Danone Exec: Learning To Use Retail Media Networks 'Definitely A Journey'

As they change the traditional relationship between CPG brands and retailers, the proliferation of retail media networks (RTM) represents an opportunity and a challenge.

“It’s definitely a journey” is how Danone director of media connections Mary Katherine Woltz summed things up yesterday at the MediaPost Brand Insider Summit CPG conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

She added, “We see value in it.”

Monetizing that value is where the challenge lies, given that each RTM may approach the space differently, and campaigns may not be easily woven into a brand’s existing marketing executions.

“First and foremost, we look at what data they can provide,” said Woltz.

That includes “not only who we’re targeting -- but on the back end, what are the insights I learn about what else they’re buying, how they react to my creative, are they new to my brand, or repeat buyers.”



Asked about data transparency, Woltz added “I don’t think it’s fully transparent. Each [RTM] is a little different in what they provide.”

Given the disparity across RMN offerings, a brand-by-brand, test-and-learn approach with a specific business objective is a logical starting point as opposed to multiple brand executions.

“We’ve invested incrementally over the past few years, but it’s not across every brand,” said Woltz.

RTM platforms – including Kroger Precision Marketing and Walmart Connect -- are increasingly adding connected television (CTV) as an option.  When Danone’s plant-based Silk yogurt achieved “high distribution” at one unidentified retailer, the brand partnered with the chain with a campaign that included a connected-television element. “We saw double-digit growth in household penetration right away from the CTV we were running,” Woltz explained.

Meanwhile, companies like Dollar General are also rolling out RMNs. The dollar-store channel has “huge growth potential,” Woltz said. “Every one that pops up, we have to understand their capabilities, what we’re already doing with them from a sales-shopper perspective, and what’s the opportunity for us to test and learn.”

In a separate conference session, Dominick Pace, GroupM investment lead for Unilever at Mindshare, stressed the importance of RMN accountability.

“These are retail networks now selling media, and they’re looking for those dollars that may have been spent elsewhere… in an industry that’s decades old, and where there is a lot of rigor,” Pace noted. “We hold the retail media networks to the same level of accountability. It doesn’t mean they’ll always deliver. There’s a lot of room left for transparency.”

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