How to Get Leadership Buy-In on Emerging Retail Media Opportunities

Panel discussion
From left: Tiffany Pegues, Sid Swaroop, Abhishek Ahluwalia, and Andy Walter

The retail media space can be a daunting environment for consumer goods executives who face challenges in leadership buy-in. Particularly as new, untested digital media opportunities emerge, corporate leaders are looking for firm evidence of success before investing massive budgets. 

But instead of being pulled back by the unknown, panelists at the “Betting on Future Media” session at CGT’s Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit session — held in NYC on October 28 — see only opportunity, shedding light on how to budget and measure investments and success in retail media, and how to communicate the value of targeted marketing and deep data insights to decision-makers. 

"This is an opportunity for consumer goods companies to take a look at how we engage with the customer," insisted Sid Swaroop, GM of Bed Bath & Beyond's retail media network and personalization. "The retail media network helps consumer goods companies to essentially navigate that whole [data] funnel and bring that engagement in a closed loop manner, not only from the standpoint of awareness to conversion to loyalty, but also to gather data on all these points and make it a virtuous loop."

Panelists agreed that digital media and data analysis work hand-in-glove, but all continue to experience difficulty in "influencing up," convincing upper management and other stakeholders that opportunities in retail media need to not only be pursued,  but also integrated into existing marketing and branding strategies and budgets. 

"How are we going to continue to be relevant for the next generation?" asked Tiffany Pegues, director of search, social and CRM for Church & Dwight, who reflects on the 175-year history of her own company.

Watch: How Church & Dwight, Others Define Personalization

“There are elements of what made us successful in the past, and that will still be important. But how can we continue to leapfrog so that we have another 175 years of legacy? It can be scary because these are pretty seismic shifts in terms of how we're budgeting,” said Pegues. “No longer are these the days where you spend X% on social and it's independent from retail media. It's all one big pot now."

Part of formulating a winning retail media strategy is accepting its current uncertainty. Panelists repeatedly advocated for holistic approaches that include buy-ins and data sharing from marketing and sales departments, retailers, and other strategic partners, all of which helps speed retail media decisions and investments. 

Sid Swaroop headshot
Sid Swaroop

"We can't do this alone," asserted Abhishek Ahluwalia, global e-commerce director, commercial strategy, and growth, for Mondelēz International. "Some of the partners, even some potentially here in this room, could help us connect the dots. There are still a lot of unknowns. We're still prioritizing agility over getting it perfectly right. Again, we're not perfect, we are on a journey."

Panelists convince more skeptical minds within their own companies by demonstrating retail media successes. "A Walmart employee did a TikTok, scanning their package that had been digitally watermarked," recounted moderator Andy Walter, a retired P&G strategic advisor. "It got a million views in a couple of days. And this was just like a random store employee going to other store employees saying, 'Hey, guys, I don't know if you know, but you could do this…' It's just amazing."

"Sometimes it can be quite the shock when I say I want to do certain things that are unproven," said Pegues. "I think it's about placing bets that hopefully get some quick wins and buy-in that will pay off for themselves in sales."

This article first appeared on the site of sister publication CGT.

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