BrainTrust Query: How do we make the ‘Store as Media’ opportunity real?
By Laura Davis-Taylor, Founder and Principal, Retail Media Consulting
In continuing our efforts to employ RetailWire as a think tank and feedback mechanism for new ideas, we present “BrainTrust Queries”: a series of proposals,
hypotheses and intellectual investigations from our BrainTrust panel of retail industry experts.
The “Store as Media” concept is rapidly gaining traction. It’s tantalizing premise is that every communication opportunity within the store is actually one piece of an overarching media toolbox — be it print, digital, event or mobile. Therefore, as with any other media, it needs to be evaluated, planned and purchased as one spoke in the hub of any integrated marketing program.
In recent news, the WPP group’s Mediaedge:cia is supporting the concept by forming MEC Retail. This new unit specializes in providing services to valuate store media, help advertisers choose the stores most suitable for promotions and determine promotional effectiveness. This news comes on the heels of Interpublic’s formation of the Consumer Experience Practice, a group solely focused on understanding the experiences people have with media — in current and future forms — so that they can help brands more relevantly and successfully engage consumers.
The Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), which has also been active in efforts to try to valuate store media, has predicted that U.S. advertisers will spend $19.3 billion in 2006 on POP advertising. The first group to publicly support the concept of the store as a valued media channel, or “Marketing at Retail,” they saw that digital signage was operating as a catalyst to a new iteration of POP that can make use of media and marketing best practices. And, digital signage was just the beginning, as more mobile and technology-based communications emerge to engage customers while shopping.
All of this makes sense for the following key reasons:
- Media has continued to fragment;
- Consumers are harder to reach, and;
- In creating a brand experience, one is not going to be successful if the physical manifestation – aka the store experience – does not fulfill the promises of the brand advertising.
Despite new support for the Store as Media concept, certain realities are inescapable. Marketing and Merchandising teams have very different roles and responsibilities, different measures of success, and aren’t known for their appetite for working together.
- The Merchandising teams plan, price and execute the store promotions – and they don’t see it as media or feel that Marketing teams are imperative to their success.
- Retail Marketing teams don’t always understand the Merchant world and the realities of in-store execution.
- Most importantly, Agency media planners and buyers have very little understanding, or current role in, the planning and execution of the retail store activities. Why should they assume a leadership position on something that they’ve never done?
Moderator’s comments: How can we get marketing and merchandising working together in order to take advantage of these new store-as-media opportunities?
What role does the traditional and media Agency play?
The fact is, reaching consumers successfully and motivating them to come back is now hard. The formulas that we’ve historically used have changed and technology
will continue to make it harder. After all, the very technologies we now have to reach people can be used to screen out our efforts!
In my opinion, it’s going to require the chiefs within the retailer corporations to create – and reward – a “village” approach. Understanding the customer,
and planning and executing the methods to reach them, needs be done with all niche specialists at the table. Be it the interdepartmental teams or the media, brand, traditional,
direct, store design or interactive agencies, if we aren’t working together, it’s going to show in the consumer experience. –
Laura Davis-Taylor – Moderator