Today we speak with a true brand marketing veteran. We are pleased to be joined by Bill Pearce, who has led marketing for major brands like Taco Bell, Campbell Soup and Del Monte. Bill is now teaching brand management and innovation at UC Berkeley to MBA students. Bill shares his thoughts on how marketing has changed and why the job is harder. Bill shares that as audiences continue to fragment, targeting becomes much harder. His biggest takeaways:
- Marketing is not for people who want a very clear, follow-able path.
- Awareness has to proceed trial. Trial has to proceed loyalty.
- Marketers try to make things too complicated. Less is more.
- It’s not what you present , it’s what you persuade with.
Here is a small excerpt of our interview with Bill:
Brian: You know, your resume as it relates to the skill set, the experiences that you’ve had, as it relates to marketing big brands through big organizations and really understanding brand management is without question so much so that you’re now teaching it. But I’m curious, as you look at the brand manager today, like, when you entered into P & G many years ago, as you think about the brand manager who is beginning that career; they’re entering into a marketing position, marketing a national brand or a significant local brand, is the job of brand manager different now than it was when you started?
Bill: I don’t know if the job is different, but I think the job is harder. When I started out in 1992 at P&G, John Pepper told the story when he was a brand manager in 1952.
Brian: That’s funny.
Bill: He was brand manager on Cascade, and you could reach 85% of the U.S. by running one commercial on Sunday night on the then three major networks.
Bill: Now for a brand manager to create awareness for his product and get the 85% awareness, he or she might have to buy 100 different properties.
Bill: It’s just gotten more complicated, as America’s gotten more fragmented. In a lot of ways, we’ve become closer, right? So you know that kids growing up in rural Alaska watch exactly the same TV as kids growing up in mid-town Manhattan. But we’ve also gotten a little bit more fractured about where we gather our information, what we watch. It used to be if you had a 20 rating on a TV show, you weren’t in the top 20. Now if you get a 20 rating on a TV show, they’re writing stories about you because it’s 2x of anything else running on it.So it’s just become more fragmented. I think any time that something gets fragmented it gets a little bit more complicated and a little bit harder.
The key takeaway from Bill that most resonated with me was that marketers try to make things too complicated. Less is always more. Do you agree? What are your tried and true marketing strategies in this ever more fragmented world? Leave your comments below.
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