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Interview

Interview: 100 Million Reasons to Use Walgreen’s Media Platform, with Luke Kigel, VP, Walgreens Media & Head of Walgreens Advertising Group

It seems like every week another retailer is announcing their new retail ad platform, and its both a challenge and opportunity for brands to reach their consumers in a more targeted and trustworthy way. Walgreens is bringing 100 million consumers to the fore with new tech and nimble ways, and Luke Kigel, VP, Walgreens Media & Head of Walgreens Advertising Group, joined Rob and me to talk about it and the rapidly evolving retail media landscape.

TRANSCRIPT

Peter:

Welcome to unpacking the digital shelf where we explore brand manufacturing in the digital age. Hey everyone, Peter Crosby here from the digital shelf Institute, it seems like every week another retailer is announcing their new retail ad platform. And it's both a challenge and an opportunity for brands to reach their consumers in a more targeted and trustworthy way. Walgreens is bringing a hundred million consumers to the fore with new tech and nimble ways. And Luke Kigel, VP Walgreens, media, and head of Walgreens advertising group joined Robin may to talk about it and the rapidly evolving retail media landscape. So Luke, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. You are definitely in the midst of a super exciting space right now. Thanks for coming on.

Luke:

Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.

Peter:

So Walgreens launched Walgreens advertising group, your, your retail media group formerly in December. Not that long ago, but it's not like Walgreens. Hasn't been in the media game before that. So tell me what that announcement really meant and, and sort of w w w what's your group is their mission with what you're up to?

Luke:

Yeah, yeah. Um, I'm happy to, um, so, um, for, for sort of quick context, I joined Walgreens about a year and a half ago, and, uh, I joined to lead media at Walgreens. So in my purview, I have responsibility for all Walgreens media, as well as our retail media business, which is the Walgreens advertising group that as you said, we launched in, in December. And, uh, what's, what's been, you know, tremendously exciting is to be part of, um, the, the complete transformation of what marketing means and what marketing is at at Walgreens. And, and a lot of that, it was sort of underpinned by, uh, digital transformation and, and, and sort of the digitalization with the company. So it just goes much broader and much greater than, than just what we're doing in marketing, but, you know, we've, we've completely, uh, reinvented, uh, modernized, uh, uh, and accelerated capabilities of, of marketing and media at Walgreens.

Luke:

And so all under the banner of what we call mass personalization and mass personalization, and this idea of personalized marketing is certainly not unique to us. Uh, but it is, it is our rallying cry for how we drive data fuel technology enabled and quite frankly, more meaningful and relevant communication with our customers and patients and in our marketing. And, um, if you take that transformation, you combine it with a really strong and robust in media team and capability that we have, uh, digitally in the organization. What you sort of get is this sauce that, uh, you know, enables us to bring Walgreen's advertising group to life. And it's, it's, it's all based on the foundation of, uh, our ability to unlock the value of our first party data. And we have a first party data asset that's grounded in a hundred million loyalty members. There's a hundred million people.

Luke:

There's no modeling, there's no estimates, there's no probabilistic work that is done to get to a scaled audience. We can do all of that. Awesome. But the foundation is a hundred million. That industry, a term is a deterministic audience set of people and, and, and customers and patients that we have a real deep direct relationship with. And that's the foundation, uh, from which we we build. And a lot of the transformation of our marketing was, was grounded in, uh, our ability to put the, the legal agreements, the contractual agreements, the, the processes, the protocols, the privacy protections, all of those things in place that you need in order to activate against your own first party data at scale. And so we spent a lot of time doing that and, and, and once you kind of have that, it really opens up doors of value that we can bring to our, to our brand partners. And so we launched Walgreens advertising group, uh, on the very simple premise

Luke:

If you can deliver a more relevant experience, you're reaching a more targeted audience leveraging our first party data. You can deliver a more relevant experience with customized messaging, and you can do that at the right cost. It will improve your marketing ROI and with improved marketing ROI, as long as we continue to prove that equation. And then with continued success in that equation, you end up with a virtual circle of joint value creation for brands and Walgreens together, uh, and quite frankly, for consumers and patients who will ultimately get a better experience, uh, and, and things that are more relevant to their needs. And that's the simple premise that, that we've brought to the marketplace. And we believe that the mass personalization power, uh, coupled with all of the capabilities that we have as an organization brought to bear for our brand and, and supplier partners, um, uh, can, can help them improve their marketing. And, uh, and that's, that's what we're looking to do.

Rob:

Yeah, it's the a hundred million user it's, I mean, especially we're right now on the, on the Eve of the cookie apocalypse and advertisers are going to be looking for places where they can actually deliver it exactly what you're talking about, that personalized, measurable, high ROI advertising opportunity, um, to, to the folks that they want to be able to target. Um, I mean, it's just, it just seems like really great timing, you know, big picture. If I zoom out, you know, 10, 20 years, there was about a hundred years where us advertising was on the order of like 1.2% of GDP, it was pretty consistent. So there's a little higher, a little lower, whatever. And then, uh, with 2008 that dropped to about 0.9% GDP give or take, and his, his stayed down, it hasn't come back. And a big part of me wonders whether whether that drop had to do with the rise of streaming services, the fragmentation of media, um, the inability to measure very well, how advertising was going through traditional media and re what I love about what you're doing at Walgreens is that it solves for all those major problems.

Rob:

You've got a big audience it's measurable, it's personalizable, they're, they're locked into Walgreens. Like if you're a Walgreens fan that's, that's where you go for your pills, and that's where you go for your, for your convenience. And, um, so is it, I look at that opportunity, it seems massive. Like what, what are the headwinds, if any, what's the, what's the limitation on, on where this could go.

Luke:

Yeah. And it's, um, it, it's a great question. And, you know, for me, for me to say a crystal ball is exactly what's going to happen. I mean, there's, there's a ton of banks in the industry about the, you know, the pending, uh, depreciation of, of third party cookies and, uh, retail media as a category, I think is quite well positioned, uh, as, as you said, and in that space and, and anyone that has a direct relationship with the end consumer is, is pretty well positioned. Um, and, and obviously we're seeing a race to get to what's the common ID, and what's going to be the new currency, and we'll see how all of that, all of that shakes out. And, you know, we're obviously singularly focused on, um, you know, continuing to build our relationship with our, with our customers and patients, and then, uh, uh, continuing to, to offer, to offer great value and through that great value, obviously things that, that we can bring to our brand partners, um, you know, that, that being said, you know, you still have a dynamic.

Luke:

Um, you know, I think everyone everyone's, we talked about the duopoly for years, everyone's pretty familiar with the [inaudible]. Uh, and, and you've got a dynamic where the industry is, is quite dominated, um, by, you know, by a select group. Uh, you've got frenemy relationships all over the place and, and, and, and retail media. And quite frankly, I feel this, you know, in my, in my job, I kind of see both sides because I'm immediate leader for a marketing organization. And then I have a retail media business. It, and I feel it that, uh, you know, in some ways we are, we are kind of a new friend of me in, in the industry. And, um, I think there's a lot of folks that are trying to figure out what box a retail media business fits in. And, uh, and you've got, you know, you've got media agencies creating retail media departments within their agencies so that they can add value to their clients.

Luke:

Uh, you've got folks on the client side where you've got budget delineations, that you've got some shopper marketing here. You've got your brand marketing dollars there. You've got your e-commerce dollars a year. You got your digital programmatic dollars there. And at the end of the day, it's all kind of based on arbitrary constructs, if you will, because to the end consumer, like the consumer doesn't know the difference, right. They know what message they're receiving. And they obviously have high expectations of the brands that they want to engage with. And so they want messaging and experiences that are relevant to them, and they want people to understand their needs and give them be it offers or opportunities or engagements that, that, that are relevant to them in that, in that moment. And, um, you know, I actually believe that, uh, whether or not you want to categorize retail media as an extension of shopper marketing, or people often use the term, you know, we want to, is it shopper dollars or national dollars?

Luke:

And I, and I just, again, conceptually, I'm like, what, what does the consumer say? Consumers are like, that's not that doesn't matter to them. Let's give a great experience. And it doesn't matter what bucket of funding, uh, it's coming from. And so if we can, if we can sort of elevate ourselves out of that. Um, and as I said back to our very simple premise that with, with better targeting, and again, we believe with, with a foundation of a hundred million members that are purely deterministic, and we know those people, and we know those customers, we've got a foundation that can deliver better targeting with better targeting, more relevant messaging through the personalized communication, dynamic messaging, et cetera. Uh, you're going to deliver higher ROI, and that will raise all boats, um, if you will, and, and, you know, not to not to overstate it, but if marketing improves across the industry, then, then you would start to see growth in, in places where maybe growth has been, you know, a little bit stunted to your point, Rob, about, uh, you know, marketing as a, as a percentage of GDP.

Rob:

Yeah. The it's interesting, the way that you frame that Coca-Cola last year famously said, um, all of our, all of our media contracts are, are, uh, are just like, we're, we're conceptually firing everybody that we work with and we're going to consolidate, and we're going to, we're going to start over then. Um, you know, so there's not all the ad age and everywhere had covered to this and, and, ah, yeah, your coat on your Coke, zero sugar right there. Um, and so the, uh, that whole, that whole view of what shopper marketing, you know, what's the digital marketing what's media, is it the social media team that knows how to do this stuff, that's going to run the retail media group. And, uh, it's like, where did the dollars come from? Are they brand, are they national brand dollars? Are they, it's just it's the, the, the conversations are silly. Like they're, they're predicated on the existing structure of the company rather than, as, as you're saying the new shopper journey. And it's the new shopper journey that you've got to anchor on. And yeah, I mean, I just, I violently agree with, with, with what you just said, it makes it, it makes an absolute ton of sense to me.

Luke:

And we all, you know, we all sit in boardrooms and in those board or virtual boardrooms now, but you know, you, you, you sit in conversations and talk for a long time about being consumer centric audience, first customer led. And then, and then you have a dynamic, like what we're talking about here, which is the exact opposite of that. Like where, where, where the discussion starts with buckets of funding and then specialty areas and people who have specialty in those areas. So they're looking at a particular lens of it. And, and it is actually in some ways, you know, missing the opportunity, which is to deliver a better experience to, to consumers customers and, and patients and that's, but that's all we're trying to drive towards. And, you know, we welcome opportunities to prove it, you know, as I, as I said, like, you know, w w what's on us is we have to prove the equation works, and we welcome opportunities to prove that, and for the folks that were, you know, that we're working with now, you know, we've, we've, even though we're early days, you know, officially as a, as a, as a, as a business in the marketplace, five months, six months in, um, you know, we are, we are in fact, uh, proving it.

Luke:

Uh, but you know, the goal should be to get to a place where media strategy is truly audience first and channel agnostic, which is the complete inverse of the way it's been done for the past 50 plus years. And in that model, having the ability to understand who the person is that you're trying to reach and deliver value to, and then actually have the mechanisms walled gardens aside, because that's always going to be a bit challenging, but have the mechanisms to actually reach those people, regardless of where they are. They could be on an audio platform. They could be, uh, surfing around on here and their apps, and you want to reach them programmatically. Uh, they could be watching, uh, the big screen in the living room through any number of streaming services, as long as it's ad supported, but having the mechanism to actually reach those people, regardless of where they are. That's, that's where the industry is trying to go. I feel like in some ways, if it could get out of its own way, and that's, that's what we are trying to also enable, uh, agencies and brands and businesses who are trying to get there.

Peter:

Well, that's the thing that, that phrase walled gardens aside was sort of doing a lot of work in that sentence. Like that's the [inaudible]

Luke:

Yeah, that's totally fair. There is the nature of the reality, and the reality is the likes of Google and Facebook, um, are, are going to exist in the way that they are existing in with privacy considerations. You know, those walls only get thicker and, and, and, and larger. Um, and so, you know, you, you will still probably have a dynamic where you have to kind of replicate what you're doing outside inside, and it won't literally be the same actual audience that you're activating and you can frequency manage and all of that with you can do it within the platform, but once you try to do it in totality, you know, I just, it is what it is. And it's a broader brush that in advanced, we might, we might just see more of that too. It's very likely that we see more walled gardens than less, um, as, as companies insulate around, um, around privacy.

Rob:

And there's those folks that are going to benefit from that are the ones that have audience scale. And then it might be, I mean, yeah, there's a possible fragmentation where it's by size, right? There's a certain size, you know, a hundred million probably gets you, it gets, but, but, uh, um, man, it's, it's going to be so interesting to see how this plays out and absolutely look, um,

Peter:

Yourself back in those boardrooms for a second. And obviously without disclosing any names, have you, and the ones that are trying to figure out these separate budgets silos, you know, take a little bit from here a little bit from there, have you seen a model that's starting to work or what the, um, what the catalyst has been for some of those boardrooms to really start to break those silos down, or start to think about the shopper as the, as the point, are you seeing any of those sort of, um, positive signs happening?

Luke:

Yeah, let me qualify what I was saying before. I mean, I, I, I don't mean to be little, uh, all of the efforts from many folks in marketing and beyond marketing that are working really, really hard to, to deliver great value to consumers. And, um, uh, so I, I, I take nothing away from, um, from, from all of that, uh, uh, you know, the, the short answer to your question is we're we are seeing it. I don't know, like anything. I don't think that there's, there's no one size fits all solution. There's no perfect answer. There won't be a perfect answer. Um, but what we're seeing a lot more of is, is integrated engagement, where it starts with getting actually the, all of the right people at the table together for one singular conversation and a recognition that there's a lens of, as long as it starts with, what's going to deliver the best experience for the Walgreens shopper.

Luke:

But recognizing that the Walgreens shopper, if, you know, if you were, if you were an allergy brand and you want to work with the Walgreens advertising group to deliver great marketing for your allergy brand, then the benefit of that is higher ROI of your marketing in totality, which means some of those returns will come from Walgreens. And some of them won't. And as a retail media provider, you just have to have comfort that the model is based on a better experience for the consumer and the customer and the patient will actually deliver greater return for everybody. Uh, and, and, you know, and you, as, as, as the retailer, you are sort of one, one cog in that wheel. Um, if you will. So what we're seeing is more joint engagement and more desire and willingness for people to speak different languages. And I, I don't, I don't mean literally speak different languages, but speak different languages of capability and expertise in the industry. Uh, because, you know, I speak media just because I speak media. It doesn't mean I speak fluent legacy, shopper, marketing, or fluent customer development merchandising. And, um, but what we're seeing is all of those parties kind of leaning in together, if you will, to, um, to understand how, if you put it all, put it all together and, you know, in, in a bowl of soup, how it ultimately comes out as, uh, something that, uh, again, benefits the consumer and, uh, and ultimately benefits all parties.

Rob:

I, I I'd just say, say I didn't, I didn't take what you said earlier as, as remotely be literally building marketing, marketing. I mean, all the marketers that are on the podcast, they all live this all day long and they all feel the structural constraints and the challenges, you know, what do you do about it? And so I, I, we had, um, one of the, one of our earliest guests was a Sony Shaw who, um, ran a brand and digital for Bosch power tools. And it was the first time that, that I'd seen the organization combine that. So he actually had authority to trade brand dollars for performance marketing dollars online and, and vice versa, you know, back and forth. Um, and he could trade personnel across those things and he could do fluid investments. And then, uh, you know, much later on with COVID in, you know, Mark's last year in a lot of the companies that we work with, uh, we saw people stopped signing, uh, big upfront contracts and, and all of a sudden the dollars were uncommitted and they were up, they were up for grabs.

Rob:

And you start, you started seeing what it looks like within these companies to do more dynamic allocation of funds month by month, where they're doing exactly what you're saying, you know, follow the consumer, see, see what's happening, put the, put the money where the ROI has been recently. And, and, you know, we expect to be shortly, and it was extremely disruptive for folks. This is like, there were companies that did this well, but there's no way that I know of they did this with grace. You know, it was, it was, it was, it was a lot of just turning over the table and just duct tape and chewing gum and try to make it work. And so, yeah, I mean, I think there's, I have a tremendous amount of empathy for your position and what you, uh, what you just spoke of. And, and you guys are right in the middle of probably having to help educate folks on how to even have these conversations internal to their organizations. Like how do you, I imagine that, that, um, the data that you provide and the access to consumer helps within a brand manufacturer helps them have the discussion internally that that's a reasonable discussion on, I need to move dollars away from TV to this, or I need to move dollars away from social desks, or I need to, or we're not spending enough in general, right. Or, or whatever, but, but you've got data that can actually help make this about the consumer as opposed to about, you know, a fiefdom.

Luke:

Yeah. I mean, that's the, that's the hope. And, you know, one of the other benefits of retail media as, as a category is, is the measurement. Um, and, and, and having, having a model, uh, and, and, you know, again, in our case, another part of the benefit of the scale of the a hundred million members is, um, is the access to the transactions and the ability to optimize activities against, against the transaction. So like th th th th the days of you measure performance by proxy, and we've gotten out of state a lot more sophisticated in that, but like, why do immediate people talk about reaching frequency? Well, it was a sort of a proxy for what's going to ultimately deliver sales of the business. And, you know, now with things like MTA, we're getting much more sophisticated at it. Um, but you know, it's still doesn't get to that full call.

Luke:

It 100% exhaustive closed loop ecosystem that, you know, I'm, I'm not going to say that we've actually solved. Like there's no magic button that, that gives you the solve. So there's, there's going to be challenges. There's going to be gaps in measurement, you know, enter back wall gardens, as we said before, for example. But, um, but the ability to actually tie the investment to the return is another overall benefit of what, uh, retail media, as, you know, as a category is bringing to the table and something that, you know, we, we, we feel we're, um, you know, quite, quite well positioned to bring value in as well. Um, but it will be fascinating. I mean, you know, this, this notion of you've got a separate digital team from your either traditional media team or, or a TV team, or you've got some digital capability that lives in one place, and then you've got a separate agency that's doing all your TV.

Luke:

Uh, I just, I just continue to believe that that is a, uh, it's just an antiquated model. That again, structurally is working against the innovation and where we're trying to actually go as an industry, again, driving towards, towards personalization. And, you know, I think once the industry really figures out at scale how to personalize television, as we know it, um, uh, and, and sort of the way, and the currency, the way it's bought and sold, which, you know, there's, there's little things that are happening, um, you know, with organizations, uh, in offerings like open AP, for example, that we just announced a partnership with there's things that are happening to move that space. Um, uh, but, uh, but, but there's still a long way to go. But when that happens, I, I think it will, it will really signal the, um, uh, you know, the overall kind of major shift in the industry, the next major shift in the industry. And ultimately, you know, the, the consumer, the consumer should see benefit from that. Um, because, because there, there should be better overall marketing quite frankly, and, and, and better experiences.

Peter:

So, um, we've had you, you talked about sort of the ecosystem of partners that brands have to deal with, and I imagine you have to deal with, um, we've had Melissa Burdick from PACU view on a few times, you know, her, her ad tech company, you know, this, but helps brands manage ad spend across retailers. And I would think that companies like that are beneficial to new groups like yours, uh, you know, brands can more easily use them to kind of move dollars around and, and optimize across things. Is that true? Are they overall really, really strong partners for you?

Luke:

Yeah, so, um, I love, um, yes, she's awesome. Um, our, our situation is maybe is maybe a little bit unique in that, uh, just being transparent about the offer. Um, you know, we're S we're still, we're still nascent in, in some ways, and we are in startup mode in some ways, although, you know, the capabilities that we're bringing to the table, it's not like we just stumbled upon them. Um, uh, and as we say that, you know, were there things that we're doing in our own marketing as well? Um, but where, where technologies like, like a pack of you, for example, like where they really come into play is allowing self-service access across a multitude of, of, of retailers. And, um, you know, I think, I think there is benefit to that. Our model currently today is a managed service model. Uh, and, you know, we know that, you know, that is also a dynamic in the industry that in our offering, we need the capabilities to address.

Luke:

Um, but you know, right now, uh, it is, it is not the model that we work in today. Although, as I said, you know, we, we do have, we do have some things in play and, uh, some stuff in the works that we'll, we'll open it up a little bit more, um, because, you know, folks, folks want control at the end of the day. And that's, that's where technologies like that, uh, enable it. You know, that being said, we do have some partnerships that are, that are kind of getting us into, uh, into that space. And, and I do think those types of technologies and those types of relationships are important and will, will continue to be important. Um, I also suspect that there might be some, some integrations, uh, in the future, some consolidations in the future that might streamline that ecosystem a little bit, but again, you know, far be it from me to predict how that's going to happen yet.

Rob:

For sure. The, the interesting thing about all this stuff is it's so hard to untangle all the pieces from each other, cause they're all moving at the same time. You know, the, the media mix within a brand manufacturer, the competitive set across retail media group groups, um, and the competitive offerings there, um, the overall move to performance media, the death of the cookie. It's just, I mean, we're, we're at this moment in time where the whole industry is, is, is kind of turning over in somewhat in some way, the big elephant that I'm interested in in, in this, this may be a little outside of your domain, but I think, I think it's just a fascinating topic is a TV household. Penetration is now just, is now under 70%, you know, it peaked whatever 15 years ago and the rate of decline is increasing. And so, you know, the, the $65 billion question here is, are we, are, are we going to see with retail media, a hockey stick?

Rob:

Like, I, I personally, if I, if you, if you, if you just put like a competitive hat on and you say I'm competing for TB dollars and I'm competing for newspaper dollars and I'm competing for, you know, the Google search ad spend dollars in like, you know, I'm competing for those on some, and you just say, it's all the same big advertising bucket. Um, like for me, retail media, and I'm, I'm biased in this space, but retail media seems to be the obvious winner for all. The reasons that we've talked about is like, what are the other, what are the other winners in, in if if that $65 billion just goes away? Like where w what else, what else do they move to? But are there, is there a feature set or a competitor where you think I need to learn a little bit from that, because we're gonna, we're gonna, we want those, we want all those tens of billions, you're going to snag all that TV money. Look, you can just say, yeah, it's my money. It's Walgreens advertising group, gladly

Luke:

Telephone center has just been there.

Rob:

I mean, obviously

Luke:

It's a big question and a very big topic. Um, and, uh, is a fair question. I mean, we, first of all, um, listening and learning, uh, uh, is, is, is core to who we are core to our DNA as a business and as a marketing organization at Walgreens. Cause if you're not stuff is just moving too fast. Uh, and so if you're not listening and learning constantly, and not just from new folks, but from folks that have been around and in this game for a long time and are also investing in evolving their business, you've got to listen to all of it and, uh, and make informed decisions to, to try to stay ahead of the curve. And I say, try, obviously it's not an easy thing to do. Um, you know, I, I, I don't know that the 65 70 billion, I don't know if that goes away.

Luke:

Uh, and you know, I can talk on this subject for a long time. I mean, on the one hand, you, you could argue that, uh, there are very few industries in the history of the world where you can consistently deliver less over a 20 year run. Someone can fact check me on the years, but it's, it's, it's been at least 10 significantly consistently and ratings decline. You can consistently deliver less and consistently charge more for it because people are still willing to buy it. And so the supply and demand dynamic in the market, um, is, is, is arguably just kind of off. And then there's just very few businesses that, that, that you can do that. And, and the marketplace, uh, and the way the television marketplace is set up and the way that the industry and I'm complicit in this, right? Like all of us in the industry are part of it.

Luke:

And, you know, there was some work that, you know, different groups and done last year to try to evolve the upfront model. And it didn't quite pan out. And, you know, do you move into a, at least accounting year relative to the upfront timing as we've done it for all these years and look at where we're at now, where we're at now is to raise the client is, is, is, is predicted to continue if not be exacerbated by the fact that productions were delayed and, you know, you don't have great original content sports, uh, are still, you know, in some ways up in the air and maybe Olympics, maybe not, you know, like we're, you know, we're not life isn't back to normal. Uh, and, and, and you're, you know, so you're seeing these predictions of continued massive decline, uh, and yet budgets increasing. And, uh, and, and it, like, if you step back from it and you're like, well, this is nuts.

Luke:

What, why is everybody continuing to do this? Uh, and, you know, I would argue the answer is there's a lot of value to the big screen in the living room. Like there's a lot of value to having a great piece of content and an experience for a consumer on, you know, on, on, on that screen, how you get it there, what mechanism you use to buy it, transact on it, et cetera. That's where I think the energy and the effort needs to come in. So, you know, I, my headline is not, we want to steal TV dollars. You know, it's more, we want to evolve the transactional model of television to be more in line with what we can do digitally that enables fluidity between brand and performance marketing. And, and if you can figure out how to do that at scale, then, you know, then odds are, you've got an opportunity to win.

Luke:

And, um, you know, and that's obviously a lot of things have to change, uh, in order for that to happen again at, at, you know, at the scale that we see of the marketplace, but, um, you know, why not take a shot, right? And this is, this is our stance, uh, of, of where I think the industry should go. And if you can, again, figure out how to do it on your business, you're going to see benefit. And, you know, we're trying to figure it out for ourselves. And then of course, we want to be able to offer that value to, uh, to our brand partners is the Walgreens advertising group.

Peter:

So if you could get that done by next Tuesday, that would be,

Luke:

I'll be right on top of that.

Peter:

I have trust for you. You know, that actually is sort of the closing question here, because, um, besides the a hundred million reasons why people should do business with Walgreens, like, uh, for our brand exact listeners, what are the main takeaways as they think about, you know, there's such a flood of retail or ad platforms coming out. And, and, um, so w you know, w Y w as 2021 unfolds any main takeaways for someone listening to this, that's trying to sort of, um, slot Walgreens into the right mindset for, for reaching there. Where do I fit it? Where do I fit it? Yes, exactly.

Luke:

Everything's in buckets and that's totally fair. And so, you know, it, it would stand to logic that you would put Walgreen's advertising group and their retail media bucket with all of the others. And you would look at our capabilities on a spreadsheet against what is now a very growing and long list of retailers that have quote unquote retail, media networks, or retail media platforms. We, um, we, we choose in all transparency not to focus on that. Uh, and, and, and just to focus the discussion, you know, ideally more strategically about how we can partner with a brand to enable their objectives and their goals that are likely driven by personalization themselves. So, so, you know, I don't want to make the assumption that every brand is trying to deliver personalization, but if you could just start there with an understanding that a more personalized experience at the right cost will translate to greater ROI.

Luke:

We want to start there and, and say, you know, we, we, we are here to help enable you to deliver your personalization agenda and improve your ROI, and what we're bringing to the table to do that is a first party data asset. That's grounded in a hundred million members that we want to make available to you, the ability to customize solutions through advanced audience science and advanced data science. So it's not, here's a, here's a, here's a rate card, here's the stuff, you know, we can, we can go and do it. It's, it's truly customized solutions and advanced modeling that gets to what is the right audience, a subset of that, a hundred million, a portion of that hundred million that is then modeled for greater scale beyond it. You know, it, all of that is customizable in, in what we're bringing to the table and then the ability to reach them and the ability to reach them on any platform.

Luke:

And that, I mean, that's, we've got the capability today. We're continuing to evolve that capability, but, you know, obviously we've got, we can reach them in our own assets, our site, in our app, we can reach them programmatically through the wag DSP, uh, where we've got video display and, and we've recently added, uh, OTT and connected TV inventory into that suite of where we can reach, uh, uh, our, our customers. We've got relationships with streaming platforms. Uh, we've got relationships with Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and others, where we've got our data mapped into their platform directly, uh, so that people who work with the Walgreens advertising group again, can reach their audiences, uh, using our first party data to do so. So, you know, that combination of the targeting capability through the scale of the audience, the customization through the advanced modeling, and then the ability to reach them in any platform, which is now inclusive of the screen in the living room, uh, both from the DSP and our partnership with open AP that I mentioned before, um, you know, that that then becomes a strategic discussion about, uh, the role that we can play in delivering, you know, that audience first channel agnostic strategy, which is where a lot of businesses and a lot of media folks, and a lot of brand marketers are trying to drive towards.

Peter:

And you can pick up a package of Reese's peanut butter cups with the register on your way, up on your way out. No, look, I mean, that, that's, that's, uh, that is a super impressive list and, and it must be fun, uh, being in the midst of this as it's really turning into such a, a productive and fascinating area of, you know, sort of customer and partner value at this time. I just think it's, it's such a cool space to be. And you mentioned

Luke:

It is it's humbling. Uh, it's rewarding. It's, it's, it's hard as hell. It's, it's all the above, but it it's exciting to be part of this industry. Like I can not, in some ways it's like, it's never been more complex and it's never been harder, but it's also never been more exciting, uh, at least in my career, although I think I've said this before, but I feel like each time it gets, it gets even more exciting to be, you know, to be a citizen of the industry and to be part of things that are shaping the direction of the industry, uh, is, um, you know, super cool and super cool.

Peter:

I mean, we are grateful for you taking time out of that crazy schedule to come on the podcast and share your what's going on there with, with our listeners. Right.

Luke:

I, I thank you very much for having me, uh, it's been, uh, it's been a pleasure. Uh, great, great, great speaking with, with both of you and, um, uh, yeah. Anything, anything else I could do to be of service and a value? I say, you know, where to find

Peter:

When you figure all that other stuff out, we talked about just come on, back on and just let us know how you solved it. Probably a two minute podcast. Exactly.

Luke:

Here's how it's done. Mic drop

Peter:

Outta here. Thanks again, Luke, for joining us. Thank you very much. Thanks again to Luke for tackling this topic with us. Please share this episode with your colleagues and leave us a review wherever you download your podcasts. We appreciate it. Thanks for being part of our community.