Building A Modern Media Approach

Most CPG companies are organized around a linear path to purchase.

In this model, there are clearly defined segments of a shopper’s journey, moving from awareness to consideration to purchase and post-purchase.

  • Brand teams focus on awareness, shopper teams focus on the lower funnel, and then eCommerce teams do, well, a little bit of both, just digitally! 
  • The communication between these three teams is limited, and each team is restricted to their respective funnel stage. For instance, a brand team might only be able to activate on traditional media and social channels, even though a lower funnel activation would be more efficient at meeting their goals.

Sound familiar?

This type of set-up is problematic for today’s reality in which the consumer has near perfect information and can move from discovery to buying instantaneously. 

It becomes even more disorienting for CPG companies that now have a multitude of retail media networks to evaluate, all featuring varying combinations of search, onsite display, and offsite display offerings. These new networks challenge the very concept of calling a retailer a “sales channel”.

Organizations must adapt their roles, processes, and philosophy to accommodate the new path to purchase and maximize the opportunity with newly develop retail media networks.

  • Communication and information transparency become critical in a world where discovery and purchase blur.
  • Clarity to goals, KPI’s, and the role for each marketing channel is tantamount.
  • Flexibility and reaction speed to real-time feedback become core capabilities.

Forward-thinking organizations are increasingly hiring roles designed to break down silos and develop this type of holistic approach.

I connected with Adam Fish, eCommerce Director at Wells Enterprises, after seeing his post about a newly created role that will work across the organization to develop a digitally-driven unified media approach. The following interview is a must-read for organizations looking to better understand how to incorporate retail media into their broader marketing mix.


To-Do's After Reading

  • If you know of good candidates for the role, you can direct them to the job listing here.
  • Gather your team to review the “Five Questions to Consider” at the end to assess where your company is at on its own journey. (Stratably+ Members Only)

The Interview (emphasis mine)


Can you describe the new role?

This new role within Wells Enterprises will be responsible for developing leading edge media plans across our premium brands including Blue Bunny, Halo Top, Bomb Pop, along with building new eCommerce media strategies and informing shopper media plans.  By overseeing the entirety of media investment across channels, this person will help Wells move from a more traditional “channel by channel” media planning approach to an audience first approach. Audience Planning considers brand objectives against must-win audiences and allocates brand, shopper, and eCommerce media investment accordingly.  At Wells, we refer to this approach as “Unified Media” designed to deliver growth.



What's happening in the industry to require this new role?

It starts with our consumers. Increasingly, more of their time is spent engaging with digital media and discovering new brands and products online. We have leaned into a digital first, addressable audience media planning approach across brand, shopper, and eCommerce that allows us to better manage frequency across channels and deliver the most appropriate message to consumers based on who they are and where they are in the purchase funnel. This is becoming increasingly important as consumers change the way they shop for products. In addition, more online engagement and conversion within CPG have led to significant growth of Retail Media Networks. We expect that continued retail media network innovation such as programmatic capabilities will allow more full funnel media initiatives. As this happens, it will be critical to incorporate the impact of retail media spend into total media investment.


What part of the organization initially saw a need for the role?

The Unified Media initiative has been a collaboration across brand, eCommerce and Shopper teams.

What was key in making the case to invest in the role?

We started by delivering education to leadership about the evolving media landscape and the importance of building stronger media planning capabilities internally. In addition, we demonstrated how a more orchestrated approach to media across channels combined with deeper media measurement insights can deliver increased efficiency and effectiveness.

What do you see as the low hanging fruit for this role?

Better connection across brand and shopper media campaigns. Brand and shopper media plans often have common objectives such as driving trial for a new product. Those media plans may also be running in the same channels and reaching the same audience. Under a Unified Media strategy, we can better orchestrate that investment. For example, if a brand campaign reaches a specific audience with an awareness message, we can make sure that shopper investment reaches that same audience with a more conversion focused message. This will allow both brand and shopper functions to achieve their objectives more effectively.

What are the stretch goals, so to speak, with this role?

We are evolving our media planning from a more channel first approach to an audience first approach, enabled by addressable and programmatic media execution. Over time, this role will help us better fine tune our addressable audience segmentation by building strategic learning agendas and measurement capabilities, allowing for more real time media optimization based on actual business objectives.

What types of new processes or ways of working are needed to help this role bridge teams across the organization?

The Unified Media strategy requires tight collaboration across the organization. In partnership with cross functional team members, we have established new processes such as creating Integrated Marketing Communication briefs to be inclusive of brand, shopper, and eCommerce business objectives. This allows us to better align objectives across teams earlier in the planning process. Additionally, we have built strong cross agency collaboration. While this role will report into Brand Marketing, there will be strong dotted lines into shopper and customer teams to create that solid bridge.

Three years from now, where does retail media sit in an organization?

I think it depends on the specific channel. Retailer specific platforms like Walmart Connect and Kroger Precision Marketing will remain with customer / shopper teams but investment in the platforms will likely come from brand and eCommerce teams. Having a team managing total media investment will be crucial to coordinating. Marketplaces like Instacart will sit with brand or eCommerce marketing.

What might additional roles look like in the future around retail media?

I think more and more retailer media will be able to be purchased programmatically. This will allow brands to manage retail media more similarly to other media platforms and ultimately unlock more growth for retailers. Having teams or agencies supporting retailer media that are fluent in programmatic media in addition to paid search.

What are you most excited about as it pertains to retail media this year?

We are planning to test more mid funnel tactics across retail media this year. I’m really excited to learn how that performance, and most importantly that mid funnel support makes our conversion media, like search, perform even better.

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More on Adam Fish, Director of eCommerce, Wells Enterprises

Adam is a strategic marketer with a passion for connecting brand, digital, and media strategy to build amazing experiences for consumers and deliver business objectives.


After pursuing his MBA at the University of Michigan, Adam spent 6 years at PepsiCo in brand marketing managing base businesses across the Quaker Oats and Gatorade portfolios. During his time at Gatorade, Adam also led go to market eCommerce strategy across pureplay, omni, and DTC channels.


After that, he spent 3 years at Google partnering with CPG clients to drive digital transformation across media and commerce.


Currently, Adam is the Director of eCommerce for Wells Enterprises, where he is focused on driving omnichannel growth through eComm, media, and digital innovation.

For even more insights on retail media, check out the following from Stratably:

  1. Stratably interviews Todd Hassenfelt on how CPG organizations are evolving with digital
  2. Advertising is the new algorithm
  3. Retail media will shift to non-endemic strategies
  4. The impact of retail media
  5. Are retail media budgets at risk?
  6. The calculus behind brand investment into Walmart Connect
  7. Stratably interviews Patrick Miller on Amazon Advertising