Simon Gwynn
Sep 14, 2017

Marc Pritchard: We're at the starting line of the next wave of brand building

At Dmexco, P&G's chief brand officer discussed digital transparency and mass one-to-one marketing in the shadow of an elephant in the room: the apparent lack of impact of $600 billion in marketing spend.

Marc Pritchard: We're at the starting line of the next wave of brand building

Procter & Gamble's chief brand officer Marc Pritchard used a keynote speech at Dmexco to outline three steps the marketing industry should take to respond to the challenges of today.

The first of Prichard's three actions was transforming digital transparency, the issue he outlined in detail in a high profile speech in January, and which has dominated the agenda of the digital marketing world since.

Pritchard said he believed the industry was 60 percent of the way to implementing the five things necessary to usher in a new era of digital transparency: adopt a single viewability standard, implement third party verification, transparent agency contracts, TAG-certified ad fraud prevention, and ensuring brand safety.

The changes that have been made so far mean that "now we can assess the true value of our media investments," he said, adding: "As the fog began to clear, what we’re finding is kind of illuminating."

Pritchard said that marketers needed to wake up to realities like ads on social media being "kind of annoying in that context".

He said that TAG-certified fraud prevention had led P&G to stop buying media from the "long tail" of websites, which he said were riddled with bot fraud: "It proved the old adage, you get what you pay for – in this case bot farms."

Pritchard’s other two steps concerned the form and function of marketing: he called for marketers to adopt "mass one-to-one marketing", taking advantage of all that data can offer to make marketing as relevant and timely to individuals as possible; and for advertising to be a force for good in the world.

He said: "Marketing and the marketing world got a big wake up call this year. Digital media turned 21 years old, surpassing TV as the number one form of advertising, and continuing its journey to completely transforming the media industry.

"But leadership brings big responsibility and when we collectively raised the bar on transparency it became clear digital media still had some growing pains to work though.

"While digital media matured, Moore’s Law of doubling computing power every 18 months roared along, and the rumbling of the next wave of transformation grew louder.

"Wherever you turn, massive databases are forming with unique consumers identities. AI is accelerating how brands connect with consumers. And at last, the powerful dream of mass one-to-one marketing is becoming a reality.

"As the world became more troubled with environmental, social and political upheaval, it was brands and companies that transformed themselves into responsible global citizens, with digital technology paving the way.

"Social media is fuelling a new era of corporate citizenship. Shining a light on truth and giving brands the chance to use their voice for good."

All of these factors needed to be considered to tackle what for Pritchard, seems to be the elephant in the room: the inefficiency and lack of impact of marketing as a whole.

"Perhaps the loudest alarm is that despite spending $600 billion a year on marketing, our collective industries still aren’t growing enough, holding stubbornly on to low single digital market growth," he said. "You might say that never have so many done so much for so little."

Campaign UK

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