A note from conference curator, Cat McGinn
It’s my privilege to introduce RE:Made - Retail Media Unmade. It takes place in Sydney in just under three months from now.
Unmade’s decision to choose the area of retail media for our first conference is because of the impact we see it having across almost every sector of the industry.
Being persuaded to return to the world of event curating took something pretty compelling: a topic with complexity, nuance, rapid evolution and points of tension.
Retail media is at once a well-established legacy channel, and one of the most innovative and fastest growing areas of the marketing ecosystem. There’s a sense in which there are two retail media definitions at play: there’s the current version, and there’s the version - the one with the monumental potential - yet to be fully realised.
Our intention for this event is to unpack the critical issues as they play out for retailers, brands, agencies and technology partners, with a focus on actionable insights that are relevant for senior decision makers across the marcomms ecosystem.
With the help of our industry advisory panel, made up of leaders from a range of organisations within the retail media space, we’ve identified the trends, potential pitfalls and burning platforms we believe will benefit our audience.
The exponential rate of change in this sector makes it a fascinating one to observe, particularly in light of the tough economic situation ahead.
Digital media’s third wave
Retail media is being touted as the third wave of digital media, and if even the most conservative forecasting is close to accurate, will be the biggest by far in terms of revenue potential. Our supermarket retail media networks are already valued at $500m collectively, and PWC estimates the rate of growth in Australia at a monumental 20%, forecasting a value of $2.1 billion by 2026. That’s a huge opportunity for retailers and a major threat for media owners.
Factoring in the way Amazon is expanding its retail media network and the number of verticals yet to unlock the retail media opportunity, the future of the retail media industry is looking so bright shades may be required.
There are striking similarities in terms of the previous waves, and I’d argue the industry finds itself at a tipping point. Once again, despite many of the changes and opportunities being driven by new technologies, AI and connectivity, it’s the human piece that is the hardest to solve.
It’s not only about new capabilities but a change in mindset: how do giant consumer goods organisations pivot to a more integrated structure and break down decades-old silos to leverage the value of retail media networks? How do retailers embrace media thinking? How do buyers learn to sell and cope with the changed power dynamic that goes with that? Do we shake up the org chart and scramble for talent in a market already experiencing a skills deficit, or outsource everything? Who do we trust to report on return on spend, and how do we ensure that the networks and data sets are speaking the same language?
Every retailer, every brand and agency seems to be tackling these issues differently, but the need to balance risk and reward is a theme you can see play out in every aspect.
“I spent years being known as the wobbler guy”
An area that is under-discussed is the role of creative. There has been a sense that the wider industry has seen work intended for the retail environment as less prestigious, or less likely to result in awards glory. As one of the retail media leaders I spoke to said, “I spent years being known as ‘the wobbler guy,’” - but those conversations have shifted to a strategic level. Signalling a move away from the notion of shopper marketing being less rich in terms of original ideas or scope, as the retail environment starts to offer more flexibility and a bigger canvas for brand creative, the need to inject assets at the point of sale with dynamic and inventive ideas to drive cut-through will become paramount.
Also on the agenda is governance, privacy and oversight, measurement, metrics and the value exchange, and of course the customer experience.
The opportunity for an invigorated, relevant customer experience as we move away from cookies and cohorts to hyper-personal data-driven targeting should have marketing teams feeling some excitement. Being able to implement the omnichannel strategy we’ve talked about for years - but haven’t been able to truly deliver because the ecosystem didn’t fully exist - offers unprecedented effectiveness and potential efficiencies.
By placing retail media firmly in the spotlight we hope to help the sector establish a role in the ecosystem that’s better understood, readily scalable and with longevity and accountability built in. Bringing the retail media community together is, we believe, a strong signal to the wider industry that this is not merely an emerging trend but a vital part of the marketing mix.
Wherever you’re at in your retail media journey, by the end of the day you’ll leave with a notebook full of practical ideas, next steps and resources to help you optimise your retail media activity, and a phonebook full of contacts to assist you in ensuring the process is a seamless one.
With thanks to the industry movers and shakers who have so generously given their time to offer advice and expertise in shaping the content of this event, we’re tantalisingly close to having a program to announce.
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday March 2nd 2023 at the Teachers Federation in Surry Hills, on Gadigal Country.
The process of curating a new event like this relies on talking to the key players within the community. Everyone has been hugely helpful, and thoughtful. If I haven’t got to you yet, and you’ve a point of view on what we should be discussing at the event in March, I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re interesting in sponsorship opportunities, the team at We Think Media will be able to help via email@example.com.
In alphabetical order, and not including the background chats, huge thanks to:
• Martech Weekly
• Standard Media Index
There’s a real sense that a new community is forming. We think it deserves its own event. If you agree, please support it.
The site for RE:Made is now live, with early bird tickets priced at just $236.
See you there.