P&G’s emphasis on digital falls flat

imagesUnless you have been on a remote island it was hard to miss the news that P&G intends to shed more than half of its brands.  According to P&G “some of our big brands are in industries that are not very attractive: they’re not growing or low margin or commodities. If it’s not a core brand – I don’t care whether it’s a $2 billion brand, it will be divested.”  So much for improving marketing with an emphasis on digital.

There was a lot of PR awhile back showing P&G’s instant digital war room where brand marketers could immediately take the pulse of consumers and the market.  The problem with this approach is that somebody, somewhere, forgot to tell the P&G people that in the supermarket buying decisions are often made at the point of purchase not online.

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P&G is often positioned as a world class marketer, but it seems that rather tan use marketing to differentiate their brands and give consumers a reason to purchase them they would rather sell them off as “commodities”. This, to me, is a failure on a lot of levels.

While I believe in digital marketing I also know that a lot of the money flowing into digital is being wasted because consumers are not researching products like batteries and potato chips.  Those decisions are being made at the point of purchase, in the aisle, by smart, savvy shoppers who are looking to save money.

Understanding that today’s shoppers are smart and want to save money is key but I wonder if P&G really was able to get into their heads to really understand them and then leverage the insights to improve the value to consumers.  It seems that this may not be the case and because of this many brands and people are going to pay the price.

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