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Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP) Advertiser’s Guide



Sam’s Club Member Access Platform (MAP) Advertiser’s Guide

As the cost of groceries and other goods continues to climb, shoppers are increasingly looking for reliable ways to save money. The everyday value offered by member-based warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club have made them a consistently popular choice for consumers, with today’s economic climate making them an even more important space for advertisers to improve visibility.

With today’s far-reaching inflation concerns, even high-income shoppers are increasing their warehouse club shopping trips for savings in-club, online, and in the parking lot—for example, Sam’s Club offers savings on fuel as one of its membership benefits. As seemingly everything gets more expensive, the up-front membership fee may become less of a concern for many consumers thanks to the overall savings potential. That can translate to more members’ feet on the ground in-club, more purchases on and in the app, and more opportunities for your brand to be front-and-center for in-club and online shoppers.

“Wholesale clubs still account for more than 15% of US membership revenues. Costco and Sam’s Club hold a strong share after years of taking on new competition from many digitally forward retail memberships. These retailers, along with smaller players like BJ’s Wholesale Club, have proven the resiliency of the wholesale model, even in the era of subscription fatigue.”


In this article, we’ll unpack the Sam’s Club advertising opportunities available through their Member Access Platform (MAP), including key capabilities and best practices. Let this guide be your compass to successfully navigating Sam’s Club MAP and finding golden advertising treasures along the way!

What is Sam’s Club Member Access Platform?



Founded in 1983, Sam’s Club is owned and operated by Walmart, Inc. In fact, Sam’s Club is named after Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton. Sam’s Club Member Access Platform—often shortened to MAP—is the proprietary retail access and advertising platform for the now 40-year-old membership warehouse club.

MAP is designed to help advertisers, ad tech platforms, and agencies like Tinuiti effectively reach Sam’s Club’s exclusive member base with targeted, personalized ads and widely appealing in-club experiences.

With a laser focus on members, the ad options available through MAP are designed to be a true value-add for shoppers, enhancing their Sam’s Club shopping experience.

“With MAP, our journey will always start FIRST with our member. Next, we will create and give partners experiences, tools, and opportunities that help members discover new products at the time they need and want them.”

Sam’s Club MAP

MAP helps advertisers reach Sam’s Club members in a number of ways, including through:

  • In-app and on-site Search & Sponsored Products ads
  • On-site display ads
  • Programmatic off-site display ads
  • In-club member additive experiences

Thanks to their extensive and valuable trove of real-time, first-party member insights, MAP provides advertisers an opportunity to optimize ad spend and glean learnings to improve their Sam’s Club advertising strategy.

Increasing visibility and sales of your product through advertising can also improve your organic product ratings, with increased engagement translating to stronger organic rankings.


Key Capabilities of Sam’s Club MAP

In July 2023, Sam’s Club Member Access Platform released new design, targeting, and user experience tools to help omnichannel advertisers create effective ads and memorable touchpoints. Below, we unpack some of the key features and capabilities of MAP today:

  • Target audiences based on their demographics, behavior, transaction history and more, including the option to target online shoppers who will be picking up their purchase in-store. Behavioral targeting leverages real-time, first-party member insights.
  • See how much revenue their Search and Sponsored Products ads bring in across both online and in-club sales, giving a more accurate read of campaign impact. “Sam’s Club is among the first and possibly the only retail media platform to connect search and sponsored product ads to offline sales.” (source) “For Sam’s Club MAP advertisers, overall ROAS has increased an average of nearly 30% since adding in-club sales to the attribution mix.” (source)
  • Enable members to add products to their cart directly from an ad.
  • Use Brand Amplifiers, a Sponsored Products placement, to target category or “browse” pages in addition to search/keyword targeting.
  • Highlight “hero” products or new offerings in ads.
  • Leverage advanced display retargeting ads—eligible to show across tens of thousands of sites—to reach members using real-time, first-party member insights, advertiser data, and Sam’s Club’s AI-based behavioral insights.
  • Understand incremental return on ad spend (iROAS) at the tactic level.

How Sam’s Club Member Access Platform Works

Thanks to Sam’s Club’s incredible real-time insights into their members’ search and shopping behavior, MAP provides omnichannel reach with closed-loop attribution—no extrapolations required.

For example, you’ll never have to piece together a reporting puzzle to (try to) determine whether a member who made an in-club purchase saw an ad placement for that product when browsing; with MAP, you’ll know.

Sponsored Products: Automatic and manual bidding options

MAP offers automatic and manual bidding options for sponsored products campaigns:

Automatic — Allows advertisers to place a CPC bid at a SKU or ad group level, with Sam’s Club choosing the most relevant keywords based on your SKU set and its details. These ads are eligible to show on all pages; targeting Specific Page Type or Placement type is not an option.

Manual — Allows advertisers to place individual CPC bids for each keyword related to the SKU set. These ads are eligible to show on search results pages only.

MAP Ad Placements

Available in-app and on-site MAP ad placements include: Search Grid; Category Carousels; Recommendation Carousels; Buy Box; Brand Amplifier; and additional on-site display placements.


Search Grid

Sam's Club MAP Search Grid placement

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

Available for both automatic and manual campaigns, the Search Grid placement serves on the search results page in positions 1, 5, and 10, sending customers directly to your product page on the Sam’s Club app or website. These placements require that that advertised product organically ranks in the top 48 product results for the respective search.

Sam's Club Search Grid ad placements example

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

Sponsored Products will not move item placements to a lower slot than you rank organically.

Recommendation Carousels: Homepage, Cart, and PDP ads

Sam's Club MAP recommendations carousel ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ads appear in positions 1 and 4 and are targeted based on a member’s category and browsing behavior. Unlike Search Grid placements, these high-visibility homepage, Add to Cart, and product page ad placements don’t have organic ranking requirements.

Sam's Club MAP recommendations carousel ads example

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ad types are only available for automatic campaigns, not manual.

Category Carousels: Category Pages

Sam's Club MAP category carousel ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

Sam’s Club’s Category Carousels give advertisers the opportunity to entice members with a dedicated product carousel on contextually targeted category pages. Available for automatic campaigns only, a strong organic ranking is not required to purchase these high visibility ad spots.

Buy Box: Product Description Pages (PDP)

Sam's Club MAP Buy Box ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ads enable advertisers to showcase their items to high-intent members on Product Description Pages (PDP). Members can add items to their cart directly from the ad or visit the product page to learn more.


These ad types are only available for automatic campaigns, not manual.

Brand Amplifier

Sam's Club MAP Brand Amplifier ads

Image Source: Sam’s Club MAP

These ads enable advertisers to reach members at the top of search and browse pages, grow share of voice, and drive incremental sales through basket building.

Advertisers can surface their brand logo, tagline, and one to four items, and enable members to add items to their cart directly from the ad or visit product pages to learn more.

These ad types are only available through MAP’s Managed Services and select technology MAP Partners Club partners.

Additional On-site Display Placements

Advertisers can also leverage on-site display placements with Sponsored Products to reach members at every touchpoint.


These ad types are only available through MAP’s Managed Services.

In-Club MAP advertising options

There are currently ~600 Sam’s Club warehouse locations across the US and Puerto Rico for members to shop in or pick up curbside orders from, with members also having the option to shop the extensive online catalog at 24/7. Sam’s Club plans to meet growing demand with 30 new US stores slated to open in suburban areas in coming years.

To reach members shopping at one of Sam’s Club’s brick and mortar stores, available options include:

  • Scan & Go™ and Instant Savings offers (for app users)
  • Reach members on their mobile devices as they browse within a club location


Sam’s Club is a leading membership warehouse club offering advertisers a unique and valuable audience. For the fiscal year ending January 2022, Sam’s Club generated $73.56 billion in net sales. When comparing which retail membership services US survey respondents pay for in August 2023, Sam’s Club came in second place—behind only Amazon Prime.

Insider Intelligence survey results showing which retail membership services US adults pay for in 2021, 2022, and 2023


Sam’s Club MAP aims to improve advertiser capabilities and visibility, help boost sales, and ensure your product is being promoted at the right moment in the member’s journey. Contact us today to learn more about Sam’s Club advertising opportunities for your brand, and how our Connected Commerce team can help guide your strategy.


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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail



Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?


AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.


Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.


Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.


It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand



Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952


The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).


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Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing



Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

1709033181 656 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 656 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.

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