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Key Principles of Connected Commerce

4 Apr 2023

By Ethan Goodman, Mars United Commerce

The following is the third and final article in an “Unlocking the Full Potential of Retail Media” series. Read Part 1: Delivering Total Business Impact and Part 2: Driving Toward Joint Value Planning.

Or, download the full report here: TheMarsAgency_Unlocking Retail Media_Final

This article presents a summary of key principles for success that organizations can adopt to initiate the practices that we’ve been discussing in this series and deliver on the promise of connected commerce.

1. Become Multilingual
Existing functions and silos probably won’t go away anytime soon at most organizations, but we expect a lot more blurring of the lines between them. Therefore, we’ll need to develop hybrid skill sets, and that means moving outside of our comfort zones: as a salesperson or a marketer to talk the language of media, or as a media person to talk in the language of shopper marketing or trade promotion.

Subject matter expertise across these skill sets is going to become more important than ever. It won’t be acceptable any longer to plead ignorance and say, “That’s someone else’s job.”

2. Seek Scale
This concept is related to that two-pronged integration strategy we discussed earlier (image at right). Look for top-down, vertically connected opportunities between national and retail media to identify possible synergies and avoid duplication. At the same time, collaborate horizontally with your key partners in sales and marketing to make sure your media efforts are closely linked to the rest of your activity with that retailer.

Doing this will build the scale you need to make your dollars work harder.

3. Act as One Team
If you align correctly, you’ll be acting as one team. More than ever, your sales, shopper, marketing and media teams — both internally and at your agency partner — will be working harmoniously, collaborating and communicating very often and very clearly. To win with your key customers, you need to operate and collaborate in a much more holistic way.

We’re seeing this start to happen as our retail customers embrace the same approach, coming to the JBP negotiating table with representatives from the retail media network along with the merchants and key marketing people. Brands need to mirror that by bringing those same stakeholders to the table.

4. Design Experiences
Within the typical retail media operating model, it’s easy to become overly tactical. You talk about audiences, about tactics, about media in a silo. And those conversations are important, of course. But connected commerce is about creating a seamless omnichannel experience for shoppers across the physical and digital worlds, and about making sure that you’re creating seamless connection points for them at every step of their journey.

5. Reduce Complexity
To bring all these key stakeholders together internally and deliver that seamless external experience for shoppers, you need to drive as much complexity out of the system as possible. That might require tweaking — and in some cases, completely redesigning — your systems, processes, and ways of working. You need to remove any barriers to collaboration that might exist so you can unlock the full promise of connected commerce.


About the Author

Mars United’s EVP-Commerce Media, Ethan Goodman is a renowned marketing strategist with deep expertise in digital commerce and shopper marketing. He’s been named a “Young Influential” by Adweek and both a “40 Under 40” and a “Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing” by the Path to Purchase Institute, where he also serves as a Distinguished Faculty Member.

Prior to his current role, Ethan built, grew and managed Mars United’s Ecommerce and Innovation practice groups, and also guided the team that created SmartAisle — the world’s first voice-powered shopping assistant for brick & mortar retailers.

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