Marketing has changed with time, P&G learns a lesson


‘Marketing, whatever the definition is, is one part of a business; a small one. There is no point in becoming a marketer unless you understand how business is done. You are you; there is no point in becoming just an arm of your body! You won’t have existed then.’

These were the words of my mentor when we first discussed about Marketing. A mentor, who un-complicated my outlook towards business.

He once said, “Don’t call yourself a marketer; because that’s when you limit yourself, your capabilities of learning and narrow your horizon towards having great business mind.”

These were the words that hit my mind while I was reading about P&G laying off 1600 Marketing Staff , for they figured out a cheaper way to market their products. Yeah, Proctor and Gamble who was known for their Marketing efforts and budgets; though it didn’t surprise me!

Read article here

P&G had an average budget of $10billion in all media advertising, monitoring advertising response, watching sales response, and running sophisticated simulations, hiring best of school grads. All this for almost no ROI.

YoY 24% more on advertising and only get a sales lift of 6%; and whether their marketing / advertising wing had anything to do with it – no one had any idea.

It seems weird when someone questions the very best practices of the industry and counters that advertisements aren’t working. Though it’s just an idea, however I believe advertising spending has a saturation point; after a while, you’re just reaching the same audience for the umpteenth time. And of course, Saatchi & Saatchi and O&M’s of the world are going to tell you to keep making and running their ads – that’s what they sell.

With time, we have seen a shift in media type preferences, changes in way of consumption of information and changes in consumers themselves. Nothing has remained same as it was a decade or half a decade ago. Most of the books and great authors, as they say, have just gone irrelevant to see a new tide where consumers don’t respond the way companies what them to.

The new media, the social media has taken the place of those 1600 staff where P&G believes can save billions of money and still sell as much. After the old spice campaign and several others, P&G believes they can still manage the demand and supply in the market. Whether laying of such a workforce (as HR term them as – Talented) is good or bad, is a different discuission topic.

The very basics of marketing can change, has changed; the business remains.

Satyam is a Consultant with Infosys Ltd. and editor / founder of When he is not talking about Digital Marketing or dreaming of CRM strategies, he can be found on a treadmill. He enjoys travelling, reading and listening to music! Catch up with him on twitter at @xatyam