GSK Con­sumer Health­care ac­cel­er­ates dig­i­tal de­ploy­ment in China

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - ZHUAN TI zhuanti@chi­na­di­

GSK Con­sumer Health­care, one of the world’s largest con­sumer health­care com­pa­nies af­ter its merger with No­var­tis’ over-the-counter busi­ness in 2015, is rid­ing the tide of China’s thriv­ing health­care sec­tor.

Among its vast prod­uct line in var­i­ous cat­e­gories such as pain man­age­ment, res­pi­ra­tor y, oral care and more, Sen­so­dyne, a tooth­paste for peo­ple with sen­si­tive teeth, is among its most quickly grow­ing brands.

Aim­ing to con­tin­u­ously in­no­vate and pro­vide a bil­lion more Chi­nese con­sumers bet­ter ser­vice and ac­cess to its qual­ity con­sumer health prod­ucts, GSK CH re­cently en­tered a part­ner­ship with Alibaba.

“I t ’s a n e x c i t i n g t i m e be­cause the world around us is chang­ing, with the dig­i­tal space be­ing a cat­a­lyst trans­form­ing all ar­eas of a con­sumer’s pur­chas­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Our part­ner­ship with Alibaba is mean­ing­ful and pow­er­ful in that we can in­no­vate the way we com­mu­ni­cate and en­gage with our con­sumers through our prod­ucts, pro­vid­ing them with more use­ful in­for­ma­tion and a pre­cise, ef­fi­cient and en­joy­able buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence”, said Marc Spe­ichert, chief dig­i­tal of­fi­cer of GSK Con­sumer Health­care.

Spend­ing in the con­sumer health­care sec­tor is rapidly ris­ing in China, with the mar­ket ex­pect­ing to reach dou­ble-digit growth in the next decade, ac­cord­ing to re­search from China In­ter­na­tional Cap­i­tal.

“By lead­ing through in­no­va­tion, GSK CH is able to grasp op­por­tu­ni­ties and boldly en­gage in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and e-com­merce to con­tin­u­ously en­hance con­sumer-cen­tric­ity and be much closer to our con­sumers through our e-com­merce chan­nels, such as Alibaba,,, and all ma­jor on­line drug­stores, and as­so­ci­ated ac­tiv­i­ties in the dig­i­tal space”, said Spe­ichert.

In China, a sub­stan­tial pro­por­tion of Sen­so­dyne tooth­paste sales is re­al­ized through e-com­merce plat­forms. Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and big data help the com­pany to tap into con­sumer in­sights and pur­chas­ing be­hav­ior.

With the part­ner­ship with Alibaba, big data can be uti­lized to gain more pro­found in­sights.

For ex­am­ple, a per­son who bought pet prod­ucts and clean­ing tools at the same time may think their sneez­ing is caused by pet fur, but in fact, they may need prod­ucts to man­age their al­lergy, ac­cord­ing to Spe­ichert.

He said GSK CH will triple its in­vest­ment in the area of big data mar­ket­ing, con­tent mar­ket­ing and cross-in­dus­try co­brand­ing, which are ex­pected to drive sales, im­prove prof­itabil­ity, and en­hance the com­pany’s com­pet­i­tive edge, reach­ing and serv­ing more Chi­nese con­sumers on­line.

China is among the top three mar­kets where GSK CH’s in­vests in dig­i­tal­iza­tion.

Spe­ichert said there will be higher in­vest­ment into con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion to en­able them to un­der­stand how high-per­for­mance prod­ucts work, and to amass knowl­edge through dig­i­tal­ized chan­nels.

“We al­ways put con­sumers first. We have es­tab­lished the Cus­tomer Re­la­tion­ship Man­age­ment Cen­tre to bet­ter un­der­stand and com­mu­ni­cate with our con­sumers. We have fully in­te­grated var­i­ous dig­i­tal chan­nels to lis­ten to con­sumers’ feed­back. China is one of the mar­kets where this global project was first launched.

“Qual­ity cus­tomer ser­vice is be­com­ing a key com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage for us, and dig­i­tal tools have given us the op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with our con­sumers in ways we could not have been able to in the past”, ex­plained Spe­ichert.

GSK CH is the first brand in the con­sumer health­care in­dus­try to part­ner with Alibaba in a large-scale ex­plo­ration of in­te­grated mar­ket­ing. Alibaba used to be seen as a sales plat­form, but as its user base grows and it spends more time on the plat­form, Alibaba is now also con­sid- ered an ef­fec­tive plat­form for brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“Hav­ing pow­er­ful, mean­ing­ful brands is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant. I think the fu­ture of com­pa­nies like ours is go­ing to be linked to our abil­ity to con­tinue to have brands that are mean­ing­ful to con­sumers and con­nect with them emo­tion­ally,” Spe­ichert con­cluded.


GSK Con­sumer Health­care com­pany signs a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Alibaba on June 28.

Marc Spe­ichert, chief dig­i­tal of­fi­cer of GSK Con­sumer Health­care

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