MarTech Edge Interview with David Pollet, Chief Executive Officer, Incremental | Martech Edge | Best News on Marketing and Technology
MarTech Edge Interview with David Pollet, Chief Executive Officer, Incremental


MarTech Edge Interview with David Pollet, Chief Executive Officer, Incremental


Published on 13th Feb, 2024

Hi David, thank you for this opportunity. You have an impressive background leading both startups and public companies. What motivated you to take on the CEO role at Incremental, and what excites you most about the company's future?

Thank you for having me. Retail media is at such an interesting inflection point right now. It crossed $50B in advertising spend in the US and well beyond that globally and it did so in record time. It took search 14 years to scale from $1B to $30B in spend, it took social 11 years, and retail media did it in 5. But with the rapid growth has come a whole set of challenges. The most obvious one to me was measuring the impact of all the advertising spend and that is what brought me to Incremental.

There was a clear gap in the market, for specialized measurement that understood the dual nature of this form of advertising as both a retail tool and a media form and more important was neutral. Nearly all retail media’s performance is being measured by those selling it or those platforms which facilitate their purchase, there were not any neutral measurement platforms.

This is a pattern that has played out numerous times in the history of digital advertising. Measurement is initially done by the publishers and then as the market hits a critical threshold, the demands for transparency and centralized measurement become essential to the category’s growth. Inevitably there is a need for neutral measurement partners. Filling that gap is what excited me about joining Incremental.

What key lessons and experiences from your past marketing roles do you adapt and apply your approach in leading Incremental's strategy and vision?

My professional background is a mosaic of wins and losses. I have lived through the dotcom bubble burst, and worked across the startup ecosystem, experiencing a few incredible exits and also closing the door on ideas that I thought would change the world.

Over the past fifteen years, I have delved into the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help marketers understand how to make smarter decisions at the increasing speed of commerce. I have worked with companies on the cutting edge of this technology and have the pleasure of working with some of those same faces as a part of the Incremental team. My prior experience in the field has helped me to anticipate the patterns we’ve seen play out before in the growth cycles of new forms of advertising and ensure that Incremental has a finger on that pulse as retail media continues to grow.

Can you give us an overview of Incremental's measurement & predictive analytics platform? How does it help brands optimize their marketing campaigns and drive incremental growth?

Incremental’s platform at its core, provides centralized measurement, optimization, and planning for your retail media investments. By isolating the impact of retail media on revenue growth from all the other controllable (non-retail media, promotions, pricing, etc.) and non-controllable factors (seasonality, competition, etc.) the platform is able to not just an develop an understanding of how your retail media drives sales but the ability to simulate those actions before you make them.

The planning portion of the tool, enables you to simulate different investment scenarios across retail media networks to see what the impact would be on your business. Conversely you can also give it a revenue growth goal and have it back into what level of investment is required across the retail media network to achieve that goal. At its core, it brings a lot more precision into the forecasting and budgeting process.

Optimization is about deploying that budget to reach your sales goal as efficiently as possible. Last-touch attribution hides the true success of retail media campaigns, which means you may not be spending dollars where it really counts. Incremental controls for external factors, showcases each campaign’s incremental impact, and recommends ways to shift campaign budgets between campaigns to maximize sales growth. The recommendations engine is retail aware, considering factors like keyword volume, inventory and others in its budget recommendations. At the end of the day it allows you generate greater returns from your campaigns by optimizing for incremental sales.

The last piece is measurement and reporting. The retail media landscape is completely fragmented, with each retail media network providing its own measurement with different methodology makes them entirely incomparable. Our application of a single methodology across all your retail media investments give you a consistent lens and a single place to view performance.

Incremental also offers a suite of commerce analytic tools designed to assemble disparate sources of retail factors and provide a single view of cross-channel performance. This data encapsulates a brand’s inventory, finance, merchandising and retail metrics and users can drill into these key categories to unearth new insights and opportunities for growth.

Incremental focuses on driving true incrementality across channels. Can you explain how it helps brands leverage cross-channel data to boost marketing ROI?

To measure retail media you need a platform which is cross channel - able to take in both marketing and retail signals across the ecosystem whether that Amazon or an omni-channel retailer like Walmart or even your own DTC website. Incremental’s system was built to automate the collection, cleansing and mapping of that data into a centralized view. To provide retail aware measurement requires it. You need a system which doesn’t just understand you investment levels across the retail media networks and even your non-retail media investments in Google, Meta, TikTok, etc. but the dynamics of the marketplaces. Which of you SKUs are on promotion, what is the avg selling price relative to competitors, what are keyword volumes, and how do those tie back to individual products.

Our platform makes sense of that network of interconnected levers to untangle what is causing revenue growth in order to provide accurate and grounded predictions for active campaigns in real-time. This allows marketers to understand what is actually driving revenue growth and make informed decisions to improve the ROI of their campaigns based on it.

What are some common obstacles brands face while adopting incrementality measurement? How does Incremental's unified approach serve as the perfect Solution?

Brands and agencies currently have two choices when it comes to retail media measurement, neither of which are ideal. They can rely on the retail media networks to measure the performance of the media they already have a vested interest in. Each retail network using its own methodology which results in fragmentation and often leads to an inability to connect investment with performance.

Alternatively, they can attempt to use the existing tools in their measurement toolkit, such as marketing mix modeling, which is still very effective for macro level marketing measurement but Isn’t granular and retail aware, which leads to disconnect in recommendations.

Similarly, many marketers want to straddle the line between using old metrics, such as return on ad spend (ROAS), and new ones, such as incrementality. While redetermining performance metrics is easier said than done, the brands that take the time to align themselves internally and define incremental growth as the measurement of advertising performance ultimately set themselves up for success.

Reliable revenue forecasting is critical but challenging. What is your approach to optimizing sales processes and forecasts?

Early on for a start up you need to balance structure with flexibility, especially as you dial in your market fit. You need a sales motion which is structured enough that your forecasts you can tweak it and experiment to dial in messaging, and process but flexible enough to allow for the experimentation you need early on to find that fit. As you scale that balancing act can skew back towards more structure to give you tighter control on forecasting.

The Martech landscape is expanding rapidly. Looking ahead, what role do yousee Incremental playing in the future of the industry? How do you see Incrementalunifying things and contributing to convergence rather than further fragmentation?

As retail media continues to grow and evolve, unifying measurement and providing transparency into performance will dominate industry conversations, highlighting the need for a neutral third-party. We believe that neutral measurement can lift all boats, bringing transparency and confidence into this growing industry.