Philip Morris International : Sophisticated sniffer

The tobacco giant’s corporate website displays brand sites and jobs based on a visitor’s location.

The feature

PMI’s recently relaunched corporate website uses a country detection tool to change elements of pages on the main corporate site, according to where visitors are in the world.

For example, visitors from Switzerland who visit ‘Consumer Corner’ from the home page will see links to brand websites available in that country – Malboro and Chesterfield. Visitors from India who click on ‘Consumer Corner’ see the same page, but in the area for brands it says, ‘Sorry, we don’t have a brand website available in your market.’ The same is true for the UK.

Similarly, the Careers landing page has a section, ‘Exciting opportunities near you’, which displays available jobs in the visitor’s country and region.

The takeaway

Country redirection or ‘sniffer’ tools commonly take visitors to country-specific sites – it is rarer to see elements of a page change based on a visitor’s location.

PMI uses country redirection because tobacco is a heavily regulated industry, in which it is essential not to fall foul of regulators, and marketing must be country-specific for that reason. Pharmaceutical companies may be in the same situation.

So the brand example will not be applicable to everyone. However, the Careers example would be relevant to most large companies.

Country redirection can be annoying, because it takes visitors somewhere they might not want to go, but this is a more appropriate and subtle use of the tool.
First published 10 May, 2017
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