How to Set Up a Retail Media Campaign to Maximize ROI for Grocery Brands.

What makes a shopper marketing campaign effective? With ROI as a north star, we consider campaigns successful when they stand out in a competitive landscape and provide brand visibility, drive engagement or purchases and increase customer loyalty. 

So, how do we get from a blank sheet of paper to implementing the appropriate retail media tactics that will play a crucial role in reaching consumers at the point of purchase and influencing their decision-making process? Let’s walk through the key steps involved in setting up a successful retail media campaign, drawing insights from our client work with Sunkist for their 2023 season.

Retail Media Mastery: 6 Ways to Leverage Your CPG Brand

Step 1: Define Your Objectives

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before diving into the details, it’s crucial to define your target retailer(s), budget, timeline and key performance indicators (KPIs). How will you know you succeeded if you don’t have markers for success? 

We recommend considering a consumer action that aligns with your objectives, such as brand visibility, purchase, re-purchase or website traffic. Then assign a budget to the campaign – keeping in mind that most retail media campaigns typically start at $10K to achieve their reach and data-gathering goals. Your budget will also determine your timeline. For instance, physical activations like sampling in store can take months of lead time, whereas digital ads can be implemented very quickly.

As an example, when working with Sunkist, their objective was to increase purchases for target varietals during peak citrus season. With this organizing principle in mind, we developed these goals for impactful retail campaigns:

  • Identify potential media partners and understand their capabilities across the path-to-purchase
  • Facilitate communication with vendors to improve efficiency
  • Create engaging, impactful creative in line with Sunkist brand guidelines
  • Activate programs with target retailers that focus on actionable KPIs

Step 2: Identify Retail Media Companies

To execute your retail media campaign effectively, you need to identify the best-fit retail media companies who work with your target retailer. Information about retail media companies can sometimes be found on their websites, but a scheduled phone call could help you find out more information. 

Retailers sometimes use in-house media to promote CPG brands. Walmart Connect, Kroger Precision Media and Albertsons Media Collective are a few examples of retailers who have access to their owned media platforms, opportunities and events.  In some cases, you will need to coordinate your shopper marketing efforts through a category manager or buyer.

Other retailers will use third-party media vendors like Inmar or Quotient. Collaborating and establishing a relationship with third-party vendors can provide access to additional ad options, digital coupons, logo usage and sales attribution capabilities. 

Some vendors in the retail media space offer retailer-agnostic capabilities, allowing you to target display ads around any store location, usually without logo usage. This means that you can reach your target audience effectively, regardless of the specific retailer they visit. Additionally, certain vendors may provide opportunities to add products directly to the cart through popular online grocery platforms, like Instacart. 

In the case of Sunkist, we helped them leverage retail media relationships with more than seven retail media partners to amplify their brand visibility and drive consumer engagement. By collaborating with these retail media companies, Sunkist gained access to targeted advertising opportunities and expanded their reach across multiple touchpoints in the retail ecosystem including coupons, programmatic ads, shopping ads, sampling events and more.

Step 3: Determine Ad Types and Capabilities

Each retail media vendor offers a unique set of capabilities and ad types. Using your retail media objectives established in Step 1, you can identify which vendor would work best for your campaign. 

Consider each stage of the buyer’s journey to best determine your ad types (i.e attract, engage, delight). Based on our experience working with vendors, we’ve identified three different categories of shopper marketing ads– pre-purchase awareness, purchase and post-purchase.

Attract: Increase Brand Visibility with Pre-Purchase Ads 

Pre-purchase ads for CPG brands are designed to create awareness, generate interest and influence consumer decision-making before the actual purchase occurs. 

These ads aim to capture the attention of potential customers and introduce them to the brand, its products and its value proposition. 

They often focus on building brand awareness to instill a desire for consumers to explore further. 

Examples of pre-purchase ads:

  • Programmatic/display ads (Includes interactive/gamified/quiz/poll ads, weather or location aware ads, push notification ads, in-line recipe ads, etc.)
  • Social media ads
  • Sponsored search
  • Retail on-site media
  • Consumer emails
  • Print ads
  • Direct mail/FSI

Engage: Guide the Consumer Towards a Decision with Purchase Ads

Purchase ads, on the other hand, target consumers who are in the process of making a purchase or are ready to make a purchase. 

These ads aim to drive immediate action and conversion by providing incentives, highlighting special offers, emphasizing product benefits and creating a sense of urgency. 

They are strategically placed at the point of purchase, whether it’s in-store or online, to capture consumers’ attention and encourage them to choose the advertised CPG brand over competitors.

Examples of purchase ads:

  • Loyalty offers
  • Digital coupons
  • Add-to-cart ads
  • Shoppable recipes
  • Sampling
  • Secondary displays

Delight: Retain Customers with Post-purchase Ads

Post-purchase ads target consumers who have already made a purchase. 

These ads focus on building brand loyalty, encouraging repeat purchases and fostering ongoing engagement with the brand. 

They can include personalized follow-up messages, recommendations for complementary products, exclusive offers for existing customers and reminders to leave reviews or share their experience with the brand. Post-purchase ads aim to enhance the customer experience, maintain a positive relationship with consumers and maximize the value of each customer by nurturing long-term loyalty and advocacy.

Examples of post-purchase ads:

  • Rebates
  • Receipt coupons
  • Ad retargeting/event retargeting

It is crucial to select the ad types that align with your objectives and resonate with your target audience. Cliffedge Marketing leveraged digital marketing, web development services and engaging, in-store consumer promotion tactics to bring Sunkist’s 2023 season to life. 

Step 4: Get into the Details

Once you’ve selected your desired activations, it’s important to consider the details that can affect your campaign’s overall success. Understanding the turnaround time for each activation type is essential, with digital options typically taking a few business days and sampling events requiring up to 12 weeks. This knowledge helps you plan and allocate resources effectively. 

Additionally, you need to determine whether you’ll provide creative assets or if the vendor needs to create them for you. Assessing the investment required to adequately saturate your target locations and requesting additional reporting options such as sales lift and foot traffic studies are also crucial steps. 

By understanding the details and requirements, you can ensure a smooth and efficient campaign execution. For instance, while working with Sunkist, we would use the targeted campaign live date and vendor lead times to create production schedules that accounted for key steps such as establishing campaign details and KPIs, gathering assets, creative development, proofing, review, and final approval. We gathered insights from the vendors to guide decisions like the number of stores to target within a given budget, and combined that with brand goals like prioritizing purchase metrics in order to find the best fit solutions for each campaign, determine the assets needed, and create a more seamless process for all involved.

Step 5: Prepare the Required Assets

To ensure a smooth execution of your retail media campaign, gather the necessary assets required for the campaign, including ad creative, product UPCs, product images, barcode information for coupon offers, store lists, and UTM links if applicable. When you provide comprehensive, accurate assets that are easy to swipe and deploy for the vendor, you further facilitate their ability to deliver a successful campaign. 

In the Sunkist case study, we provided a wide range of assets to support their retail media campaigns. This included visually appealing and engaging ad creatives that showcased the vibrant and enticing qualities of their seasonal citrus varieties. We also shared accurate store lists, product UPCs and high-quality product images to ensure consistent and accurate representation across various advertising channels. Overall, by providing a wide variety of useful assets, Sunkist maximized the effectiveness of their retail media campaign so that we could help deliver a bigger ROI.

Step 6: Monitor Reporting and Performance

It should go without saying that reporting and performance measurement are crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of your retail media campaign. 

Most vendors provide screenshots when the campaign is live, and intermittent results can be requested to track performance. It’s important to note that certain ad types may require more time to generate results, especially for metrics like carting or sales lift. 

To gain valuable insights into your campaign’s performance compared to industry standards, you can request benchmarks specific to your ad type and category. Plus, monitoring reporting and performance helps you make data-driven decisions and optimize your campaign for better results. 

Cliffedge Marketing provided Sunkist with periodic performance reports to assess the performance of their retail media campaigns, cross-referencing with sales data from the Sunkist team to determine campaign success. Among many of the impressive results, Sunkist was excited with these KPIs:

  • 2x the average Click Thru Rate on multiple digital ad types for their summer lemons campaign
  • 3x the expected Redemption Rate on digital coupons for bagged fresh citrus
  • 2x-4x the average Click Thru Rate across four programmatic ad campaigns

Master the Art of Retail Media Campaigns with a Free Brainstorm

Implementing an effective retail media campaign requires strategic planning, collaboration with retail media companies and a thorough understanding of the available ad types and capabilities. This requires dedicated expertise and focus to execute.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and leveraging insights from our Sunkist 2023 Season case study, you are on your way to optimizing your retail media tactics and achieving your desired outcomes. Remember, each campaign is unique, so continuous monitoring and adaptation are essential for long-term success in the ever-evolving retail landscape. 

Start by strategically planning your retail media campaign, collaborating with retail media companies like Cliffedge Marketing and mastering the available ad types and capabilities for best results. With our 20+ years of experience in shopper marketing, we can help you unlock the full potential of your retail media strategy. Contact us for a free consultation to take charge of your retail media success.

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