How Philips is rewriting its post-split digital marketing strategy

After announcing a major restructuring last month, Philips has found a prime spot for digital in its overall strategy.

One part of a recent Philips campaign showing how its products improve dental care.
One part of a recent Philips campaign showing how its products improve dental care.

Philips plans to put digital at the core of its newly merged consumer and professional healthcare business, following last month's announcement of a major restructuring.

In September, the company said it will spin off its lighting business and merge its consumer and professional healthcare businesses.

The latter will enable Philips to build a health technology business, including everything from connected toothbrushes to hospital scanners.

Philips global head of digital marketing Blake Cahill, told Marketing that the company had undergone a major digital transformation in the last year, set to continue after the restructuring.

"We’ve taken digital, broken it down, and looked at how it can impact our business, change our business models, help us build connected products, and impact our service revenues," Cahill said. "We call it digital domains – using digital to shape how we operate as a business."

He added that he has been on a mission over the past year to rebuild the company’s approach to marketing from the ground up. That has involved creating "centers" of digital experts that can support different business groups in their marketing activity, from social listening to SEO.

"These are small, lean teams that are domain experts; they own the tooling processes, the vendor relationships, and work with business groups in different markets," Cahill said.

That has meant that expertise traditionally farmed out to agencies was brought in house, he added.

"Agencies have a huge role in creating content in campaigns, but social listening, search, and interacting with customers – that needs to be in-house," Cahill explained.

Internet of things
Philips is also exploring using data from its growing number of connected products to inform its marketing. That doesn’t mean the company is tracking consumers’ every move through their smart light bulbs, but could involve building an ecosystem around connected products.  

"We call it communities of interest – so making propositions towards the people that are interested in products in a different way and not just as boxes on a shelf," Cahill said. "People are interested in the product but also interested in [the accompanying] ecosystem."

He referenced Avent, Philips’ baby brand, noting that customers are interested in a wider ecosystem around parents, rather than a new baby bottle.

"Philips recognizes that the world of connected products opens up significant number of doors from a services perspective," he said. "We need marketers who understand the data and insight in all of this to be able to differentiate, because the world will get more crowded and louder."

This story originally appeared on the website of Marketing.

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