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: 06/17/2019

    How well did Target handle its no good, very bad weekend?

    Nice to see a retailer that actually learned something from a previous fail. Target clearly had and implemented a disaster plan that was already in place to counter the situation. Reaction time was very fast across the network (especially given its weekend occurrence). Target is a big system and getting consistent, productive, customer sensitive instructions to every store like they did is no easy task. Activating greeters to inform customers outside of the store utilizing BOPIS strategy to help solve the problem was brilliant as it also introduces the service to customers who would never otherwise be exposed. $10 off and honestly admitting the problem and apologizing via the press quells social media grumblings. Episode over. No negative impact. Kudos to the Target management and in-store team for a job well done!
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    Will the price of avocados make Americans say enough to Trump’s tariffs?

    This one is a disastrous mistake on the part of Trump for lots of reasons but let's clear away the most basic. These tariffs are short term taxes on U.S. consumers -- not the trade partners we are attacking. Long term may be something else, but our consumers pay until our producers can move their infrastructure back to the U.S. or to "friendly" trade partners. And with the 2020 election coming, it may suit U.S. business to simply wait and see... Another problem with this one is Trump is mixing economics with politics. That makes us a very unreliable and mercurial business partner in world trade. It hurts our "brand" internationally. I think everyone is scratching their heads over this one.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2019

    How should retailers raise prices to offset tariffs?

    This IS a political issue -- through and through. The current administration is advising retailers to "take the hit" on pricing -- especially for those retailers and retail brands that serve the middle class consumer. The current administration is also advising retailers and retail brands to move their supply chain outside of China (to Vietnam and Thailand) to help make the Tariff Tactics a success. Retailers and retail brands should view their ultimate action as a vote for or against this administration. Could be a more powerful vote than what we will see in the election.
  • Posted on: 05/20/2019

    Kroger launches accelerator fund

    Smart move to take innovation strategies out of the building. PearlRock partners will innovate and disrupt current practice. Getting the best of small company NextGen ideation and big company financial resources is a win-win for Kroger. Walmart, Tyson Foods, and Kraft Heinz are already on that bandwagon... so I don't think any big brands have any right to complain!
  • Posted on: 05/01/2019

    Will Americans eat a direct-to-consumer cereal brand for breakfast?

    $10 for a box of cereal that no one has ever heard of, that differentiates well against junk food cereals but not at all against healthy choice cereals and that only sells in 4 pack cases with no free shipping?... That kind of hefty pricing on a D2C without a middle man smacks of purposeless greed. I hope they fail fast for their sake!
  • Posted on: 04/25/2019

    What’s really driving disruption? (Hint: it’s not technology)

    This one's easy -- e-commerce (Amazon) quickly and quite suddenly made the retail customer the boss. That's what alternatives do: they shift power via new competition and choice. Before e-commerce, the customer was beholden to the retailer and the retail brand regardless of basic mainstays like customer service and product selection. Retailers got lazy and developed weak links that never had to be addressed. Technology often makes the efficient exploitation of these weaknesses possible -- but it is the customer-led solution that ultimately disrupts the status quo and wins the day. So yes -- physical retail got disrupted because the customer suddenly became the boss and demanded better service, better selection, better personalization and an overall better retail experience (what we call the in-store shopper moment®). And now brick-and-mortar retail is FINALLY responding.
  • 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.

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