Dollar General (DG) has begun to explore a variety of advertising options that add to the display, mobile, app, audio, video, search on and off its properties, and connected television (CTV) ad units it offers today.
Charlene Charles, head of the DG Media Network Operations, said the company will explore and test opportunities to support omnichannel marketing and advertising.
“We’ve been in the process of building what we needed since 2018, and the network focuses on bringing custom solutions in house,” Charles said.
Media is offered through a managed service, but the company is exploring self-service options.
The network supports about 21 advertising partners -- representing brands such as Unilever, which has been working with DG since the beginning of the network. DG also supports General Mills, Hershey’s, and Colgate-Palmolive.
DG is one in a handful of retailers such as Walmart, Target, Kroger, Albertsons, and Best Buy, that are building out networks to support advertising and protect consumer privacy.
Previously, DG outsourced many advertising and media processes, but because the employees know its customers better than any outside company, Charles felt confident that sales and analytics teams and strategic technology partnerships would succeed.
DG has more than 4 million monthly app users, in addition to those who visit the website. While Charles declined to cite the number of website users, mounds of customer data traverse through its network of more than 18,000 stores in 47 states. It delivers more than two billion transactions annually. On average, the company opens three stores daily.
“We have the largest retailer footprint,” Charles said.
Building the network required DG to work with LiveRamp to configure and maintain audience segments, and sales attribution through its clean room technology. The Trade Desk, an independent demand side platform (DSP) steps in after creating audiences to buy and serve media across the entire internet. Google Ad Manager (GAM) steps in to support onsite advertising management.
The agency Goodway Group matches digital media planning with buying. Charles says that often, "mass-media buys focus on cheapest store visits and cost per visit, you’re pushing a lot of impressions in mass marketers,” she said. “We’re focused on the customers not in mass markets, but have the correct shopping behavior, those ready to buy. … We don’t want to be a me-too media network.”
The company reaches 90% of active DG customers through paid media.
The goal is to engage with hard-to-reach customers potentially overlooked with traditional digital marketing tactics, as 75 percent of DG stores currently serving markets of 20,000 or fewer people.
Digital offerings include self-checkout, pickup, digital coupons, cart calculator, shopping list, and the app.
Charles said performance is most important. When asked to cite the biggest challenge for the year, Charles said “the economics happening such as volatility with pricing, because it determines investments in marketing and advertising.”