Greetings, and welcome back to Retail Media Thursday (RMT) with Skai! The aim of this series is to provide a platform for individuals working in retail media to exchange ideas, expand their knowledge, and discuss effective strategies. Each episode features industry professionals who join us to discuss pertinent topics in retail media.
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RMT, Episode 5: Larisa Dumitru
Tune in as we sit down over a pint to discuss:
- 🚀 How agencies can best help brands to drive growth and evolve their retail media programs
- 🌍 The fragmented European retail media market
- 🔍 The blurring lines between brand and performance marketing
These are just a few of the topic areas covered in this compelling chat. You can view/access the full transcript of this episode below.
The Green Man pub (Fitzrovia, 36 Riding House St, Greater, London W1W 7EP)
Like what you saw? There’s more.
After watching this episode with Larisa, we welcome you to check out our first four episodes:
- 🗣️ Episode 1: Alice Anson from Nectar360
- 🎯 Episode 2: Antoine Jamet from Criteo
- 🌟 Episode 3: Jason Wescott from Xaxis
- 🛍️ Episode 4: Jonathan Lewis-Jones from Publicis Commerce
Featured – State of Retail Media 2023 Industry Report
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[Music] Foreign [Music]. From Skai, today we’re speaking to the brilliant Larissa Dimitri from Group M. So, we’re going to grab a pint, grab some lunch, and we’ll see you up there. Welcome, Larissa, to Retail Media Affairs Days here with Skai. Could you just introduce yourself and your role? Thank you so much for having me. I’m the Head of Economics, so I’m responsible for the set of products and services that we offer across the region. Like I like to say, I have the very challenging job of finding…
…one-size-fits-all solutions for a region that’s so famously fragmented. And I get a lot of people asking me, “What is it that you actually do in retail media? What is retail media?” And I think that at the end of the day, our job is to help clients grow their online business in a profitable way. So, if you think about it, my job mainly revolves around A, identifying what are the levers that we can pull to drive that growth. B, understanding how we can combine them for the most effective results. And C, deploying that across the markets and…
…the agencies that fall under Google’s plan. Right, we’re going to get on to Europe and the fragmented market in a bit, actually. But before we do, you have your peak of the week, something that’s been either interesting to you around retail media or something new that you’ve seen. This is the peak of my week. This is your peak of the week, that’s true. But now, in all seriousness, it’s really hard to pinpoint. I think that retail media as a craft is just getting bigger and better every week, so it’s really hard to have a boring…
…week or even day when you work in any commerce. Yeah, I agree. Everything is changing, cycling, you know, so fast moving. Yeah, which is great. It’s a great place to be, and it’s a great place to be where we are today, and tell us about the pub. So, we are at the Green Man in Fitzrovia, and I chose this spot because of the location. So, my Flex Media job in London brought me to Fitzrovia. It’s an area that I really, really love. I think it’s an amazing part, like yeah, around yeah, no, I agree. Um, this area has brought back many…
…memories, spending many a media Thursday here, actually. I know, I know, good old days. Yeah, they definitely were. Right, we’ll get onto the questions, sounds good. So, Larissa, you mentioned earlier about your European remit. Um, I’d love to talk about the complexities of the European market. Um, and I, I really, you know, that, I guess, the fragmentation. But what I’m thinking about is, you know, how are you seeing the maturity of different European markets when it comes to, you know, the publishers, the tech providers, the agencies, and ultimately the advertisers? And, you know, what unique complexities are the advertisers facing right now? I love that question, David. And funnily enough, I was looking at this the other day, and we are at GroupM actively tracking the retail media maturity across 150 retailers, wow. And you know, fair enough, some of the architects, they are present in multiple markets, but that doesn’t mean that the retail media offering is the same across those markets. Some of them activate…
…retail media networks, such as Criteo. So, that makes things easier, but again, the offering is not consistent across the market. So, saying that the European landscape is complicated, I think it’s a bit of an understatement, but the challenge is that the complexity doesn’t necessarily stem from how mature the retail media offering is. It actually stems from how fragmented the landscape is. And I think it makes sense, you know? If you think about it, like Europe is not a country, it’s your point. It’s a continent with so many…
…countries and so many different behaviors. And if you look at shopping behaviors, they really vary across the countries. So, online grocery is a really good example. If we look at online grocery, the penetration is really different across the markets. So, you have markets like the UK and France, where it’s really high and it keeps on ramping up. And then you have markets like Italy where it’s still in its infancy. So, if I work at an online grocery retailer, obviously the incentives for me to grow my retail media offering in the U.K. are a…
…lot higher than in Italy. So, obviously, the region is going to develop in a very fragmented, unique way. Another thing to consider is also how business relationships evolved in Europe. So, if we think about the trade ecosystem in Europe, yeah, it’s a lot more complex and developed than in the US. So, if you look at the spend, CPG companies spend around 55% of their commercial budgets on the trade ecosystem. So, obviously, that really complicates the relationship between the retail teams, the trade teams, the sales…
…teams, the marketing teams. So, I think we have a lot more dynamics at play than in the US. But at the same time, you know, we need to be grateful for the unique opportunities that we have in Europe. So, the most obvious one is the GDPR Act, right? Which requires, in fact, opt-in for users before they’re being targeted with ads. And that makes it really hard for advertisers to tap into third-party data. And then the beauty of retail media is that it’s built on first-party data, so it becomes an industry that’s kind of…
…like future-proofed, even in the unlikely demise of the cookie. So advertisers have access to a very unique audience that can be found only in that retail media ecosystem. Totally understand. And I guess, you know, this is not to say that, you know, all media is now retail media, and retail media is more important than brand media. That’s not the case. But I do think that we are going to see more and more transactional elements sneaking into brand media. So, if you think about connected TV, for example, TV is a placement that’s very much a top-of-funnel…
…but now with the opportunities that connected TV offers, you all of a sudden have that transactional possibility. And people can choose to convert or not, but at least they have the choice now. Yeah, agreed. I think, you know, we’re finding that, you know, even the use of the term funnel, especially when referenced to retail media, really…
…yeah, although I will say I did use the term brandformance the other day, it didn’t go down well. But you know, maybe it’s the way people like still very attached to the idea of brand media and that’s fair enough. But you know, there is an infamous collapse of the funnel happening, I mean, just, you know, we can’t deny it, yeah. No, I agree. And Larissa, in most of the conversations we have with advertisers or Brands I think the term customer centricity is really at the center. So in retail media, which is you know…
…pretty complex, pretty siloed as we spoke about earlier and you know effectively just a whole new list of Walled Gardens, how are you seeing either data or technology come into play in retail media to help gain this kind of idea of customer centricity and what kind of innovations are you seeing? And you know, also, I guess in some ways, what do you think is missing? I love this conversation around walled gardens, and I think we’ve been having it for a few years now. But at the end of the day, I think we need to be pragmatic about it, like yes, Walled Gardens exist and…
…they’re going to be around for the next few years, so we are just going to have to deal with it, I guess. But I think that retailers need to go beyond improving the value of retail media outside basic media measurements like return on ad spend or cost per click. And to be honest, I think agencies and brands, they’re doing an amazing job at really pushing retailers and providing better data. So I’m really excited in the future to see measurements such as need to brand rate or incrementality becoming more common in the…
…early products that we get from the retailers. And I think we also need to have a wider conversation about attribution models because we all know that different retailers apply different attribution models to the media. And not only that, some retailers apply different attribution models to different media placements. So as a marketeer, it’s really hard to compare the fragments between the different retail media channels and make professional decisions when it comes to media investment. So I also think we’re going to see a lot more flexibility when it comes to the attribution models, which is really exciting. At the same time, we need to recognize that building a Walled Garden is a very expensive exercise. So I think that most of the European retailers are going to tap into retail media networks such as Criteo. In fact, enough, you can make the point that Criteo itself is a walled garden, right? But it does offer some consistency when it comes to the view, when it comes to the targeting opportunities, creative opportunities, measurement, and so on. There are also more, I would say, involved conversations around topics like clean data grams and so on that we’re having with the clients. So brands are really stuck into trying to join the dots between the disconnected data points that they have in a compliant privacy way. But, you know, if you ask me, and if I look at the advertising as a whole sector, I do think that retail media is the most exciting place to be. I mean, obviously, I’m biased about it because I work in retail media, but yeah, I think we’re going to see a lot of movement in the next couple of months.
Great. Well, look, it’s been great having you on. Um, we like to end by doing a quick fire round of questions. You obviously don’t know what these are, so I’m just going to ask you some questions. They’re generally off the top of my head, and then you just have to quickly think of an answer. So we’ll start with, uh, your favorite Friends character. My favorite Friends character? Oh, God, I don’t like Friends, how about that? But no, I would say Ross, fair enough, fair enough. Uh, your favorite city break? Uh, oh, please. I just got back, I absolutely loved it. The food there is incredible. Um, all right, and going on that, favorite food, then? Oh, God, seafood, any kind of seafood. Yeah, yeah. Um, film, “In the Mood for Love,” the Chinese one. There you go. And final one, we’ll go from Friends. You don’t like Friends, so what is your favorite TV show, then? Well, this is not surprising, right? “Mad Men,” yeah, you live it, you live in the advertising industry, exactly right now. Well, look, thank you, Larissa, for being on Retail Media Thursday. So, it’s been great having you. Thank you so much for having me. It was a blast. Thank you. [Music]
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