The retail sector is rapidly rethinking its priorities as the recession heralds a fundamental reassessment of what shoppers value and are prepared to pay for.

Retailers and brands are becoming increasingly reliant on price-driven promotions to generate standout and win customers.

With brands fighting for sales, the potential for highly targeted, relevant customer communication has never been greater. Getting the right message to the right customer at the right time in the right place could be the difference between survival and failure. That's why we believe 2009 will be the year retail media comes into its own as a demonstrably effective fmcg marketing medium.

Retail media is now maturing into a truly responsive customer communication option through the addition of in-depth customer insight. It is the only medium that can provide brands with real standout directly at the point of purchase - surely the best place to be communicating with customers.

Across all its different manifestations, from posters to floor stickers, pump nozzles to direct mail, customer magazine to online, the medium has emerged as one that is directly actionable and measurable for advertisers.

It is one of the few media where the direct impact on sales uplift can be measured accurately and quickly. This is hugely important for marketers who are being charged with delivering ever more accountability for their limited marketing budgets.

By linking purchases with customer data from loyalty card holders, brands can quickly find out who is buying their product, how effectively their campaigns are performing, and monitor purchasing behaviours without resorting to time-intensive based on limited shopper samples reporting only claimed, not real, behaviour. Retail media campaigns can also be tightly tailored to suit brand objectives.

With no end in sight to the harsher trading environment, utilization of a measurable, actionable medium with the power to reach and engage consumers directly at point of purchase becomes highly attractive.

Martin Hayward is director of strategy and futures at Dunnhumby