P&G Executive Invigorated With Online Ad Mix

CHICAGO–Unlike other consumer packaged goods executives, Procter & Gamble Co.’s Ted McConnell came to praise online marketing, not to bury it.

The manager of P&G’s Innovation consumer connect program told keynote session attendees at yesterday’s Ad:tech Chicago that they had more innovation in their DNA than any other marketing executives. Yet he lamented the industry’s lack of cohesion and common standards of measurement so evident in older media like television and print.

“We keep acting like the competition is us, whereas the competition is traditional media,” McConnell said. “We need reliable measurement. I think, basically, the interactive industry’s got sushi, but you’re selling raw fish.”

Online advertising spend, at $9.6 billion last year, amounts to only 3.7 percent of the total $264 billion spent over the same period. This is the case 10 years after the Internet became a viable advertising medium.

McConnell said interactive is a media that has driven so many things. But where is the respect? Total media expenditure grew $32 billion from 2001 to 2004, while interactive grew by just $1.5 billion from 2000 to 2004.

Players in the interactive marketing space must develop apples-to-apples measurement to track consumer engagement with marketing. In the old days, TV ads moved the needle right after airing. Today’s fragmented media, marketing and audience make the tracking of ads more difficult.

“The new marketing broke the old measures,” McConnell said.

One of the most fundamental shifts today is that consumers have learned to filter ads. People actively avoid advertising, he said, adding that the brain is the real filter. In fact, unaided recall in advertising dropped from 64 percent in 1960 to 9 percent in 2001.

“Even P&G can’t afford to spend 30 times more to reach the same audience,” he said.

McConnell urged marketers to push for transparency in the marketplace to help advertisers determine how interactive marketing worked, its benefits, creative leverage across channels and impact.

AC Nielsen’s measurement of TV was held up as the gold standard of measurement of that medium since its launch in 1970. The Nielsen TV measurement is reliable — unlike interactive marketing’s new measure for each new vehicle — and has proved consistent over decades.

“That is a very comforting thing for a 28-year-old brand manager,” McConnell said.

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