To spur sales of its Easy-Off BBQ cleaner, Reckitt Benckiser used real-time data about its target customers and the weather conditions where they lived to maximise the impact of a recent advertising campaign.

Reckitt’s BBQ cleaning product was not available at all Walmart retail stores across the US, so spending big bucks on a traditional television campaign that blanketed the nation with advertising did not make sense, says Scott Iason, media director for Reckitt.

Instead, Reckitt used targeted online and mobile ads so that only people within a five-mile radius of a Walmart store where the product was sold saw the messages. In addition, the campaign ran on days close to the weekend, when people typically plan cookouts.

This data-driven strategy represents the new model for how advertisers use consumer insights to target the right ads to the right people at the right time.

Reckitt also worked with a weather company so that only people in areas where the weather was expected to be pleasant and sunny would see the ads.

The campaign resulted in a significant increase in people who both clicked on the ads and then visited a Walmart website, where they could get a coupon and find their nearest store.

Behind the scenes, Reckitt has collected information about how consumers responded to the campaign to be applied to future marketing strategies.

Its latest initiatives involve tapping such data not only to target who sees its ads but also which messages they see.

A current campaign for its Lysol disinfectant and the Mucinex cold and flu medication brands, taps information from WebMD, an online medical site, to monitor outbreaks and target messages based on the spread of illnesses. “Stay ahead of the cold and flu season,” reads an ad for Lysol disinfecting sprays and wipes directed at people in regions where an outbreak is predicted. “Get fast-acting 12-hour relief”, proclaims an ad for maximum-strength Mucinex pills targeted at areas already hit.

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