New Ad Net Registers With Consumers


NEW YORK Armed with two years of purchase data for 80 million individual consumers, Catalina Marketing is this week launching a new in-store ad network called the Pointer Media Network.

The information comes from frequent shopper cards covering most of the nation's supermarket chains, thousands of drugstores and other retailers.

St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Catalina -- which until now has focused on promotion and couponing dollars -- is positioning the service as possibly the first operational, wide-scale addressable network to instantly customize ads to consumers based on past purchasing patterns.

"While there's been a lot of talk about developing addressable networks to individual consumers, we actually have one up and running. [It has] access to 150 million frequent shopper IDs and $400 billion of observed purchasing behavior," said Todd Morris, svp, Catalina.

Pointer Media works like this: Catalina has installed color printers at the checkout counters of close to 50,000 stores around the country that are linked to the company's massive database of consumer purchases. When a shopper's order is rung up, the printer instantly creates a print ad on a receipt-size piece of paper based on the unique purchasing history of that shopper. The ad is handed to the shopper along with the receipt for the current purchase.

Ads can be used a number of different ways. For instance, they can simply build awareness of products or, if customers are immediately engaged, can send them back to the aisles to buy another item.

Marketing and agency executives say the new network is a sign of the growing importance of purchase-behavior targeting at a time when consumption patterns continue to fragment.

"At media agencies we make a big deal about demographics, psychographics and behavioral targeting, but the Catalina data ... takes targeting to a whole new level," said David Sommer, managing partner and director of the retail practice at WPP's Mediaedge:cia.

Danielle Bottari, svp and director of shopper marketing at Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, agreed, noting one unique feature of the Pointer Media setup is that "you can optimize your messaging at different places in the store and at the register to create a media mix based on the history of buying behavior."

Independent research by Cornell University in pre-launch testing showed that 80 percent of the Pointer Media ads are read by the shoppers to whom they're issued. That high level of readership demonstrates the "relevance to the consumer mind-set" of issuing such ads at checkout, said Bottari.

Targeted marketing is becoming increasingly important for many brands, particularly consumer packaged goods, which are relying on smaller concentrations of consumers to drive sales.

Continue to next page →