This month we reflect on June trends which looks at the shifts in the roles of marketing decision makers within brands and what that means for future strategy, how the retail sector is in its “in-store era” and the welcome changes introduced to improve collaborative measurement of carbon emissions in the industry. 

Repositioning of roles: CMO to CBO 

It was recently reported that Compare the Market has restructured its business by separating its customer data operations from brand marketing. The company has eliminated the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) and introduced the position of chief brand officer (CBO). The role will be accompanied by a newly appointed chief customer officer (CCO). The transformation of CMO roles into CBO roles reflects broader changes in how companies look to approach marketing, brand management and customer engagement in the future. This shift aligns with industry trends, where we have seen companies such as Starbucks, UPS, Lyft and Uber also redefine their marketing leadership structures to focus more on customer data and technology integration. 

For Compare the Market, its competitive advantage lies in its strong brand and extensive customer data. The new structure plays to this, allowing the CBO to focus on long-term brand value and the CCO to align customer and data strategies. I think we could all easily recall Compare the Market’s brand platform from its clever and memorable “compare the meerkat” adverts over the years. Its distinctive brand recognition demonstrates simplicity and the humour used makes light of a typically dry sector. This strategy has included collaborations with celebrities and major brands to keep the brand engaging and relevant. 

Given some of the big advertisers have already started to restructure marketing roles in this way, it’s likely the trend will continue. The shift from CMO to CBO roles reflects the evolving landscape of marketing, where long-term brand value, data specialisation, technological integration and a customer-centric approach are increasingly prioritised. By redefining these roles, companies aim to build stronger, more resilient brands that can adapt to changing market conditions and consumer behaviours. 

In the “in-store” retail era: harnessing real-time data to improve results

As picked up in various articles last month that honed in on retail, retail media’s effectiveness heavily depends on measuring campaign outcomes through strategic media planning. From our own experience of working with retail brands and measuring effectiveness through digital marketing, we appreciate the importance of getting measurement right to allow for the best growth and results. Measurement applies across the board, multi-channel, across every inch of a campaign. We know through our own measurement and the vast number of other examples out there, that off-site (i.e digital) retail advertising is highly effective. So where can we expand? Well as discussed recently, it’s the era of the “in-store” retail experience. In-store advertising is producing results and coupled with technology and the data that can be extracted from customer behaviour, it’s important to be considered for retail clients.

In-store advertising
Let’s consider firstly the in-store ad experience and how that can be most effective. To tap into this market, enhancing the in-store experience with unique and memorable moments is key. Digital signage plays a big role, especially with retail media ad spending expected to exceed $106 billion by 2027. We’ve seen major players like Amazon entering the in-store DOOH space and innovative brands like H&M using holograms to surprise and engage shoppers. With over 90% of customers unhappy with current in-store experiences, retail media has a big opportunity to improve this. By using familiar technologies, retailers can provide engaging and personalised content at the point of purchase. Another option as by Paul Brenner, SVP for retail media and partnerships at Vibenomics was in-store audio advertising as a solution. It improves the shopping experience with curated music, relevant promotions and contextual brand messages. I’m sure we have all been partial to hearing ads in stores and it’s not something new, but it is proven to be effective and targeted.

Harnessing in-store data to improve advertising
We know the retail sector is going through a digital transformation, with additions such as an increase in , conversion tracking and using transactional data for precise advertising down to an SKU level. Even how brands buy media is likely to change, with new programmatic capabilities to buy ad space on retailers’ digital screens in-store. The ability to access real-time data is extremely beneficial, however the in-store data adds an interesting layer to this.

Adding to this, we couldn’t forget to mention AI. The excitement around how AI can improve in-store sensors for better audience insights was discussed. This technology helps retailers optimise product placement, test packaging and displays with instant feedback. From an advertising angle, customers could get personalised ads on digital screens, via audio or by mobile apps for nearby products, tailored to their preferences and past purchases. It’s targeting at its best by utilising real-time data. This seamless, data-driven experience is the future of retail media.

A big step in the right direction – common currency for measuring carbon in media

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. As an outcome of the 12-month GARM-led global engagement effort to build common measurement tools and processes, Ad Net Zero has now introduced a Global Media Sustainability Framework to standardise the measurement of carbon emissions across various media channels, including digital, TV and print. This recent news is very much welcomed by us as an agency. It’s a great step and one we’ve all been pushing for to improve consistency and collaboration between advertisers, media owners and agencies in the effort to reduce carbon on media plans.

Supported by major advertisers and media companies, the framework aims to provide consistent methods for tracking and reducing media-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The initial formula covers TV, digital and OOH media, with other media types to follow. This initiative encourages industry-wide adoption to help advertisers and their partners minimise their carbon footprint effectively. It’s what we love to see and hope to get on board within the future.

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