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Retail Media Summit Keynote: 'How to Win'

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Allume Group's Andrea Leigh

During her Wednesday keynote address that opened the Retail Media Summit, Andrea Leigh set out to show how retail media is a complicated space but can yield incredible advantages in terms of brand exposure and share.

The founder & CEO of Allume Group, which bills itself as an e-commerce knowledge network, presented four dynamics or trends that exist currently with regard to retail media, and then walked attendees through her company’s M.E.D.I.A. framework for retail media success.

“We're gonna talk about how to win,” Leigh said to the audience at the Path to Purchase Institute’s event in Chicago. “[And] we have a video framework that we've built that we provide to a lot of advertisers to teach them about how to work with retail media.”

Trend No. 1: Retail Media Push and Pull

“I like to call this a regional media push and pull,” Leigh said. “You have the push side, which is the retailers pushing regional media onto the advertiser. … In a lot of cases, it's part of the joint business plan between the supplier and the retailer. … But at the same time, we have a pull coming from the manufacturers. They're asking for better targeting capabilities.”

She continued: “The retailers need to listen to the advertisers. … And then the advertisers need to be really persistent in asking for what they need.”

Trend No. 2: Artificial Intelligence … The Death of the Keyword

“I don't know about a lot of you and your interactions with applications that sit on top of generative AI brains, but I'm pretty much exclusively using ChatGPT instead of Google now because it's so much easier to get the answers that you need to get product recommendations,” Leigh said. “This won't be tomorrow. It’s not like retailers are going to adopt this type of technology until we can monetize it. But I do think it underscores the importance of thinking more broadly about retail media, because we've been very, very focused on keywords. And generative AI is not keyword-based. It's really good at taking unstructured data and structuring it in a way that can be meaningful.”

Trend No. 3: Into the Store

Leigh showed a chart comparing the monthly in-store audience reach of major retailers compared to the digital reach, and the in-store reach was significantly higher for many of them.

“You can see why they need to do this, right?” she said about adding retail media inside stores. “It’s the only way to ensure that all of the traffic can be monetized.”

She offered Instacart’s Carrot Tags (electronic shelf tags) and Caper Cart (an AI-powered smart cart) as examples.

Trend No. 4: Cloudy Weather

“There's been a really good push over the last couple of years for data clouds,” Leigh said. “This is where advertisers and retailers can kind of tentatively share data with one another and kind of eagerly combine it so that we can understand a little bit more about our shoppers, and we can develop new targeting capabilities. … This is a muscle that organizations have to build — and they don't all have it.”

M.E.D.I.A Framework

Leigh then took attendees through Allume Group’s M.E.D.I.A. (an acronym for the strategies below) framework for advertising success, part of the company’s advertising strategy course:

Maximize readiness. “Maximize readiness is really about not wasting your advertising dollars as an advertiser,” Leigh said.

Establish goals. “One of the biggest questions that I get from brand manufacturers is, what should my budget be? How much should I spend on retail media? How much should I spend on Amazon versus Walmart versus Target and all these media platforms? So, we always ask, what are you trying to accomplish?” Leigh said.

Design strategy. “This is really about meeting the shopper where they're at and what we like to call: the layering techniques,” Leigh said.

Incorporate tools. “Incorporate tools speaks to budget resourcing and tactics,” she said. “This is more like picking an agency who's going to help us execute this.”

Analyze and optimize. This is about “how challenging it is to measure things in retail media, and compare apples to apples across the different platforms. And this is where you really have to go back to what your goals are.”



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