CPG marketing continues to be in the throes of evolution. Traditional marketing practices have been upended due to the growth of digital tactics, including e-Commerce, social media and 24/7 mobile connectedness.
One of the hallmarks of this evolution has been the emergence of the retailer as a critical player in the media and advertising ecosystem. The biggest headline of the last few years — and there have been a lot with Facebook and Google remaining relatively dominant as the largest digital players — has been Amazon, which now stands as the third-largest advertising company, generating $12 billion in ad revenue.
This is because in the new digitally driven omnichannel world, the retailer has incredible assets, particularly in categories like consumer packaged goods (CPGs) where the majority of purchasing still happens in-store.
It is increasingly challenging for marketers to reach consumers in meaningful ways. Faced with the complexities of digital and expanding consumer choice, CPGs have responded by focusing their efforts further down the funnel, with an eye to accountability and measurable results. This adds to the pressure on the industry to respond with better-performing and truly measurable solutions.
The retailer has the data to understand the consumer and their exact purchasing behavior, for better targeting and measurement of actual store sales. Retailers have valuable contextual interaction touch points with the consumer, both in the physical and digital worlds. Retailers have the opportunity to create seamless, frictionless advertising experiences that allow the consumer to go from engagement directly to transaction.
More and more retailers have responded and expanded their e-Commerce capabilities and experimented with new models such as click-and-collect, same-day delivery and customized in-store shopping experiences. Retailers are also finding new ways to leverage their customer data to reach shoppers.
The big question for retailers is how they become a retail media player?
The largest mass retailers, with deep pockets, were able to get out of the gate early and develop solutions through a combination of hiring, acquisitions and technology partnerships. Other leading retailers leading the way, such as Albertsons Companies, have focused more on technology and media partnerships to jumpstart scalable solutions that can dynamically engage their shoppers digitally with great success.
Media businesses allow retailers to drive new revenue streams and offer CPG brands modern and new ways to further connect with their customers.
To keep pace with this retail media opportunity, CPG retailers of all sizes need to adopt transformative digital media capabilities. To launch and operate such media businesses, they need the core assets to be successful. These include:
• Customer Data — in the form of point-of-sale (POS) information, and browsing and app usage;
• Media Inventory — through web site traffic and app usage; and
• Digital Connections — with customers through loyalty card programs
CPG brands benefit too, by leveraging the efficient and effective ways to reach retail shoppers that retail media provides, and from the measurable results that are based on in-store and online sales data. And everyone’s dream — the integration of retailer merchandising support with digital media buys, amplifying price leadership far beyond the circular with digital media and digital coupons — can come true.
How Retailers Can Accomplish This
To build media businesses, retailers need to align disparate parts of their organizations and deploy the required technology and media expertise. Retailers must develop data analytics capabilities to power ad targeting and personalization. They need to create the means to measure and deploy sales lift and other KPI measures to support CPG brands in a meaningful way.
Retailers that have embraced this new retail technology are offering brand messaging and promotions that are targeted based on customers’ actual behaviors, displaying products, offers, and messages relevant to each customer.
Launching a state-of-the-art media business is incredibly hard. Most retailers don’t have the resources or expertise to build and maintain such a business. This is especially true as the sector continues to evolve and grow, and consumers expect even more personalization from their favorite brands and retailers. There can be issues around cost-to-deploy, developing and implementing the technology needed, and the ability to measure results. This can make for a tricky proposition for retailers to execute effectively on their own.
When you think about the technology required, it could look like a complex series of mousetraps to bring data in, process it and connect it to the right ad technology. This includes the right content, personalized and delivered to all the critical consumer and interaction points. These also include video, social media, display/search media and digital promotions. All these items need to come together in a seamless and platform-driven solution to be effective.
For retailers to develop and implement their own retail media businesses, here are five critical components to consider:
1. Data Infrastructure and Expertise — to collect, segment, and apply data for campaigns, deploy campaigns, and integrate with existing systems.
2. Ad Technology — to build and deliver rich, powerful, and persuasive ad units that can be personalized with data and linked with retailers’ digital programs and offers.
3. Media Execution Expertise — to drive planning and delivery of campaigns leveraging retailers’ media assets and through programmatic channels.
4. Sales and Marketing Expertise — with professionals who can tackle bringing a platform to market, and who can engage with partners with a national perspective.
With the dynamic growth of digital everything in the retail sector, retailers are presented with the unique opportunity to take advantage of this shift in traditional marketing practices. They are in a prime position to take control of their sales data and build new revenue streams from targeted media sales. Most of the largest retailers in the United States have built and are taking advantage of this capability. Many more retailers are following suit. Can retailers afford not to build media businesses to drive new revenue streams?
Jason Young is Quotient’s Chief Marketing and Media Officer and is responsible for overseeing all business-to-business marketing and media, which includes media-related data strategy, product and engineering. Young joined Quotient as part of Quotient’s acquisition of Crisp Mobile in 2017, where he was CEO. His career spans 20-years in digital advertising, including being the CEO and founder of Smart Device Media, a premium mobile ad network acquired by Crisp in December 2011. Young also spent nearly two decades at Ziff Davis, as part of the executive team that led Ziff from print to a digital.