Brands want to get closer to customers to understand how spending drives outcomes. Retailers have rich customer data from transactions that can help target brands' most valuable audiences. As retailers build out their media capabilities, they can sell audience access to brands across various channels like digital displays and audio. This offers brands new opportunities to reach customers beyond traditional in-store allowances.

However, precisely measuring return on investment for retail media spending remains a challenge. Agencies help plan brand budgets across fragmented channels, including retail media. Brands want retailers to demonstrate that retail media spending generates incremental returns above traditional channels and in the context of overall marketing budgets.

Marketing is increasingly adopting strategies based on specific audiences and using identity data and artificial intelligence. The advantage of this approach is that it facilitates optimized messaging in real-time and allows for measuring actual business outcomes instead of simply assessing reach and frequency. Retail media embodies this evolving trend. Although it's an expanding channel for brands, its incremental value over traditional channels still needs to be demonstrated.

Brands want to see data showing that investing in retail media provides better or additional results compared to what they could achieve through other channels. Retailers are building out their media ecosystems to better track data and demonstrate the week-to-week results and incrementality of retail media spending to advertisers.

Aggregating and integrating data from various fragmented channels presents a big challenge given the complexity. Platforms like Tracer help by seamlessly ingesting all this data at scale across markets and consumer segments to enable analytics, reporting and measuring effectiveness across channels in real-time.

Tracer developed their data ingestion capabilities out of their parent company VaynerMedia, where they proved the concept. As a company singularly focused on
 data ingestion, Tracer is able to use ingested data for advanced analytics. Few other companies in the space specialize in data ingestion to this degree. This is why Tracer has been expanding with large enterprise clients—they have mastered the challenging area of data ingestion through automation and AI.

Relevance of messaging is also key, especially when endorsed by influencers who are aware of and interested in a product. Retailers are getting better at serving more relevant ads. In this dynamic environment, marketers need tools to engage audiences through targeted, relevant messaging in real-time across different formats and channels to prove return on investment and drive business outcomes.

The fundamentals of marketing remain audience insights, activation/engagement, and measurement/optimization. But new technologies now enable more granular audience data and activation across digital and streaming channels. Measurement can be tied to real business outcomes beyond just reach and frequency. A quantum shift is taking place in how marketing must think and operate to own the customer experience.

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