The cross-platform deal will allow Unilever to reach a broader range of consumers. Perhaps more importantly, it will also help it to develop highly specific targeted marketing initiatives. Unilever’s competitors will need to update their own marketing initiatives in response, even as many companies dig in for the recession.
Unilever has announced a multi-platform, multi-year advertising deal with AOL Time Warner.
Unilever, the world’s third largest food producer, has signed a long-term, multi-million dollar deal with AOL Time Warner, which will allow it to target consumers through all of AOL’s platforms. These include the Internet, on-air and the print media. At least to some extent, the deal will be a partnership: the two companies will work together to develop marketing campaigns and share information on emerging marketing channels.
There are four parts to the deal: cross-platform consumer advertising; developing customer relationship marketing campaigns; information sharing on emerging technology and media platforms; and creating a team to drive new business opportunities across platforms.
The benefits for Unilever should be wide-ranging. As a multi-platform media operator, AOL will enable the consumer goods manufacturer to target a broader range of consumers more often, for greater exposure. Since February 2000, Unilever has been streamlining its brand portfolio from 1,600 to 400 brands. Consequently, it is increasing marketing spend per brand. The new deal will help consolidate the position of remaining brands in their markets.
The agreement should allow also Unilever to simplify and speed up its ability to introduce new marketing campaigns – enabling it to be more reactive to competitor campaigns.
Perhaps even more importantly, the deal may put Unilever in a strong position to develop better customer relationship management (CRM) by working together with AOL to build up a profile of the consumers it is targeting. Ultimately as Unilever learns more about its customer base, it should be able to develop more targeted new products.
The deal is certain to drive new levels of marketing competitiveness in the already heavily advertising-led consumer goods industry. Unilever’s competitors will be conscious of the need to step up their own marketing programs in the light of this alliance.