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: 05/23/2017

    How should retailers balance personal versus impersonal experiences?

    If you believe the old adage "the customer is always right" is still true then we must accept the reality that different customers have different definitions of service. Retailers either have to choose who they want as customers and cater obsessively to them and not worry about the rest (like Trader Joe's) or try to be all things to all customers. The latter involves knowing you will fall short for some customers who can get exactly what they want at a retailer that has focused their strategy entirely on them.
  • Posted on: 05/16/2017

    Will Walmart’s next-gen store fly with shoppers?

    Even Walmart doesn't know how new "next-gen" features will impact new and core customer shopping. This is why they are testing the layout, so they find out the answer before their competition. The only advantage these days is staying ahead of the learning curve.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2017

    Can Walmart dash past Amazon with its own product replenishment system?

    Amazon has changed the game from purchase power (which Walmart dominated with EDLP), to how quickly one can collapse the time between purchase intent and purchase. I think it's the right context to think about, but the real question is how do consumers want to manage their purchase intent? A variety of factors play into why a consumer may prefer one retailer over another, as evidenced by the fact that 85 percent of consumers still cite supermarkets as the store they shop first and most frequently. Whoever best empowers the consumer to get the best of everything from the retailer they prefer will win -- companies like Instacart and Adjoy fit into that category.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2017

    Do consumers want experiential rewards?

    I had a moment a few years ago when my actual everyday self slapped my professional self and said something like, "seriously Susan, if you tried to create trust and loyalty with your friends and family the way you invest in creating loyalty with consumers they would all leave you!" My point is that it's time for the relationship between companies and consumers to evolve into something beyond "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."
  • Posted on: 05/03/2017

    Should one rough quarter have Publix’s management concerned?

    All retailers are facing the most difficult and dynamic time in retail's history -- and that is especially true for grocery which has been relatively isolated from digital disruption for the last 20 years. In this environment, companies cannot test their courage cautiously or they will find themselves losing ground. That is true even for the best.
  • 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.

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