How Kroger Precision Marketing Continues to Disrupt Media Advertising

Retail media business powered by 84.51° data expands with new partnerships and capabilities
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Kroger logo
Kroger Precision Marketing continues to broaden its reach across retail and information channels.

As retail media continues to build towards a big wave, Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM) is riding the crest. Powered by 84.51o, the retail media business of the Kroger Co. is operating across more channels, including channels for retail sales as well as channels for receiving content for entertainment, news and information.

The latest: KPM announced that it is opening up access to its onsite advertising inventory by engaging with three preferred ad management platforms. Pacvue, Skai and Flywheel Digital will be the first platforms with access to the application programming interface (API). Through these platforms, KPM aims to make it easier for brands and agencies to find and buy products. Nearly 2,000 brands use KPM product listing ads to reach in-market shoppers on Kroger’s e-commerce sites and to encourage digital purchases.

KPM’s retail media program includes a host of other ways to target shoppers at touchpoints and households through onsite search, onsite display, advanced television and over-the-top (OTT) services, social and influencer platforms, offsite advertising and email and push notifications. For example, KPM has partnered with Roku, Inc. for closed-loop attribution tools for streaming television, allowing advertisers to focus their dollars on the most relevant TV audience and measure the ad effectiveness through sales. And in late 2021, the business announced a private programmatic advertising marketplace and rolled out the 84.51° Collaborative Cloud platform that puts transaction-level data into a privacy-compliant hosted environment.

Data is at the heart of KPM’s retail media initiatives. Using data from Kroger’s loyalty card program across 2,800 stores and 35 states, the division has worked towards enhancing outcome-based marketing for the benefit of all parties, including consumers, content providers and brands.

Cara Pratt, SVP of KPM who sits on the business leadership team at 84.51o, told Progressive Grocer that the convergence of data science and consumers’ buying, browsing and viewing habits is connecting people with items they are more likely to want and use. Her recent presentation at the Food Marketing Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., on the KPM and Roku connected TV program was well attended and exemplified growing retailer and CPG attention to capabilities that better target shoppers. “There is interest and intrigue with respect to how first-party data is influencing media buys,” she reported. “For me, it’s a continued cementing of the industry’s recognition that change is active in respect to influencing media.”

On the heels of search and social platforms, retail media that enables shoppability is a powerful force, Pratt added. “There is a connection of content and commerce,” she pointed out.

KPM is well-positioned to deliver on shoppability and precision marketing, she noted. “We have created this trust-value equation for decades. Shoppers know that if they have the (loyalty) card, they get intelligent offers, fuel rewards and other things that help make their shopping experience better,” Pratt said, adding, “We’re lining up consumer expectations for seamless shopping and connectivity.”

As for the future, even proposed privacy legislation may be less of a hindrance than another way to connect with shoppers at their various need states. “It’s not lost on us that as we are looking to influence change in an industry that is decades old but ripe for a level of productive disruption that it’s all about how all of the players sit around the table and talk about change for the right reasons,” Pratt explained. “It needs to be a mix across the buy side, sell side and the ad technology element.”

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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