We’re just a few weeks away from the year 2020. Yes, 2020! The beginning of a new decade - and a year that not so long ago sounded futuristic. We all expected to see flying cars and robots taking over the world by now - and we had just as much hope for advancements within the grocery industry.
There is no denying that throughout my 20 years working in the industry there have been phenomenal developments in shopper media opportunities within grocery. The types of channels that are now relevant to shoppers have changed dramatically. Research shows 50% of marketing budgets will be allocated to digital ad spend in 2020, something that seemed far-fetched over a decade ago.
That being said, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to media estates and retailers building a successful media centre for suppliers. So what can retailers do to stay ahead of the game?
The first step is to collaborate with brands. Currently, brands are spending their media budgets blindly, with little knowledge of how their spend can be optimised to best fit their campaign objectives, and this is something that needs to change. Getting retailer and brand media strategies aligned - with the customer at the heart - is the holy grail.
Tesco has recently shown its collaborative flair by involving suppliers in its Tesco’s Food Love Stories Campaign, something that once-upon-a-time only featured Tesco’s own-brand products. This is certainly a positive step in the right direction.
Retailers also need to consider delivering a return on investment for brands through their media estates. Understanding the payout of advertising is crucial, but how many retailers provide timely, robust control vs exposed ROI analytics as part of every campaign? Not many. Which is even more frustrating when you consider that shopper media, a type of advertising that focuses on advertising assets at or near the point of sale, is the most measurable type out there.
Once retailers are collaborating with their suppliers, and measuring ROI, the final piece of the puzzle is insight. Through the numerous campaigns they run and test each week across their media estate, retailers will be able to identify insights such as which channels deliver more strongly than others, which are more likely to generate uplift vs raising awareness, and which would be the perfect fit for NPD.
The sooner we can grasp that we are in a competitive market, and strive to win fairly, the sooner we will unleash the power of shopper marketing. The good news is that with the right strategy, the picture can be turned around in one to two years and a real, tangible difference made to the bottom line.