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SPEAKER Q&A Jayesh Rajdev “collaboration between media owners and retailers has never been more straightforward”

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During MediaX, a brand new conference dedicated to Retail Media Networks, ITV’s Controller of Advanced Advertising Jayesh Rajdev will join a packed panel on innovation trends in retail media. 

Ahead of the event, Rajdev sat down with Katie Searles to discuss why productive partnerships are key at this exciting juncture.  

Jayesh Rajdev, Controller of Advanced Advertising, ITV

Q: What has ITV witnessed in the rapid evolution of offsite retail media opportunities? 
There are a number of forces here. Retailers are looking to expand revenue opportunities, with more and more of them being so data rich. Amazon has been a major driver in this space, but Dunnhumby are true pioneers. 

Beyond ITV, there are a number of major media owners now – who are also data rich – figuring out the opportunity.

Facilitated by a sophisticated array of data management and data clean solutions such as Infosum, collaboration between media owners and retailers has never been more straightforward and the opportunity never greater to build new solutions that drive incremental revenue. 

But of course, it all starts with the value we deliver to advertisers in offering the ability to understand, segment, target and convert shoppers who we know are active, lapsed, or have high value. The true magic is having the ability to deliver all this at scale.

Q: What is ITV’s approach and strategy? 
My AdLabs team is ITV’s centre of excellence for addressable advertising innovation. We ideate and bring to market pilots in a range of different ad innovation areas, from formats, to new ways of segmenting and reaching our viewers, and measuring impact. 

We identified the retail media opportunity just over two years ago, and commenced  conversations very early on with Boots and Tesco – two of the more advanced retailers that built out dedicated retail media businesses early on, Dunnhumby, Boots Media Group (BMG). 

Then Christmas 2022, we announced partnerships with both under a solution we call Matchmaker. It’s been a resounding success, and we are not far off a hundred CPG campaigns utilising Boots and Tesco data. 

We’re still at very early stages of development and we’ve learned a lot. We’ve learned about technology; workflows; how to build really productive partnerships that work for both the retailer and the retailer supplier base, and ourselves. We’re at the start of a really exciting journey. 

Q: What’s the key priorities for 2024 then? What’s the focus?
So first and foremost, just over a year on, I think we’ve laid great foundations and we’re just getting started with both Boots and Tesco. 2023 was about testing and learning for all concerned. What we want to do in 2024 is really accelerate our development roadmaps with both partners. 

Fundamentally we are looking at all of this through the lens of how suppliers – how CPGs can benefit. What new measurement metrics can we bring? Are there simpler ways of executing and measuring campaigns? 

Alongside that, there is not a partner that’s off the table, any retailer with data that brings a large shopper audience and base of suppliers who want to reach those shoppers on ITVX. Online stores create incredible data. Data on purchase, history, and type, that we can match with ITV audience data to create interesting new segments. 

And let’s just broaden out this opportunity – I’m not just talking about traditional retailers, we’re exploring autos, finance, and travel too. Each of these has a growing number of intermediaries that are data rich, offering the potential to create more powerful, addressable advertising experiences for brands and customers.

Q: If 2023 was all about testing and learning, what did you learn? What came out of that?
Having dedicated teams is extremely important. And a willingness to invest in those dedicated teams comes from top-down prioritisation.

Be agile enough to evolve – whether that is custom value propositions or commercial models. All of that needs agility because we’re creating entirely new solutions here. We need to be very reactive to the market, and adaptive to customer feedback as well as to the results we generate. 

Q: And what’s next is this fast-evolving space? What should retailers be preparing for? 
Every retailer should be exploring ways to build out a retail media monetisation strategy. What estate is available on the website, what’s possible in store, all those opportunities are really important for merchants. But the opportunity to partner with broadcasters and offsite media partners like ITV is really exciting. You can start to offer your suppliers really interesting, rich segments of audience on TV.  

At ITV, we do proper telly that creates culture. We broadcast the nation’s biggest commercial shows, that people love and people talk about.  And we have the technology that makes it simpler to partner than ever before and to match rich audience segments – from both ourselves and retailers – to create compelling new solutions for ads in all those great TV shows.

We have tried and tested operating models and routes to market. Advertisers’ appetite for new solutions continues to accelerate. Which is why we’re continuing to innovate in formats and different ways of engaging our audiences with retail data-fuelled messaging. Commerce is a really exciting part of our roadmap. 

Registration for Rajdev’s panel, Innovation trends in retail media: Prepare for the next phase of retail media networks!, is open now.

Asos, Co-op, Deliveroo, John Lewis Partnership, Superdrug and many more are speaking at this brand new event on 11 June 2024.

For more information about MediaX, held at The Cavendish Conference Centre London, click here.

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