Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The P&G 1-page memo

When I started my marketing career at Procter & Gamble almost 20 years ago, the 1-page memo discipline was in full force. Every communication had to fit on one page, and follow a fixed format. It was - and remains - a very powerful discipline. I have used it ever since then.

Here it is, with some of my own embellishments. Each 1-page memo contains five parts.
1. The Idea. What are you proposing? This is typically one sentence.
2. Background. What conditions have arisen that led you to this recommendation? Only include information that everyone agrees upon in the Background - this is the basis for discussion, so it needs to be non-debatable.
3. How it Works. The details. In addition to How, also What, Who, When, Where.
4. Key Benefits. This is the "Why?" There are usually three benefits: the recommended action is on strategy, already proven (e.g. in test market or in another business unit), and will be profitable. You can think of these three in terms of the old Total Quality mantra of "doing right things right." The first (on strategy) means you're doing the right thing. The second and third mean you're doing things the right way, because you're being effective (proven to work) and efficient (profitable).
5. Next Steps. Who has to do what and by when for this to happen?

The Procter and Gamble salesforce used to use something called the Persuasive Selling Format (PSF) in their sales pitches. PSF also had five steps. At some point it occurred to me that the two mapped to each other, which is why the P&G 1-page memo format is so effective for making recommendations: it is a document structure that is designed to sell.


Blogger Serge said...

I believe you've inverted 1 and 2.

December 07, 2007  
Blogger Serge said...

I believe you've inverted 1 and 2.

December 07, 2007  
Blogger Dr. Abela said...

I don't think so, Serge. If you recall, all the memos would begin with a sentence to the effect of "The purpose of this memo is to ..." (Of course, we used to drop the "purpose of"). That very sentence expresses the idea. But correct me if I'm wrong.


December 07, 2007  
Blogger Grandma said...

Hello Dr. Abela,
I am happy to have found this blog. How I arrive here, well thanks to my loyalty with P&G and the coaching I had.
Yes, I was a P&Ger, 1993 -2006 in Malaysia, sales both consumer and beauty.
I left after my VSS in 2006 when I turn 50 because I wanted to pursue my dream before 55.
I am using PSF all the time, business and personal.
I agree it is very useful and the reason I am here is because I wanted to search and see who else and any thing to learn further.

Our term in Malaysia is
1. summarize the situation
2. state the idea
3. explain how it works
4. re-inforce the key benefits
5. close / next step

You see, everything is the same accept they just name it differently.

Hope you can share more of any templates as I would like to learn more and currently running a health hydrotherapy program for arthritis patients with clinics. I am a learner, I like to challenge myself and do it better and better each time. Thanks to P&G and I never regret working here.



March 09, 2008  
Blogger Solo Mom said...

Hello - I am familiar with the P&G memo format, but would be very interested to see an actual example. Does anyone have one to share? Or know of a book that includes an example? My email is llisam@aol.com and would much appreciate it.

October 04, 2009  

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