How AI, Responsive Marketing and Retail Media Networks Are Reshaping The Future of Retail
Q: Give us a brief history of your company, when and how did you get started and what is your high-level mission statement?
In 1983, five marketing visionaries went fishing off the coast of California on Catalina Island. They collectively developed a groundbreaking idea – to create the world’s first in-lane marketing channel using innovative digital technology to offer shoppers personalized, 1:1 incentives at the point of purchase. For 40 years, Catalina has been a trusted partner helping CPG retailers and brands maximize consumer relationships, personalize shopping experiences & drive growth. With a focus on performance marketing, Catalina’s mission is to understand and influence shopping behavior – turning shoppers into buyers, and buyers into fans.
Q: What would you like CMA and SIMA members to know about your brand/company?
As a trusted partner to some of the world’s leading CPG brands, retailers and agencies, Catalina uses our rich, real-time blend of granular, purchase-based data and shopper insights into nearly all U.S. households to understand what motivates buyers, both offline and on. Catalina can then find the right audience for marketers using our customizable segments and then engage and activate shoppers anywhere through precisely orchestrated, highly personalized, omni-channel messages and offers in-store as well as across digital, TV and OOH media. Our ability to measure the success of our efforts is invaluable; we can track the responsiveness and sales impact across channels in real time to enable in-flight adjustments and optimize media spend.
Q: What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the category management and shopper insights disciplines going forward?
Today, shoppers of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds are looking for meaningful value whether they’re shopping in-store or online, so it’s increasingly important to provide offers and incentives when and where they need it – in a privacy-compliant manner – to build loyalty and grow baskets. Catalina provides our CPG customers with a clear picture of what, where and why shoppers buy, and we provide real-time omnichannel activation at every point across the purchase funnel that seamlessly engages shoppers both inside and outside the store. We help retailer clients maximize their marketing dollars to deliver total incremental sales and growth in key categories and shopper segments most relevant to their strategy. We are committed to using purchase-based insights in an accountable way, always respecting an individual’s privacy, while measuring and optimizing a campaign to deliver stronger return on ad spend (ROAS).
Q: What is the most common question you hear from current and potential customers, and how do you answer it?
Brands today are rightfully asking for and expecting a clear understanding of the effectiveness of their efforts. That is why we developed our insights dashboards, which provide easy access to in-flight campaign reporting so that marketers understand their return on ad spend (ROAS) and adjust accordingly. Marketers are hungry for a better handle on multi-touch attribution. Which combination of audience, media channels, and creative drives conversion and sales? Catalina can answer those questions in detail with reports tailored to your needs.
Q: Any white space in the industry or areas you are looking to expand into?
We’re in constant dialogue with our CPG brand and retail partners to ensure we’re meeting their current needs, while innovating for their future needs. As a shopper intelligence and performance marketing leader, we will continue to enhance our omnichannel media solutions portfolio to deliver value to shoppers in new ways along the path to purchase. From an activation standpoint, our Responsive Marketing Solutions use real-time insights to deliver personalized marketing experiences that help brands and retailers hit multiple business objectives – such as acquiring new consumers, maximizing purchases with loyal clients, or retaining shoppers who show signs of churn - in the most efficient way by blending digital and non-digital channels into seamlessly integrated campaigns that respond inflight to shopper behavior. Our Responsive Marketing Solutions include:
• Sequential Marketing: A sequence of ads that tell a brand story and ultimately prompt purchase, delivering brand and performance advertising along a continuum by creating planned touchpoints over a measured period.
• Retargeting: Segment audiences in real-time based upon how they engage with your brand, so you can hone messaging and drive conversion by bringing a consumer back into the brand conversation.
• Audience Suppression: Keep specific people or groups from receiving an ad if they have already purchased your brand or recently bought a competitor’s brand. Like retargeting, it works in real time to see how consumers are engaging with your brand, but rather than add an engagement it eliminates one to reduce redundancy and ensure media efficacy.
Increasingly, as more Retail Media Networks gain momentum and scale, retailers are looking to trusted industry partners to help them better monetize their data assets and increase revenue growth by quantifying the impact of CPG ad spend in their on- and off-platform channels in a privacy compliant, security focused manner. We’re currently building a Retail Media Network Scorecard that should further fuel a given retailer’s revenue growth as well as our own.
Q: How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?
Protecting an individual shopper’s right to privacy will continue to be a top priority, as our in-store network taps into anonymized shopper IDs to provide real-time insights and predictive models to develop effective in-store shopper programs. We’ll continue to invest in machine learning and AI in retail marketing, enhancing our personalization technology to drive meaningful campaign performance for our clients. We will continue to weave our 1:1 deterministic data with the richest real-time data sets to give our customers a deep reservoir of insights into today’s shoppers – and help measurably impact shopping behavior both in-store and online.
Also, it will be essential for retailers to design and implement a “digital divide” strategy to give all shoppers equal access to offers and incentives by combining digital coupons with 1:1, in-store, in-lane media solutions. Delivering ads, offers and incentives through digital-only solutions misses a significant share of shoppers across all demographics due either to their preference for printed coupons or lack of access, including more than 100 million consumers 18 and over who are not engaged with digital platforms for shopping or savings. By working together to address the digital divide, grocery retailers can help these shoppers -- as well as older consumers and people with disabilities uncomfortable or unable to use this with technology -- stretch their dollars further and earn their loyalty.