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Retail media – always embedded in a wider marketing plan

We ask Laura Badea, Digital Commerce Partner at WPP’s Wavemaker, about the role of retail media - as part of a fully embedded marketing strategy (never stand-alone)

If retail media is to reach its full potential, Badea says that brands must truly embed it across the marketing mix to reach customers in all digital spaces.

“Increasingly, digital media formats – such as connected TV or digital out of home – can be connected directly to retailer audiences, so the opportunity for brands is to fully integrate retail media into the broader marketing plan. Retail media is no longer a lower funnel island,” she says.

“What started originally as a ‘point-of-sale activation’ is becoming the engine that now allows advertisers to connect impressions with omni-channel transactions and business results. That’s the biggest opportunity for clients.”

But synergy is driven by the integration of retail media into the broader media plan, and by leveraging that brand awareness that companies have built over the years. “This is the true asset that we are helping clients to leverage. Then we right-size the investment in retail media (versus traditional and digital media),” she says. “We are able to flex between brand building and short-term revenue building within one media plan.”

It's also about understanding business challenges. Badea says companies should ask: “How is our organisation preparing to include retail media in our planning, and what changes do we need to implement in order to manage its integration in a seamless manner?” She goes on: “We are talking about training, getting people to work better together, creating workflows, creating ways of working, defining roles and service-level agreements, and building teams with people from different functions.”

She explains that the acceleration in the growth of – and investment in – retail media is down to the vast scope of the opportunity to brands. “You are now able to reach the entire web – that is what is driving this tremendous increase in investment in retail media,” she says.

“And it's happening fast. We have an end-end solution, tools and framework to help our clients overcome the challenges and we’re implementing it to help our clients on this commerce transformation journey.”

Badea points out that what is really changing the way in which advertising is conducted is the activation of retailer first-party data – in a privacy-compliant way – to achieve ‘closed loop measurement’. “All of this is underpinned by a measurement strategy,” she says.

“There may be lots of things to work out along the way, but we must keep our eye on the prize and make sure we achieve what we set out to achieve. The north star is always the business objective.”

Laura Badea


published on

14 June 2023



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