Monday, January 15, 2007

RetailWire discusses the potential of in-store advertising

Once again, the folks at RetailWire are having another lively discussion about the future of in-store media. Retail media expert Laura Davis-Taylor leads this BrainTrust Query (free registration required) in an attempt to answer the question of whether digitally-based retail media networks need a unique team and/or skills to function and be utilized to their fullest extent. As usual, the discussion is quite good, and there are responses on both sides of the table. My favorite is from Mark Lilien, a consultant with Retail Technology Group, who argues in favor of a interdisciplinary team by noting that, "retailing technology success is often 1% strategy and 99% execution."

That's a hugely important (and accurate) thought that still isn't well understood by many struggling to implement their retail media programs. The work that goes into up-front strategy is quickly surpassed by the work needed to implement and subsequently maintain any form of retail digital media, whether it be audio, video or interactive. Just because a medium is digital doesn't mean that it can lose it's relevancy or timeliness. Likewise, marketers would be wise to listen to the opinions of their customers during a retail media pilot, and consider making adjustments accordingly.

By my totally unscientific estimate, I believe that most retail media networks (digital signage in particular) are probably only utilized at 75% or less of their maximum efficiency (however one might measure that), since almost every network that I've looked at could benefit from some sort of improvement or other. Still, there are many who believe that once a network is deployed, it's finished, and the rest is up to the content guys. While that mentality might allow some networks to stay successful over time, there's almost always something that could be done to make it a little better for the consumer, and better performing for the retailer.

Tags: retail media, digital signage, in-store media, in-store advertising

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