Skip to main content

Customer Experience and Design

Has digital marketing flatlined?

Today I herald to you from my hometown of the Queen City (otherwise known as the midwestern gem of Cincinnati). In the business world Cincinnati is often known as the “Home of Procter & Gamble”. However, it is also home to an even more important, and oftentimes more surprising, business engine.


After New York City and Chicago, Cincinnati has the largest presence of marketing and brand building talent in the country. This is the main reason why Cincinnati, like the megapolises of Los Angeles, New York, D.C., Seattle, is often the generator of national Twitter trends. Here in the Queen City, we have a large family of marketing and branding firms, from dunnhumby to Nielsen to Possible. The list really goes on and on. It has been great fun growing my own skill set within this community of creatives and bringing these practices into the world of healthcare.

It is these two things that my city is known for, P&G and digital marketing, that bring me to my next point: digital marketing is dead. In fact, Marc Pritchard, Global Branding Officer for Procter & Gamble, recently was quoted saying

The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead.

That very statement could have caused we, the creators of creative in the Queen City, to erupt into endless rounds of debate speckled with witticisms (that’s our specialty, really), but then he continued with:

Now, it’s just brand building.

What Pritchard was saying is that digital brand building has become so pervasive, so much a part of our daily exposure to brand, that it no longer deserves its own designation. Here are the points he was making in summary:

  • The average amount of time consumers spend with digital media every day could surpass television viewing this year.
  • As a result, as the world’s largest advertiser, P&G now spends more than 1/3 of its U.S. marketing budget on digital media.
  • P&G is now focused on launching some ad campaigns in the digital sphere rather than following up traditional marketing with a digital component as an afterthought.
  • This new mindset is creating a tremendous shift in the P&G ethos. Instead of focusing on medium they are “freeing up” their minds to focus on building creative ideas that then come to life throughout all mediums (search, social, mobile, PR, and yes, even TV).
  • P&G is finding that by starting in the digital world and building their way back to the rest of the marketing mix, they are building brand equities, sales, and profits. Remember, this is the first company to have a viral social media campaign by way of Isaiah Mustafa and Old Spice.
  • Advances in digital technology have made it easier for companies to reach consumers almost anywhere, but capturing their attention still depends on coming up with the right message.

In the end, Pritchard contends that at the very soul of all marketing efforts is The Idea. Ideas will always be the lifeblood of great campaigns. Digital tools just give marketers a new way to spread ideas faster and wider than we could have even imagined before. With the digital medium, all brands have the chance to be successful beyond what could have been imagined before. Think about digital for what it actually is: ” a tool for engaging people with fresh, creative campaigns that make consumers think and feel and laugh.”

In the world of digital marketing, retail and consumer brands are oftentimes the leaders in the industry race towards winning over the hearts and minds of consumers. Healthcare often falls way to the back in this race. Few healthcare organizations are considered leaders in this space, and many more haven’t even started. Fact of the matter is, if you want to market, then you need to use those mediums that your consumers are using to engage. There is 85% US adult adoption of mobile technology, and that same percentage goes onto the internet daily. Digital marketing is marketing. As Pritchard points out, if you are not marketing digitally, then it could soon be that, where consumer engagement is concerned, you are not marketing at all.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Melody Smith Jones

More from this Author

Follow Us