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Who’s the Most Collaborative Retail Network?

12 May 2023

The Mars Agency’s Kandi Arrington and Ethan Goodman tackle some of the most common questions that brands are asking about retail media strategy and activation.

QUESTION: In terms of collaborative joint value planning, what retailer is best in class?

Kandi Arrington: Lately, when we sit down at the table to have conversations about how to become better partners, retailers have been extremely open to the discussion. There may have been some resistance to that idea in the early days of retail media, because as these networks first started to evolve the conversations mainly revolved around price with the sales team.

But we’ve made a lot of progress. Now, when you lay out your intent to make it a value-building conversation for both parties, retailers and their media networks are very receptive. So we’ve really started building some best-in-class partnerships with Walmart Connect, Albertsons Media Collective, Target’s Roundel, Kroger Precision Marketing, and other networks that weren’t possible previously.

Ethan Goodman: To be clear, a big reason for this is that brands are demanding these kinds of partnerships from their retail partners. But retailers are getting there, too.

As for best-in-class retailer, I would say that Albertsons Media Collective is probably leading the charge in this area, along with some of the others that Kandi mentioned.

Albertsons often credits its “late mover” entry into the market (the network launched in 2022) with enabling them to speak with experienced brands to understand the real needs of advertisers. And the need for joint value planning ­— along with the call for incrementality measurement — was one of the needs they heard most often.

At Groceryshop in Las Vegas last August, Albertsons generated a lot of buzz because they already were bringing merchants to their retail media top-to-top meetings with key suppliers. A lot of other retailers are now on that path, but Albertsons was a little bit ahead of the game.

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