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How retail media is becoming the future of media
June 21, 2024

At the recent POSSIBLE Miami event, the Walmart Connect team sat down with our partners at Coca-Cola and EssenceMediacom to discuss the biggest trends shaping the future of retail media. From full-funnel strategies to omnichannel capabilities, panelists unpacked the true value of retail media and the unique ways these capabilities came to life through a new Coca-Cola product launch at Walmart. Here are three key insights from their conversation.

Retail media data helps drive cohesive omnichannel experiences

When launching a new limited-edition drink, Coca-Cola Ultimate, the team knew they had to "go big" with Walmart. "[Ultimate] was born in the gaming world with our partnership with League of Legends, specifically targeted to the Gen Z gamer," said Whitney Arthur, Senior Director of Customer Marketing at Coca-Cola. "We challenged Essence with one key KPI... For all weekly Walmart shoppers that hit the store... We wanted them to be inundated with our message."

This meant leaning into a true omnichannel approach. Powered by Walmart’s first-party, omnichannel insights, the campaign targeted specific audiences, including the Gen Z gamer, across Walmart’s online and in-store ad solutions (a strategy Coca-Cola referred to as "the Ultimate blitz").

Retail media can help connect online and in-store shopping by creating cohesive experiences that are measurable throughout the entire shopping journey. And as marketers are increasingly challenged with understanding customer behaviors across channels due to signal losses, "retail media data is really filling in a lot of gaps," said Ryan Wayward, SVP of Retail Media Sales at Walmart Connect.

The advent of full-funnel retail media creates connections across the shopper journey

The path to purchase is no longer linear, and a full-funnel retail media strategy helps brands accelerate touch points for each aspect of the customer journey, from discovery and consideration to purchase. The team built a holistic, full-funnel plan that drove sales but also moved the needle on brand metrics. "It was a true end to end experience where we were laser focused on the Gen Z consumer, finding them when they are on social and in stores, and rolling out a new product with an experience as opposed to partitioned campaigns," said Ed Kim, Executive Director of Media at EssenceMediacom.

Arthur said Coca-Cola's true KPI was "see us, hear us, try us," and they achieved what they set out to do: 70% of the buyers were brand new1, meaning they were able to recruit the next generation of Coca-Cola drinkers through their partnership with Walmart Connect.

Breaking silos down helps brands solve business challenges and deliver performance

As the separation between the shopper and brand marketer diminishes, more teams are getting a seat at the table. "The silos are broken, and we are really bridging the gap between all the entities that need to speak to one another to do full-funnel marketing at scale and do it right," said Gabby Stoller, Senior Director, Chilled, AlcBev and Convenience at Walmart Connect.

When approaching this campaign strategy, the team thought about Walmart in totality. Constituents who don’t historically work closely together are increasingly partnering to deliver more results and tap into retail media’s full potential. Ed Kim shared this collaborative approach allowed the team to not just run a media campaign but launch a new product using Walmart Connect’s assets and connect with the right customers at the right time.

Watch the full panel below and contact us to learn how you can put our data, expertise and partnerships to work for you.

Source: 1Walmart first-party data, June 12-Sept. 1, 2023; a "new-to-brand" customer is one who purchases a brand’s product on Walmart's site or​ app as a result of a Walmart Connect ad campaign after not having purchased the brand on Walmart's site or app in the previous 12 months.

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