgate branded product. "Clearly, we need to connect with everyone everywhere all the time. 62% of the people in the world own a toothbrush – that's about 4bn people. But more people, 5bn people, own a mobile device."

And the number of connected people as a percentage of total internet traffic is growing, he added. "We have 1.5bn smartphones now. That growth is at 31% a year."

In the near future, he said, connecting with smartphones will represent "an opportunity three to four times larger than it is now – clearly a huge opportunity".

Haber explained that the pure statistical abstract strongly suggests that "mobile gives us an opportunity not just to connect, but I think ultimately to connect better with everyone. Smartphone users are on those phones all day all the time. [They] look at or touch their phones 150 times a day".

And, he warned, if consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) are "serious about connecting with people everywhere on the globe," mobile devices "are not an opportunity, they're a necessity".

Finally, he also observed that mobile has become a marketing anchor in the US, as it has in China. And in countries like India – where Colgate often has had trouble staying in touch with its target audience – it is using mobile "as a primary channel to reach consumers who we can't reach otherwise".

Data sourced from Warc