Marketing Greats Speak Out - Medallion Retail
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Marketing Greats Speak Out

POSTED ON: 02/18/16 Retail Marketing Advice

It’s a challenging time for retail marketers. The business has changed dramatically; sales and branding tactics that worked fifteen years ago now seem painfully quaint. What once were go-to marketing strategies are now obsolete.

Digital technology and the empowered shopper it helped create have had a profound impact on business in general, and the retail business in particular. We’ve seen an attitudinal shift among shoppers, who now believe they drive the transaction. And they do. Even that very word – transaction – now constitutes not only the exchange of dollars for goods, but also the exchange of dollars for a shopper-defined good experience.

Retail marketing today is all about the shopper’s unified brand experience. And also personalization, webrooming, retail-tainment, Big Data, pop-up, mobile, virtual reality, RFID, social commerce, tribe-tailing, beacons, emotional marketing, multi-channel, hashtag, curation, real-time, customization, viral marketing, big-box, micro-moment, BOPUS, CTA, content, disruption and hyper-local marketing.

There’s a lot to work with. Which is great because the current climate demands that retail marketers – and their organizations – be agile, audacious, shopper-focused and willing to fail. Listening skills are critical. Authenticity is required. The rules (and the tools) of shopper engagement must continuously evolve and be rewritten to remain relevant and useful.

Except good marketing advice. That’s timeless.

What advice would retail’s greatest minds give modern marketers? Let’s find out with a retroactive Q & A.


Hey, Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, I have a ton of shopper data and my IT guy won’t let me put it on the network. Where can I put it?

Every silver lining has a cloud.

So, Mr. Henry Ford, my colleague in our marketing department has no idea what he’s doing. He’s screwed up three store openings already! Any advice?

Don’t find fault; find a remedy.

We’ve been using the same rollout plan successfully for four years. It’s golden. My boss says it’s time to create a new one, but I hate to tamper with something that’s proven to work. What should I do, John D. Rockefeller, Founder of Standard Oil?

Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.

Is it possible to have too much shopper data, Harry Gordon Selfridge, Founder of Selfridges? We’re drowning here.

People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.

Tell me, Jack Cohen, Founder of Tesco, how often should we change our displays?

Salesmanship, showmanship, call it what you will. Every week there must be something special, something new.

Harvey S. Firestone, Founder of Firestone, I’m the only one in my department who wants to rethink our digital strategy. I’m twisting in the wind here. What advice do you have for me?

The way of the pioneer is always rough.

Oh, Apple Founder Steve Jobs, I’m tired of no one listening to my ideas, which are pretty great. This company is heading in the wrong direction. Do I have to go down with the ship?

Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?

Some consultants told us that our in-store strategy was out of sync with others in the market. My boss wants to change course, but I don’t. What to do, Sam Walton, Wal-Mart Founder?

Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.

That last shopper focus group shredded us, Microsoft’s Bill Gates. I told my boss that we needed to hear from some folks who think we’re doing it right.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

Some strategist in the department just brought me a plan to overhaul everything and shift our focus to Gen Y. Boomers love us, and I don’t want to tamper with that. You agree, right, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos?

All businesses need to be young forever. If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworths.


Disclaimer: You know this isn’t real, right?

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