An introduction to experiential


Retail media can be an incredibly effective way to drive conversions, be that through targeted product recommendations online or via attention-grabbing promotions at the shelf. Sometimes, though, the path to purchase begins a little earlier – meaning that brands need to raise awareness and give shoppers a reason to try something new. That’s where tactics like experiential marketing can make a big difference.

In the penultimate post in our series looking at different retail media products and channels, Connor Chappell and Ciara Hagan look at the enduring appeal of experiential, and how the Tesco Media & Insight Platform can help bring your brand to life.

Inspiration is a crucial part of the grocery shopping experience. Not only are 85% of Tesco customers on the lookout for meal ideas and cooking hacks[1], very few stick to their shopping lists[2] and a large number say that they’re inspired by ads to try out new products[3]. Clearly, that presents a major opportunity for those brands that can spark the imagination of this eager and engaged audience.

Experiential marketing has long been recognised as an effective way to do just that. From sampling stations and trial-size giveaways, getting your product into the hands of prospective shoppers is a great way to raise awareness and build an audience. Thanks to the ever-increasing diversity of modern retail media, experiential is now something that can go far beyond the store, too.

In the world of the Tesco Media & Insight Platform, all things experiential come together under the umbrella of “Experience”. These customer-led propositions are designed to help marketers bring their brands to life through a range of creative opportunities, which stretch from store-focused initiatives through to high profile digital and print media placements.

There are three key products that fall within that Experience bracket: the Tesco Magazine, Food Inspiration, and Sampling & Experiential Events. Let’s take a look at each, and see what they offer.

Tesco Magazine

Available for free at all Tesco Extra and Superstores, the Tesco Magazine has the highest average single-issue reach for any print title in the UK. Around 4.6m Tesco customers read the magazine, making each of the 11 issues published each year an effective way to communicate with a wide audience. The magazine blends recipes, features, and money-off coupons, and a digital version is also available online.

The average reader spends around half an hour with each edition of the Tesco Magazine, and 57% say that they’re likely to follow a tip or piece of advice that they’ve been presented with. From a demographic standpoint, 56% of readers are ABC1s, and 74% are parents.

Advertising opportunities available in the Magazine include:

  • Display Ads – designed to generate mass awareness.
  • Advertorials – aimed at informing, educating, and inspiring readers.
  • Product Spots – that profile brand products within recipes.
  • Coupons – which offer opportunities to entice and reward.
Food Inspiration

Speaking to that demand for meal ideas mentioned above, Food Inspiration is a tiered content programme that helps brands engage with customers in a creative and expressive way. Across two formats, Food Inspiration provides opportunities to reach shoppers online, in-store, and via the Tesco Magazine.

  • Tesco Real Food - the UK’s second-largest food inspiration and recipe website, Tesco Real Food hosts almost 6,000 recipes and welcomes around 3m visitors each month. Recipe sponsorships provide a direct path-to-purchase by allowing shoppers to add ingredients straight to their basket.
  • Food Content Partnerships – focusing on quick, easy, and low-effort recipes like “Three Ways With…” and “Five Ingredient” ideas, Food Content Partnerships give brands the chance to inspire customers with new and creative uses for their products.
Sampling & Experiential Events

Whether you want to give customers the chance to try your products first-hand, or simply create an experience they’ll remember, Sampling & Experiential Events provides a great way to engage with them in person. What’s more, world-leading data science can be employed in order to help you find the best locations and stores for your goals.

  • Sampling – allowing shoppers to try before they buy, Sampling employs a nationwide network of ambient and hot sampling stations and the expertise of over 4,000 Tesco-accredited brand ambassadors.
  • Experiential Events – interactive experiences that bring brands to life in the store environment, Experiential Events are a great way to take ownership of key dates on the calendar.

In recent years, a lot of the focus around retail media has been on the – undeniably compelling – digital opportunities that it presents. Experiential marketing reminds us that it’s no longer a case of having to choose between online or in-store; instead, the focus should be on connected, multichannel experiences that engage and inspire in equal measure.

In our final post in this series, we’ll explore the subject of direct-to-customer – and what that really means in the world of grocery retail.

[1] dunnhumby Shopper Thoughts, 2020
[2] Shopper Thoughts Module Nov 19, base size n= 1,368
[3] Shopper Thoughts Research n = 668 – 2,325