“Mass Disruption”: What P&G and MasterCard Have to Say About Current Marketing Trends

P&G’s chief brand officer discusses the importance of marketing in a time of “mass disruption,” saying it’s time to get smart, get lean, and get equal.

The face of marketing is rapidly evolving. This is no secret. Companies of all industries and sizes from social media, to startups, as well as the bigger players are learning that it’s time toss out the window what was originally believed to be effective marketing strategies; with the political and social environment of the world being anything but stagnant, consumers’ beliefs are transcending into the market place. As a result, expectations of companies’ behaviors are becoming forefront in consumer purchasing decisions.

An article by Marketing Week touched on some topics presented by Chief Brand officer of P&G, Marc Pritchard, at Cannes Lions International Festivity of Creativity. The festival, celebrating female initiatives and programs such as #SeeItBeIt and #SeeHer, saw a variety of presentations from journalists and chief creative officers on how to combat invisible barriers before women.

Pritchard took it one step further, re-examining marketing practices overall, as well as the changes that need to be made; He started by saying that marketing is facing what he calls “mass disruption.”

“We’re reinventing media from mass blast to mass one-to-one, we’re getting advertising from less push to more pull, we’re reinventing agency partnerships from less outsourcing to more of our people’s hands on the keyboard. We’re reinventing marketing to be a force for good and a force for growth.” Pritchard went on to add that P&G is cutting out waste, reassessing and cutting their investments in digital media. With a greater amount of data on advertising available, P&G has recognized its need to enhance precision, already having cut 30% on digital waste and increased precision with consumers by 60% (Marketing Week).

P&G isn’t alone of course. MasterCard CMO Raja Rajamannar is echoing many of the thoughts and concerns of P&G. However, what Rajamannar believes is a major challenge is hiring the right people, and by right people, he means those who are up to date with technology and understand data. “…While totally being aware of and conscious of consumer privacy,” Rajamannar explains, “You need data to really do precision marketing. At the end of the day you’re not doing marketing for marketing’s sake.”

MasterCard CMO discusses also the importance of curriculum, and those who are studying Marketing today in higher education. He argues that many institutions are teaching “archaic” principles, impairing students from learning what is actually happening and relevant today.

Referring back to P&G, Pritchard ended his talk with gender equality, not only in the workplace, but in marketing as well. According to the Association of National Advertisers’ #SeeHer project, 20% of 40,000 adverts portrayed women inaccurately. Pritchard, upon this finding added, “I don’t think sex sells. I think it might be just the opposite, because these are negative and inaccurate portrayals. There’s a business case for equality. If you just take the pay gap, women are paid 20% less than men for exactly the same job, it’s outrageous. If we close that gap McKinsey estimates that will add $28tn to the world economy, that’s purchasing power. That’s good for growth. Advertising that is more gender equal has a 10% increase in trust rating and a 26% increase in sales growth.”


Image Source: Forbes

With recent topics in discussion such as the #MeToo movment, concerns of environmental health, and other pressing issues, consumers are becoming more aware of their purchasing power as well as desires for transparency and ethical conduct with brands. In recognizing this, marketers don’t only have the chance to connect and meet consumers’ needs but evolve marketing and business practices. Pritchard’s thoughts are certainly in line with this, understanding that it is time for marketing to get smart, lean, and equal, in the face of “mass disruption.”

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to think about:

  • What are some examples of ways marketing managers can “get smart, lean, and equal” other than what was discussed above?
  • What exactly does Pritchard mean by “mass disruption”?
  • What strategies might a marketing manager use to shape their company’s culture in order to understand and meet the current needs and desires of consumers?