Squeezing More Value from a Retail Media Strategy

To lean more into the impressive results of their brand refresh in 2022, Sunkist once more tapped their shopper marketing agency partner Cliffedge Marketing (CEM) to lead the charge on developing an effective retail media strategy that would expand upon their healthy and playful messaging and reach and engage more consumers. 

Utilizing decades of experience, Cliffedge leveraged multiple Sunkist channels to achieve widespread success across their portfolio of products in 2023. Let’s break down how we squeezed the most value out of our client’s investment.

Taking a Shine to Sunkist’s Retail Media Strategy

Retail media has become increasingly vital for CPG brand success, but between communicating with multiple vendors and the time consuming campaign setups, it can also be a frustrating process for CPG brand managers. For Sunkist’s 2023 retail media campaign, they needed CEM’s help to confront the complex challenges ahead and achieve their audacious goals.

Sunkist’s Retail Media Goals

  1. Increase Sales for Multiple Products: Sunkist aimed to boost sales for multiple products throughout the fiscal year of 2023, across various channels and retailers. The goal was to maximize revenue and market presence for their entire product portfolio.
  2. Efficient Vendor Partner Evaluation and Selection: Sunkist sought to streamline the process of evaluating and selecting vendor partners. They wanted to identify the right partners quickly, ensuring their campaigns would be planned effectively.
  3. Swift Campaign Activation: Sunkist aimed to expedite the activation of their marketing campaigns so they could minimize delays and ensure timely execution in order to capitalize on market opportunities.
  4. Simplify Communication with Vendor Partners: Sunkist wanted to overcome the challenges of time-consuming communication with vendor partners during campaign setup. This would help streamline the campaign planning process.
  5. Engage Consumers While Maintaining Brand Consistency: Sunkist’s objective was to engage consumers through their marketing initiatives while staying true to their brand identity. They wanted to create captivating and on-brand campaigns that resonate with their target audience and reinforce brand loyalty.

Cliffedge Marketing’s Retail Media Strategy

  1. Streamlined Processes: All of the vendor information was organized and newly created plug-and-play resources increased efficiency and streamlined campaign processes.
  2. Managed Execution: CEM managed the majority of vendor communication and support, as well as facilitated the activation of campaigns.
  3. Enhanced Creative: Colorful, high-contrast, engaging visuals were produced that moved consumers to action, while staying within Sunkist brand guidelines.
  4. Boosted Results: CEM optimized ad placements, using creative and consumer-focused language to boost engagement and purchases

Streamlined Processes to Empower Efficient Decision-Making 

Sunkist needed to support sales across multiple products and channels, while also evaluating and choosing the right vendor partners swiftly. To address this, CEM implemented streamlined processes that included:

  • Ad Partner Guide: Identified and organized potential advertising partners, including in-house and third-party retail media networks, with more opportunities being added regularly.
  • Vendor Resource Guide: Created an at-a-glance resource outlining the capabilities of each vendor, allowing quick identification of ideal options for specific campaigns.
  • Marketing Matchmaking: Matched Sunkist’s requirements with the most suitable vendor partners based on goals, retailers and budget.

Campaign Highlight: Leveraging a Single Budget for Multiple Retailers and Products

In one example from the 2023 campaign, Cliffedge needed to promote multiple products and retailers within the same budget. Sunkist’s goal was to (1) support Lemons during a specific holiday and (2) promote various citrus varietals towards the end of peak citrus season. The key performance indicators (KPIs) were focused on achieving high click-through rates (CTRs) and driving add-to-cart metrics. 

To address this challenge, CEM identified, briefed and obtained quotes from multiple media partners that met the criteria. These quotes offered different price levels, providing Sunkist with flexibility in allocating their overall budget. With CEM’s experience in retail media, Sunkist was able to quickly identify best options for media partners, saving them time researching. After deliberation, Sunkist decided to move forward with this retail media strategy:

  1. Lemons + Purchase-Intent Ads. Because this was a shorter, more targeted campaign, they dedicated 1⁄3 of the budget to purchase-intent ads. This choice was driven by the ability to serve specific ad types to customers while they were in-store, close to making a purchase decision. 
  2. Digital Shopping + Multi-Varietals. For the multi-varietal effort, Sunkist allocated two-thirds of the budget to digital shopping ads, targeting four varietals (Navels, Valencia Oranges, Lemons and Grapefruit) across five retailers. The primary reason for selecting this ad type was the possibility of enabling add-to-cart functionality with nearly any retailer.

Managed Execution to Seamlessly Activate Campaigns 

CEM took charge of managing the majority of vendor communication and support, ensuring smooth campaign setup and activation for Sunkist. In the end, this not only saved Sunkist a LOT of time, it also left all of the necessary setup and activation to specialists! Here’s an overview of how CEM efficiently managed the execution of the project:

Key Aspects of Managed Execution

Gathering Campaign Details

CEM worked closely with Sunkist to gather crucial campaign details, including budget allocation, target key performance indicators (KPIs), focus products and targeted retailers. This comprehensive understanding of the campaign parameters formed the foundation for successful execution.

Obtaining Quotes and Identifying Vendors

Once Sunkist presented the campaign, CEM found vendor quotes and chose the best-fit budget options allowing Sunkist to make an informed final decision.

Delivering Assets

Upon acceptance of the quote, CEM established which assets were needed, gathered them from Sunkist, packaged them together and delivered them to the vendor in an organized manner. The deliverables included UPCs, offer forms, product images, logos, links, store lists and ad creatives.

Creation of a Production Schedule

To ensure smooth coordination and alignment among all stakeholders, CEM created a production schedule. This schedule encompassed various aspects such as creative development time, asset deadlines, expected proofing dates, campaign go-live dates and reporting availability. It served as a valuable reference point for all team members involved in the campaign.

Proofing and Revisions

CEM facilitated the proofing and revision process, ensuring accuracy, adherence to brand guidelines, and proper transfer of copy from forms. They collaborated closely with the vendor partners to address any feedback or changes required to deliver high-quality and on-brand campaign materials.

Creative Approval and Activation

CEM facilitated the creative approval process, including obtaining approval from retailers when necessary. Once all final assets were approved by Sunkist, CEM provided the vendor with the green light to launch the campaign. Alternatively, CEM also had the capability to launch ads themselves on self-service platforms like GroundTruth.

Expert Shopper Marketing Advocacy

By taking on the role of an extension of the Sunkist team, CEM ensured the smooth and efficient execution of the campaign. They maintained organization and promptly addressed any questions, proofing or revision needs that arose during the dynamic campaign process. This comprehensive support saved the Sunkist team valuable time and resources.

CEM’s deep understanding of campaign monitoring and management allowed them to act as advocates for the Sunkist team. In one instance, CEM discovered that ads had been served to an inactive coupon link, resulting in an advocacy effort that helped Sunkist receive a credit of approximately $15,000. This issue would not have been caught otherwise without the partnership with CEM. They proactively identified issues and opportunities for improvement.

Enhanced Creative: Captivating Visuals & Compelling Messaging 

CEM focused on producing engaging creative content that resonated with consumers while staying within Sunkist’s brand guidelines. 

The Key Elements of Enhanced Creative

  • Reducing creative development time. By avoiding vendor-created ads which could take 2-3 weeks of development, 1-2 business day turnaround time on revisions and sometimes limited revisions, CEM was able to deliver faster turnaround times and stronger adherence to brand preferences.
  • Crafting vibrant visuals. Using high contrast visuals and compelling messaging, CEM helped inspire consumer action by focusing on actionable language with a creative spin, such as: “Unbox Adventure”, “Add To Cart” “Save $1”, “Find Near You,” “Get Recipe”.
  • Collaborating with Sunkist. In order to capture attention and drive engagement, CEM worked directly with Sunkist to align on objectives, push creative boundaries and create unique ad experiences.
  • Providing additional support. CEM provided unique creatives, such as a template layout for animation to guide the vendor team which helped enhance vendor execution and deliver standout ad experiences.

Check out a sampling of creative examples here:

Boosting Results and Exceeding Expectations 

In the end, CEM’s data-driven approach enabled Sunkist to exceed vendor benchmarks and achieve remarkable results.

Key Strategies Employed to Boost Campaign Performance

  • Continuously monitoring campaign progress. By requesting regular updates on reports, CEM was able to leverage data insights in order to optimize placements, creative elements and consumer-focused language.
  • Exceeding expectations consistently. By employing continuous monitoring and the scientific method approach to marketing, CEM continued to beat vendor benchmarks for various activations. 
  • Employing a scientific method approach. Through testing and refining our strategy with each new campaign, CEM could ensure Sunkist’s ongoing success and growth.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Campaigns were measured based on two main KPIs, specifically Click Through Rate (CTR) and Add-to-Cart metrics. 

Ultimately, Sunkist consistently surpassed vendor benchmarks for various retail media campaigns across a variety of placements. Top performing campaigns included:

  • Purchase-intent ads with 6.6% CTR (6x benchmark)
  • Location-targeted ads with .52% CTR (2.5x benchmark)
  • Media-supported digital offers with 19.23% Redemption Rate (3x benchmark)

These results speak to CEM’s commitment to driving performance and helping their clients overcome the challenges that come with retail media.

Unlock Your Retail Media Potential with Cliffedge Marketing 

If you need to streamline processes, manage execution, enhance creative and boost results, CEM can help your grocery brand overcome challenges and achieve exceptional outcomes in retail media. By partnering with our shopper marketing experts, you can unlock the full potential of your retail media strategies and drive unparalleled success for your CPG brand. 

Schedule a free brainstorm session with the specialists at Cliffedge Marketing. Together, we’ll explore innovative strategies tailored to your unique challenges and goals, helping you maximize the power of retail media.