Katie Kobus, vice president of marketing for discount grocery chain Save A Lot, began her career at the company 12 years ago as an intern. She currently manages aspects of the company’s marketing, including field marketing, digital marketing, store décor, consumer insights and media planning. She recently joined the AAM board of directors representing advertisers. Here Katie shares how the pandemic impacted Save A Lot’s media strategy, its shift to digital and why she joined the AAM board.
AAM: How has your business changed since the pandemic began?
Katie Kobus: The pandemic has had a huge impact on the grocery business, from how and when customers shop, to how many stores they visit, to what they put in their carts. We’ve been focused on how we can remain in their consideration set and continue to play an important role in our customers’ lives. We worked hard to maintain inventory levels and provide a safe, clean shopping experience. We’ve also been focused on creating even more convenience and value, keeping our current customers coming back as well as marketing to those who had never shopped at Save A Lot.
AAM: How did these events impact your media strategy?
Katie Kobus: We as an organization were heavily reliant on print before the pandemic. While a digital transformation has always been in our plan, we had to accelerate that plan faster. With rising costs of print along with customer behavior changes, we turned to digital media as a more efficient and effective way to reach current and new customers.
AAM: How did Save A Lot’s shift to a wholesaler affect your media strategy?
Katie Kobus: Before the change, we would allocate our media spend and strategy however we saw fit, because we operated a large number of our stores. Now, we collaborate with our retail partners to develop media strategies and help execute for their local market. Whether it’s print or digital media, we’re constantly testing and enhancing our tactics to give retailers the best advertising options to drive sales and traffic to their stores.
AAM: Why is audited media important to you?
Katie Kobus: Anytime we invest, we want to invest in quality media. If audits help ensure that the media we’re buying is delivering on its promise, then that’s a benefit to advertisers.
AAM: What steps do you take to invest in quality media and increase assurance?
Katie Kobus: It’s all about choosing the right partners and building relationships with them to accomplish our business goals. We have great relationships with our media partners.
AAM: Why did you join the AAM board of directors?
Katie Kobus: I saw it as a great opportunity to meet other buyers and sellers and learn more about best practices across multiple channels. I’m also excited to learn more about how we can bring greater transparency to the digital space.
Get to know Katie
What excites you about your career?
I love my job, my company’s vision, and my team. Retail can be challenging, but that’s what also makes it fun. Every day is different.
What is your favorite podcast?
This is not work related, but my favorite is The Juicebox Podcast. My oldest son has type 1 diabetes, and this podcast is a great educational tool to help manage it.
What is your favorite book?
The most recent book I’ve read is The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic). It’s a quick read that offers great leadership advice.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve had a lot of mentors who’ve given me great advice, but one staple piece of advice that I’ve found valuable is to hire great people and teach them the skills to do your job. It’s a sign of growth for yourself and them.