Unveiling the Future of Retail Media Networks with Albertsons

by | Jul 5, 2023

In a recent panel discussion at the Infillion Garden in Cannes, Laurel Rossi sat down with Kristi Argyilan, SVP of Retail Media at Albertsons, to discuss the transformative power of retail media networks. The conversation delved into standardization, data privacy, and the industry’s future. While summarizing the entire discussion won’t do justice to the depth of insights shared, here are the key takeaways on the evolving landscape of retail media networks.


Background and Vision: Kristi Argyilan began by sharing her journey, emphasizing her passion for creating engaging advertising and delivering it to the right audience at the right time. “I’ve always been looking for a better way from a media perspective because you see all this really rich content, but getting it in front of the right person at the right time seems to be somewhat elusive.” She expressed her quest for a “win-win-win” scenario, where brands, retailers, and customers all benefit from targeted and relevant messaging, saying “most importantly, that the customer wins, that they’re seeing the content and the messaging that they’re interested in.” Argyilan’s expertise in the creative agency and media spaces eventually led her to Target’s Roundel, where she recognized the immense value of retail media networks in providing customers with the information and engagement they desire.


Empowering Women in the Industry: Laurel Rossi took a moment to address the role of women in the industry and sought Argyilan’s perspective. Argyilan acknowledged the changing expectations of leadership styles and highlighted the natural inclination of women to bring everyone along and foster collaboration. She shared valuable advice with women in the industry, encouraging them to trust their knowledge and embrace vulnerability as a strength. “First off, trust what you know. So many times we’re quiet for multiple years…because we’re not quite sure we got it right. And so we listen and we’re like, they just said what I could have said 15 minutes ago. And then the other piece is trust that being vulnerable in the workplace is actually a strength, it’s a superpower and it’s the way that people really buy into you as a leader.” According to Argyilan, vulnerability is essential for building trust and connecting with the younger generation entering the workforce.


Understanding Retail Media Networks: The discussion then shifted to the definition and differentiation of retail media networks from traditional shopper marketing. Argyilan explained that shopper marketing originated from in-store circulars, signage, and point-of-purchase displays. However, as shoppers became more digital and loyalty programs generated valuable data, retailers recognized the potential to evolve. “It suddenly became apparent with our websites and our apps that we were starting to sit on the makings of a media company.” 


Hyper-Relevance and Consumer Respect: Argyilan highlighted the unique advantage of retail media networks, providing hyper-relevant data on consumers’ behaviors and preferences, both online and offline. But she also stressed the importance of respecting consumers’ time, attention, and privacy while delivering personalized advertising. She stated, “If we promise hyper-relevance and respect to the consumer, we can build stronger relationships.” This approach fosters trust in the industry and strengthens customer connections.


The Power of Local and Customization: Albertsons is an example of the value of being a local-centric retail media network. The industry gains immense potential by customizing marketing efforts to meet the needs of specific communities and integrating online and offline channels. Argyilan explained, “The idea of being able to take the media and sales data and bridge that gap… that is where we are going.” Bridging this gap opens up new opportunities for retailers and advertisers alike.


The Landscape and Standardization: With the emergence of various retail media networks, the topic of standardization became crucial. Argyilan acknowledged the complexity faced by advertisers in dealing with different platforms and emphasized the need for standardization across networks, noting, “We’re hearing loud and clear from our clients that it is too complicated to have to figure out how each of us does our thing… they’re hiring people to try to normalize us and they shouldn’t have to do that.” By streamlining processes and metrics, retail media networks can offer advertisers consistent and comparable results. Collaboration and removing friction from the engagement process are key to fostering stronger partnerships between retailers and advertisers. She stated, “We have to get our act together. We need to standardize the industry, align different networks, and make it easier for advertisers to compare results and measure effectiveness.” Retail media networks can gain greater trust and investment from brands by simplifying the engagement process.


Challenges and Opportunities: The panel concluded with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for retail media networks. Argyilan expressed the importance of continuous innovation and balancing the enhancement of the base business with an aggressive innovation agenda. Efforts are underway to leverage first-party data, build targeted audiences, and integrate with programmatic platforms for seamless ad placement. Collaboration among retail media networks and the industry as a whole is seen as crucial to achieving widespread progress and making the market more accessible and transparent. 


The panel discussion at the Infillion Garden at Cannes provided valuable insights into the world of retail media networks and the need for standardization. Kristi Argyilan’s journey, coupled with her vision for creating win-win-win scenarios, emphasized the potential of retail media networks to revolutionize advertising and customer engagement. As the industry evolves, collaboration, innovation, and standardization will pave the way for a future where retailers, brands, and customers can all reap the rewards of personalized and effective marketing strategies.

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