Women to Watch

Kim Feil

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Cracking the code to make retail marketing work ranks high on the agenda for every package-goods company these days, and there may be no better sign of that than the appointment early this year of Kim Feil as Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s first multicategory, multiregional chief marketing officer.

As VP-senior marketing officer for Kimberly-Clark's North Atlantic personal-care business, Ms. Feil has duties that span North America and most of Europe as well as K-C's biggest, most profitable consumer businesses, including the Huggies, Kotex and Depend brands.

She's in charge of training marketers as she creates for the first time a "center of excellence" in marketing for Kimberly-Clark, as well as heading agency relations and contacts with all of K-C's marketing services providers.

Ms. Feil, 46, has an unusual background roughly half in the sales and field marketing world and half in the brand and consumer marketing world. Most recently, she was CEO of Mosaic Infoforce, a joint venture of Information Resources Inc. and Mosaic that tracked and implemented in-store programs.

She also had seven years of consulting and product development with IRI and another 13 both in consumer and field marketing with such companies as PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes. "Since I have worked with a lot of companies," Ms. Feil says, "I've seen the real shame of brand marketers doing their brand thing and customer marketers doing their customer thing and the twain not meeting."

"She brings a collaborative management style that fosters idea sharing and will deliver more value from marketing suppliers," says Steve Kalmanson, president-North Atlantic personal and family care, to whom Ms. Feil reports.

Ms. Feil also is bringing a new outlook on communications planning and spending efficiency as she encourages a bigger focus on marketing to the fastest-growing consumer segments-the elderly and ethnic minorities in the U.S.-and more in-depth communications vehicles.

She predicts marketers generally are going to make "a purposeful shift to what I'd almost call media inefficiency. There will be a focus on quality messaging over quantity. That's a real heresy in a media environment, because you're always striving to buy as efficiently as you can. But you need to identify a relationship environment to build with your consumer."

Ms. Feil cites Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s integration with ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and the extensive links of PepsiCo's Mountain Dew with youth through ads and extreme sports tie-ins as examples of the in-depth brand bonding with consumers she'd like Kimberly-Clark to emulate.