What Small Businesses Can Learn From Procter & Gamble’s Marketing Strategy

Procter & Gamble has run some of the most successful marketing campaigns for decades. It is a company that is incredible at building brands – Tide laundry detergent, Crest toothpaste, Duracell batteries, the list goes on and on. If there’s one mega-corporation that small business owners should look to for marketing inspiration, it’s P&G. While all their campaigns are different, they all work by being based on certain principles and following proven plans. Here are some of the things you can learn from the marketing expertise of P&G.

Create a Plan

P&G (along with all other successful companies) doesn’t start implementing a marketing strategy until they’ve thoroughly planned it. In addition, the plan is made clear to everyone who is involved. The plan is, however, flexible, and it is likely to change along the way, but having a starting point and a specific path to follow is crucial to success.

Market Research

P&G does extremely extensive research on the market for their products. They want to learn absolutely everything they can about their target audience, including their daily habits and buying patterns. They also want to find out as much as they can about the problem they are trying to solve so they can determine how to best market their product as the answer to it. They thoroughly research their competitors, too.

Identify an Audience

Recently, P&G had an Olympic campaign that was dedicated to mothers. They branded the company as “The Proud Sponsor of Moms,” and their slogan was simply, “Thank you, Mom.” What you can learn from P&G is that you need to identify a specific target audience, and, most importantly, you don’t have to target every type of potential customer. Mothers are the biggest group of people who buy P&G products. While lots of other people do, too, P&G targeted the very specific audience that is most likely to purchase their products.

Use Social Media

Another extremely successful, recent P&G ad campaign was for Old Spice. Old Spice earned the spot as the most-watched sponsored channel on YouTube, picked up 80,000 Twitter followers in two days, and increased sales by 107 percent. How? They leveraged the power of social media. They made short, awesome videos that were easy to share and posted them everywhere. They kept producing fresh content, and they staid engaged with users.


Another successful component of the Old Spice campaign was P&G’s use of personalization. When Twitter followers or Facebook fans asked a question, for example, they sometimes actually created entirely new ad videos to answer the question. It was seen as very impressive for such a big company to personalize their content in such a way.

Do What Works

Finally, P&G have found success time and again by using the same methods of planning and research. When they find an ad campaign that works (like Old Spice), they run with it, stick to it, and expand upon it. If you find a formula for success that works, keep at it. Don’t start over with someone new, but only work on further improving your success.

Prepared by G Brown from the Cloverleaf Innovation team.

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