Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Exploring the role of retail media in marketing strategies

The recent NDA Retail Media Breakfast – sponsored by Criteo, mediarithmics, and Jobs in Adtech – provided a forum for leading names from across retail and advertising to set the scene for the latest emerging channel in digital advertising, which is set to have a significant role to play in 2024.

Taking place in a pop-up shop in Soho, the event featured speakers from Ocado, Publicis Media, John Lewis, Boots Media Group, LiveRamp, and Omnicom Media Group, as well as from the event’s partners, who all helped delve into the definition of retail media and the opportunities that exist.

Growing at a rate of knots

The event kicked off with a keynote presentation from Tayab Hasan, Head of Retail Media & Monetisation at Ocado.

He discussed retail media’s rapid growth, and the expectation that it will challenge traditional TV advertising within the next five years. However, he warned that before reaching that point retailers and brands would have to overcome some key challenges.

These challenges particularly coming around having organisational alignment at C-suite level, ensuring that different brand departments are coordinated internally, assets being utilised efficiently, and investing accordingly based on performance and brand marketing activity.

On the latter, Hasan emphasized the importance of holistic retail media strategies that combine both performance and brand marketing to help brands to achieve all of their goals.

Providing a solution for the future

Hasan was followed by a panel on achieving retail media success in a privacy-first world, featuring Andy Stephen, Director Monetisation, Enterprise Northern Europe at Criteo; Jemma Haley, Business Lead, Retail Media and Supplier Insights at John Lewis; and Prateek Gupta, Managing Director, Ecommerce & Retail Media at Omnicom Media Group.

The panel participants discussed the challenges and complexities of the retail media landscape, highlighting the need for standardisation of metrics and definitions, and the importance of measuring incrementality and attribution.

The conversation also touched on the role of first-party data in providing personalised and targeted experiences for customers, and how AI is playing a crucial role within areas such as bid optimisation and product recommendations.

Looking ahead, the speakers were keen to see more AI leveraged to analyse insights from retailers, increased automation of the media activation process, and higher quality briefs for retail media campaigns.

Unlocking the data opportunity

The second panel of the morning, titled “What new data opportunities are unlocked by retail media?”, explored the impact of the plethora of data opportunities within retail media on advertisers and retailers. Speakers on the panel were Jean-Vincent Chardon, International Sales at mediarithmics; Georgia Martin, Partnerships Director at Boots Media Group; and Seth Tapsfield, Sales Director at LiveRamp.

The panellists emphasised the importance of data in the retail media landscape, with retailers holding valuable first-party data that brands are keen to access. This data can enable brands to effectively target specific audiences, and many brands – including the likes of P&G and L’Oréal – are already restructuring their approaches to leverage this data.

Though this is the case, there remains an attribution challenge within the retail media space, according to the speakers. And this only becomes more challenging when emerging channels are brought into the mix which, while providing additional avenues to reach target audiences, also make attribution more difficult.

Retail media’s potential

The event closed with a fireside chat with Steve Ricketts, Chief Commerce Officer at Publicis Media.

He echoed the need for companies to have comprehensive data about consumers, their behaviours, and their preferences, highlighting how retail media’s growing attention is down to its ability to combine this data with advertising.

Ricketts explored the challenges around finding the right talent with a deep understanding of both media and commerce, and how important it is that the industry is being driven forward by people who can understand the dynamics of retailers, brands, and consumers to drive the most effective campaigns.

He also spoke of the need to strike a balance between offering relevant advertising and maintaining a positive shopping experience for customers. As such, successful retail media activations should feel more like recommendations rather than intrusive promotions.

Furthermore, the discussion touched on the importance of measuring the right metrics, as opposed to just what’s easy to measure, and how automation and AI can aid better decisions within retail media advertising, optimising stock levels, and predicting supply chain needs.

A full downloadable report of the event will be available shortly.