Analysis: Walmart WMX – Yes to Big Data, Yes to Agencies

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Although details are still sketchy, Walmart's announcement that it will create and operate its own media exchange to help its suppliers spend its media dollars based on the data WalMart obtains, has gotten mostly positive comments. What are the implications for the multicultural sector?

The retailing giant still is working on the software for Walmart Exchange, or WMX, which execs have described as "in beta."

It's just the natural evolution in Walmart's decades-long big data initiative, according to Cesar Sroka, group account director for OMD. He says, "A lot of folks out there are not comfortable with it, but data can help drive a lot of decisions and effectively target who you're going after. Walmart has millions of shoppers every week, so they have lots of data."

Walmart will combine its own retail and online sales, gathered in close to real time, with social media data – and the new data stream coming from its Savings Catcher, an online service that gets consumers to input in-store receipts to see if they could have gotten a better price elsewhere. WalMart is a top ten Hispanic advertiser and many of its suppliers in the CPG and other categories are major advertisers.

Cesar Sroka, OMD

Cesar Sroka, OMD

Sroka thinks that WMX could help the retailer – and the brands that sell products through Walmart – better target African-American and Hispanic customers, allowing it to move beyond language preferences to consumer attitudes and behaviors. For example, the data could reveal whether some of the accepted wisdom on Hispanic shoppers, such as they shop in families and have larger basked sizes, are really true. "It's raising the standard for everyone," he says.

WMX could help the retailer – and the brands that sell products through Walmart – better target African-American and Hispanic customers

OMD isn't worried that WMX will cut out media agencies, according to Sroka. "They're just cutting costs out of the business. I believe they'll still need an agency for strategy," he says. "Programmatic doesn't do that for you. Anybody can buy a thousand points. We are advisers: We look at your business holistically, from products being developed through consumer experiences."

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Susan Kuchinskas @susankuchinskas

Susan has been covering digital media since they were invented. She began her career as a design writer and then became a senior reporter for Adweek, covering the launches of Google, Amazon, Overture and DoubleClick, among many others. She was a senior writer covering marketing for Business 2.0, and then helped found M-Business, a magazine about the mobile industry that, in 2001, was way before its time. Since 1993, she's reported on the internet, digital culture, technology and science. Her work has appeared in Mediapost, ClickZ and other digital publications, and she consults on content strategy for technology and financial clients from a home office in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Susan reside en la Bahía de San Francisco, muy cerca de Silicon Valley y ha cubierto los medios digitales desde que se inventaron. Empezó su carrera como reportera de diseño y luego ocupó la posición de reportera senior de Adweek, cubriendo los lanzamientos de Google, Amazon, Overture y Doubleclick, entre muchos otros. También fue reportera de mercadotecnia en la revista Business 2.0 y luego ayudó a fundar la revista M Business, una publicación sobre el Mercado del móvil que se lanzo antes de que llegara el auge de ese vehículo. Desde 1993 ha reporteado sobre Internet, cultura digital, tecnología y ciencia. Su trabajo ha aparecido en Mediapost, ClickZ y otras publicaciones digitales.

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