Sunday, March 18, 2012

BIG’s Blog: Going Digital

There are a lot of people with opinions – including me – but the people I listen to most carefully are those who are actually responsible for deciding where to spend marketing dollars and are ultimately accountable for the results of those spending decisions. That includes a lot of you fundraisers as well.

A person who also carries that joint responsibility is Marc Pritchard, the head of marketing for Procter & Gamble. All P&G brands have to grow every year, but Marc Pritchard views his number one job as figuring out how to spend less marketing dollars while still delivering more revenue.

Mr. Pritchard thinks the way to do that for P&G is to spend more efficiently, leaning more heavily on lower-cost digital marketing, and easing up somewhat on pricy broadcast ads. His goal is to cut $1 billion from the P&G marketing budget primarily by moving to lower-cost digital. P&G’s 2011 advertising spend was $9.3 billion.

But just because they are the mighty Procter & Gamble doesn’t mean they knew digital anymore than your organization when they first encountered it. Pritchard, who became chief of global marketing in 2008, explained to the Wall Street Journal’s Emily Glazer how he approached building a staff to support digital.

“I took a small group of people when I first got there to learn everything we could about digital and get that through the company. Search was the first thing; we mastered it … The same thing with digital banner ads and now social media …”

What can nonprofit fundraisers learn from Marc Pritchard at P&G?

First, before you move, put together a plan. Understanding that digital is important is one thing, but committing in public to cut your budget by $1 billion based on digital savings isn’t something a senior marketing executive of a public company does without knowing he can get there . . . and his financial plan is backing up his statement.

Second, understanding that digital is important means nothing if you have no competent expertise in-house. Start with a small, dedicated team and build from there.

Third, develop competence in digital by mastering one digital area at a time. For fundraisers this might mean engaging a digital agency for a period of time while your in-house team builds experience.


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