J&J sifts marketing nuggets from Mom's BabyCenter posts


Here's an example of supertargeted marketing fueled by social media and lots of data. Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is using a research panel of 50,000 consumers, together with sharing-minded mothers on its parenting site BabyCenter, to flag ideas and catchphrases that resonate with moms.

And, as AdWeek reports, that's how J&J knows new mothers start planning their child's first birthday party when the baby hits 10 months of age. "J&J can help them celebrate that," the company's manager of global strategic insights, Christina Hoff, told the advertising pub.

Then there's that all-important phrase for new families: "sleeping through the night." As Hoff notes, the company sifted BabyCenter posts to find that those words really trip a trigger with mothers. J&J can craft campaigns for over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol and Motrin accordingly.

As Hoff tells it, the data J&J gleans from BabyCenter posts, searches and the like is more valuable to the company than Facebook and Twitter numbers are. "We can tell what a mom is going to do before she does [it] based on what she is searching for," Hoff said during a recent conference presentation (as quoted by AdWeek).

J&J isn't the only drugmaker eavesdropping on BabyCenter. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) analyzed conversations on public discussion boards at BabyCenter and another parenting site, WhattoExpect.com, looking for info on parents' objections to childhood vaccinations. Why would they delay getting the recommended childhood shots for their kids?

Using text analytics helped the company get a broader, more candid view from parents, a company spokesman told The Wall Street Journal at the time. They wouldn't have been as honest in a survey or focus group. "[B]y listening to what our customers say to each other, we can better understand their needs," GSK's Dominic Hein told the Journal.

The upshot? GSK needed better educational materials for doctors to convey vaccine safety info and the risks of forgoing them.

AdWeek has a video that delves more deeply into J&J's use of data to target its advertising. Check it out to see what else the drug giant has learned.

- see the AdWeek story

Special Reports: Top 10 pharma companies in social media - J&J