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Episode 11 –
Discussing the Impact of Covid-19 on Consumer Behavior and Retail With Heidi Bailey of The Integer Group

RESOURCE CENTER   ❯   Identity Revolution Podcast 5-11-21

Episode Summary

What does the future look like for Retail? Is traditional in-store shopping a thing of the past? According to Heidi Bailey, VP, Futures & AI at The Integer Group, people still want to visit stores. Of course, there have been shifts in consumer behavior business owners should not neglect, but embrace.

In Infutor’s Identity Revolution episode, our host Fred Pfeiffer and guest Heidi Bailey discuss how COVID has given a new meaning to digital connections. People have embraced the advantages of the online world, but once things go back to normal, even those who were not fans of shopping will want that physical experience.

Interlocutors also talk about the importance of the data in the advertising industry. Our guest believes that brands, not agencies, should store consumer data. They also mention the future of data: once the changes to digital identifiers take hold, new products, techniques, and solutions will come into view, bringing with them new opportunities for innovation in marketing and advertising.


Heidi Bailey
  • Name: Heidi Bailey
  • What she does: Heidi is the VP, Futures & AI at The Integer Group.
  • Company: The Integer Group
  • Key Quote: “The physical retail center is going to have to become more of an experience versus solely focused on driving that sale. There are going to be some interesting opportunities that come out of that. How do you design experience around it? And then how do you measure what is driving the sentiment of the consumer versus actual sale?”
  • Where to find Heidi: LinkedIn

Key Insights

  • COVID has given a new meaning to digital connections. The outbreak of coronavirus has accelerated the shift to online ordering, home delivery, curbside pickup. A year later, things are starting to get back to normal, but according to Heidi, some of those shifts in consumer behavior are here to stay. “We have an entire team that is focused on looking at these shifts in behaviors and the lasting impact it’s going to have within the marketplace. There was a study done by McKinsey, and it showed that COVID had accelerated digital adoption by three years. That’s a significant statistic.”
  • The clients should own consumer data. Data plays a significant role in the advertising industry. However, PII has always been a problem for ad agencies, especially security and data sharing. The question is, how can you be secure with data? “Our point of view is that consumer data should never be owned by us, nor should we ever see it. I feel that the industry has handled it. How they have handled it in the past has led to the implementation of GDPR, CCPA. I’m not complaining about it. I think those are the right steps that we need to take to ensure the privacy of consumers.”
  • The future is cookieless. As Heidi explains, the ‘death’ of cookies will lead to the implementation of some exciting techniques, solutions, and products. As a matter of fact, many vendors are already moving in that direction. “We are now, as an advertising and marketing landscape, sitting on a lot of interesting AI solutions that don’t require you to be able to target on a one-to-one level; a cookie is not necessary. I’m excited about where some of that work is going and what is going to happen there.”

Episode Highlights

The Integer Group is one of the world’s leading commerce agencies

“The work that we thrive on and the challenges that we love to get from clients are uncovering, creating, and sustaining growth for the brands that we work on. These include anywhere from clients like Starbucks, Frito-Lay, AT&T, amongst many. We explore growth opportunities for our clients with our core capabilities. These include things like retail experience design, retail marketing. We do a lot of e-commerce and social commerce activities. Connected commerce media is also a huge capability, technology innovation, and data.”

The advertising industry in the pandemic

“Everyone was affected by COVID to some degree, and especially the advertising industry was hit significantly hard. As Integer, we’re luckier than most, as most of our clients are very CPG, CPG retail-driven type of clients. These were considered essential products at the beginning of the shutdown and throughout the year. And so they saw significant growth in several different areas. Some clients more than others, for sure. Um, But what was very interesting and changed for us, especially on my team, is that they started to engage with us in certain areas that they had never engaged with before.”

How to enrich data while keeping the consumer data safe

“When I look at identity, it is not important for me to identify the actual consumer. Email addresses, phone numbers, households, those types of things don’t mean a whole lot to me. What I want to know is why? Why are you purchasing certain things? Why do you go to a store on Saturday versus Sunday? Why did you buy this product versus this product?

What are the cultural aspects of the things that you’re buying? It’s about psychographics. The enrichment of identities, if you want to look at it that way. To look at attributes that make you who you are. That is the important thing. How do you start to enrich the data, how do you tie this together, but then also keeping the consumer data safe.”

Top quotes:

[07:01] “People will be going back, and they will want to have that physical experience. They want to see the things and touch the items that they’re buying, but at the same time, it’s going to be different. They are used to now being able to buy everything online. The physical retail center is going to have to become more of an experience versus solely just focused on driving that sale.”

[21:11] “The future of work is centered around AI and how that’s going to impact everything we do.”

[23:17] “Question AIs: don’t take it for granted or don’t say, ‘Yeah. Okay. AI said this, that’s what we’re going to do.’ You have to be able to question it and understand what it’s, what it can do, and what it can’t do.”

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