P&G's Marc Pritchard: 'The era of digital marketing is over'

DMEXCO: P&G’s global brand building officer Marc Pritchard has called the end of the digital marketing era, saying all digital marketing is “just brand building” and shouldn’t be something separate tacked on to the end of a campaign.

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P&G has now “shifted its mindset” to “digital back” marketing by starting campaigns in the digital world and then building back into the rest of the marketing mix.

The approach, he said in his keynote address at Dmexco in Cologne, has built P&G’s brand equities, sales and profits and helped the marketing team “free their minds to focus on building creative ideas”.

He said P&G’s marketing team has stopped thinking of digital in terms of the “the tools, the platforms, the apps, the QR codes, augmented reality, holograms or whatever is coming next” or as a “mysteries medium with its own set of metrics”, but for what it is: “a tool to build out brands by reaching people with fresh, creative, campaigns”.

Pritchard added: “Let’s celebrate the end of digital marketing. Let’s focus on creating the great ideas that move people and build great brands. And let’s leverage the tools, platforms and technology to make them bigger and engage with people like never before. Our brand building teams, our agencies and most of the people who see our stuff and buy our products will thank us for it.”

He cited a German digital campaign for a Braun electric shaver, which began on social, search and review sites driving consumers to ecommerce and in-store. It was supported in-store with displays that mirrored the digital campaign, such as demos and a way to connect to mobile.

“To be clear, this wasn’t the digital component of the campaign - it was the campaign,” Pritchard said.

The activity exceeded sales targets eight times over and only after awareness was created on digital did the brand start to air a TV ad, according to Pritchard.

Last month P&G’s returning CEO AG Lafley said digital was up to 35 per cent of total advertising spend in the US and that the company is working on optimising its marketing mix to turnaround its recent lackluster sales performance. 

Pritchard’s comments echo those expressed in a Forrester report earlier this year that predicted digital marketing would become just marketing in 2013. 

Readers' comments (1)

  • "Digital Marketing is dead, Long live Digital Marketing" is what came to mind when I read the piece.

    I think Marc is reinforcing the point that with Digital Marketing maturing as a medium the era of "the medium is the message" is over.

    Focus needs to be brought back to the message per se rather than relying on the newness/uniqueness/quaintness of the medium.

    A coming of age or rite of passage for Digital Marketing as it moves to a new stage of life. Every medium/technology has to pass through that.

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