Ten Lessons from America’s Top Marketer

May 5, 2015

by Dan Richards

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Ask people to name today’s top marketer and you will get responses like Apple, Facebook and Starbucks, with a few BMWs and Mercedes thrown in. But if you take a longer view of the past, different candidates emerge – iconic companies like Coca-Cola, Disney and McDonalds.

While these are all great companies, for its sheer consistency and breadth in building consumer brands, no one beats Procter & Gamble. The world’s largest consumer products company with global sales of $80 billion, P&G has 26 brands with sales over $1 billion and names like Tide, Crest and many others.

I started my career in consumer packaged goods. P&G’s marketing success provides 10 important lessons for financial advisors.

Lesson one: Start with the customer

P&G’s success starts with its focus on developing an unparalleled understanding of its customers. P&G was a pioneer in researching customer wants and needs and in understanding the customer decision-making process and post-purchase experience, going so far as to observe how customers use its products in their homes. One of P&G’s core concepts is identifying moments of truth for its products. The first moment of truth happens when customers see a product on the shelf and evaluate it by comparing it to alternatives. The more important moment of truth comes when they use that product  and decide whether it’s lived up to its promises.

Question for advisors:  Do you focus on the key moments of truth that shape how your clients feel about the decision they made to work with you?

Lesson two: Offer differentiated value

While marketing is what P&G is best known for, much of its success stems from a big ongoing commitment to research and development, developing solutions in its laboratories that solve significant customer problems. Indeed products like Pampers and Febreze have transformed the landscape in many households. Another core concept for P&G is the “USP” – the unique selling proposition that sets a product apart and that can be crystallized into one short sentence. P&G doesn’t believe in parity products; its focus is on superior products that deliver a compelling benefit to customers

Question for advisors: What’s the clear, concrete USP that sets you apart from your competition?

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