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May 10: Self-serve isn't the only path forward for RMNs

In this edition, we’re debunking the myth that self-serve is the only way forward, adding context to news from Save Mart and ROFDA and breaking down major partnership announcements from NBC and Instacart, Kroger and Yahoo and Best Buy and CNET. 


Unfold is the biweekly newsletter from the retail media experts at Threefold.

Hello, and welcome back to Unfold, the biweekly newsletter from the retail media experts at Threefold. This is just the seventh edition of this newsletter, and we are thrilled to share we've crossed 1,000 subscribers! Thank you to everyone who has been here since January, and welcome everyone new! 


And just like that, another couple of weeks have flown by with more events, news and shifts in retail media. We say it quite frequently, but there has never been a more exciting time to be in the retail media industry. Every day, more people are realizing its potential to revolutionize the global advertising industry for retailers, brands and consumers.


As a reminder, twice each month, we’ll meet on Threefold’s LinkedIn page to break down and contextualize all of that news, and, as a bonus, our experts will debunk a pervasive retail media myth holding the industry back.


Programming note: Unfold is expanding! We’re launching Unfold Quarterly, a video panel discussion recapping the biggest news and hot topics in retail media from the previous quarter. Join CEO Samuel Knights , Managing Director Sean Crawford and Partnership Director Amber Roberts as they break down the biggest retail media stories from the first quarter of 2024. The entire discussion is now available to view On-Demand on Threefold’s Resources Hub.


Without further adieu, let’s Unfold. 


This week we’re debunking the myth that self-serve is the future of retail media. 

The reality is self-serve is an excellent innovation that makes it easier for brands to activate retail media campaigns primarily online. But retail media is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and while self-serve works great for many retailers and their supplier brands, it’s certainly not the only path forward. Retailers who will win in retail media will do so because they offer a balanced approach, providing self-serve capabilities to CPG brands that want it and personalized support when advertisers need it.


At Threefold, we’re steadfast in our belief that retail media is not just ad sales. Retail media requires data-backed, precisely planned marketing campaigns with creativity at the heart. While the retail media industry must embrace emerging technologies that enhance capabilities and simplify complex processes (hello Plan-Apps), it must never forget the importance of the human element in creating optimal campaigns for brands and consumers. 


Retailers must ensure that their retail media propositions aren’t purely transactional. They must act as media agencies, onboard the proper media expert teams and treat brands as clients rather than customers. That can’t always be achieved with a few clicks on a self-serve platform. While self-serve will play a major role in the future of retail media, brands and retailers must deploy it appropriately and ensure that creativity and collaboration are maintained. Smaller or regional retailers, for instance, may offer brands precise targeting opportunities and omnichannel campaigns that reach shoppers across their path to purchase without ever needing to implement self-serve. A major CPG brand that typically uses self-serve may need more help determining the best ways to achieve a particular campaign objective. It’s all about striking the right balance.


Amid a constant – and welcome – push for greater standardization in retail media, we must remember that it’s impossible to standardize everything. Each Retail Media Network must offer its unique value proposition to brands. Furthermore, each campaign has its own unique set of needs, and retailers and brands must take a collaborative approach to finding the best ways to use a retailer’s media estate to most effectively reach shoppers. 


Read the entire newsletter by subscribing on LinkedIn.


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 380 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, Co-op Media Network, Morrisons Media Group, ASDA's LS Eleven Media Services and retail media for The Very Group.


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