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Consumers come first and other takeaways from Commerceweek

At Threefold, the shopper is key to every decision we make, because, at the end of the day, we believe retail media exists to make the consumer journey better. That attitude ran through ADWEEK’s two-day Commerceweek event, held Feb. 28 and 29 in New York City. Commerceweek brought together experts from across retail to dive deep into the opportunities and challenges impacting commerce marketers in 2024.


While the challenges facing the industry may at times seem daunting, they create the pathway for new solutions and usher in creative ideation that leads to making retail media stronger, more sustainable and equitable for all stakeholders.

It’s hard to boil it all down, but let’s give it a try: Here are 3 takeaways from Adweek’s Commerceweek 2024.


Tara Hekmat is a Client Director at Threefold.

1. Every decision made should relate to improving the customer experience


The shopper is at the heart of any marketing campaign. If it fails to resonate with the shopper, it fails for the brand.


Amanda Bopp, Vice President of North America Marketing & E-Commerce at Kate Spade, emphasized the importance of connecting the right product with the right person. Above all else, Bopp said marketers should always remember to put themselves in the customer’s shoes – after all, we’re all also customers.


She stressed the significance of personalization in marketing, leaning on partners who enable the personalized campaigns that consumers crave. Brands have limited time to capture the attention of consumers in the digital age. While brands can tell their story across numerous and a growing number of channels, marketers must remember that the product is the star of the show and get to the point.


Brands should also be careful to avoid forming a singular view of the consumer. While data is paramount, marketers must remain vigilant, keeping an eye out for blind spots in that data that could lead to inaccurate conclusions about consumers. It’s not just about knowing who is shopping. As marketers, we must get to the bottom of why and how they’re shopping.


Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, CMO of DoorDash, shared insights into the company's marketing strategies aimed at enhancing the customer journey. He emphasized the importance of the delivery platform onboarding new retailers across various verticals — creating as much selection as possible – to entice more consumers to interact with the DoorDash platform, giving brands more consumers to target through retail media.


Amoo-Gottfried said there is also a benefit to waiting for retailers who target consumers in underserved communities. DoorDash, for example, is particularly focused on providing for shoppers in suburban areas, where it has a higher market penetration compared to its competitors.


2. Never stop testing and learning


Our 15 years of experience at Threefold has taught us that there is always room to get better, even when what you’re doing is already working. There is always a need to try new things and learn from them, even if they don’t work out. That’s why we always share with our partners when a campaign or tactic hasn’t achieved its goal.


Throughout the event, speakers at Commerceweek underscored the necessity of continuous testing and learning in the ever-evolving landscape. Steve McGowan, Regional Vice President, Omni Shopper Activation and Strategic Partnerships at Mondelēz, said roughly 80% of tactics his marketers deployed were tried and true, while about 20% were new tactics. Marci Raible, VP of Integrated Marketing at Campbell Soup Company, advocated for smart test-and-learn approaches focused on setting a clear learning agenda: what are we, as marketers, trying to learn and how will this test help us get there?


Consumers are always changing, McGown noted. Testing and learning by putting the shopper at the heart, considering their non-linear journey and their evolving mindsets, will help drive them from couch to register (or couch to laptop) and can lead to impact.


Despite the plethora of choices online, there’s a huge benefit to digital marketing: brands can control consistency in messaging and benefit from real-time feedback loop to enhance that shopper experience. This leads to opportunities to test and learn in real-time, amending copy and creative to react to shifting variables, like weather or events.


3. We’re losing the cookie, and it’s time to act (but not panic)

We might not know exactly when the cookie will finally leave our toolkit, but its slow death is evident. Marketers need to try new strategies now – there is no time to waste in developing a revamped targeting strategy. But that doesn’t have to be painful, as there are numerous opportunities and possibilities for marketers to face this challenge.


In a workshop dedicated to exploring the impact of third-party cookie deprecation on commerce media, Chicory co-founders Yuni Baker-Saito and Joey Petracca discussed alternative solutions to address this challenge, delving into the technical implications of cookie removal and proposing alternative strategies related to first-party data, contextual commerce and privacy sandbox initiatives.


The session highlighted the need for marketers to adapt to a cookie-free world by embracing innovative approaches that prioritize consumer privacy while still delivering targeted and personalized experiences. As the industry shifts toward alternative IDs, probabilistic data and contextual targeting, brands must rethink their advertising strategies to ensure continued effectiveness in reaching and engaging consumers.


Michael Della Penna, Chief Strategy Officer at InMarket, urged marketers to prepare for the total deprecation of the cookie, calling out AI-informed contextual targeting and alternative IDs as paths forward.


We know retailers and their Retail Media Networks offer a true solution here, as retailers have robust first-party data about their consumers through loyalty programs. Retailers know what happens in their stores and on their digital platforms, meaning brands who advertise with them can make data-driven decisions about targeting the right shopper at the best time, without relying on data from cookies.


While the deprecation of the third-party cookie is a challenge, marketers must look at the deprecation of the cookie as an opportunity to reinvent, get creative and revitalize marketing online.


Thanks to ADWEEK for another great event.


About Tara Hekmat

Tara Hekmat is a Client Director at Threefold, where she partners with retailers & CPGs to launch and optimize end-to-end retail media strategies, curating omnichannel campaigns that supercharge sales to deliver improved performance. Prior to her role at Threefold, Tara spent 6 years on the Capture team within SMG, collaborating with CPGs to plan, execute and measure their retail media campaigns across top grocers. Want to chat about how Threefold can supercharge your retail media strategy? You can reach her at tara.hekmat@threefold.team.


About Threefold

Founded in 2008, Threefold is the world's leading Retail Media Network (RMN) specialist, headquartered in both New York and London. As part of the SMG agency network, which employs over 250 retail media experts, Threefold's primary mission is to unlock incremental CPG budgets, curate media campaigns that supercharge sales and elevate its retail partners into top-tier omnichannel media owners, spanning in-store, off-site and online.

Threefold's services include consultancy, evaluation, and a white-label in-house solution that has seen the agency build, run and operate over 10 Retail Media Networks to date. In the UK, Threefold runs and operates Walgreens' Boots Media Group and Morrisons Media Group, and additional live partners include major retailers like Asda, The Co-op and The Very Group.



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