GSK’s first digital and ecommerce boss on the ‘step-change’ in its marketing

Louise Kristensen is determined that GSK should become a “leader” in the online space as it pioneers a step-change in its approach to digital.

GSK ecommerce

Louise Kristensen has only been in her role as GSK’s first digital and ecommerce director for consumer healthcare for a month, but she has her work cut out.

The newly-created role will see her take responsibility for “shaping and leading” the digital agenda for Northern Europe, covering GSK’s seven digital pillars of search, mobile, content, social, ecommerce, innovation and analytics.

And while she admits she’s still immersing herself into the company culture, she believes the FMCG giant’s enthusiasm and determination to change when it comes to digital will stand her in good stead.

“Change is being driven from the top down, so it’s an exciting time to join,” she tells Marketing Week.

GSK, which owns brands such as Aquafresh, Nicotinell and Horlicks, claims the creation of this role marks a “step-change” in its approach to digital. It wants to overhaul how consumers interact with its brands across all pillars – not just digital marketing but its ecommerce department too.

“We want to drive our digital agenda from the awareness stage right through to conversion. For me, it was about the opportunity to really start to be a bit bolder on our delivery of that. We need to think digital first, and about how we meet consumers’ needs at the right time,” she explains.

Being “bolder”, Kristensen says, also means GSK will look to join up its seven digital pillars more coherently and make “digital work harder” in its campaigns. In order to achieve this, analytics will be key.

“Our digital transformation runs across a really broad spectrum – whether that’s establishing consumers’ needs, looking at how we can have the best content, be in the best possible space or embrace mobile-first,” she says.

“Thought leadership will help us to become what we want and need to be for our consumer, and is also how we start to set ourselves apart. There’s a real need for that. Now it’s about setting up the right strategic framework and actually getting it done,” she says.

Digital marketing has had its fair few knockbacks this year, with transparency and viewability issues being thrust into the spotlight after Procter and Gamble brand boss Marc Pritchard’s speech and the Times investigation. When asked how GSK views these challenges, Kristensen does not seem troubled.

She concludes: “We have our strategy, we know what we’re doing, we have our road map, and with the nature of digital we have to adapt. It’s part of our day-to-day job to know how to deal with these issues.”

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  1. Chris Arnold 28 May 2017

    Best of luck! I admire GSK’s enthusiasm as everyone else is leaving the sinking digital ship. Why would anyone want to interact with Horlicks? A toothpaste brand like Aquafresh? People giving up smoking may well engage with Nicotinell. But a lesson learnt by others: 1. Consumers don’t want brands in their social or digital space – hence why most people now have adblockers. 2. The average consumer buys over 250 brands, they don’t have time to be your friend. And why would they? 3. Few brands have managed to create eco-systems that engage consumers effectively and for any length of time (Red Bull is best) and sell (at a positive ROI), but plenty have spent a fortune failing. 4. DFon’t be fooled by the numbers – they are usually fake. 5. At the end of the day, people will just buy the cheapest branded or own brand toothpaste – it’s one of the dullest, most lacking in innovation categories in the whole FMCG world. Beware the lure of digital la la land. Unless it delivers a sale and a positive ROI, stick to TV and promotional offers, at least that works, or you’ll just end up with a big hole in the budget .

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