It’s Friday, and I was planning to put the lid on the continuing saga of Bad Customer Service at Virgin America today. But through the innocuous act of checking the long-term weather forecast this morning, those plans have changed. Virgin America, I’ll have to get back to you; Mr. Procter and Mr. Gamble just came calling.

I first wrote about Procter and Gamble’s plans to get into direct-to-consumer sales way back in January 2010. Amazingly, that business change has not only taken the better part of three years to start (OK, so not really) happening, but has somehow stayed completely off almost everyone’s radar. So much so, that when I next mentioned Procter and Gamble in February of this year, these were our search engine optimization results:

Business Change Proctor and Gamble Search Engine Optimization Results

Astonishing, isn’t it? A company the size of Procter and Gamble so “off the grid” that a single two-year-old-mention of P&G had maintained our rankings all that time, at that level. And sure, we’re pretty great at Search Engine Optimization and this was a classic example of long tail marketing really working, but . . . WOW!

So when that Bounty/Procter & Gamble advertisement showed up on my Nexus 7 Tablet this morning, I was intrigued. I followed it. And when I got to, I found that the site didn’t work as well as it should have, and that the punch line was that Procter & Gamble was still not selling directly, but instead redirecting people to on-line stores belonging to their retail partners.

I also found that our search engine optimization for Procter & Gamble has finally begun to degrade:

Proctor & Gamble Search Engine Optimization, October 2012

This doesn’t concern me much, because as with many of the phrases we rank for (over 9,000 of them at the moment, and still climbing), our ranking for Procter and Gamble is more long-tail marketing exercise and proof of concept than anything else. But it sure did pull together the things we do here.

Procter and Gamble said they want to practice business change, but three years later they’re still too afraid to actually do the direct sales they say they want to be in. That’s an interesting customer service study, of course: P&G’s “customers” aren’t the people who use their products; instead they are the people who sell them on Procter and Gamble’s behalf. P&G would like to tweak the accuracy of that statement, and maybe they are (and maybe not), but there will be tough customer service issues to face, either way.

There’s marketing going on here, but Procter and Gamble, by their shear size and the breadth of product line, doesn’t need to be doing sales directly for the companies that pass their products through to consumers. Yet, they are. More business change!

And WHACK! SEO abounds. And I get to tell you about it . . . and have an excuse to tighten up our Procter and Gamble Search Engine Optimization, all in one move.

And you though this stuff was simple.

By the way: it can be. I’d love to talk long-tail marketing and integrated marketing with you. We can even get into Influency*. How does Influency* work? Contact me here.

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