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Webinar recap: Top 10 key takeaways from “Assessing the size of the retail media prize”

Yesterday, we held our second webinar in the quarterly series “Talking Shop” - a free, easy-to-digest webinar series that shines a light on the best in the industry and their stories so far. 

The webinar focused on assessing the prize of retail media and the challenges and opportunities from a brand’s perspective. 

SMG’s Chief Strategy Officer, Katie Streeter Hurle was joined by special guests:

  • Michele Dainty, Head of Shopper & Display at pladis

  • Thomas Joyce-Brown, Head of Trade Marketing Europe at Accolade Wines

  • Helen Onions, Shopper Marketing and Execution Lead at Kenvue

  • Marcus Ingleby, Strategy & Creative Director at SMG

Missed it? The recording will be available to watch soon. Until then, here are our top 10 key takeaways in this quarter's webinar recap.

1️⃣ Retail media is not just digital

Retail media includes any media owned by a retailer or offsite media that targets using retailer data, and is not limited to digital or promoted products. It can be activated in-store, on retailer websites, through CRM and loyalty programmes, and via off-site channels like social media, display, connected TV, and out-of-home advertising. 

2️⃣ Spending in retail media could surpass TV by 2028

This fast-evolving channel is projected to become the fastest-growing media channel by 2024 and could surpass TV spending by 2028. 

Amazon is taking the lion’s share of that spending with around 75% share of the market, meaning around 1 billion pounds of spending is happening with retail media networks outside of Amazon.

3️⃣ Drivers of growth: “Golden Age of the RMNs’”

Retail media networks (RMNs) have advanced dramatically in the past 18 months, offering sophisticated capabilities with more and better data for audience-planning, activation and closed-loop measurement. 

The proliferation of touchpoints means brands are reinvesting national marketing budgets with retailers. However, the challenge for brands is choosing the right channels amid this growth. While competition between RMNs means more innovation, brands face increasing complexity and must be selective in their partnerships, making it in both parts an exciting but challenging time.

4️⃣ Key trends in the UK RMN Landscape

In-store digitisation: Enabling brands to be more reactive, research at SMG says on average this channel delivers 2x greater sales uplift per store than traditional in-store channels. 

New loyalty and reward capabilities: We are now seeing more retailers entering this space, including Co-op with their membership scheme and Morrisons with their ‘More Card.’ This is creating new opportunities for loyalty-driving activity for brands, including activating loyalty incentives through digital media. 

More offsite and clean rooms: We anticipate a dramatic increase in off-site media partnerships and retailer collaborations with clean rooms in the next 12 months. Numerous market leaders already offer both managed service and self-service capabilities, enabling users to utilise their data across channels like OOH, digital radio, connected TV, and more. We're seeing more de-coupled data offerings available through platforms like Trade Desk, allowing direct data purchase and usage on a CPM basis.

Self service: There's a significant push towards self-service models, allowing brands to book and manage media themselves. Retailers like Boots and Tesco are also developing their own self-service platforms, expanding opportunities to self-serve campaigns far beyond sponsored products.

5️⃣ Leveraging first-party data 

Providing an example use-case of leveraging first-party data Helen said: “Niche products like smoking cessation aids benefit from highly targeted approaches. Successful strategies include targeting media in high-density smoker areas. Relationship marketing (RM) offers promise in acquiring new customers through look-alike audience targeting, though sensitive products like stop smoking aids do also present hurdles. Without precise targeting, expenditures may inefficiently reach existing customers.”

Inconsistent retailer approaches can also complicate strategy, a call from all brands was for more standardisation across the way reporting and data was received.

6️⃣ Retail media and upper funnel benefits

Traditionally, retail media has been seen as a lower funnel tactic, generating quick ROI.

Marcus shared: “...whilst the linear p2p is absolutely a thing of the past there's still a funnel of awareness, consideration, conversion, evaluation/recommendation/repeat. It just happens in much more diverse and complex ways now.”

Helen added that: “Retailers can really add trust to the campaigns we run from a brand perspective. Partnering with retail brands enhances the campaign's credibility and equity, as they are trusted to deliver effectively to consumers.”

Reflecting on this, Katie shared that existing research from Mesh Experience and Boots in this space, focused on how the retail media environment can be a place to nurture brand equity and experience.

7️⃣ Challenges with retail media

It’s apparent that with the exponential growth of retail media, and the need for new roles and processes, organisational structure is a challenge for both brands and agencies. 

Helen shared: “At Kenvue, we've overcome this by forming a virtual Retail Media team and enhancing business-wide understanding, particularly through educational initiatives like a Retail Media Immersion Session attended by SMG and BMG partners, fostering collaboration across departments and deepening brand knowledge.”

Michele added: “... a major hurdle is the lack of understanding around RMNs and their potential for efficiency and mutual benefit. We often face constraints from a commercial perspective, which can limit flexibility. Additionally, brand teams used to occasionally resist integrating RMN strategies due to budget protection. At pladis, shopper marketing falls under marketing, and I ensure my team and our shopper agencies are part of the planning/creative right from the start of a project.”

8️⃣ Innovative approaches and technologies

Marcus shared a current focus, using Plan-Apps, was on the effectiveness of in-store digitisation, compared to paper-based methods: “... we're exploring how to utilise this flexible real estate effectively. We're also examining the impact of first-party data versus third-party data, measuring its cost-effectiveness, and focusing on marketing science to attract new consumers rather than just evaluating return on ad spend from existing customers”.

Helen added:  “In the creative domain, we leverage AI to test key visuals and applications, providing immediate feedback to optimise our marketing materials. This removes subjectivity and enhances effectiveness. Additionally, we maintain a flexible approach to budgets, prioritising product sales over rigid channel allocations, fostering strong, collaborative relationships within our team.”

9️⃣ Collaboration is key

The most common theme of the webinar was the importance of collaboration, whether it be around cross functional in-house teams or with retailers and agencies.

On campaign best practice, Thomas shared… “Next month, we're launching a campaign that marks our first comprehensive "Plan-Apps/Capture" planning approach. I'm excited about this campaign because it exemplifies our successful internal and external cross-functional collaboration. Brand, Digital, and TM have united behind a singular objective, ensuring our strategies are cohesive and omnichannel. 

This campaign also benefited from insights gleaned from a previous Plan-Apps campaign, enhancing our touchpoint selection and forecasting for sales uplift and ROI, and fostering better alignment with our sales team.”

🔟 Emerging Trends

Helen touched upon the valuable data that retailers possess (real "gold" data), which will increasingly shape brand strategies and media plans. 

She highlighted the potential for retailers to commercialise this data at scale, akin to Nielsen, offering purchasable data and insightful reports to enhance understanding of shoppers and consumers.

Michelle added: “...the digitisation of touchpoints and how interactive/targeted they will become - both in terms of shopper audiences and geographies.  Will there be any more consolidation in the market? I hope so. How do they compete against each other - will it make it cheaper? I hope so too.”

Thank you to our speakers for sharing their views and unique experiences on the challenges and opportunities with retail media.

A second thank you to everybody who joined us.

We’ll see you at the next one.


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