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This article is reproduced from Econsultancy’s June 2023 Retail Media Best Practice Guide, authored by Neil Perkin.

Within brand-side businesses (such as CPGs), the ownership and oversight of retail media is often dispersed across a variety of functions, with some allocating responsibility to shopper marketing teams and others placing it within media, digital or ecommerce teams.

This lack of consistency is perhaps a reflection on the early-stage maturity that exists with this area within many businesses. There was consensus among the interviewees for Econsultancy’s 2023 Retail Media guide that as retail media matures, there will likely be more investment required in specialist resource, but also the joining up of currently dispersed strategies and approaches across other areas of the retail relationship and ecommerce responsibilities.

“Retail media currently sits within multiple areas of business from shopper teams to store and retail operations and in-house media teams, so the risk is that approaches can be fragmented. Key to creating value is to break down the silos between teams and for brands to take a holistic view,” said Amanda Tushingham, then Industry Director, Retail at Teads, now Media Sales Director at Tesco Media & Insight Platform.

The risk of fragmentation

John Ridgway, Senior Director of Ecommerce Marketing, Martech and Portfolio at PepsiCo, noted in last year’s report how critical retail media has become to ecommerce, and while this may mean that responsibility on the brand side often resides with the ecommerce team, there is a real need to join up approaches with other areas of the business such as shopper marketing. This can help ensure that all assets are used in the best way possible to deliver to brand goals.

“Set yourself up for success by designing processes and workflows that can break down the silos that often exist within a company. Have that collaboration across the team, think customer journey, get everyone together and be willing to test,” said Ridgway.

Taking a joined-up approach to retail media

Ridgway notes that eventually structures in many brand-side organisations will likely change to reflect the need for more integration and joined-up approaches. This point of view was echoed in our 2023 report by another interviewee, Dunnhumby’s Julie Jeancolas.

Jeancolas, Global Head of Product, Strategy and Partnerships for Retail Media and Personalisation at the consumer data specialist, said that we will see an increasing number of cross-functional teams that enable a more holistic view of the retailer relationship.

“Retail media ad spend comes from various budget sources: digital budgets, traditional media budgets, shopper marketing and trade and promotion marketing. All of these budgets are managed by different CPG teams (ecommerce, trade, shopper, brand). The most mature brands have started building joint teams to build connected customers journeys, deliver a consistent customer experience and get a 360 view of their marketing spend with a retailer,” Jeancolas comments in the report.

…client-side structures should begin to mirror those on the retailer side…

Tom Langley, Head of Personalisation and Retail Media at the John Lewis Partnership added to this by pointing out the lack of consistency currently in who the retail media buyer is within client-side organisations and the need to reflect its growing significance with the creation of specific job families around retail media. Shopper marketing and retail media should, he says, be much more joined up across the whole brand and its retail estate, and client-side structures should begin to mirror those on the retailer side, where retail media is organised into a portfolio and sold from one area of the business.

It is also important for agencies to take a joined-up approach to retail media. Ben Allison, SVP and Head of Media Operations, EMEA, at VaynerMedia, told us last year how agencies should make efforts to ensure that capabilities across media, ecommerce, retail media and shopper marketing are all aligned: “They should not allow retail media to grow as a divorced thing or have parallel teams and agencies.”

10 more predictions for retail media in 2024

Econsultancy offers training in retail media, as well as all aspects of ecommerce, including:

  Driving sales performance with omnichannel retailers
  Planning and acquisition
  Converting traffic to buyers
  Customer retention
  Product content, pricing and persuasion

Econsultancy also runs bespoke marketing academies for global teams.