Procter & Gamble is going head-to-head with an 800-pound gorilla.

 Their game plan is to spend less.

Amazon – and other major players dedicated to the digital advertising and retail spaces – are eating the lunch of some of the planet’s biggest competing brands.

Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser across its 50 brands, was forced to reassess their approach to digital marketing management in an effort to get more effective, efficient, and competitive with their marketing spend.

So they set a goal: Save $400 million annually by changing the way they work with agencies.

First, to reduce dependence on outside talent, they slashed the number of agencies they work with globally from 6,000 to 2,500.

The plan is to increase the percentage of creative roles working on their accounts, while simultaneously reducing the number of account managers, planners, and media buyers.

And they’ll bring as much of that talent in-house as they can.

A Focus on Creative Agility

P&G has already seen success by instituting a fast, focused, agile approach to campaign management using small in-house teams made up of creatives from different agencies. It’s created more accountability with agencies, and a more personal and creative approach to problem solving problems while maximizing efficiency.

That reduced dependency on outside agencies comes with a price: in-house talent, especially non-creatives like account managers and buyers, need to up their digital marketing game if they’re going to contribute successfully to this fast-moving model.

An Investment in Training

In a digital environment where “there is more mass reach, but with one-to-one precision,” it’s critical for these new teams to be fast and smart. With fewer managers juggling more creatives, communication is key; those managers need the vocabulary and insight to ask the right questions, and make the best decisions.

That’s why P&G is investing in their own employees, so they can get the best of both worlds with in-house knowledge and agency interaction.

Mark Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G, plans to train existing employees in core digital marketing disciplines, allowing them “to optimize digital media, with social media and search…to get the best reach and cost per reach.”

 But P&G isn’t alone in their struggle to manage agencies and creatives.

“I don’t know what questions to ask!”

I hear this from too many brand managers; they’re tired of getting the same report month after month, and not understanding how to use the data effectively.

The problem looks the same from company to company:

  1. The agency presents the monthly report.
  2. The brand rep isn’t sure which questions to ask, or what to do with the report. So they say “Great, thanks.” And file it away.
  3. Wash, rinse repeat.

Fortunately, I’m talking to them because they and their companies are invested in being competitive in digital marketing.

In my experience, it’s not that the brand rep or the agency are doing anything wrong.

It’s that the expectations aren’t clear, and the knowledge level is lacking, on both sides. Not knowing which questions to ask, or how to respond to any questions, creates paralysis. Nothing changes, because there’s no action. 

But when your team is empowered with the skills to seek efficiencies in media spending, the meeting changes drastically:

  • The agency presents the monthly report.
  • The brand rep asks “Have we tested different search ad headlines?” or “How many ad groups are we running?” or “How is the conversion rate trending trailing 90 days?”
  • The agency says “Can we get back to you with answers?”
  • Now there is direction and they’re working towards a goal.

When your employees are trained to ask the right question, you empower them to manage efficient campaigns with powerful reach and meaningful results.

Help Your Team Ask The Right Questions

What training should your team focus on to respond to data challenges? Let’s find out.

Contact me for complimentary access to a readiness assessment from OMCP, the digital marketing industry’s leading testing and certification body.

You’ll learn where their strengths lie, where their skills need a boost, and how to design a plan that empowers them to make smart, measurable, data-driven decisions that help you meet and exceed your business goals.

Let’s accelerate your career!