Goodway Group launches retail media accelerator to bring order to a growing industry

Goodway Group this month added two new brands to focus on the modern marketing funnel and retail media expertise as part of its strategic expansion into growing areas of the industry.

The digital media agency network in early May launched Gradiant, an agency offshoot that focuses on brand visibility across the entire marketing funnel, and G-Comm, a retail media accelerator aimed at addressing the challenges in the retail landscape.

The two new units add to the agency’s umbrella of existing brands CvE, a marketing advisory firm, Tuff, a performance marketing agency, and Goodway, its managed service media and analytics business.

While retail and commerce have been a growing practice at Goodway Group, Angela Myers, senior vp of G-Comm, said that the agency’s internal retail experience and strong retail business made this a ripe opportunity for creating a specialized accelerator that could work with media networks of all sizes.

“We help [retail clients to] basically operate or build in or enhance elements of their retail media network, but our bilateral approach allows us to also work with the brands,” Myers told Digiday. “So we have other teams that focus directly with the brands buying across all the retail media networks … and we have the ability to buy across really any media network.”

As retail media networks have expanded with an estimated ad revenue reaching $61 billion this year, some brands and retailers struggle to choose wisely among the number of options in buying across retail media networks and getting apples-to-apples metrics across them. A survey of U.S. brands and retailers by retail media platform Turbyne showed that there is a wider disconnect between retailers and brands – and a desire to find simpler buying and selling processes. Some 40% of brands said having to execute individual buys across each RMN was one of the top three barriers to increasing retail spending.

With G-Comm, the agency believes its dedicated strategy and data science teams work with client teams to provide a unique blend of expertise. The accelerator also brings partners, including The Trade Desk, Criteo and Skai, into the fold to focus on audience data, attribution and campaign optimization. Additionally, its in-house tech and commerce ecosystem includes a proprietary suite of algorithms called RealValue, which focuses on performance, ROI and clean-room integrations for identity resolution and attribution.

This combination of services and expertise from Goodway as a partner helps increase the speed of media buying and execution that a retailer may not achieve on its own, said Charlene Charles, head of Dollar General Media Network Operations.

“When you think about providing access to brands who want to engage with Dollar General shoppers who they traditionally can’t reach, we are trying to extend where we’re available and offer more ways for them to engage,” Charles said. “We are trying to diversify our entry points, and we’re continuously looking to do that to try to make it easier.”

G-Comm works with both the brand and retailer sides, managing more than 200 brands across RMNs and buying across more than 20 RMNs. In 2022, Goodway launched its retail media practice with Dollar General Media Network and then Ulta in 2023. With Dollar General, it provides “a white-label service” to manage all things media buying and execution – including for engaging with The Trade Desk and solving client problems quickly, Charles explained.

As the RMN space gets more crowded, Myers said more tech integrations and measurement tools will become more important for agencies seeking “more efficient ways to engage brands… [There is] a lot of saturation – so it has to be easy.”

Access to first-party data is a big part of the push into retail media, said Kristi Argyilan, svp of retail media at Albertsons Companies. However, agencies still need to determine how to use the information.

“One challenge we’re seeing is that even though progressive brands have data access, agency teams often need extra time to effectively access and use that data for campaigns,” Argyilan said.

Sammy Rubin, vp of integrated media at performance marketing agency Wpromote, similarly noted the fragmented market has resulted in “infinite possibilities for RMN investment” that makes it difficult for agencies and clients to know where to invest. To combat this, Wpromote is developing a unified view of its total retail performance across RMNs using a process called Omni-Retailer Reporting to display all retailers and brands information in a centralized way.

It’s also why agencies will increasingly try to find solutions and partner on the tech side with services like commerce media Criteo in order to drive more standardization across buying, selling and measuring.

“This fragmentation results in significant revenue losses, with Forrester indicating up to a 20% reduction across RMNs,” noted Brian Gleason, chief revenue officer at Criteo. “[Criteo is] also working on new enhancements to be debuted in the coming weeks that offer a new unified approach to how retail media is bought and sold today, making it more scalable.”

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