How Retail Media Networks Can Help Revitalize Brand Marketing | Comment and opinion

Let’s face it, retail media has rarely been seen as an interesting part of the marketing mix. It’s often an afterthought – something you allocate your budget to based on how important a retailer is to your sales line.

Marketers have instead focused on shiny and glitzy above the line (ATL) campaigns that enable engaging brand communications across TV, display and audio, where advertising budgets have been heavily stretched. weighted over the past few decades.

Despite the higher costs, ATL has enabled brands with deep pockets to connect with their consumers across a variety of mediums and disrupt their categories. Whether you are an international brand or the newcomer, ATL has for some time been the go-to media mix for raising awareness and increasing sales of CPG products.

However, a shift is brewing across the pond in the United States, where retail media and, in turn, retail media networks are thriving.

Grounded in a digital and data-driven approach, the rise of Retail Media Networks (RMNs) in the United States has been inspiring, with multinationals, regional players and specialists all involved for a part of the action. These trends can be found in several industries, with Marriott recently launching its own network with Yahoo and this month Netflix announcing the launch of its network with Microsoft.

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The rise of NMR responds to changing consumer habits and the digital and digital shift, exacerbated by the pandemic. These conditions have created more discerning shoppers who are less loyal to the retailers they shop at or the brands in their shopping cart. As the emerging cost of living crisis puts further pressure on brands and retailers in the UK, shoppers are looking to turn to private label and cut spending.

As such, brand marketing needs a new approach – a more data-centric approach.

The United States is leading the way in the use of first-party data, making the most of loyalty programs that have been quietly collecting consumer data for years. Retailers are now using this data to refine their advertising solutions for brands, encouraging more meaningful connections with their consumers.

This is great news for marketers.

This targeted approach to customer conversion makes every pound or dollar of marketing budgets work as hard as possible, minimizing wasted impressions on audiences who won’t buy. Fine-tuning our audiences and optimizing media through programmatic channels allows brands not only to be responsive, but to deliver the right message, in the right place, at the right time.

We can therefore use this data to inform our selection of end-to-end marketing channels. There is no longer any channel separation above or below the line. Marketers can be truly omnichannel in approaching connected commerce. From connected TV to social media and audio, marketers can now use first-party retail data to refine and target their complete channel mix, allowing every medium to be truly measurable up to a retailer.

Here in the UK we are seeing the first signs of this digitally driven first party data revolution alongside the growing importance of media networks. Tesco is currently running a beta trial allowing brands to access Clubcard data to target audiences through social Meta platforms, while Boots offers a similar solution using its Advantage Card data, powered by Audience360. The two intend to expand the channel matrix beyond social in the coming months, and the six biggest grocers are rumored to be actively expanding into the first-party arena.

Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place for an in-store point of sale or e-commerce banner to convert shoppers in that last moment before they buy. However, the media are increasingly targeted, and this can only be a good thing for optimizing advertising spend.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity of first-party data and deliver truly connected commerce campaigns.

About Scott Bridges

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