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.
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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?

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. Continue Reading

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