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Four unexpected, data-driven media buys for quickly boosting sales


By Sean McCaffrey | Chief executive officer

April 16, 2018 | 6 min read

Of all the topics that come up in my conversations with brands, agencies, media and data/analytics partners, how to quickly boost sales is always a common one. Even though most brands plan their media spending annually, every marketer should have a deep bench of partners they know have a higher likelihood of driving sales without the long lead. Oh, and that can leverage the most relevant data resources on the market.

Unexpected places for media buys

For brands wanting to know who they can call today to have a data-enriched campaign running tomorrow (or maybe next week), with a degree of certainty that they’ll see some lift, read on.

To hone the list, I’ve put recency in the crosshairs, which means we’re not talking about TV, mobile, social or any of the usual suspects. Why recency? Recency theory holds that ads are most effective when they air “immediately before the time of decision” per Nielsen. Brands shouldn’t overlook recency when considering where to place media, especially if making the sale is their immediate goal.

Paul Macaluso, chief executive at the fast-growing quick-serve restaurant Krystal, told QSR Magazine last week that recency is one of the most important elements of restaurant marketing.

“We need to be in front of people when they’re thinking about food or when they’re hungry. It’s just not TV anymore,” he says. “Certainly not predominantly TV anymore.”

Sometimes the simple answer is the right one. Here are a few to consider.

Intersection’s Link kiosks

With a monthly reach of 44m (Source: Geopath), anyone walking the streets of New York or London has seen a Link kiosk. It’s the sleek digital obelisks that offer beautifully displayed content, free wifi, phone calls, device charging and tablets for local search. These are savvy technologies that are only growing in number.

And given that almost every major retailer, QSR/fast-casual, finance, travel - and so many other business categories - sell in New York and London, Link is a recency goldmine. In these urban markets, you can combine recency with proximity - consider a promotion for financial services. Link makes sense for consumers who are directly outside or blocks away from the institution.


Cinemas present a unique option among this list because moviegoers are a captive audience, unable to opt-out. They’re sitting down, noshing, and relaxed because all they’re doing for the next 90 minutes is watching a flick. It’s an opportunity for a brand to say hello and ask for their consideration.

With the evolution of the movie theater to include reclining chairs and alcoholic beverages, consumers may be more likely to arrive on time, snacks and all. And for theaters located inside shopping malls, viability goes up further. Monthly reach is 25m and 15.1m for National CineMedia and Screenvision, respectively (Source: Nielsen Media Impact, Sept 2017).

Walmart’s WMX and Kroger’s ClickList Ad Platforms

You’re on Kroger’s ClickList website, or searching for cereal, and a sponsored ad shows up for something you’ve bought in the past with a deal if you buy two. Recency doesn’t get any more recent, and advertising here should be a no-brainer for brands selling, or thinking of selling, in either store.

Why is this media buy “unexpected?” Amazon’s AMS/AMG are so well known at this point; I want to call out Walmart’s WMX and Kroger’s ClickList, newer platforms that have the same kind of advertising options (or will). Various news outlets have reported that Kroger is selling ad units and developing a programmatic platform. WMX, by contrast, came around just after AMS and AMG.

There is sure to be a lot of upside for brands that get in early and develop relationships with these platforms, invest, and learn how to take advantage of them early. Hint for media and advertising agencies: if you can help brands do this, you’ll win. The substantial growth brands have seen on Amazon, and the cottage industry of agencies and media companies developing Amazon-specific service offerings is a clear sign the same is sure to happen for WMX and Kroger.

A significant player in the space, Walmart’s WMX sees a unique monthly reach of 103.3m thanks to traffic (Source: comScore, Feb 2018). Kroger's reach data is not yet available.


Self-promotion alert, but here’s why it matters. GSTV is the new name for Gas Station TV, a data-driven, national video network delivering targeted audiences at scale across tens of thousands of fuel retailers (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon-Mobil, Kwik Trip, Speedway and more). This format reaches one in three Americans monthly, and know from research that people who are fueling up are very often on their way to buy something else. I could go on, but know there are plenty more reasons to consider GSTV.

All of these businesses have access to best-in-class third-party data resources. They offer all the trappings of du jour digital offerings, without the risk that an off the cuff remark from a celebrity will send stock prices plunging.

And, most importantly, they reach consumers at natural times when a purchase is a likely outcome, times when audiences are potentially in a buying mindset. While there are plenty of media formats disrupting consumers at all other times of day, doesn’t it make sense to reconsider the options that aren’t as disruptive?

Thoughtful application of these unique media offerings could mean a big difference for brands who leverage them appropriately. And in a marketplace rife with fraud, brand safety, and so many other issues, it pays to have tools like these at your disposal.

Sean McCaffrey, is chief executive officer at GSTV

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