Marketing becomes Brand Management at P&G

This week at Proctor & Gamble Marketing has become Brand Management. Thanks to Adage for breaking the story. Seems to me that whilst these changes at the worlds largest advertiser are bound to get all marketing commentators blogging and tweeting about the change (me included) not much has actually changed. Marc Pritchard, the man behind the change and P&G’s Chief Brand Building Officer is still tasked with describing and delivering a brand promise and ensuring the customer experience matches that promise and as P&G state themselves there will still be individuals responsible for strategies, plans and results.

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This move by P&G is part of a wider organisational change announced earlier this year when the companies CFO John Moeller stated

“We continue to drive marketing effectiveness and productivity through an optimized media mix with more digital, mobile, search and social presence, improved message clarity and greater non-advertising marketing efficiency. We expect marketing spending to come in below prior-year levels due to productivity movements in marketing and advertising costs”

So this organisational change like many is a cost reduction exercise masked in the corporate speak of simplicity, speed and  effectiveness. What is interesting however is to analyse the 4 functions P&G deem to be now part of brand management when we look to the future of all marketing organisations at both the SMB and Enterprise level. To me these are the skill sets that will be needed in any company of any size going forward.

1. Brand Management (formerly known as Marketing)

This person will be the expert project manager. Adept at managing multiple stakeholder groups and priorities and driving execution through both the use of internal and external resources/agency partners. Many of these individuals will likely have a broad marketing education and experience but in today’s world it I essential that these individuals do not base their strategic thinking of the traditional 4P’s of marketing, taught in business schools and organisations over the last 50 years. Instead in a world where 70% of the buyer journey is completed before interacting directly with any organisation it is essential that instead of Product, Place, Price and Promotion they move their thinking to Solution, Access, Value and promotion encapsulated by Richard Ettenson, Eduardo Conrado, and Jonathan Knowles in the SAVE framework, published in Harvard Business Review, last year.

2. Consumer & Marketing Knowledge (formerly known as Market Research)

Most marketers are creative souls but people filling these roles in the age of big or even small data will need to come from the academic world of mathematics, statistics or engineering. Whilst market research will always need to combine qualitative and quantitive data the sheer amount of data available today will necessitate every organisation having a data scientist who enjoys both collating and analysing data from various sources in order to provide actionable insights.

3. Communications (formerly known as PR or External Relations)

Marc Prichard, formerly Advertising Manager then Marketing Director and now P&Gs Global Brand Building Officer and the man behind this organisational change has always been a big fan of PR. In 2010 he said,

“This is PR’s time to shine…PR is the key for all marketers looking to build meaningful relationships with consumers. When integrated effectively those relationships turn consumers into customers and customers into brand ambassadors”

However at the same time he sounded a warning tha in order for PR to sit atop the marketing food chain it needed to stake its claim in the digital land grab, know how to build brands and be able to create and drive big ideas.

“You have never had more potential to be fully baked in to the marketing mix or to lead brand-building efforts…You have to step up and make clear what your capabilities are”

Assuming communications professionals can do this which will vary between organisations and industries I see these individuals possessing the same skill sets as they always have. The ability to develop creative ideas, write great copy, both spot and tell good stories within and outside their organisations and most importantly be great relationship builders in both the digital and physical worlds.

4. Design (still known as Design and sometimes Visual Identity)

With the combination of  increasing product commoditization, a struggle to get noticed in the attention economy and the rise in importance of the visual value proposition, it is perhaps this skill set which will be elevated most within marketing organisations. Just look at how Apple, through the efforts of Jonny Ive have been able to differentiate through design. Often outsourced to external agencies I believe design will come to be viewed as a core internal competence for many organisations and these individuals will be some of the most creative talents on the marketing team. A deep understanding of how to connect emotionally with their organisations audiences will continue to be key as we come to realise in todays digital world we are no longer in the realms of B2C or B2B but we are actually in the P2P (People2People) business.

One addition I would make to this team would be the addition of a Marketing Technologist who can help all of the above individuals, understand and take advantage of the plethora of emerging technologies available to help these individuals achieve their goals. As Gartner predicted a few years ago by 2017 the CMO will be spending more on IT than the CTO. If this turns out to be the case they better have people on their team who can help them understand and use the kit they are buying.

So there you have it the four functions/skillsets of todays P&G marketing organisation and a framework for how many marketing organisations will need to look in the future. One further reflection I would make is this type of structure is just fine for the likes of P&G and other large organisations but if you are in the process of reviewing or appointing a marketing leader/resource in your small business, which represents over 90% of all companies globally, don’t expect them to have all the above talents…it is perhaps best to isolate from the very beginning which skill sets they have and more importantly which are missing. You maybe lucky with the marketing talent you have but in most cases I believe in this context Jesus does not exist. As I stated earlier there is not much real change here, just a recognition of the skill sets needed to successfully organise and compete in today’s world. In this changing world, the biggest question for all marketing leaders to answer remains the leadership classic (via Jim Collins) “…do I have the right people on my bus.” Before we can plan what to do we need to know first who will be doing it. If you are driving the bus at your organisation… are you happy with the passengers aboard?

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