Internet rewriting marketing rules: P&G

The Internet is breeding newly empowered consumers who are turning the old notions of branding and marketing on their heads, the co-founder of, Procter & Gamble's Internet marketing experiment, told delegates to Strategy's Online to Profit conference last week in...

The Internet is breeding newly empowered consumers who are turning the old notions of branding and marketing on their heads, the co-founder of, Procter & Gamble’s Internet marketing experiment, told delegates to Strategy’s Online to Profit conference last week in Toronto.

Not even a global marketing powerhouse like Procter & Gamble can ignore the fundamental influence of the Internet, said Nathan Estruth, marketing director of Procter & Gamble’s I-Ventures – the Internet arm of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based packaged goods giant.

‘We have gone from the old-world of brand as a finite definition – we know what it is, we have created it in our hallowed halls of marketing and we push it out to the world – to a brand that becomes what an individual consumer desires it to be. And if it doesn’t have the flexibility to become that, it is in danger of becoming obsolete,’ he warned.

P&G has long specialized in producing products designed to appeal to the largest number of consumers. But those products have little place in the Internet marketplace where Web-savvy shoppers are demanding unique and personalized products and services, he said.

‘The products that have the most mass appeal are the products that move the fastest through that retail space and thus give us the most return for our investment,’ he said, explaining the long-held view within P&G and many other packaged goods companies. ‘But the Internet has flipped that on its head. We have gone from limited SKU selection to an infinite SKU selection (on the Internet).’, P&G’s first major Internet venture, is an online cosmetics marketing site created in partnership with Calgary-based interactive marketing agency Critical Mass that allows individual consumers to buy products that have been customized and packaged for them.

‘We don’t care about the brand name being on the package,’ Estruth said. ‘All we care about is shelf impression, but a different kind of shelf impression. It’s not the shelf impression of what it will be in the store because it is never there. It is the shelf impression of when a woman puts it on her vanity.’

The Internet is forcing P&G to re-examine the way it advertises all its products, including cosmetics, of which it sells about US$7.5 billion worldwide annually. P&G is one of the world’s largest advertisers, spending more than US$3 billion a year – with as much as 95% of that on television.

However, the company is being forced to examine new ways of communicating with consumers.

‘The mass media era is over,’ Estruth said. ‘I am a bit of a radical. I go around and yell at all the brand managers and marketing directors telling them they that have their head in the sand because in three years that talent…is basically going to be meaningless. The high-value consumers are going to be demanding we talk to them one-on- one and we don’t know how to do that.’

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.