P&G has been leading the way on the invention and reinvention of consumer-centric brand marketing for more than 178 years. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to invent my own marketing career at what is now the largest consumer goods company in the world.
As a former P&Ger, I was invited to attend the mid-May P&G Alumni Network global conference in Miami, where I heard firsthand about the reinvention happening around the world with senior P&G alums, as well as at P&G now.
“With all of the rapid changes happening in the business and marketing world, and reinvented consumer behavior as a result of all of the digital, social media, and mobile technology transformations, our Miami organizing committee themed this year’s conference as a ‘Time To Reinvent,’” said Ed Tazzia, chairman of the 36,000-member-strong P&G Alumni Network.
In attendance were 70 P&G alum speakers, including the CEOs and CMOs of dozens of Fortune 500 companies. Much of the conversation centered around how these executives are reinventing themselves, their companies, and their brand marketing approach to engage today’s mobile-empowered and in-charge consumers. Sound familiar?
The topic I thought most resonated with CMOs came from “The Next Tech Wave” panel, led by Ivy Cohen, president and CEO of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications. Her three panelists were Lisa Gevelber, VP of marketing at Google; Bracken Darrell, president and CEO of Logitech; and Vince Hudson, VP of marketing strategy and operations at Samsung Electronics USA.
Panelists were asked to share how they are helping their companies to reinvent technology and the way people live, as well as “what they see as the next wave of technology that will have the biggest transformative impact,” Cohen said. Three main themes emerged:
1. Mobile is transforming our lives and will continue to have an enormous impact on how we communicate and live.
2. Marketing in the technology sector requires an immediacy for decisions and getting into the marketplace, requiring marketers to make decisions with less data and time. This is likely the way that all business and marketing is moving, as the speed of information, access to data, and introduction of new products and improvements continues at warp speed.
3. Google, Samsung, Logitech, and their competitors are part of a connected, integrated ecosystem. They all have formal partnerships and organic relationships with countless other businesses and individuals whose resources, tools, and innovations affect what they will need to produce and prepare for moving into future generations of technology.
Gevelber’s insights, in particular, hammered home key points about new consumer behavior that every CMO needs to be aware of. All marketers in every vertical need to respond by reinventing how they engage and interact.
Some highlights from Gevelber’s talk:
• “Life today for all of us is lived in moments. And, today, so many of these moments are mobile–whether we’re enjoying a new playlist, sharing a vacation photo with family, or checking in on what our friends are up to. Smartphone penetration in the U.S. is now at 75%.” Gevelber called out this Google video to make her point.
• “Things will never ever be the same again. Most consumers are more likely to reach for their smartphone versus their keys or wallet when they leave their house. And they reach for their phones hundreds of times every day. Two-thirds of consumers sleep with their smartphones next to their beds. And Google announced a few weeks ago that mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.”
• “Sometimes you are just checking on texts, time, emails, or social media. But then there are times that really matter. These are the moments that matter on our phones–mobile moments. These are the moments where we are trying to learn something, to do something, to buy something, to discover something, to make a decision. ... These are the moments that have changed consumer behavior. For any company out there, these moments are the new battleground for minds, hearts, and dollars.”
• “These changes in consumer behavior have a huge impact on the consumer’s purchase journey, which impacts how marketers need to do their work to reach their consumers. ... The key is understanding all of the mobile moments for your brand and how your consumers are making decisions. At P&G I learned about the ‘moments of truth,’ but now there aren’t just a few moments of truth in our consumers’ lives–there are an unbelievable number of moments that matter.”
• “What matters in these moments aren’t demographics, which is what we used to use to target people. What matters is intent. It is more important to know that I am looking for a new electric car than to know how old I am or where I went to college. So, in this new world of mobile, intent trumps identity. And immediacy trumps loyalty. The brand that is there for me in the moment with the relevant answer wins my business. Your brand will lose out to the brands that are searchable and relevant when consumers do a mobile search to solve their problem or achieve their goal. This is now a truism for any type of business in any vertical. No exceptions.”
• “This shift is real. You may be thinking this sounds futuristic, but there are some brands that have already figured this out and have commercialized activity. One of my favorites is Sephora, which has 2,000 stores. Sephora saw their customers using mobile phones in their stores. You might think that these shoppers were showrooming to compare prices. Rather than spending a lot of money and time hypothesizing about what their consumers were doing, they did something smart: They asked them. Turns out, these shoppers were looking for reviews from other shoppers, and they were looking for the shade that they bought last time. Sephora asked them: ‘What content would be the most useful and helpful to you in your shopping experience?' The answer was, ‘Help me select the right shade.’ So Sephora’s mobile app focuses on that content as the entry point to engage their consumers to improve the shopping experience and increase average check.”
At the end of the day, technology is just a means to make better human connections. In our mobile age, the Internet is just a touch away and consumer search is seconds away from a purchase. The question is, what do you know about your consumers’ new behaviors and what is your brand doing to make sure you are there in the important moments that matter most to your consumers to win their business?