Walmart is ramping up its efforts to compete with Amazon's advertising business, taking its ad sales in-house and rolling out a self-serve ad platform and API to sell search ads. Business Insider identified 11 executives who are leading the retailer's advertising push. They include people in marketing, product, and sales, and many come from agency, brand, and media backgrounds. The stakes are high for Walmart, which wants a piece of the growing e-commerce ad budgets that Amazon dominates today. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Walmart has quietly run an advertising business for years. Now it's ramping up the business to rival Amazon. Earlier this month, Walmart formally rolled out a self-serve platform and application programming interface that lets advertisers buy search ads or work with adtech companies to manage their campaigns. Walmart tested the tools with advertisers like the gaming manufacturer Razer last year. Walmart took its ad-sales business in-house last year after outsourcing it to Triad. Walmart's profit has declined in recent years, and advertising represents another source of profit. "Our data has never been monetized, and we have a tiny ad business," President and CEO Doug McMillon told analysts in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported. "It could be bigger." Amazon has been growing its ad business and is now the third-largest digital-advertising company behind Google and Facebook. While the research firm Cowen expects Amazon to make $17.6 billion from advertising this year, up 36% from 2019, Walmart doesn't break out its ad revenue. Last year, a WPP executive estimated that Walmart made $2 billion to $3 billion from advertising, Ad Age reported. Walmart can't match Amazon's clout, so it's banking on its physical stores, and the sales data they generate, as a key differentiator. Advertisers are spending more dollars with online retailers, where people already have their wallets out and the retailers have rich data on them, and they're eager for a company to challenge Amazon, which they complain is hard to navigate, doesn't share enough data, and presents conflicts of interest. But Walmart isn't alone — Target, Best Buy, and Kroger are also getting into advertising as their retail businesses struggle to compete with Amazon. And Walmart's advertising efforts have been rocky. The retailer has long run an advertising business through its Walmart Media Group but is new at running its ad business all by itself. Some advertisers have said Walmart's ad business has been fraught with delays in campaigns and questions about how Walmart structures its agency and brand teams. Business Insider compiled a list of 11 Walmart execs who are key to its advertising push. The list is based on our reporting and spans marketing, sales, and product execs. Many of them worked at ad agencies, brands, and media companies. Most of the executives on the list work at Walmart Media Group. We also included some on the retail side who are key to showing how Walmart's store and e-commerce data differentiates it from Amazon. Here are the execs leading Walmart's advertising push in alphabetical order. Do you work at Walmart and think we overlooked a key player or ignored someone? Have something else you want to share about Walmart? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Confide or Signal at 720-261-0417. Somesh Bindu, group product manager, Walmart
Bindu is one of a handful of product-focused execs building products such as the self-serve platform and API. Walmart has only search-advertising buying tools, but its goal is to also include options for display ads. Bindu joined Walmart in May 2018 after about three years in a similar product-manager role at Amazon Advertising. Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer, Walmart
Bratspies has worked at Walmart for 15 years, including as chief merchandising officer for the past five years. He is responsible for Walmart's in-store merchandising across 4,500 stores and reports to John Furner, the president and CEO of Walmart US. Bratspies is in the process of leaving the company, reported The Wall Street Journal. Bratspies was one of a handful of execs who presented to advertisers during a big up-front event in New York last year called 5260 — the name of a Walmart store that is used as a test lab for new retail concepts and nearby to the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas — to talk about its customer and shopping data. Before joining Walmart, Bratspies served as chief marketing officer for Specialty Brands and worked in marketing for Frito-Lay. Dave Chiang, vice president, Walmart Media Group
Chiang has been the Walmart Media Group vice president for two years, overseeing its ad operations, analytics, planning, and tools. Before joining Walmart, he worked in adtech and product roles at Rakuten, Facebook, and CBS. Chiang also spent five years working at eBay in data and product roles. Jeff Clark, vice president of product, Walmart Media Group
Clark is a longtime sales exec who focuses on helping advertisers target and measure ads across Walmart's properties as vice president of product and innovation. Before joining Walmart a couple years ago, he led Google's publisher-facing video-ad-sales team and had also worked at Yahoo and CBS Interactive. He has also worked at the startups VideoSurf and mDialog, which were sold to Microsoft and Google, respectively. Stephen Howard-Sarin, vice president of strategy and development, Walmart Media Group
Howard-Sarin joined Walmart three years ago and sets strategy for Walmart Media Group. He also heads Walmart Media Group's mergers-and-acquisitions and strategic-partnerships groups. He previously led sales and media partnerships in the US. He is eBay's former head of ad sales and marketing and — like a handful of other Walmart ad execs on this list — worked at CBS, as well as CNET. He was also an adviser to the media companies Purch and Mansueto Ventures. Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager, Walmart Media Group
Jay is the face of Walmart Media Group for advertisers and reports to Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside. After Walmart's break from Triad, Jay has been key in selling to packaged-goods giants like Procter & Gamble and Unilever, an area where Walmart wants to compete with Amazon using its data and sales footprint. Her role is to pitch Walmart's offerings to advertisers, including its first-party data and acquisitions, like its purchase of Polymorph Labs last year. Before joining Walmart four years ago, Jay was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for 14 years. Alexis Josephs, vice president of sales, Walmart Media Group
Josephs heads up sales for Walmart Media Group, which involves getting brands to use its managed services and the self-serve platform. Part of Walmart's pitch to advertisers is that most products are bought in physical stores, generating shopper data that Amazon doesn't have. "Most competitors only understand the online aspect," Josephs told Business Insider about its self-serve advertising platform earlier this month. Josephs previously worked in sales roles at NBCUniversal, Pinterest, and Vevo. Dionne Resnik, senior manager of retail enablement, Walmart Media Group
Resnik helps sell Walmart ads, which includes working with third parties that plug into Walmart's recently launched API. She also pitches Walmart's audience size to advertisers. In an interview, she said Walmart has more than 150,000 SKUs — stock-keeping units, or individual products for sale — in store and another 75 million on its e-commerce site and app. Resnik comes from a publisher and retail-advertising background, having had sales roles at Yahoo and Verizon's Oath. Kara Rousseau, vice president of marketing, Walmart Media Group
Rousseau joined Walmart Media Group as vice president of marketing in September and shapes Walmart's pitch to advertisers. Rousseau is a longtime TV marketing executive who worked at Disney for more than 13 years across properties including ABC, Freeform, and Disney Channels Worldwide. She also worked in marketing at Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner. Lindsay Russell, senior manager of media partnerships, Walmart Media Group
Russell has an agency background that she's using to oversee relationships with Walmart's biggest advertisers. Big advertisers like packaged-goods companies work with Walmart's supply and retail teams in addition to buying ads, and Russell's role is to make sure all the groups work together. She ran campaigns for clients like Taco Bell, Netflix, and Nike at agencies such as Digitas, Essence, and Organic before joining Walmart in 2018. Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and chief customer officer, Walmart
As a member of Walmart's top leadership, Whiteside is responsible for understanding how customers use Walmart's stores and e-commerce platforms, information that's used to build the advertising business. Her reports include Walmart Media Group head Jay; Daniel Eckert, who leads the services and digital-acceleration team; and Linne Fulcher, who leads the returns team. Whiteside reports to Furner and Marc Lore, the CEOs of Walmart US and Walmart US's e-commerce businesses, respectively.
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At Business Insider Intelligence, our mission is to bring you the most important insights, data and...At Business Insider Intelligence, our mission is to bring you the most important insights, data and analysis from the digital world. So when we come across outstanding research from our partners that we think our audience can benefit from, we like to make sure you hear about it. That's why we're giving you a preview of eMarketer's new report: Marketing on TikTok. You can purchase and download the full report here. It's now been more than a year since TikTok launched in the US, and in that short period, the Chinese-owned video app has capitalized on the viral nature of its platform by partnering with a number of brands and slowly unveiling a slew of advertising capabilities. Cosmetics brand e.l.f. is one of the latest advertisers to launch a paid campaign targeting TikTok's Gen Z user base. Using the popular "Hashtag Challenge" ad unit, the brand recently launched its #eyeslipsface campaign, encouraging TikTok users to create videos showing off their makeup using an original song created for the activation. e.l.f. Beauty also purchased a 24-hour takeover ad, which prompted users to participate in the challenge upon opening the app. "Gen Z is a huge audience for us," said Kory Marchisotto, CMO of e.l.f., in an interview with eMarketer about the news of the partnership. "It's of critical importance to make sure we're not only where they are, but also serving up content that's relevant to them." Marchisotto says it's not just TikTok's demographic that has e.l.f interested in the platform. "I think [TikTok] is bringing something very different. Instagram has become highly polished, it's still the coffee table book, it's very curated. On TikTok, everybody's out there to have fun and express themselves in unique ways." Below is a roundup of TikTok's current ad offerings and some of its biggest brand partnerships to date. Ad Formats Though the video app has yet to roll out all its ad capabilities—such as augmented reality lenses and full-screen video ads, as listed on its website—some early adopters are testing select formats. Brands like Guess and Chipotle Mexican Grill partnered with TikTok on sponsored "Hashtag Challenges," which placed branded hashtags on the app's Discover page. Food delivery app Grubhub was reportedly testing video ads on TikTok as early as January 2019, and fashion retailer Hollister Co. ran a series of in-feed video ads last spring. TikTok has also become a popular platform for influencer marketing, especially for brands looking to work with the platform's up-and-coming video creators. A representative from TikTok confirmed that its hashtag unit was still the only ad product officially available in the US, but it is conducting early experiments with other models. Last month, sponsored hashtags were expanded under the name Hashtag Challenge Plus and now include an in-app shoppable component. Walmart Walmart TikTok's list of advertisers also includes the largest company in the world. Walmart launched its #SavingsShuffle hashtag challenge in late September and promoted the campaign using a roster of TikTok influencers. "It's kind of one of those seminal moments when you start seeing those kinds of brands," said TikTok vice president Blake Chandlee at Advertising Week in New York City. The brand used the hashtag challenge Explore tab—which pops up when a user taps on a hashtag—to advertise a variety of shoppable products and ask users to guess Walmart's best-selling item. (The answer: toilet paper.) NFL In perhaps the largest US branding effort to date, TikTok announced a multiyear partnership with the NFL that will allow third-party brands to sponsor content on the NFL's TikTok account. When the announcement was made prior to the 2019 season, the NFL began posting using the hashtag #WeReady. Although the NFL told AdAge that it did not pay to promote the hashtag, the organization plans to use the Hashtag Challenge feature in the future. The NFL also hopes to generate user engagement by inviting fans to create TikTok-centric content to support their favorite teams and players. Ralph Lauren As the official outfitter of the US Open Tennis Championships, Ralph Lauren was one of the first brands to use TikTok's shoppable Hashtag Challenge Plus feature to show off its collection for the 2019 tournament. The challenge asked TikTok users to post a video wearing Ralph Lauren products using the hashtag #WinningRL. At the end of the contest, creators of the top three videos with the highest engagement were awarded free US Open gear. Macy's The department store kicked off the back-to-school shopping season by bringing its omnichannel "All Brand New" campaign to TikTok using the platform's Hashtag Challenge. The challenge encouraged students to post videos wearing back-to-school outfits, and if users tapped on the hashtag, a "Shop Now" prompt appeared above Macy's official videos linking to its website. Kroger For its own back-to-school campaign, Kroger became the one of the first brands to use TikTok's shoppable Hashtag Challenge Plus feature. The grocery chain promoted its #TransformUrDorm campaign, which encouraged college students to show off their decorated dorm rooms. Similar to Macy's, the campaign allowed users to tap on the sponsored hashtag, which led to a separate Explore tab showcasing Kroger products and direct links to its ecommerce channel. Chipotle One of TikTok's most notable US partnerships was with Chipotle, which worked with the video platform twice on hashtag challenges. For Cinco de Mayo, the restaurant chain asked fans to post their best "lid flip"—where users flipped an aluminum dish lid onto a Chipotle plate and then used the hashtag #ChipotleLidFlip—to promote its free delivery offer. The brand went viral on TikTok in August when it announced a new challenge, #GuacDance, which became TikTok's highest-performing branded challenge in the US. Want to Learn More? eMarketer has put together a detailed report, Marketing on TikTok, which discusses the growth of TikTok around the world and what marketers should know about the Chinese-owned short-video app. Topics discussed in this report include: TikTok in a Minute: Why It's Getting All the Buzz Who's Using TikTok? What Makes TikTok Tick as a Marketing Vehicle? How Is Advertising on TikTok Evolving? Advice and Best Practices for Using TikTok In full, this report contains: 3 Detailed files: Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing. 31 Data-rich charts: Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making. 19 Expert perspectives: Insights from industry and company leaders. >> Purchase and download the full report here.Join the conversation about this story »
Walmart and Amazon truck drivers say their employers haven't provided guidance about how to deal with coronavirus
Amazon has advised its 798,000 employees against "non-essential travel" in the US and globally. Walmart issued...Amazon has advised its 798,000 employees against "non-essential travel" in the US and globally. Walmart issued a memo for its 1.5 million US employees on Friday on coronavirus concerns, and the company advised employees to talk to their manager if they need to travel. However, truck drivers for Walmart and Amazon told Business Insider that they have not received dedicated communication on how to prevent coronavirus given the unique demands of their jobs — which includes daily travel and interaction with imported goods. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that its 9,000 company truck drivers have not received specific communication, and referred Business Insider to its Friday memo. Amazon did not provide a comment in time for publication. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Truck drivers who move loads for Walmart and Amazon told Business Insider that they have not received communication from their companies on how to navigate the outbreak. These truckers include Walmart and Amazon company truck drivers, as well as contract truck drivers for Amazon. Both retailers have massive, internal transportation networks to move the goods Americans order online or buy in-store every day. Each company has, however, communicated more broadly to employees about coronavirus. Walmart issued a memo for its 1.5 million US employees on Friday on coronavirus concerns, and advised employees to talk to their manager if they need to travel. Amazon told its global workforce of nearly 800,000 on Friday to avoid "non-essential travel" domestically and internationally. Among its sprawling operations team, senior vice president Dave Clark advised employees to not schedule meetings requiring travel until April, The New York Times reported. Still, truck drivers have unique workplace demands, which they say haven't been met by these internal communications. They are required to travel around the US each day for work. Walmart is the largest retailer in the US with $388 billion in retail sales, according to the most recent data from the National Retail Federation. With $121 billion in retail sales, NRF ranked Amazon as the country's No. 2 largest retailer. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that its 9,000 company truck drivers have not received specific communication, and referred Business Insider to its Friday memo. Amazon did not provide a comment in time for publication. "We haven't heard anything from anybody," a truck driver for Walmart, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution, told Business Insider. "I'm not too concerned about it," the driver added. "I police myself with washing my hands, not shaking as many hands, using hand sanitizer." Truck drivers for Walmart do not handle freight. However, the company and contract truck drivers who move your Prime packages for Amazon expressed in interviews that they were concerned about handling packages, many of which may have been manufactured in China. One Amazon truck driver, who is employed by the company, said he's concerned that the employees at his transportation center aren't washing their hands before handling packages. "Mainly, you got younger people, and you can tell everyone wash their hands and not touch their eyes all day long," the driver, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution, said. "They aren't going to do it." That Amazon truck driver and another Amazon driver shared that they are following internet and television news to learn what is happening with coronavirus. One expressed confusion that Amazon, for whom he is a contractor, should have communicated to him about the outbreak. "I am concerned about the virus, just taking all precautions to stay safe," one truck driver, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution, who moves Amazon goods as a contractor. As of March 2, there are more than 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. More than 3,000 have died, including six in the US. Are you a truck driver for Amazon or Walmart? Email the reporter at email@example.com. SEE ALSO: Worked 'like a rented mule': A truck driver claims an Amazon contractor forced him to drive for up to 30 hours straight in a new lawsuit DON'T MISS: Morgan Stanley is sounding the alarm on Amazon's logistics network for UPS, USPS, and FedEx — with a chilling estimate of up to $100 billion in revenue slashed from the giants Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What it takes to be a first-class flight attendant for Emirates
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You can read her story here: Inside the rise of 'super angels,' a special breed of investor that's carving out a valuable niche in a landscape dominated by VC giants And she profiled some of super angels here: The 19 'super angel' investors writing lots of checks that every founder should scramble to pitch While we're talking about Silicon Valley, I want to highlight this story from Megan Hernbroth on Zume Pizza. As she reports: The pizza-making robotics startup spent its early days pitching investors and the public on an AI-powered robotic revolution at the hands of its robot fleet. But the revolution hit a snag, and in January, Zume announced it was permanently shuttering Zume Pizza, the robotics division of the company, and laying off about 360 employees across multiple offices. 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