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Procter & Gamble went from a virtual no-show to one of audio’s biggest advertisers in a short period of time. It appears to have been the biggest national radio advertiser of 2019. It’s a direct impact of the company’s overhaul of its marketing and media buying strategy, a rethink that now puts podcasts into the equation.

“We constructively disrupted ourselves,” P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard said on the latest episode of Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing, “We followed consumers and where they are spending their time because that’s a big aspect of what it’s all about. And then we started getting creative. What that did then was allow us to try things, measure the performance, and start reinvesting in it.”

In a conversation with iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman on his Math & Magic podcast, Pritchard said the embrace of broadcast radio and streaming audio came after they discovered they were getting excessive frequency on digital at the same time that P&G was being presented with new ways to use audio marketing. “Things like podcasts, which has now become this completely new media. As we started to get into new media, we started to get into new creativity, we started to get into re-inventing advertising and content partnerships and new ways of doing things while still doing the fundamentals” he said. “It’s been a pretty big transformation and it’s making a difference.”

The transformation began five years ago when the consumer packaged goods giant reduced its product line from 16 categories to “ten categories where performance drives brand choice,” Pritchard told Pittman in a live podcast recording in front of an audience at P&G headquarters in Cincinnati.

From there, the company shifted attention to reinventing its marketing. The transformation involved a pivot “from mass marketing with lots of waste to mass precision: one to one brand building using data and digital technology,” Pritchard said.

P&G is known for meticulous use of research and Pritchard explains how it uses reams of data “to get the one-to-one precisions. It’s why we rediscovered the power of audio. Back in 1920 when radio came around, we created the ability to connect with people through radio and it is just wonderful. Now, the ability to engage with people in precision, to reach people, and then things like podcasts, which has become this completely new media, and as we started to get into new media, we started to get into new creativity, we started creating content partnerships while still doing the fundamentals.”

The marketing reinvention process opened a door to “different types of audio opportunities,” he recounted, including broadcast, satellite and internet radio. “These all offered new opportunities with new ways to engage consumers. We followed consumers where they are spending their time – that was a big aspect of it. And we started getting creative.” Rediscovering creativity led the company to “try things, measure the performance and then start reinvesting in that.” P&G’s fastidious use of data means it now has amassed over one billion consumer IDs to “more easily track where things are going.”

In addition to how it reinvented its marketing approach, Pritchard also discussed the company’s unique culture and why it has made diversity a priority. The company has grown to a workforce of 47% women managers.