Retail media has been one of the driving forces in all of media over the past year, with numerous new retailers piling into the business. But Kroger has been in the business four and a half years already, and it’s in a position to now to capitalize on the new wave of growth.
Behind Kroger's thriving retail media network
“Brands are jumping in and agencies are leaning in,” said Cara Pratt, senior VP of Kroger Precision Marketing, an outgrowth of Kroger Co.’s even longer-standing 84.51° loyalty data marketing business (previously Dunnhumby).
In the process, retail media is moving beyond purely focusing on promotions and conversions toward awareness building, too, Pratt said during the latest edition of the Marketer's Brief podcast. “It’s not just about bottom funnel. It’s about full funnel.”
Indeed, Pratt sees brands using retail media to flip the funnel, in a sense. For example, using one of the thousands of attributes identified through machine learning models, she said, brands can start with a relatively narrow customer target—or several of them—to expand their existing customer bases. She said 85% of Kroger’s top 500 keyword search terms are unbranded, meaning that consumers are looking for products or ideas rather than specific deals or variants. And partnerships with Pinterest and the Roku Audience Network are among factors that make Kroger’s data applicable well beyond its app and website.
As minds open to broader ways of using retail media, marketer organizations are changing, Pratt said. “We do navigate in traditional silos of shopper teams vs. e-commerce teams vs. national investment teams,” she said.
But some organizations are also creating “omni” marketing teams that span those silos, and more agencies have been changing over the past 18 to 24 months to accommodate that as well, she said, “to make sure that they can evolve to the future as well” with commerce “center of excellence” teams.