Marc Pritchard says P&G will soon have slashed 'wasted' digital media spend by 50%

Marc Pritchard says P&G wants to slash 'wasted' digital media spend in half

Procter & Gamble's (P&G) top marketer Marc Pritchard has said the brand is seeking to slash the money it spends on "wasted media" by 50%, having already reduced the figure by 20% as part of its mammoth efficiency drive.

Discussing how the world's biggest advertiser planned to "reinvent media" in its ongoing quest for transparency, Prichard said the FMCG giant had decreased investment on inefficient media by one-fifth across the board since issuing a "wake up call" to the industry last year.

Progress so far, he asserted, has been achieved by moving away from "wasteful mass blasting" to instead concentrate on sharper targeting informed by its own datasets.

Pritchard outlined the firm's ambition to decrease the money it spends on ineffective digital ads in half, saying he was chasing an answer to the "elusive" John Wannamaker principle: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don't know which half."

Pritchard said: "We've already saved 20% in media waste across all mediums, and we're going after the elusive 50% that Wannamaker was seeking."

The chief marketing officer asserted: "[In 2017] transparency exposed substantial digital waste and P&G brought matters into its own hands by voting with its dollars."

Pritchard said in some cases P&G had already reduced spend by somewhere in the region of 20% to 50% with several big digital players and reinvested in "some of the better performing vehicles to deliver the outcomes we needed," including e-commerce and TV.

The move comes one year on from Pritchard's infamous speech imploring the industry to help clean up the "murky at best fraudulent at worse" digital supply chain.

As part of that mission, P&G announced a four-step plan to protect its own interests and foster greater transparency throughout the industry which included a sweeping review of every agency on its books and a multimillion cutback to digital marketing spend – which it later said had little impact on its bottom line.

During its financial update in February P&G put media agencies on alert once more by saying that it planned to slice its agency roster by 50% by the close of 2018 and further trim its media spend by automating more planning, buying and execution and bringing it in-house.

Speaking about the year ahead at the Isba conference today, Pritchard explained how internal investments in data management platforms (DMP) and internal analytics, coupled with a more considered approach to ad frequency has helped the Ariel, Gillette and Bounty owner sharpen its targeting to move away from a "spray and pray" approach to media.

Pointing to the Chinese market as an example, Pritchard said P&G had saved 30% of wasted digital media spend in that market while increasing digital reach by 60%.

P&G achieved this, he noted, by implementing a real-time propriety measurement system to glean data on what people were watching in their homes, ultimately delivering more precise analytics about exactly who, where and when the brand should be targeting.

In the US and the UK, P&G is experimenting with combining information from its own DMP – which covers 80% of the population with purchase data – to reach the right eyeballs.

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