P&G Layoffs Signal Focus on Digital Industry

Last week was a tremendous change, giant marketer P&G announces 1600 layoffs as they reduce jobs in various roles, and instead shifting budget to digital marketing. The CEO, when pressed, indicates a strong focus on digital marketing, citing:

“In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that return on investment of the advertising when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient” -Bob McDonald, Chairman-CEO, P&G

Yet this is a trend, as P&G had previously cut advertising spend on soap operas on traditional TV, and continues to grow their social marketing efforts such as the wildy successful Old Spice campaign franchise.

Three Industry Impacts:
The industry should see this as a bellwether moment. This spending giant has significantly shifted funding towards digital marketing, and marketers should take note as it indicates that digital marketing will:

See an increase in spend in overall digital marketing. Overall this is an indicator of continued growth towards digital which includes mobile, web and social. In fact, a recent report indicates the overall digital spend to be $40.6 billion. Yet within this, mobile is a fast mover with a growth rate of 50.2%, to a mere $1.8 billion, while social technology and service will rise by 33.3%, to $2.1 billion.

Makes marketing accountable, through analytics and tracking. Unlike traditional mass advertising and carpet bombing styles of marketing, digital marketing can be instantly tracked providing analytics to decision makers, and eventually helping marketers to course correct an effort in real time. Expect future generation analytics software will start to be predictive –rather than just historical.

Will need to integrate paid, owned, and earned. Yet despite the shift towards digital, the savvy agencies and marketers are already thinking in an integrated fashion to use these tools cross channel, cross experience, and cross audience. We even saw for one of the first times, P&G is experimenting cross-brand, by inserting Old Spice into the Bounce category.

As Jeremy Epstein notes, this all comes on the eve of this week’s massive Facebook IPO, where most revenues are generated by advertisements on this social network. The savvy already know to get with the changing times, or get ready to dust off the resume. Update: Thanks to Gerry Corbett for first bringing this to my attention during a conference we were both at.