For P&G, Will The Revolution Be Digitized? Not The Way You Might Think

 Last week’s announcement by P&G CMO Mark Pritchard that it intends to cut marketing costs in part by shifting money from TV to digital sounds like a possible revolution in the marketer’s traditional TV-centric approach. I agree with my colleague Tracy Stokes that this is not the end of TV.

Nor is it the beginning of a new drive for CPG brands to build digitally based one-to-one, CRM-style customer relationships.

But it is an opportunity for interactive marketers to increase their presence and impact on brand teams if they look ahead of the curve on how the increasing digitization of media, adoption of new devices, and impact of big data will have on TV advertising. Interactive marketers should position themselves to lead brands in the future by adding the tools and concepts of mass branding to their skill sets, then mapping their career path to these changes:

  • Today: Brands like Tide and Bounty still thrive with a brand strategy rooted in mass reach and emotive messaging. Now that is best delivered by TV, but Internet advertising has played the role of reach extender for years. The growth of online video should enhance this role but interactive marketers risk losing control of this medium unless they set aside their traditional action metrics and learn to speak mass media metrics with their colleagues.
  • Tomorrow: Digital will become more important as the Splinternet further fragments media consumption. But tablets and smartphones offer more than reach extension through complementary experiences that will key off the TV ad. Traditionally trained TV experts don’t have the conceptual framework to envision these opportunities; interactive marketers who can plan the reach and design the experiences will have an edge.
  • Beyond: Set-top box data will change TV advertising, making it targetable and addressable, skills that interactive marketers grow up on but are foreign to mass media mavens. This new world will require marketers who can straddle a planning process that optimizes reach to a niche audience defined by behavioral as well as demographic data.

I believe it is far easier for an interactive marketer to acquire the knowledge of mass media management than for the mass marketers to acquire the mindset and technology skills of interactivity.

Interactive marketers: the opportunity is there if you will take it. Will you?