Expecting? Buy those Huggies now

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Kimberly-Clark Corp. has retooled its Huggies site as part of a $7 million marketing effort designed to befriend women as soon as they get pregnant. The idea is to build a relationship so that Huggies will be top of mind as new moms buy their first package of diapers.

"Moms aren't really thinking about diapers and wipes until the third trimester," said Mark Cammarota, marketing director of baby-care marketing, Kimberly-Clark, who will oversee the site, huggiesbabynetwork.com. "But we still want to have a relationship with them."

The customer-relationship-management effort is one way the company's aimed at getting an edge on the competition. No longer just a diaper and wipes line, the Huggies brand now adorns a 17-product line of baby toiletries. Huggies diapers trails Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pampers in market share-35.8% compared to P&G's 49.8%-in the almost $5 billion diaper category. And, with the debut of its baby soap and body-care items in January, Huggies takes on Johnson & Johnson, which owns more than half of the $550 million market for baby toiletries.

"It is extremely important as they change from Huggies-meaning just diapers-to Huggies meaning baby care," said Ken Harris, managing director at marketing and sales management consulting firm Cannondale Associates.


"Moms have told us that they are not just looking for products, but solutions," Mr. Cammarota said. Both P&G and J&J have their own multifaceted sites for pregnant women and new moms.

Women in the first trimester have "a gazillion questions and in the age of reference in which we live they are self-empowered to do more exploring on their own instead of deferring to doctors or their parents, which the Internet allows," Mr. Harris said.

"Some of the [Internet] behavioral-targeting companies know a woman is pregnant before her husband does," said Gary Stein, senior analyst at online market-research firm Jupiter Research.

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