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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

P&G Visits The Valley

The convergence of technology, media and marketing has been happening for some time with many brands experimenting with all manner of digital mechanisms to reach audiences and illuminate their brands. It is not often that we are privy to the inner thoughts of the industry marketing leaders.

This week, however, word came that Procter & Gamble, the venerable leader in all things consumer marketing has established a presence in Silicon Valley to get closer to the rapid innovation and emerging technologies. VentureBlog and others attended a P&G briefing at which P&G had some interesting impressions of Twitter (“it is best for one to many communications that are short bursts of timely information” but “it is not particularly relevant to what they are doing on the brand building and advertising side”) and Facebook (“a must-have for digital advertising and brand building”).

P&G’s revelation that it is taking social media so seriously is all the more striking in the context that only a year ago a senior P&G executive was quoted at a conference deriding social media’s impact as a marketing tool, saying among other things "What in heaven's name made you think you could monetize the real estate in which somebody is breaking up with their girlfriend?"

Of course, many questions persist including whether all P&G brands are right for social media, an essential question for a successful social media strategy. P&G didn’t comment on its specific brand plans but a quick look at Facebook reveals P&G brand Pringles has nearly 2.5 million more fans than Old Spice.

While P&G has declined to quantify its investment in Facebook activities it is clear that even the world’s leading global brands have noticed and are taking the potential social media seriously. Hopefully P&G’s investment in its digital adventure will pay off with more innovation in the Valley and among marketers. The enhanced visibility of the benefits and of measurable results will create further acceptance of these emerging technologies within the marketing mix and a new appreciation for the merits of an integrated approach to marketing.

Social media is here to stay (at least until the next big thing comes our way), so brands of all sizes might as well join the conversation.

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