Is forging direct relationships with consumers the way forward?

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Source: WARC

Marketers should “start thinking about a world with no ads”, according to Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Procter & Gamble.

“I would say the days of advertising as we know it today are numbered, and we need to start thinking about a world with no ads,” Pritchard told delegates at CES 2019.

The rise of ad-free environments – be it over-the-top streaming platforms or voice-enabled speakers – coupled with the use of ad blocking tools and shifts away from linear broadcast media are all contributing to this trend.

One way companies like P&G can engage with consumers is via smart products and solutions, like Oral-B’s web-enabled toothbrush and Olay’s Skin Advisor digital platform, both of which offer personalised beauty to customers.

Forging direct relationships with consumers in this manner can “enable us to start achieving the vision that we’ve been trying to do for a while – which is move from wasteful mass marketing to mass one-to-one brand-building”, Pritchard said.

“And when you have these kinds of technologies embedded in the products, it actually makes them more central to the brand-building experience. I think it could eventually replace advertising as we know it.”

If traditional advertising is under pressure, Pritchard reported that a hunger for enhanced utility and personalisation will be accompanied by a further desire among consumers to learn about what a brand stands for.

“We have a functional aspect of our brand and an emotional aspect of our brand,” Pritchard explained – a component of the marketing mix that should not be neglected.

The top marketer of the world’s biggest advertiser suggested that a holistic focus on experiences is central to how P&G will pursue this aspiration.

“What we think about is every aspect of the consumer experience and trying to make it better: the product, the package, the communication, the in-store, the online, the in use, the after use, and how it all comes together,” he said.

(For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: P&G’s Pritchard considers “a world with no ads”.)