You’ve Built a Retail Media Network ... Now What?
When launching or trying to scale their media networks, retailers often neglect to build strategic marketing and communication plans to drive sales and growth. As a result, they're losing opportunities to attract more brands, rise as a thought leader, and scale as a network.
A marketing communications team (or agency) plays an essential part in amplifying a retail media network’s (RMN) sales teams and educating prospects on why they should invest in their RMN over a competitor’s.
Many retailers aren't applying a focused marketing strategy, giving those that do a competitive edge. To support strong growth, this five-tier marketing approach will give you the head start you need to be a contender:
1. Assess white space.
Launching your network, achieving parity, or conquering scale requires an annual market assessment. New and legacy networks must understand what differentiates them (e.g., closed-loop measurement, data-triggered personalization, unique channel offerings, self-service, etc.) in each essential RMN feature (e.g., value to suppliers, customer/multichannel offering, transparency, etc.). This information shapes your sales and marketing narratives.
2. Clarify your brand and identity.
Setting milestones to achieve your RMN’s goals begins with a vision and mission statement. By understanding your white space and identity, you can differentiate your network and better articulate to advertisers why they should partner with you.
3. Enhance your sales tools.
Develop compelling sales collateral for business-to-business (B2B) pitches. Most sales tools are created by sales teams or business-to-creative (B2C) creative teams. Neither are well-versed in B2B messaging or tactics, a skill that requires specific expertise. By demonstrating key messaging themes and following B2B marketing best practices, you can increase sales engagement.
Highlight sheets, landing pages, LinkedIn identities, branded proposals, and quarterly business review (QBR) decks are valuable sales support tools.
Most RMNs stop here — missing the most effective and critical marketing steps to grow.
4. Develop a tactical B2B marketing strategy.
Just as advertisers use RMNs as part of their marketing strategy, RMNs also need to plan which B2B marketing channels will attract, close and increase sales.
For retailers, marketing channels include industry conferences, hosted events, CRM, media/social, blog postings/webinars/whitepapers, partnership engagements, and PR bulletins.
Your optimal channel mix, messaging cadence, and sequence depend on:
- industry insights (what advertisers ask for, their challenges, where they learn about their options, and when to reach them);
- how your offering solves your target advertisers’ challenges; and
- whom to target (i.e., nonendemic, high-tier spend).
Tactically planning audience-specific B2B marketing strategies across channels and events, supported by an outlined messaging approach for each touchpoint, will define how you resonate with each audience during their lifecycle.
While budget is a factor, it’s important to scale marketing spend with your network’s growth. And, of course, all marketing efforts should include testing, measurement and optimization plans.
5. Make an impact when going to market.
Whether launching or scaling your RMN, the final step to land with precision is to develop marketing assets that support a timed channel, event or PR strategy to deliver impactful results.
Strategic B2B planning and performance creative expertise unite in the following ways to deliver optimal business outcomes:
- Insights are properly leveraged.
- Design, content and branding best practices are applied.
- Messaging is tactically informational and educationally valuable.
All five steps support each other, leading to successful execution. This showcases your offering in a complementary manner that amplifies your sales team, making their role easier in closing larger media commitments and taking market share from your competition.
Matt DiBenedetti is vice president, retail media network sales and delivery, Merkle, a customer experience transformation business partner to the Fortune 1000.
Related story: A Look Inside Nordstrom's Retail Media Network
Matt has led Merkle’s Global Creative Studio, since 2008. In his most recent years, Matt has focused his attention on developing and leading Creative-focused Retail Media operations, leveraging his expertise of streamlined processes, tools/technology and tactical approaches to support both B2C and B2B creative, content and strategic marketing requirements to: 1) help stand up new Media Networks from the ground up; 2) drive profitable growth and efficient scale of existing RMNs. 3) deliver innovative solutions, such as DCO to increase value and offer differentiation to the Media Networks that he supports.