In today’s world of ever-increasing distractions and messaging from a seemingly endless number of channels, you may wonder if marketing still has a place in the world. Consumers are finding more ways to bypass marketing and advertising with 30% of people using ad blockers when surfing the web or enjoying streaming services such as Netflix. Corporations and advertisers alike have felt the burn of this trend, having to focus more of their advertising efforts in six second online videos rather than lengthy, elaborate TV campaigns. This was the topic of discussion for a recent M. Keith Weikel MBA Leadership Speaker Series event. Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter and Gamble, gave a thought-provoking talk discussing what marketers need to do to thrive in a world that has not only become more bogged down with messaging, but that expects more out of brands than simply satisfaction guaranteed.
“The best way to deal with disruption is to lead it,” proclaims Pritchard, who has been a part of P&G for over 35 years. In order to effectively adapt to this rapidly changing landscape, marketers can and must reinvent how they reach their audiences, including new approaches to media, agency partnerships, advertising and citizenship.
- Media – What is one of the most common issues we as marketers face – that we aren’t able to reach the right audience at the right time through the right medium. For decades, advertisers have relied on catchy taglines and clever creative to penetrate through the sea of distractions that surround all of us. As explained by Pritchard, marketers need to be focused on shifting away from an advertising strategy of mass waste to a more personalized approach. Marketers must learn how to form an individualized connection by properly identifying the right market through the channel that holds their attention the most at the right time, whether this is done through mobile, traditional or unconventional methods.
- Agency Partnership – In an effort to both cut costs and be closer to the brand message, Pritchard talked about how marketers need to “get our own hands on the keyboard,” meaning they need to focus more of the advertising budget and strategy to in-house talent who is more aware of the brand needs and messaging, rather than an expansive portfolio of agency partners.
- Citizenship – Pritchard also said that marketers have an obligation to do more than just fill the airways and web browsers with clutter. As millennials are becoming more active in social and political spheres, brands must also be aware of the climate and be bold in their stances and messaging in order to promote a more inclusive and collaborative world.
As an example, Pritchard showed a two-minute P&G campaign titled, “The Talk”, highlighting the stigmas and prejudices which still exist towards the African American community. The ad scored over 1.9 billion media impressions, over 5,400 downloads, and sparked nationwide conversation about the effects of racial bias in America. Marketing can be a force for good in the world, and the era of multinational corporations sitting on the sidelines with regards to social issues appears to be over.
The world is indeed changing, and so too is the way that we consume media, but just because disruption is prevalent doesn’t mean that it can’t be utilized both effectively and ethically. The companies that will succeed in marketing in the future will be the ones that are as self-aware as they are creative, and as agile in the face of changing culture as they are consistent to their identity. Disruption exists all around us, and as Pritchard shared, it is up to marketers to take back control and become true entrepreneurs for their brand.