Adapting businesses to a new reality

By Nicole Kivel, Regional Retail Media Managing Director at Criteo:

We are now living in a new world which for consumers and businesses alike is unlike anything we’ve seen for generations. 2020 taught us all so much about the way we work, live and consume.

Technology has rapidly advanced innovation and brands’ ability to be agile in the face of change, at a rate never seen before. This has not only impacted customer experiences and the way people engage with brands but has also made the stakes higher than ever before. Businesses are now in a position where they must act proactively and intelligently to ensure they maintain the ability to grow in this new era.

Traditional marketing roles breaking away from the norm due to COVID-19

Previously, where roles within businesses would be isolated in departmental silos, roles are being adapted and expanded. The average marketer must now look beyond the traditional parameters of success and implement new approaches to adapting to customer behaviours in real-time. This evolution of roles has forced open those silos so that roles in e-commerce, search and brand all have to break apart to understand the overall operational and marketing detail. If internal teams are not educated or do not understand the macro environment, they will fail to succeed in their own goals and the broader ambitions of the business.

Clearly, COVID-19 demanded adaptability from marketers, however, what is key is that this is not short-lived.  In 2020, marketers had to look for new ways to not only build & maintain brand loyalty but also drive sales in the face of global lockdowns and store closures. The most common avenue explored was that of the digital, eccomerce shelf, an increasingly competitive landscape the priority became reaching high-value audiences with targeted and relevant recommendations for products and services. Without this, marketing efforts will be wasted, which will only create a knock-on effect for the rest of the business.

Retail Media should be a priority in 2021 digital marketing budgets

According to a study we carried out, almost half (47%) of senior marketing decision-makers said that retail media will take up a reasonable proportion of their budget this year, with a further 15% saying it will play a significant role. So as marketers look to close the gap between advertising and the point of purchase, recognition for the impact of retail media is on the rise.

The research revealed that over half (59%) of respondents said that the impact on sales growth was higher from retail media advertising, with half (51%) also claiming a higher return on advertising spend from retail media campaigns. This is particularly important given that measurement was revealed to be the most valued output from any given marketing campaign among respondents. The findings from this research are a clear indication that the future lies in retail media and that marketers are already beginning to reap the benefits of a safe, highly relevant home for digital ad investments.

These technologies were designed to accelerate digital ad spend and take marketing to another level. Brands need a single platform to implement successful marketing campaigns, in order to shift engagement and interactions to a more reliable place for businesses, as well as consumers. Ensuring marketing teams can measure their successes and maintain engagement in this context can be the difference between success and failure. So, the onus is on businesses to continue breaking down silos to better focus on omnichannel experiences while marketing in the right way and through the right channels to the right audiences to grow brand loyalty and engagement.

Nobody can predict how 2021 will go, just like we couldn’t have predicted how 2020 played out in the end. However, using learnings from 2020, we can all better prepare ourselves for what the year might bring us. While businesses and consumers were simply reacting to the effects of the pandemic, now is the time for proactive planning and putting measures in place to protect businesses and consumers.