Susan O'Neal

CEO, Founder Adjoy
Susan O’Neal is the founder & CEO of Adjoy, a revolutionary kind of ad network that that empowers consumers to become active partners with the advertisers they care about – creating trust and capturing value for all through honest, mutually beneficial and mutually chosen experiences.

Gear’s experience in the field of consumer marketing is uniquely suited to this challenge, including over 20 years in the fields of consumer research, branding, targeted marketing, promotions, retail loyalty and digital consumer engagement as a Consumer Analyst (Grey Worldwide), B2B Marketer, Business Strategist (Catalina Marketing) and General Manager responsible for the P&L of two different digital coupon destination properties.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2017

    Should the same-store sales metric be retired?

    The degree to which physical stores are necessary to capture significant share of retail spending is still unknown (otherwise Amazon would not be investing in stores). As long as physical stores are necessary, the same-store sales metric is an important KPI. That said, customer and transaction-based sales metrics (across sales channels) are equally important.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2017

    BrainTrust throwdown: Is it inevitable that tech companies will dominate retail?

    I love this question! Ryan and Ken are both right. Both technology and data are only as good as the objective they are applied against. Amazon uses technology to capture the value of efficiency (time and money). Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers use people to capture the value of human relationships (trust and loyalty). Can technology replace relationships? Yes, sometimes. Can relationships trump technology? Yes, sometimes. At the end of the day the entities that best respond to what the consumer needs and wants will thrive -- just like always.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2017

    Is the time right for Publix to begin a major rollout of its GreenWise stores?

    Publix has done a great job integrating premium and organic merchandise into their mainstream selection and eliminating the need for two trips. Additionally, the BOGO and coupon programs help mitigate price concerns. I am not sure that Publix needs a wholly separate brand to capture the market opportunity -- sharing best practices across their store formats may be enough.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2017

    Are consumers interested in Kroger’s stories?

    Our industry is rife with mistrust and disloyalty. The best, most fertile ground for rebuilding that trust is the relationship between a consumer and their preferred retailer. Blogs and other forms of authentic, mutually-chosen and mutually-beneficial dialogue are promising places to start.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2017

    Are Amazon’s boxes prime ad real estate?

    The space and the impressions by themselves are not valuable without a solid strategy and plan to use them in a way that creates value. I think Revlon did a great job with their campaign. Increasing the frequency will increase the noise which will decrease any value the real estate could contribute to a well-orchestrated campaign.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2017

    Will content ever top discounts in e-mail campaigns?

    ROI is a function of both cost and impact. As long as email is low-cost, there will always be spam and spam will continue to decrease consumer responsiveness to email as a tactic overall. As such, I am not optimistic that content can be compelling enough on its own. Great content is a pull tactic more than anything else, promotions are a push.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2017

    Are vendors and stores headed for a fight over Amazon?

    Several years ago, a senior Macy's executive confided in me that Amazon was killing their business. This surprised me as -- at the time -- the department store model was still hanging in there. He said "you'd be surprised by how much apparel sales are made up by replenishment items -- socks, underwear, t-shirts." Amazon has specifically strong potential in any category where "browsing" is not so important -- anything replenishment-related falls into that category, but vendors should take a lesson from the publishing industry and be wary of the easiest path online.
  • Posted on: 01/31/2017

    Will free two-day shipping give Walmart an edge over Amazon?

    It will help, but Walmart's biggest hill to climb is consumer awareness and perception as an at-home delivery option.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2017

    How soon before digital technologies reinvent food shopping?

    I'm curious, with an open mind, about the actual impact of these technologies on trip frequency and sales. That said, I believe the spot where retail technology really needs to begin is at the point of purchase intent -- whether that intent is focused on a specific product or a trip that is inclusive of many products, it's exactly the point at which the need arises for the consumer for a solution. The challenge is 1.) being there (most digital grocery platforms have very low penetration and engagement) and 2.) knowing how to be most helpful to consumers in solving for their needs.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2017

    Will growing competition in Florida slow Publix as it heads north?

    Any reasonable new competitor is going to have an impact on Publix, but they shouldn't overreact -- they are most Floridians' preferred store, they need to cement that position with innovative NEW programs. What's the next innovation after BOGO? They must lead.
  • Posted on: 01/16/2017

    Will blending online/offline roles improve the Walmart customer experience?

    Walmart must disrupt its own model to survive -- and I used "disrupt" in the Clayton Christensen/Innovator's Dilemma sense. This is EXTREMELY difficult to do -- Walmart must be willing to sacrifice its stores in order to be successful (whether it actually comes to that or not is a different discussion, they have to be willing to do it). Combining oversight seems to be a first, best step in that direction. Incidentally, there are tons of examples of this being done poorly (nearly every brick-and-mortar book and music retailer for one). However, the only instance of a retailer successfully disrupting itself is Dayton-Hudson department stores giving way to the new discount model Target. If Walmart shareholders have the stomach to see this through all the way, it will be interesting to watch.
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Penney CEO says stores critical to omnichannel push

    Unless department stores themselves become dual stores/distribution centers, I don't know how the model survives the need to have nearly every size and color of every item in-stock at the same (or close to same) price as online merchants.
  • Posted on: 01/10/2017

    Will 2017 be the year of the chatbot?

    Any example of marketing technology moving toward more humanizing interactions is encouraging (rather than moving toward finding more ways to find and interrupt consumers). Chatbots have potential and I'm curious to see applications evolve, provided they don't fall prey to our industry's spamming tendencies.
  • Posted on: 01/09/2017

    Will its acquisition of boost Walmart’s online performance?

    This acquisition appears similar in intent and strategy to Amazon's acquisition of Zappos. It grows presence, category sales and brand-appeal faster.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Are convenience stores in for a big year in 2017?

    I think most c-stores are doing a great job evolving with their audience, with merchandise selection and more self-service options -- in-store and at the pump. They do not face nearly the same competitive pressures as the rest of retail. So yes, 2017 will be a good year for c-stores.

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