MarTech Interview with Paul Brenner, Vibenomics CSO, President of Audio OOH

An AOOH solution provides several unique benefits and acts as a touchpoint along the buyer’s journey. But is it the future of retail?

The importance of location targeting comes down to the point of sale. Customers hearing ads while shopping in-store have immediate access to the brand’s products.

1. Can you tell us more about yourself and your career before Vibenomics?
I have spent my 22-year career in business and technology leadership, primarily in media, entertainment and advertising. During that time, I have learned that most of my success comes in creative environments that push the envelope on innovation.

2. Could you tell us more about Vibenomics?
At Vibenomics, we work with over 200 brands to reach over 210 million shoppers directly at the point of sale. We achieve this connection through location-based audio out-of-home (AOOH) advertising — sharing brand messaging via in-store speakers in retailers such as grocers and c-stores. Our targeted ads play in over 6,000 retail locations nationwide, allowing brands to customize in-store promotions by each location, demographic, daypart and campaign journey. We’ve also optimized our software to help brands align their seasonal promotions or location-based discounts with each store.

3. Can you shed some light on the solutions that Vibenomics offers?
The Vibenomics AOOH solution provides several unique benefits and acts as a touchpoint along the buyer’s journey. First, in-store channels are non-invasive because they don’t collect personal data. You find them in high purchase propensity environments like grocery stores or big box retailers. Shoppers are more receptive to promotions they hear over the sound system than customers watching TV or website ads.

Traditional advertising channels don’t offer the same level of agility as our cloud-based, programmatic marketplace model, which also lets brands optimize messages. Marketing teams can quickly adjust messaging based on a campaign’s performance, local events or available inventory.

Consider today’s turbulent retail market — we’re dealing with supply chain issues, inflation and a potential recession. Each of these factors influences consumer behavior. Our flexible model can adapt to address behavioral changes by empowering brands and retailers to run ads reflecting current sentiment, supply and price updates.

4. Everything that you built really looks like an advertising model. Did you have experience in that space?
My first experience with media and advertising was in 1993 with a Fox News affiliate that needed help with systems and processes for advertising and operations. By 1996, I had joined a publicly-traded traditional media owner of global TV, radio, print, web and mobile. The opportunity to find solutions across those different disciplines was where my desire to innovate the advertising business grew from interest to mastery.

5. How has the partnership with Hy-Vee benefited Vibenomics?
Our multi-year partnership with Hy-Vee has allowed us to scale our AOOH Advertising Marketplace to over 400 Hy-Vee locations across the Midwest. Our partner brands looking to advertise through in-store touchpoints now also have access to Hy-Vee consumers. We also receive new insights into buying behavior, which will help us deliver better in-store music and messaging. We hope to continue expanding our network by building on our partnerships with grocers and c-stores.

6. What’s your favorite part about working in the industry?
The passion and commitment of the people I have the chance to work with daily are first to my mind. The second is harnessing the energy of marketing innovation and consumer shifts in behavior. The speed of change in the industry is exhilarating.

7. What are the challenges in the advertising industry hampering brand reach?
A lack of accessible digital in-store inventory has impeded brand reach. Isolated retail media networks and inconsistent publisher offerings limit the ability to offer ubiquitous solutions. To address this obstacle, Vibenomics, along with many other media service providers, are looking to the In-Store Marketplace (ISM), to consolidate the emerging technologies retailers can integrate and manage their digital in-store presence. The In-Store Marketplace can help expand network inventory and coverage access – elevating how brands execute their in-store advertising.

This innovation comes at the perfect time. With the constant changes to cookie and third-party data policy restrictions, advertisers shouldn’t rely on personal data collection to determine how to best target customers. I anticipate we’ll see increased investment in channels like Audio AOOH using “identity blind” data signals like weather, time of day and, most importantly, in-store purchase patterns. It’s a “win-win-win” approach because:

● Retailers can still monetize customer data.
● Brands receive new insight into purchase patterns.
● Relevant advertising targets customers without invading their privacy.

8. Can you highlight the importance of targeting locations for brand promotion?

The importance of location targeting comes down to the point of sale. Customers hearing ads while shopping in-store have immediate access to the brand’s products.

In-store is the only advertising channel that offers this connection. Customers can’t physically interact with a product when an ad pops up while browsing online. The same principle applies to other out-of-home channels like radio or billboards. But when you have a captive audience shopping in-store, location targeting helps ensure the message reaches the consumer at the point of purchase.

9. Vibenomics has been named to the Great Employers to Work for in Indiana 2022 list by Best Companies Group. What makes Vibenomics’ culture unique?
We are very proud of our outstanding culture, innovative approach, and dedicated employees. Vibenomics allows its people to develop personally and professionally, enabling a purposeful work-life balance. We strive for a commitment to ourselves and the greater company’s success.

10. Could you give us a sneak peek into the next growth phase of Vibenomics?
Retail Media is evolving rapidly and we expect 2023 to be a big year for digital in-stores future. Vibenomics will use our technology, creativity and business alignment with the retail owners to grow the value of the retail media market. We will continue investing in marketing and sales and expect to grow our grocery retailer share over the next 12 to 18 months.

11. Which motivational quote drives you to achieve more at work?
My wife loves quotes and is always sharing them with me to be inspirational. “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”— John F. Kennedy is one that most describes the way I view myself and my career.

12. What is the message you want to spread with this interview?
According to the 2022 Path to Purchase Retail Media Study, 89% of shoppers notice audio in-store. As the non-addressable audience grows into 2023 and beyond, context and content are paramount. The marketer’s mindset of prioritizing one-to-one data needs to shift to believe in a context that reaches a broader audience. Brick-and-mortar shopping is here to stay, we want to evangelize in-store channel investment.

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Paul Brenner, Vibenomics CSO, President of Audio OOH
With more than 25 years of experience in media & entertainment and technology leadership, Paul Brenner served in several c-suite roles including division President with Emmis Operating Company [NASDAQ:EMMS]. As President of NextRadio/TagStation his work focused on global innovation through FM Chip activations in all smartphones for audience measurement, improved in-car user experiences, and data attribution platforms for all broadcast radio. In 2019, Paul joined Vibenomics as Chief Strategy Officer to help develop the go-to-market strategy for the company’s first-to-market Audio Out-of-Home™ advertising solution. Following a successful launch, Brenner was promoted to President of Audio OOH to oversee all efforts surrounding revenue-generating activity and related partnerships.

Vibenomics is a location-based Audio Out-of-Home advertising and experience company that powers audio in-store for retailers, giving brands the ability to talk to shoppers directly, at the point of purchase. Through its strong retail partnerships, Vibenomics is able to provide unique sales insights and performance data, customized to each campaign’s needs. Vibenomics also offers premium level audio content creation and consulting at no additional cost — keeping the entire budget in working media dollars.

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