P&G is focusing its marketing spend on digital

Speaking on an earnings call today (24 January), chief finance officer Jon Moeller said P&G is continuing to increase its presence in the digital, social and mobile spaces, with spend close to 30 per cent globally. He said the shift is down to the higher potential return from digital, with P&G able to target it’s messaging more effectively.

“Digital allows very effective and tighter targeting of a message to a consumer. If you think simplistically about men and women, in TV advertising that is going to everybody. You can much more carefully target content to a recipient in a digital environment,” he added.

The focus on marketing efficiency comes as P&G, which owns brands including Olay, Pantene and Duracell, saw sales growth decline in the three months to the end of December. Revenues were up 0.5 per cent year on year to $22.28bn, down from 2 per cent growth in the previous two quarters. Profits were down almost 16 per cent to $3.43bn.

P&G has previously spoken about its commitment to digital marketing, with the firm’s global brand building officer Marc Pritchard recently speaking about how it has shifted its mindset to “digital back” – campaigns that start in the digital world and build back into the rest of the marketing mix. P&G has previously said that is spends around 35 per cent of its US media budget on digital but has not released a figure for the business overall.

Moeller said digital-first marketing campaigns for recently released products had generated strong consumer interest. For example ads for new Old Spice products including men’s body spray have already generated 700 millions impressions, the vast majority of those free through social media.

The latest ad for Duracell batteries, which shows a deaf NFL player overcoming barriers by trusting his inner power, had “high online awareness”, generating 1.7 billion consumer impressions in the 2 weeks since it launched on 10 January in the US.

Moeller said digital will continue to be an “area of focus” for P&G moving forward, although its aim is to launch comprehensive campaigns across all the media that consumers want to access.

Rival Unilever, which owns brands such as Dove, Vaseline and Marmite, said in a call earlier this week that it invested 17 per cent of its media spend in digital in 2013.

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