Rounding out a series of moves to accelerate its e-commerce efforts and offerings — all of which have been announced at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity — Omnicom has struck a strategic collaboration with Kroger Precision Marketing that will deliver early-adopter opportunities to Omnicom clients.
The agreement, which includes other commercial and strategic benefits, will launch with Kroger Precision Marketing feeding its stock-on-shelf data sets on a daily basis to Omni, Omnicom’s marketing orchestration platform that underpins all Omnicom agencies. It’s essential for Omnicom, since no Kroger data is included in Omnicom’s Supply Chain IQ Score, which helps brands quickly and effectively re-direct media spend to deliver on business KPIs in a supply-strained environment.
The agreement marks the first formal collaboration involving this dataset between the Kroger retail media network and an agency holding company, according to Omnicom executives.
“What that means in terms of value for us is that now we have access to [information] that give us intraday insights in terms of actual shopper behavior,” explained Marc Rossen, Omnicom Media Group’s senior vp of investment and activation analytics.
Omnicom is also getting market-basket insights, which Rossen described as the ability to understand what consumers are choosing to buy as substitutes when products are out of stock. “That’s another game changer in our ability to understand consumer preferences,” said Rossen. “How we shift dollars from a retail media perspective to know that if a consumer only buys X products, but they will always shift to Y products, then we can know from an optimization perspective that we should shift retail media dollars when X product is out of stock to Y.”
“We believe that there’s an opportunity to really explore that lens for national investment choices as well for media,” said Cara Pratt, senior vp of Kroger Precision Media. Pratt also noted it’s important to “learn together and recognize this is a really important time to make sure that those [retail] media dollars are invested appropriately in driving behavioral change for brands…we’re excited about what we can do together.”
The end goal, according to Megan Pagliuca, OMG’s chief activation officer, is to reduce waste. “We’re going to be using this data to change how we optimize and activate media to reduce waste, and have a better consumer experience,” she said. “If you see an ad for a product that isn’t in stock, it’s not a great use of dollars.”
“There’s no doubt that commerce is the big play for the year and moving into 2023,” said Jay Pattisall, vp and agency analyst at Forrester Research. “These types of deals and activities put together the data infrastructure and the inventory that make them able to get in these retail environments, and to be able to activate on them.”
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Confessions of an in-house creative strategist on feeling unfulfilled, difficulty in returning to agencies as the ‘pay is less’
The war for talent between agencies and brands’ in-house agencies has cooled. Even so, for adland talent who’ve made the move in-house, some say they are looking to go back to agencies after feeling creatively stifled. It’s not the easiest strategy to execute.
In the latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we trade anonymity for candor, we hear from an in-house creative strategist about their experience, why they want to go agency-side now and how pay is keeping them from doing so.
This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
What’s the in-house experience like?
I’ve been in-house for about a year. It’s very one-sided. The difference between agency and in-house is that with agencies, there [are] a lot of opinions and ideas [outside of the brand message] that go into creative. With in-house, you have the brand’s message and all creative is reflective of the brand’s message. With in-house, regardless of trends in the market, it’s a lot of ‘we’re going to stick to this one way of doing things’ mentality. It’s a lot of opinions about what the creative should be based on what it has been before. It makes it hard to introduce something fresh. It makes it hard to hire or be a new hire. If you’re not actually going to adhere to advice from new hires, what’s the point in getting new people? Are you just bringing people on board for a second opinion? That’s what it feels like.
Sounds like you don’t have the creative control you desire.
It feels like more of a second opinion role than to get something to manage or control. [Where I am now] it feels like we’re leaning more into what [our strategy] used to be than thinking about what we could be. That’s a big issue with in-house. With agencies, like I said, there’s a lot more trial and error. With in-house, a lot more of this is what we’re doing, these are the funds we have and this is what has worked in the past. In reality, a lot of what worked in the past, when you put it back into the market, it’s not going to work anymore.
Why do you think it’s more challenging to get to a new creative strategy in-house?
With agencies, you have multiple perspectives. You’re working on multiple brands. You can see something working for another brand and talk to your client about it. You can pivot. You have the background and perspective to [pitch that pivot]. When you’re in-house, you only have the knowledge of your brand and what’s working for you.
Are you looking to go back to agencies?
Personally, I am looking to go from in-house to agency but I get paid a lot more being in-house than what I’ve been offered at agencies. I’ve been in interviews with agencies where they’re telling me that I’ll be learning [programs I already know how to use] so that’s why the pay is less than what it should be. There are agencies I’ve interviewed with who ask me to move to New York for less than what I make now and make that work. [With inflation,] there’s no reason why salaries aren’t also increasing.
So you’d like to make the jump creatively but it’s hard when the compensation isn’t up to what in-house offers?
It’s hard. I’ve been lowballed, too. They’ll post a salary for a position, go through the interviews and then offer less than what’s listed on the salary description. What was the point of putting the salary range there? I feel like people are putting salary ranges on job descriptions just to attract people with the experience that they are looking for but by the time they make the offer, it’s not what they said it would be. It’s offensive.
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