What to Expect from P&G's New Marketing Chief

'Tough Guy' Pritchard Is Stickler for ROI -- and He's Not at All Like Stengel

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- It's hard to find two more different Procter & Gamble Co. managers than outgoing Global Marketing Officer Jim Stengel and his surprise replacement, Marc Pritchard.

One certain difference, though, is style. Mr. Stengel has for the past seven years been the charismatic, inspirational, media-genic and -- at least in many minds -- visionary steward of the $8 billion budget of the world's biggest marketer.


New Global Marketing Officer Marc Pritchard

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Mr. Pritchard, even in a company known for buttoned-down, analytical and disciplined managers, is seen by people who have worked with him as unusually buttoned-down, analytical and disciplined. He's the first top marketer at P&G since the late Robert Goldstein to be described by anyone who's worked for him as a "tough guy."

The big unanswered questions include how P&G will be different on Mr. Pritchard's watch and to what extent he'll extend his track record for cost cutting and efficiency to the marketing organization and its spending.

Mr. Pritchard, 48, started two years ago to design an accelerated companywide restructuring and productivity drive. He's taking that record into the top marketing post amid a slowing economy and skyrocketing commodity costs.

Already, P&G has been under pressure from increased marketing spending by restructuring or recently restructured rivals such as Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Another big questions is what Mr. Pritchard's influence will be on digital and other new media. In his last a line-management position, where he headed cosmetics and colorants, marketing executives who worked with him describe him as favoring TV and print and mostly shunning experimentation in other media, much like the majority of P&G general managers.

Yet he was also running businesses that had long been losing share, particularly to rival L'Oréal, and where he was focused on cost reductions and supply-chain efficiencies. "He costed his way through cosmetics," said one person familiar with his record based at P&G's Hunt Valley, Md., unit.

But it's less clear whether Mr. Pritchard will prescribe the same medicine for P&G as a whole, as it's made up mostly of healthier units, or that his proclivity for cost-efficiency means clinging to the high-priced safety of TV advertising. Mr. Pritchard declined to be interviewed for this story.

Given that his support for TV was as strong as that of most P&G managers, P&G's cosmetics business on his watch signed on for brand-integration initiatives with "America's Next Top Model" and the Miss USA Pageant, one former P&G marketing executive noted.

Getting things done
But people close to P&G also say Mr. Pritchard was one of the biggest early internal champions of interactive media in the mid-1990s. Even late last year in his role as president-strategy, growth and productivity, Mr. Pritchard was asking about digital media, said one person close to the company.

"He may not make a lot of industry speeches," the executive said, "but he may get a lot accomplished."

Indeed, the rap by some inside and outside the company on Mr. Stengel, 53, was that while he talked a good game about new marketing models, he ultimately couldn't persuade P&G's general managers or more senior marketers to shift much of their budgets toward them.

Mr. Pritchard, with more senior line-management experience than any P&G top marketer since Mr. Goldstein, might carry more clout.

In an interview, Mr. Stengel said Mr. Pritchard will continue work they had been collaborating on in streamlining the organization. "Marc and I have been side by side for two years looking at what's strong in the company and what still needs to change," he said. "So the succession's been great, and I think he's going to step right in and carry it through."

No retreat
Mr. Stengel added that there wouldn't be any retreat on moves toward nontraditional media under Mr. Pritchard. "You'll see us moving more and more into the media that's working for us best with good ROI," he said. "And that will be in the interactive space. You'll see progression there. And you'll continue to see Marc support that."

People close to the company also said Susan Arnold, president-global business units, and other executives in the beauty business from which Mr. Pritchard came, have been pushing Mr. Stengel to emphasize digital marketing more, noting the threat P&G faces as the company most dependent on traditional marketing vehicles such as TV.

Just don't expect Mr. Pritchard to throw money at any problems -- or do anything if the payback can't be proved. "Marc knew where every penny was in an initiative," said one marketing executive who worked under him. "Delivering the financials on a bunch of small initiatives was the key to delivering the pie. You couldn't take your eye off any one."

The executive called Mr. Pritchard's appointment "an interesting choice. ... I think it probably reflects where P&G is at. I think they see marketing as probably a cost center that needs to be controlled. He's somebody who can do that."
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