Are P&G Right to End Marketing?

In the last couple of weeks, there has been a tremendous amount of discussion around P&G’s decision to change marketing into br and management.

The consumer products world closely watches whenever P&G announces changes, whether to their strategy, marketing or in this case their organisational structure. As this AdAge article (herementions “P&G seems well out in front of the rest of the marketing world — or what used to be known as the marketing world — on this”.

As businesses have become more social, there have been a lot of articles about marketing. Some have spoken about the need for marketing and IT to get together, if not even merge in some way (See this Forbes article). Others have proclaimed the end of the CMO’s position altogether, including the infamous piece by IMD’s President Dominique Turpin “The CMO is Dead ..… Welcome to the CCO. Then there have been even more articles challenging marketing to show their worth and suggesting metrics to prove their ROI (See  Fournaise 2011 study of 600 CEOs or  Forrester’s Marketing Performance Management Survey).

The fact that there have been so many different pieces on the topic over the last year or so, suggests to me that marketing is still vital for and extremely attractive to business, but that it is in desperate need of reinventing itself. I believe this is behind P&G’s move.

At the end of last year I wrote a post proposing what I thought would and wouldn’t change and what needs to. Six months on, in light of P&G’s announcement, I thought it useful to review my list:

What will change

  • Marketing can no longer work alone in a silo; it needs to become more collaborative and more commercial or business oriented. It can no longer remain fuzzy and hide behind claims that its ROI is difficult to measure.
  • anding customer service opportunities” width=”375″ height=”226″ />The sales funnel will be (has already been) replaced by the purchase decision journey, which will be a multi-layered, flexible representation of the route to purchase. For more on this, read “How Great Customer Service Leads to Great Customer Loyalty”.
  • Advertising  and messaging TO the customer will be replaced by valuable information made available FOR the customer. In line with the longer sales journey and multiple online consultations, communication will become more informative, more useful, more timely.
  • Local will no longer be geographic but “Native”. Whether it’s language, habits or interests, customers will be targeted on their similarities that will rarely, if ever, include geographical proximity.
  • Mobile web consulting will become the norm, so br and sites need to become adaptive. Content will aim to inform, educate and entertain first and foremost, rather than sell, and websites will become flexible and adaptive to the differing screens and customer needs.

What won’t change

  • The customer is still the king, but content joins the ranks in almost equal position, needing more respect and value, and less commoditisation. For a great post on this read “5 Ways Content Marketing Must Change in 2014”.
  • Recommendations will remain a vital part of choice and decision-making, but they will no longer come from just friends and family. They will come from organised collection – think TripAdvisor or Angie’s List – or from (self) proclaimed experts through their Blog posts and faithful followers.
  • Customer (consumer) underst anding remains vital and in fact the need for underst anding will even increase as customers will be in constant evolution.

What must change

  • We are all swamped with messages and information and yet – perhaps because of this – our attention span is declining. Messaging must become shorter and simpler as people use headlines to decide whether or not to stick around.
  • In addition to the increased need for informative content, it will need to engage as well as (or is it more than?) inform. Storytelling will become an essential skill for marketers, both internally and externally.
  • Wearable technology will totally change our where and when decisions of messaging. The customer will not only be in charge of what messages are received but when to be “visible” to receive them.
  • The old marketing funnel to advocacyHaving changed the sales funnel to a path to purchase, the usual loyalty funnel no longer works. The simple path from awareness to loyalty will be replaced by a constant and consistent battle for trust. What’s more it will never be truly “won” as customers continue to be fascinated by novelty.
  • Marketing can no longer depend on creativity alone. It won’t be enough, as if it ever was, and marketers will need to get (even more?) comfortable with their BigData and its usage.
  • Customer underst anding will come from multiple sources and market researchers will become underst anding analysts responsible for turning the unstoppable flow of information into the organisation, into palatable morsels of digestible stories.

Although I didn’t predict P&G’s change, it does in fact address most of the above, by combining four functions under the new title of Br and Management: br and management (formerly known as marketing), consumer and marketing knowledge (their name for market research), communications and design. At least by combining these groups under a single leader they will be forced to work less in silos and there should be more and better collaboration. Only time will tell if this move will be successful.

Do you think P&G’s change is the right move? Will you consider doing something similar? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are, or aspire to the “old” CMO or marketing roles. 

If you need help in adapting to the new world of marketing, why not work with one of the new breed of marketers? Someone who combines cultural sensitivity with creativity and technical know-how; a catalyst for the change your organisation needs. Contact us here  and let’s discuss your needs.

C³Centricity used an image from Microsoft in this post.

Are you targeting the right customers?

I mentioned last week about an MBA course at which I spoke recently. Apart from the active participation of everyone and the fun we all had, I remember it mostly for all the great questions that were asked.

One of these was about underst anding whether or not you are targeting the right customer. If you yourself have ever wondered about this, then this post is for you.

Besides the work I do with CPG / FMCG companies globally, I also support local small businesses with their marketing, mostly “pro bono work” when my time permits. I enjoy doing this as it allows me to put into practice what I have learnt over the years working for some of the best marketing companies around, such as Gillette, Philip Morris International and Nestlé. It also enables these businesses, which wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford to hire a global expert, to benefit from my experience and also hear about all the latest best practices.

When I meet them, I try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible, so as not to scare them with too many new ideas and processes, but I am finding that my approach works well in larger organisations too. That’s why I thought I would share it with you here.

These are the four questions that I ask them all, big or small, to assess whether or not they are targeting correctly:


Who are you targeting?

The 4 Ws of customer targeting
The 4 Ws of targeting

This is often the first question I ask, as it helps me to quickly assess their level of customer centricity. If I get, as I did recently from the owner of a chain of hairdressing salons – all men, women and children! – then I know we will need to work together to better develop their target’s description before going any further in optimising their marketing efforts.

If you don’t already do so, then I would suggest you look to describe your target audience(s) in terms of not only demographics, but also add descriptions of their behaviours, values and motivations, as the diagram above shows. The deeper you go in completing their description, the more you will underst and them and therefore will have a better chance to not only meet but even surpass their expectations.


What’s their personality?

People use products and services that fit their personality in general, either because they match their own, or because they complete who they are or would like to be, by bringing elements that they feel they lack.

For instance, Marlboro cigarettes may be seen as having a strong, independent personality and so might be chosen by young adult men looking to show their independance from their parents.

Do you know what the personality of your own br and is and whether it is matching or completing that of your target audience?


What do they think of you?

Once you know to whom you are trying to appeal with your product or service, then you need to underst and what they currently think of you. Most organisations run some sort of br and image study, and get equity measures on a number of attributes.

However, I often find that companies are only measuring what they are trying to communicate or even worse, what is important to them and not what is important to their customers.

Are you getting your customers’ opinions on things that matter to them? For example, rather than asking if your customers think your price is “high” or “low”, why not ask for an evaluation of it, such as “it is worth paying more for”, or why not even “makes me feel worth more”?

Since br and equity is best measured in comparison to other br ands, it is important to ensure that all attributes that might be valid for the category or segment are included in your list.


What benefits do they see?

Do you know what benefits your target sees in your product or service offering? Not what you see, but what they themselves appreciate. As is the case with image, you need to know your audience’s opinion and how close it is to what you intended it to be. Are there any additional benefits that your users have identified that you were unaware of and could use to your advantage in future communications?

I remember discovering many years ago that dried soup mix was often being used as a cooking ingredient, as it provided a richer flavour than sauce mixes or stock cubes alone. It is only by underst anding how your offering fits into your customers’ daily lives, that you can appreciate its true value to them.

If you can honestly answer these four questions completely and accurately, then you are almost certainly targeting the right customers for your product or service. If not, then I suggest you spend a little more time with your customers externally and the Market Research and Insight people internally, to learn as much as you can.

Why not take a critical look at your own target audience description? How deep is your underst anding of them? Could you do better?

For more on targeting go to our website here: and/

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