August 14, 2014
Case Study

Social Media Marketing: Focus on consumer reviews increases Facebook fans 100% for Playtex Baby

SUMMARY: Aware that word of mouth and recommendations are the primary way that mothers make decisions on buying baby products, the marketers behind the Playtex Baby brand decided they needed to foster mom-to-mom social media interactions.

In this Inbound Marketing case study, learn how building up reviews in its Facebook community through a "Review-to-Win" contest garnered more than 2,000 product reviews in just seven months.
by Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content


Christine Moroniti, Brand Manager on Infant Personal Care, Energizer Personal Care, had a unique personal insight into customers of Playtex Baby (a brand within Energizer Personal Care): her own pregnancy.

"It's been really helpful to see what we're doing, in my own actions," Moroniti said.

Her growing family provided her with a fresh perspective on the need for a new voice and approach for the brand's social media, which at the time, she and the marketing team decided was not performing as well as it could have been.

"I'm online all the time looking up products that I might be interested in. I definitely talk to my friends all the time. I'm looking on social networks. It's exactly mimicking everything that we are doing with our target," she said.

The constant goal, according to Marci Serbonich, Senior Brand Manager, Playtex Infant, Energizer Personal Care, is to continue to maintain "our No. 1 share across infant care categories. So we are No. 1 in bottles, we are No. 1 in diapering, and we are No. 1 in cups and meal time."

The goal for moving forward was to strengthen those core areas, and then "through our expertise and through our master brand of Playtex, to expand beyond the cores in the future years," she said.

One of the staples that carried on from 2013 into 2014, she added, was making sure that Playtex Baby is the No. 1 recommended brand "because we know that most moms get their information on what products to buy or try from other moms."

Serbonich has been in brand marketing for 13 years, and said it takes a "good balance of innovation and activation" to work through an effort like this.

Because of those goals, she added, social media was an ideal place to focus and strengthen word of mouth and encourage "interactive mom-to-mom connections."


"We did have a social presence before any of these efforts were enacted. We took our learnings and brought it to the next level. We did have a plan in place and then we just evolved it," Moroniti said.

The plan Moroniti and Serbonich put in place created a new voice for Playtex Baby on social media, and bolstered the brand equity and perception of superiority.

The new voice was called "Every Mom" and was meant to feel more like a "friend" than a company, and encourage conversation and empathy on social media.

The team also wanted to bring a focus on specifically influencing customers through product recommendations, ratings and reviews. A contest called "Review-to-Win" was created, in which submitting product reviews entered a customer into a raffle for a prize.

From there, the team created social media efforts that engaged customers with a friendly voice to share triumphs and tribulations with.

Step #1. Recognize the power of social interaction

One thing that sets Playtex Baby apart from competitors, according to Serbonich, is that "we are part of a larger organization, and we do have a lot of typical marketing research resources at our disposal."

The team had a lot of behavioral data and demographic information that wasn't being properly utilized "around mom and her use online and her interaction with social and what she does in the digital space," she added.

They went through all that information, and culled insights that they could adapt into powerful social interactions. What they recognized from that process was that they needed to "revamp how we speak to her in the social space, because we were having challenges," Serbonich said.

Looking back at equity studies, what the team realized was they needed to revamp the brand's image, because "Playtex was seen as traditional and old-fashioned, and a grandmother's brand. That's not who we are," she said.

Developing a social media voice became about connecting to followers as a peer, and focusing on educating through "expertise and nurturing and reassurance," she said.

A trigger for recognizing that "this social thing is powerful," Serbonich said, was a post Playtex Baby put up on Facebook in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The brand had an excess of pacifiers and bottles, she said, and had the idea to not only donate those items to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but to bring consumers into the giving.

The post featured a picture of a mother holding her child, and said that for every "like" or "share," Playtex Baby would donate up to 50,000 pacifiers. That post "really went gangbusters for us," Serbonich said.

"For me, that was really a testament to the power of this medium. We got about 12,000 new fans from it at about $0.22 a fan, and we donated over 16,000 products. That was just within a couple of days, so it was really incredible," she added.

Step #2. Gain executive buy-in for social media

"I think that's one of the biggest challenges that we face as brand marketers. We have to sell our marketing plans up into the organization, and it goes as high as the president and in some cases on some brands, the board sees the plan," Serbonich said.

When you have a group of people, she added, who may not have grown up on social media themselves, or aren't active on it, "it's a lot easier [for them] to question, 'Why aren't you putting this on TV? Why aren't you putting this in print?'"

The answer to those questions is her team understands the ROI of social media.

"Anytime we bring numbers around social media, it makes them feel more comfortable about allowing us to invest that way. Of course that's a challenge because there are some things you can't measure. Things are moving at such a fast pace," she said.

Measuring social media is about tapping into all of the listening and ROI tools coming out every day, and using them to your advantage.

"I think historically, we didn't really necessarily realize that there were so many tools available and so many ways to measure social. It definitely helps us when we want to invest more in social," Moroniti said.

Once deciding and gaining approval to allocate more money to social media from traditional media, the team worked to craft a story for social media, which had the benefit of helping to sell the move to Management.

"We helped educate the organization in terms of what social really can do for you, and especially on a business that's so emotionally driven," Moroniti said, adding that many other businesses within the parent company have more necessary products, such as razors, which aren't "necessarily as impactful or as emotional as it is in Infant, so we helped to educate them on that."

The team laid out a redefined social media space from what they were doing before, with a content theme.

"It's not necessarily a structured calendar, per se, but it's more like we want to hit on these types of themes that really resonate with moms," Moroniti said.

Step #3. Establish legal approval guidelines

The team was able to move quickly to put up the Hurricane Sandy post, but "born out of that was also a discussion that we had with Legal, with the agency and with the brand to try to align upfront on parameters for social content," Serbonich said.

That discussion was about what kind of social media content needed approval, and what didn't. That way, she added, the team could craft content upfront and boilerplate what the best options were to move quickly with social media efforts, such as sweepstakes or contests.

"That was really a fruitful conversation because in some companies, Legal can hold it up or Internal Communications can hold it up, and having that conversation upfront gives us leeway," she said.

Mononiti added that the team had a couple two-hour meetings with Legal "just to make sure they were up to speed with everything going on in social. Our legal team is pretty good, but social changes daily. It was really, really helpful, and I think that helped us break a lot of barricades, too."

Step #4. Put the focus on reviews and ratings

To bring the conversational, peer-aspect that was so important to the new "Every Mom" voice for Playtex Baby's social media, the team implemented a ratings and review platform on Facebook.

It was important to tap into the knowledge that mothers are seeking from other mothers with the reviews, and the team encouraged people to post reviews on the Facebook page.

They also partnered with main retailers, such as Target and Babies "R" Us to encourage the reviews on their sites. For example, a $25 Target gift card was given away to generate reviews for Playtex products on Target's ecommerce website.

"I think that was one of the biggest [amount of] reviews that we were able to generate because we were giving away a Target gift card," Moroniti said.

Encouraging feedback has not only brought in "a substantial amount" of reviews, Moroniti said, but also helped to elevate the brand's social media presence.

The brand created a tab for reviews on the Facebook page, and originally used a "Review-to-Win" contest to promote the new feature, which entered customers into a weekly giveaway for their participation.

The review tab reads, "Review our products, please. New moms want to know what experienced moms think. Please help a new mom and share your thoughts on Playtex products."

Customers can search for a particular product, or choose a category of product to begin reviewing. Otherwise, below that, popular products are listed for customers to pick and begin reviewing.

"Recent Reviews" are listed for perusal — and for transparency, the team does not censor negative reviews. Each review features an option to "share" on Facebook, as well as a call-to-action for customers to write their own reviews.

A large part of success on social media is rewarding the customer, Moroniti said.

"We've learned that even really small rewards go a long way. We offer giveaways almost every week for people who do write reviews for us. We see an incredible number of people who are willing to do that."

Step #5. Engage with a custom, friendly Facebook app

The brand also created a custom application to bring couponing onto Facebook, called the "Baby Pool Game," which brought common baby shower games onto Facebook with coupon rewards, furthering the "Every Mom" voice and making the brand feel more like a friend.

"Everyone likes to guess about what the baby's weight and height and gender will be, so we tapped into that and we have an application for that. Then, we've had select promotional programs throughout the year with the goal of really increasing our social engagement," Moroniti said.

Social media is constantly changing, and without diligence, an idea or conversation can easily die on the vine, Serbonich said.

"For example, with Baby Pool, we had created it, and one of the lessons learned there is you can't just build it and they will come," Serbonich said, adding that "you need to have some media around it and some promoted posts, and you need to drive awareness."

When they didn't see the kind of sign-ups they were hoping for, the team adjusted the process to remove the "like" gate, so participants didn't have to become a fan of Playtex Baby in order to create or participate in a pool. They also decided to officially promote it, driving people to participate.

Social media has been an effort to manage on a weekly basis, Serbonich added, because topics can "come out of nowhere," like the Hurricane Sandy post.

The Baby Pool was their first leap in terms of creating a tab and a program where the brand could interact with consumers on the Facebook page, Serbonich said. From there, whenever they develop content, they don't just post it — they promote it.

For instance, when the brand developed a video series surrounding celebrity spokesperson, actress and mother Tamera Mowry, "we didn't just put the videos up on our own channels or put a post on Facebook. We actually did promoted posts and put a program around to drive awareness of the videos," Serbonich said.

The Baby Pool was the team's first learning experience, "and we've taken the learning and continued to evolve them," she added.

Social media is a balancing act of not wanting to take away from any positive results, while also being nimble to fix any issues, Serbonich said.


"I think that the biggest takeaway for us is that the social space is where mom is and it can impact results," Serbonich said, adding that they will be investing more heavily into social media in the future.

The team's goal with that increased investment is to "get to critical mass so we can do more testing to understand the value of a Facebook fan," she said.

That goal won't just help the Playtex Baby team, she added, but the entire Energizer Personal Care team as well.

There are still some brands that don't focus as much on social media, and "I think the reluctance is measurement. So showing the management that you can measure and just answering that age-old question from Management, 'What's the Facebook fan worth?' is one of our goals going forward."

The Playtex Baby team was able to completely overhaul their social media efforts, and experienced:
  • An increase of Facebook fans by 100%

  • An increase of social engagement sevenfold on average

  • 2,300 reviews in seven months, an average of 328 per month

  • A 61% opt-in rate for Baby Pool entrants to the ECRM (electric customer relationship management) program

  • A 55% print-to-redeem rate on Baby Pool coupons

Additionally, 85% of those redeeming Baby Pool coupons were by "gift givers," and "another objective was for us to hit the gift givers in mom's life," Serbonich said.

"I think everyone is so fixated on how many fans do they have, but it really isn't about the quantity. It's really about the quality. We're really focused on getting the right fans that are going to impact our business," Moroniti concluded.

Creative Samples

  1. Hurricane Sandy post

  2. Reviews Facebook tab

  3. Baby Pool


Playtex Baby

Beeby Clark + Meyler — Playtex's social media strategy agency

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