The Tectonic Plates (of Marketing and Communications) are Shifting

Procter and Gamble will shift its
advertising dollars to incorporate a different mix in the future. On the
surface, this might not seem a big deal. Under the surface, however, when a
major marketer like P&G makes a shift away from traditional media to a new
mix of media, it’s like a shift in the earth’s tectonic plates. It won’t create
an earthquake overnight, but it’s an indication that something fundamental is
changing in the marketplace. What is changing is how people receive messages
and act on them. That’s pretty basic.

…consumers are
less responsive to
traditional media and
are embracing new
technologies that
empower them with
more conotrol…
–Jim Stengel
Procter & Gamble

Procter and Gamble is cutting back on its advertising on cable and broadcast television, according to an article in today’s Wall Street Journal. P&G will shift its advertising dollars to incorporate a different mix in the future. On the surface, this might not seem a big deal. Under the surface, however, when a major marketer like P&G makes a shift away from traditional media to a new mix of media, it’s like a shift in the earth’s tectonic plates. It won’t create an earthquake overnight, but it’s an indication that something fundamental is changing in the marketplace.

We must accept
the fact that
there is no
“mass” in “mass
media” anymore…
— Jim Stengel

When it’s P&G, you’ve got to take note. The company spent $2.5 billion on television advertising last year, the largest amount of any corporate advertiser. An article widely reported in the Journal this morning says P&G will cut cable television advertising by 25 percent and broadcast by 5 percent.

In a speech delivered February 12, 2004, Jim Stengel, Global Marketing Officer for Procter & Gamble, said “…consumers are less responsive to traditional media and are embracing new technologies that empower them with more control…”
His speech, delivered by video link, was interrupted by a TiVo demonstration, to underscore the point.

Stengel suggests three new marketing approaches:

  • holistic marketing–the use of more comprehensive techniques that include word-of-mouth, public relations, ownership of program content, influencer marketing, events (entertainment, sports) and in-store marketing. There is life beyond the 30-second spot.
  • permission marketing–working closely with consumers to know their needs and desires and being so friendly they ask you into their lives.
  • new forms of measurement–in the new media environment Stengel says different ways to measure communications effectiveness and satisfaction are needed. This is a pioneering effort because we’re not geared up to measure satisfaction in this new media world.

Simply put,
those who stay
loyal to the
past model will
be left behind.
–Jim Stengel

Stengel said two marks for the future will be partnerships and collaboration. He said P&G is looking for the “best and brightest to bring us new competencies we need.” This recognition is embodied in his claim that those organizations that don’t change to “better support the multiple deep competencies required to compete in this environment will be left behind.”

Now, what, you might ask, does this have to do with religious groups and their communication? My first, off-the-cuff reaction is that many local congregations are better at these “marketing” tactics that the major corporations. In addition, they offer something corporations can’t, namely, a supportive and caring community. Finally, they have opportunities to present their messages through in-church means that are much better than the capabilities of in-store marketing.

In addition, Mr. Stengel’s warning to corporate advertisers to find the competencies to compete in this new environment is also very appropriate. Too many local churches don’t recognize that they are competing for the mind space of individuals who are already overloaded with messages. Competition isn’t simply with the neighboring congregation down the street, it’s with television, radio, computer games, a variety of activities to engage and entertain.

Stengel puts it on the line, “Those who stay loyal to the past model will be left behind.”

Join the conversation!

Post a reply in the form below.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image