Lidl’s Digital Marketing Journey

Just a few weeks ago, Brad Rencher, Adobe’s gen­er­al man­ag­er and exec­u­tive VP declared that ‘mar­ket­ing is no longer about brand aware­ness – it’s about brand pur­pose’. These per­ti­nent words were said when launch­ing Adobe’s new Adver­tis­ing Cloud at its Las Vegas Sum­mit in late March and res­onat­ed with Lidl, the dis­count super­mar­ket chain dis­rupt­ing the British retail sec­tor through its high qual­i­ty pro­duce com­bined with heav­i­ly dis­count­ed prices. Lidl UK have signed up as the first Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud part­ner in EMEA since launch.

As all eyes look towards Adobe’s EMEA Sum­mit in Lon­don, I sats down with Sam Gaunt, Head of Media at Lidl UK to ask why those words res­onat­ed with him so much – and why Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud became Lidl UK’s dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing solu­tion of choice.

Sam, briefly tell us about Lidl’s dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing jour­ney.

Sam: Lidl’s busi­ness phi­los­o­phy is neat­ly encap­su­lat­ed by our cur­rent cam­paign, “Big on Qual­i­ty, Lidl on Price.” It cen­tres around the pro­vi­sion of high-qual­i­ty gro­ceries at mar­ket lead­ing prices which are kept low by a rig­or­ous effi­cien­cy in every­thing we do, includ­ing our mar­ket­ing. Every item of expen­di­ture under­goes a cost ben­e­fit analy­sis, in which effec­tive mea­sure­ment is crit­i­cal. At a total lev­el this showed us in 2015 the oppor­tu­ni­ty from increas­ing mar­ket­ing spend, which we deployed in every major media chan­nel, but we have found that the return from dig­i­tal dis­play and video is lag­ging behind most offline media. Under­stand­ing why is a key area of focus for us.

Our part­ner­ship with Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud is a key step in unpick­ing dig­i­tal effec­tive­ness so that we can more con­fi­dent­ly align dig­i­tal KPIs with sales ROI and ulti­mate­ly be able to prof­itably grow our dig­i­tal invest­ment. 

Why did you choose Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud?

Sam: Through an RFP process we inter­ro­gat­ed the tech­ni­cal and ser­vice offer­ings of the lead­ing DSPs and con­clud­ed Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud pro­vid­ed the best all round pack­age that was right for Lidl. We like the fact that as an inde­pen­dent DSP, AAC doesn’t own any inven­to­ry and, there­fore, are not behold­en to help­ing pub­lish­ers make mon­ey. AAC’s flex­i­ble, agnos­tic adver­tis­ing tech stack allow Lidl UK to input our own data, inven­to­ry deals and ad serv­ing, and we believe AAC offer mar­ket lead­ing viewa­bil­i­ty and adfraud safe­guards. Most impor­tant­ly, AAC have fan­tas­tic peo­ple who will work with our equal­ly bril­liant team at Star­com to add gen­uine val­ue to our plan­ning and mea­sure­ment. Their ‘met­rics that mat­ter’ mantra real­ly res­onat­ed with us.

What has impressed you so far about the part­ner­ship with Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud?

Sam: I’m real­ly impressed with the ded­i­cat­ed team we can turn to in order to help us through our tran­si­tion process. While Lidl UK owns the con­tract with Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud, our media agency, Star­com Medi­aVest man­age the ser­vice. The Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud have been noth­ing but sup­port­ive to Lidl and Star­com since the part­ner­ship was cre­at­ed. Inte­gra­tion into Starcom’s dig­i­tal media plan­ning team has been seam­less – already we are see­ing the part­ner­ship grow into true col­lab­o­ra­tion.

The client ser­vice team at Adobe Adver­tis­ing Cloud know the plat­form inside out and are con­stant­ly putting forth sug­ges­tions to help Lidl UK get the most from it. They’re cre­ative and make com­plex con­cepts sim­ple and easy to under­stand.

What are your objec­tives over the next 12–24 months?

 Sam: Iden­ti­fy­ing the met­rics that mat­ter in col­lab­o­ra­tion with our econo­met­ric and media plan­ning teams will give us a clear under­stand­ing of what we need to dri­ve in dig­i­tal to affect sales along­side our broad­er media mix. Dig­i­tal for Lidl will become a lev­el play­ing field with no arti­fi­cial walls between dif­fer­ent dig­i­tal chan­nels and place­ments. Every £1 of our invest­ment, offline or online, will dri­ve ROI for this busi­ness as hard as it can regard­less of for­mat or place­ment.

For me, the increas­ing turnover we dri­ve through our media spend is more than com­mer­cial suc­cess – it’s a met­ric which shows increas­ing num­bers of hard­work­ing British fam­i­lies get­ting more for their mon­ey. That’s what made Brad Rencher’s com­ments about brand pur­pose so res­o­nant.

Sam Gaunt will be dis­cussing how to nav­i­gate the pro­gram­mat­ic maze for busi­ness suc­cess at Adobe Sum­mit EMEA, tak­ing place on May 10th and 11th 2017. 

 

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