Retail Boost Recap

Did you miss Catalyst and Bing’s inaugural Retail Boost event in Boston? No worries, we have you covered with our Retail Boost Recap series. We’ll be posting highlights from each of the Retail Boost panels and presentations to get you up-to-speed on what you missed.


Retail Boost united digital marketing thought-leaders and retail industry experts to discuss innovative ways to drive more revenue through digital channels. Through a compelling series of panels and presentations, speakers debated retail trends, emerging opportunities, and strategies for more effective digital marketing and increased sales. Speakers included Forrester Research, Amazon, Snapchat, Microsoft, Productsup,, Stratabeat, Catalyst, GroupM, and Brand Networks. This all-star line-up packed countless insights and tips into the half-day event. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

Brands Must Dedicate More Time to PLA/SLA Campaign Setup

Markus Rottmaier (Productsup), Mike Mulvenna (Bing), Scott Meslin (, and Adam Barney (Bing) sat down to discuss tactics for better SLA/PLA campaigns and all agreed on one key point: marketers need to allocate more time to campaign setup. They reiterated the importance of allocating sufficient time to the planning and setup as a way to avoid costly mistakes down the road, especially during critical and busy shopping seasons. They recommended getting as granular as possible with ad setup and landing page selection. It takes more time, but perfecting keyword and landing page pairings will pay off in the end.

When it comes to product searches, the digital landscape has become fragmented and more complex.img_2195

During a panel on emerging platforms, Lisa Yom (Amazon) and Jamie Tedford (Brand Networks) agreed that sophisticated advertisers will have to learn to play the e-retail game beyond Google. In the future, expect Big Retail to go-to-town on things like Amazon strategy and data management. It’s part of a larger trend toward breaking down marketing silos, to think more holistically about opportunities to connect with the consumer and ultimately generate more sales. Similarly, marketers must start thinking about vertical search as a real threat to traditional search and determine how to best leverage it for brand health. As traditional search is interrupted both by chat bots and by voice search, advertisers will also have to think about what this means for keyword strategy and how to evolve traditional tactics to meet the growing usage of search on platforms like Siri and Alexa.

Paid social planning should begin with user insights and audience needs’, not platform requirements or “shiny” new features

Kieley Taylor (Catalyst) and Marni Schapiro (Snapchat) discussed many components of today’s social landscape, but kept returning to one very important point: marketers must put their audience first. When marketers begin paid social planning and content development with the audience top-of-mind, they’re far more likely to have a successful paid social campaign and achieve their desired outcome. Beginning with a user insight helps marketers craft a story that is relevant, successful, and effective regardless of the specific platform. Marketers can then rely on visual cues to keep their story intact and assets connected across platforms.

Visual marketing is key to consumer engagement & driving sales

The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This is just one of the many stats shared by Tom Shapiro (Stratabeat) during his presentation, “Neuromarketing: The Power of Visual Marketing in Retail.” Through a series of data points and examples, Tom revealed the true power of visual communication and the opportunity to use visuals and images to maximize engagement and performance.

Brands must do what they say

All brands want to be true to their brand promises, but Collin Colburn from Forrester demonstrated why this is increasingly important. Customers are more entitled than ever and technology has democratized brand interactions. Collin recommends being “human, helpful, and handy” as a way to deliver on brand promises and to help solve customer problems, thereby driving positive brand interactions and more sales.

Stay tuned to the Catalyst blog for session-specific recaps! We don’t have any of our stellar swag bags left, but there’s plenty of learnings and insights to go around!

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