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Evolving Our Company’s Values

How Colgate-Palmolive’s Digital Upskilling Is Leading to E-commerce Growth

Evolving Our Company’s Values

November 28, 2023

This interview originally appeared on Consumer Goods Technology . 

Colgate-Palmolive’s efforts to digitally upskill its employees over the last three years are paying off in e-commerce gains. 

More than 16,000 Colgate employees who work in company offices have completed a digital training program, Brigitte King, Colgate-Palmolive Chief Digital Officer, tells CGT, efforts that were ignited by a 2020 benchmarking survey. The study’s findings helped shape several key priorities for the No. 30 publicly owned consumer goods company, including improving its ability to execute data-driven consumer targeting, and developing strategies for agile ways of working and new vendor partnerships. 

It’s also led the company to focus more on incorporating automation into its digital marketing, search, media buying, audience and content delivery systems, as well as establish clearer KPIs and marketing mix models to better understand ROI. 

These new digital strategies and priorities have directly led to Colgate-Palmolive growing e-commerce penetration, according to King, supported by a continuous learning program to upskill employees that, unlike previous efforts, did so in a measurable way. 

“The results show that we have effectively addressed these gaps as we are improving at a steadier and quicker rate when compared to companies in our peer group,” says King

Upskilling Strategies

As with other consumer goods companies, today’s new commerce and work environments means Colgate-Palmolive is embedding digital capabilities across all functions of the organization. King says that teams have “truly upskilled themselves” thanks to commitments to both the corporate mission and professional development. 

“We see digital training as a way to break down barriers and create equity of opportunity for all our employees,” she notes. “Employees have the opportunity to brush up on digital basics and embrace new skills.” 

All in-office employees are encouraged to take a skills assessment to identify growth areas and training, enabling the company to tap into a wider talent pool and provide more equitable access to training and advancement opportunities.  

Today’s modern commerce setting has made digital capability building crucial, notes King, in order to fuel performance, share growth, and marketing products across channels. It also supports the company’s mission of leveraging collaboration to drive company performance. 

This has included a range of virtual training on digital leadership and other digital skills that are personalized to meet specific employee needs, as well as provide recognition for employee participation, such as quantifying learning completions and developing LinkedIn badges promoting successful completion.

Success Stories 

In addition to directly leading to Colgate-Palmolive growing e-commerce penetration, these efforts have advanced first-party data collection; digital media buying and advertising; and personalization, search, and social media strategies, King says.   

Employee surveys indicate the company has not only improved since 20202 but also exceeds industry peers in digital and data-driven marketing. 

Undertaking an unbiased approach to assessing its business has been crucial in the process, she says. “From confirming our strengths to identifying areas for growth and uncovering unique pain points, there was so much to discover that we just didn’t know at the beginning of this journey. … Once you’ve taken the time to gather these findings, it becomes much more simple to solidify your vision, identify your priorities, and set quantifiable, measurable KPIs.” 

“Everyone has a better understanding about the importance of digital upskilling and how it’s an effective tool to help get the right products in the hands of the right people, in the right place, at the right time,” King adds. 

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