Since the pandemic doubled ecommerce adoption, retail media advertising has been absolutely on fire.
But, of course, with any change, there can be growing pains. The retail industry dates back to 3000 BC — and “modern retail” for nearly 150 years. That’s a long history of logistics and best practices that have been figured out for a new channel like retail media to find its place to thrive.
As the digital world continues to blend online and offline marketing strategies, navigating these new waters successfully is critical. In today’s first interview topic, Jess Ruscito, SVP, Head of Media for Advantage Unified Commerce, discusses how the commerce agency’s deep roots in traditional retail marketing help its clients reach their connected commerce goals.
Embracing the digital transition: “A shop of specialists”
Jess explains the innovative journey of Advantage Unified Commerce towards becoming a digital-first entity while retaining its traditional retail essence. The conversation highlights how their agency has navigated through the digital transformation by merging with digital-first agencies.
“Through acquisitions, we’ve been taking best-in-breed digital-first agencies and we’ve been connecting that expertise with our retail intelligence to build Advantage Unified Commerce,” explains Jess. This unique formula offers retail brands a powerful combination of deep retail experience along with cutting-edge digital expertise.
A consumer-centric approach
Central to their strategy is a profound understanding of consumer behavior which guides the blend of channels utilized for driving consideration and, ultimately, purchase intent. Jess outlines a meticulous approach toward identifying investment priorities based on consumer behavior and retailer distribution.
“Just like any other marketing or media plan approach, we start by looking at the consumer,” says Jess. “We really need to understand how they spend their time, where best can we reach them, and how do we use the right mix of channels to drive consideration and ultimately purchase intent.”
Jess explains that their collaborative planning approach with clients ensures that marketing investments align well with the brand’s objectives — both in-store and digitally. The strategy emphasizes close coordination across various teams to ensure an effective transition from awareness to purchase.
“What’s equally important is that we’re working with our merchandising, our sales, and our e-commerce teams to really ensure that these investments we’re making with marketing are going to be paid off when the consumer hits the shelves,” says Jess. “That’s both in the store, but that’s also digitally.”
Jess shares her agency’s view on the need for a harmonious synergy between online and offline marketing initiatives to ensure consistency across the marketing funnel. “They have to align on keywords, bidding strategies, etc. so that they’re really complementing one another and not bumping up against each other,” she explains. “This ensures that there is consistency across the funnel from building awareness all the way down to handing that baton to a retailer to close the sale.”
Watch the interview
To go more in-depth on these topics and more, make sure to catch the full interview for a deep dive into the nuanced strategies that are shaping the future of retail marketing.