Michael Decker

Vice President, Marketing Strategy, Medallion Retail
Michael has thrived in the world of national and international brand communications, having worked with agencies, retail marketing companies and brand clients over the course of his 25-year career. He is responsible for leveraging brand, shopper marketing and in-store visual merchandising expertise to help retail and brand clients build custom, dynamic selling environments. Michael graduated from Bucknell University with B.A. degrees in Economics and Psychology. He is the recipient of the Gold Effie Award and his broad marketing experience extends to health and wellness, CPG, beauty, financial services, hospitality and specialty retail brands, including Medifast Weight Loss, Sweet’N Low, Sugar / Stevia In The Raw, Matrix Biolage Hair Care, Valley National Bank, Hilton Hotels, The Waldorf=Astoria, Barnes & Noble and Foot Locker.
  • Posted on: 04/22/2019

    The North Face starts petition to make Earth Day a national holiday

    Today's Earth Day is a big one this year thanks to our youngest generations grasping what older generations have and will continue to refuse to acknowledge -- until it affects our pockets. Business is no longer just about short-term profit and stock gains. Strategic, long-term gains will never come to today's non-transparent corporations who willfully destroy our planet with poisons, pollution and plastics to make a quicker buck. Greed is no longer good, Gordon Gecko... Companies like The North Face (and even more so Patagonia) are marketing better CSR strategies by putting their money where their mouth is and making a real difference. Last week's launch of Li'l Dicky's Millennial/Gen Z star studded video "Earth" is trending number one on YouTube right now and donating all of its profits to world conservation. It's a genuine, generational movement. Get on the train or get out of business!
  • Posted on: 04/16/2019

    Why is Five Below a step above?

    Five Below did two things early on that are paying off in spades now. They differentiated from their competitors and they differentiated from e-commerce. No holds barred, Five Below is NOT the staid (depressing?) smart value store that Dollar Tree and Dollar General are today. People bring both sides of their brain to Five Below and are immediately rewarded both emotionally and rationally. Five Below customers actually have FUN while shopping in the stores. It's retail theater. And Mr. Anderson has it exactly right -- if you're asking people to drive to your stores, you better deliver an experience that they won't get from their living room chair. All of physical retail should take note. Evolve and thrive or perish!
  • Posted on: 04/01/2019

    Will a recruiting campaign help H&M enlist new employees?

    Every hire H&M makes is subject to the digital scrutiny of the prospect before they accept an offer. Glassdoor has presented a digital hub for current and ex employees to comment on the work environment and opportunities present. Unfortunately, Glassdoor often becomes a place for unhappy employees to gripe after they have left the company. Attempts to balance this often get perceived as 'fake reviews" posted simply to counter. The best solution for a retailer like H&M is to launch a comprehensive MarCom campaign that encourages its employees to honestly talk about what makes them happy at XYZ. Website and social media posts should be prominent in a company's recruitment strategy. Otherwise, candidates don't get the full story.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2019

    Are Amazon’s private labels falling short or just getting started?

    The Amazon private label "brand" currently means "convenience and efficiency" to mainstream consumers. For many traditionally branded products that opt to market on Amazon, that easy channel delivery is an important add on to the true brand values they've already baked into their products. This doesn't mean that Amazon can't build brands in categories outside of commodity categories like cheap batteries and electronics. If Amazon wants to succeed in the "softer" sectors such as men's and women's fashion, they will have to earn those stripes by emotionally connecting to more subjective attributes like style or quality or sustainability or even healthy living! Branding is about connecting and proving value in the marketplace. Fast and easy delivery is not a brand.
  • Posted on: 03/11/2019

    Will other cities follow Philly in banning cashless stores?

    Yes, this one is clearly a case of discrimination and any retailer bent on denying cash payments would be wise to reconsider of face significant, social backlash -- cash is "legal tender for all debts..." and says so on every note! Walk in/walk out retail concepts will simply need to position a "Cash"-ier alternative, something I'm quite sure the technology can accommodate.
  • Posted on: 02/27/2019

    Walmart says ‘goodbye’ to greeters and ‘hello’ to controversy

    This is a public relations gaffe and a short-sighted money saver on the part of Walmart. Retailers need to continue to differentiate the in-store human experience from the online efficient one. The greeter position served double duty in providing warmth to a decidedly sterile big box AND productive jobs to a vulnerable sector of our workforce -- the handicapped. The world's largest retailer must continue to demonstrate good corporate citizenship and favor long-term brand strategies over short-term cost savings. If making more money is the only driver, the goodwill pays back anyway. This just demonstrates a deficit of good leadership.
  • Posted on: 02/21/2019

    Is long lastin’ the new fast-fashion?

    Macro business and consumer retail trends like social consciousness (CSR) are becoming deeply seeded into our youth culture and these values are accelerating, given the current political climate. Gen Zers and Millennials see themselves as the protectors of the environment (the Future, even) and wear that badge proudly by differentiating themselves from the rest of the marketplace (their parents!) in what they buy and how they consume goods and services. Patagonia is a perfect example of a socially responsible company that has firmly grasped this concept -- charging SRPs that are upwards of 200 percent higher than their competitors (with the lifetime guarantee that Matthew mentions) and outperforming. Traditional branding tactics have become gauche and "uncool." Quality is the new black. And "brandless" brands like Brandless are reaching new heights. Fast fashion will begin an inevitable decline this year because it's superficial, wasteful and a detriment to our planet. Change is good. Right?
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Will Amazon’s decision to bail cause a New York backlash?

    I seriously doubt there will be any organized backlash from Amazon consumers given the current news cycle and our fractious political system. Without bi-lateral party and community support, Amazon saw the opportunity (for business reasons, no doubt) to unceremoniously "change their mind" about the deal they made in good faith with Long Island City. The blame game is just that. There will be no other alternate HQ2 city so the negative impact of facing NY community opposition is a red herring and I believe there is far more to this story than meets the eye.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2019

    Will Target’s dynamic pricing strategy erode customers’ trust?

    A seamless price and shopping experience across ALL business channels is something that should be guaranteed by any and all retailers, never mind a leader of the field like Target. It's a basic tenet that many retailers got into trouble for several years ago when e-commerce was just gaining a foothold. Consistency of product and even "look, feel and tonality" across both physical stores and e-commerce elevates BOTH platforms in the eyes of its customers. Inconsistency denigrates BOTH.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Which commercial won Super Bowl LIII?

    Bud Light, without a doubt, had the most impact for single-handedly changing every major beer company's ingredient list and putting the final nail in the corn syrup industry. #blechtocornsyrup
  • Posted on: 02/01/2019

    Is trust the next omnichannel inflection point?

    Like many things in human life, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. It's not just clever quips on social media -- although that decidedly can help! It's hard work to make your customer experience in your stores and on your e-commerce site enjoyable, productive and "adoptive." Yes the great brands get ADOPTED by their best customers. They get relied on and integrated into families -- like treasured pets! The bar is very high these days, as Nikki Baird expertly suggests. Retailers and retail brands need to excel and stand for something on every channel these days. Or start printing orange close out signs!
  • Posted on: 01/23/2019

    Lowe’s kicks off NFL deal in the biggest game of all

    Poor, misguided Lowe's is marketing a new consumer positioning line "Do It Right For Less" via an OOH campaign in Atlanta to fat cat, corporate Super Bowl attendees paying $3,500 a seat to start. And they report that they are looking to market to B2B contractors to boot. Lots of disconnects in this scenario. From the broadcast side, the Super Bowl offers up great branding opportunities for newcomer disruptors and behemoths looking to make a big impact with mass market consumers. Lowe's needs to introduce its left hand to its right!
  • Posted on: 01/15/2019

    Where is AI’s potential for personalization?

    The people from the Great State of Missouri have it right ... Show Me! Artificial Intelligence (never liked acronyms) excels as a tool to alleviate and expand human capabilities for mundane and tedious tasks. Big Data research tasks such as pouring over thousands of behavioral variables in ascertaining customer insights is PERFECT for AI. Talking to your customers in a meaningful, warm and human way is probably the WORST application of AI because it's fake and easily exposed. Hyper personalization has to be seen to be believed and the barriers come down when small companies figure out how SHOW us what works. (and what doesn't). Theory is fine but eventually gets supplanted by implementation. We as retailers and retail brands need to see it and always play to our strengths!
  • Posted on: 01/08/2019

    The new boss is different than the old boss at Starbucks

    Kevin Johnson gets his shot and was hired by Howard to do so. Starbuck's fast growth via new stores days are over so market tremors will be felt much more severely -- whatever they do will have to be carefully tested as Kevin demands. I'd also be slightly concerned about a large scale opening of a "luxe" version of Startbucks with an impending recession (popular economic notion) on the 12 month horizon. Walk before you run on core brand derivations.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    Can David’s Bridal appeal to ‘every type of bride’ with its new campaign?

    I love the marketing campaign and its relevance to their Millennial core audience. Now they have to back it up with dress personalization and exemplary service, both online and at the store. Or their Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will quickly escalate to liquidation sales. Like the physical retail mattress business, the wedding dress biz is primed for online disruption.

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