PROFILE

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.
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  • 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.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2019

    E-commerce forces CPG brands to think differently

    Online commerce is finding it's sweet spot with CPG now -- going after the staples that consumers buy every week or month without a second thought. There is no "shopping" for these items per se -- so Amazon and e-commerce must innovate with delivery rather than with product development. And so Tide looks for cheaper, more environmentally sound and more efficient ways to ship a load of product via an "e-shopping cart" rather than via the metal one with real wheels in the grocery store. Physical stores will eventually become showcase venues for the products that customers need to touch and feel before they buy.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2019

    Whole Foods to expand nationwide to drive Prime Now growth

    Amazon is all about value and convenience via volume whereas Whole Foods used to be about quality for a price (i.e. "whole paycheck") -- it's an interesting marriage with Amazon now injecting its "club retail" mantra (Amazon Prime) into a real world setting where quality (albeit expensive quality) has already been established by the Whole Foods brand. Consumers are excited about receiving quality and value and convenience now that Amazon has taken the reigns of a brand that was far too expensive for most. Amazon must expand Whole Foods quickly in order to get the volume it needs to deliver on these new consumer expectations. Expect the too good to be true delivery prices to raise gradually over time, once they establish their expanded customer base and become a habit.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2018

    Can Barnes & Noble’s in-store experts beat algorithms?

    Ha ha! Truth, right, Georganne?
  • Posted on: 12/19/2018

    Can Barnes & Noble’s in-store experts beat algorithms?

    Ah yes, and THIS is the long awaited awakening of retail customers after the novelty of e-commerce convenience loses some of its shine. Human beings are social animals down to the very fiber of their existence -- and the holidays are the one time of year where we take a breath and appreciate each other. So holiday shopping is becoming much less about "convenience" and much more about "connection." Barnes & Noble is spot-on in sensing the shift back and differentiating their expert (warm-blooded) booksellers from the cold, digital "ghost in the machine" -- it's nice to have both, isn't it?
  • Posted on: 12/12/2018

    Is Kroger following the Sears playbook for self-destruction?

    No physical retailer can EVER afford to have even one "bad" store or in-store experience. It's a cancer on the brand. Good for Kroger in diversifying to eCommerce and progressing with 60% YOY growth, HOWEVER, all that is for naught if a customer loses faith in the brand at the store level. The Sears death spiral was as much from financial (debt) looting as it was from physical store neglect. Kroger should never grow digitally at the expense of its core business. They should close underperforming, outdated and tired stores and double down on the newer concept stores so they can RAISE perceptions in each marketplace. This will in turn help them online. They need to excel at BOTH.
  • Posted on: 12/05/2018

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Pier 1 Imports vs. TJX Companies

    Two completely different strategies with different expected goals and KPIs. The Pier 1 spots build the Pier 1 brand with comedy. They are seeking to enter the "holiday consideration set" and drive like-minded shoppers into their stores for great gifts. At the same time, they convey an attitude for the brand -- making their gifts "cool" for both the gifter and the giftee. TJX serves up promotional ads that are price/value oriented. They do not elevate TJX but instead rely on the actual products being showcased as the draw. The problem with that is the hit-or-miss appeal of the featured products. I personally think Pier 1's is the superior long term strategy for retail success.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Payless scores with mock-up luxury shop

    Have to admit that I am (perhaps oddly) NOT a fan of this shopper marketing stunt as it relates to the Payless brand revival. Of course it is done at the expense of the high-end shoppers who are made fools of -- but my subjective take away is that Payless merchandise they are duped into buying is just that -- fool's gold. I can't help but think that the brand quality and stylish pedigree of each shoe is simply NOT there. It's an oddly negative (and vaguely uncomfortable) spin to make fun of the people your customers aspire to. I'd let this stunt go as an interesting experiment and get back to more positive positioning of the brand as stylish value.

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