Digital marketing is "almost dead"

20 September 2013
COLOGNE: Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's global brand building officer, believes the digital marketing era is "almost over", arguing that marketers should instead now be thinking simply in terms of brand building.

Speaking at Dmexco, the Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference, he urged marketers, in comments reported by The Drum, to stop considering digital in terms of platforms and technology.

"We [Procter & Gamble] try and see it for what it is, which is a tool for engaging people with fresh, creative campaigns," he said, adding: "The era of digital marketing is over. It's almost dead. It's now just brand building. It's what we do."

The changing attitude now developing within P&G was, Pritchard noted, "freeing up our minds on building creative ideas that come to life through the mediums that we engage with every single day", including search, social, mobile, PR and TV.

Describing the company's strategy as "digital back", Pritchard explained how the best agencies now started campaigns in the digital world and then built back into the rest of the marketing mix.

As an example of how P&G had done this he cited a German campaign for a Braun electric shaver. At first ads ran online only and exceeded sales targets by factor of eight before a TV ad was aired. "This wasn't the digital component of the campaign," Pritchard added. "It was the campaign."

He argued that digital technology enabled brands to reach people and capture consumer imaginations in new ways, "but we can only do that if we have this one component that has been a constant since the beginning of brand building: an idea".

Great ideas, powered by insights, mattered now more than ever, he said, while cautioning that "brand insight shouldn't be something you change with every new campaign".

Pritchard's comments are reflected in the set-up for Warc's new case study competition: the Warc Prize for Social Strategy. The $10,000 prize is broader than a specific social media competition; it looks for 'social ideas' that use any platform.

Entrants to the Prize should show how they have driven social effects (conversation, sharing, participation or advocacy), and broader busines results.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff
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