A retail category as seemingly distinct as “health and beauty” is not necessarily as one-dimensional as many may think.

Case in point – UK health retailer Boots, a sister to Walgreens, sells an increasingly diverse range of products and services.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Boots CMO Pete Markey says the company is evolving its TV ad-buying strategy to focus on distinct customers for distinct offerings, by relying on first party data.

Data finds the right viewer

“Given we do beauty, pharmacy, health, wellness, we have an opticians and a hearing care business, the precision of that targeting really matters,” Markey tells Beet.TV editorial advisor Jon Watts. “So we use our data as much as we can.

“Over 40% of the media we now buy is bought using first-party data. And more and more opportunities are emerging.

“Terrestrial TV, I think, (is) still really important. There’s must-see destination programmes that people tune into.

“But we are using TV more programmatically now, particularly using our first-party data to connect with customers through different platforms like InfoSum to reach people through (broadcasters) ITV and Channel 4.”

‘Mass personalization’

A household name established in 1849, Boots is not just a year-round port of call for UK shoppers. It is also a go-to destination for cosmetics and other Christmas gifts.

Now part of Walgreen Boots Alliance, Markey explains how the company is leveraging customer data in TV and radio advertising for what he calls “mass personalization”.

“We’ve got 15 million Advantage Card holders in the UK,” Markey says. “Anything we can do to better reach them is exactly what we want to do as part of our strategy.

“We work with the likes of LiveRamp and InfoSum. We work to target that data through channels that include core social media, digital channels, but also working with broadcasters through InfoSum – the likes of Channel 4, ITV and Global – to help us better connect audiences at the right time.

“There’s a real speed-to-market in what we do, so precision of targeting is key. So I’m really excited about a lot of the new opportunities we’ve now got.

Keep the bar high

But, for Markey, the set-up could work better. He also wants the UK broadcast industry to improve its own data targeting capabilities for marketers.

And he wants to ensure they produce high-quality content, to make ad adjacencies pop.

“It feels like the production bar’s being set really high by those platforms that don’t currently have advertising on them,” Markey says.

“For those that do, the need to have really high quality content, I think, is more important than ever to draw viewers in.”

Markey says that is why Boots took it upon itself to produce a high-quality, long-play video story as part of its Christmas campaign, playing out in cinemas as well as on TV.

You are watching “Advanced TV Advertising in the UK: The Next Three Years,” a Beet.TV leadership series presented by Finecast. For more videos, please visit this page.