Michael Decker

Vice President, Marketing Strategy
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: 03/25/2020

    Are retailers and landlords destined to head to court over rents?

    As Rich Kizer noted on this discussion, the ideal situation for BOTH a retailer and a landlord is a partnership arrangement where the "rent" the former pays is simply a percentage of sales. The Federal Government should impart a fair percentage across the board so that both parties become partners rather than adversaries. Our courts will never be able to handle the onslaught of an economic disaster of this magnitude. The long-term effect of the mandatory agreement would be positive long after this pandemic is over.
  • Posted on: 02/24/2020

    What are the biggest barriers to AI adoption for retailers?

    AI needs to be implemented with great care by retailers so as not to undermine the only true advantage a brick-and-mortar store has over e-commerce: human touch. Routine services such as automated checkout should be used to ENHANCE personal service by freeing up employees to improve the one-to-one connection that great sales help can deliver to a customer that needs help, opinions, and advice in their shopping adventure. Once the novelty wears off, nobody wants to talk to robots.
  • Posted on: 01/21/2020

    Nike offers advice on successful marketplace partnerships

    This is interesting because it's indicative of the next evolution of online retail -- Amazon's development of the behemoth marketplace has necessarily focused on its biggest differentiators (convenience and to a lesser extent price) often at the expense of other retailer niceties such as branding and engagement. Now that the online marketplace is well developed, new entries have to differentiate with better ideas for their brands and ultimately for their brands' customers. Amazon (as is typical of all leaders in any business space) would prefer the status quo and to just do what it does best. So "Amazon the Disruptor" is quickly becoming the "Amazon the Established." The brand storytelling that Nike wants to do to help it differentiate is not happening in the flea market environment at Amazon. Nike is better represented and can fully connect to its customers via Zolando. So Amazon will now need to raise its game.
  • Posted on: 01/02/2020

    California’s new privacy laws may trigger a wave

    The CCPA will rapidly spread to federal law in 2020. Why? Because it's a tipping point resulting from real consumer fears over the consequences of corporate digital profiteering, database hacks, social media manipulation and identity theft. We as marketers made a serious mistake in trying to pull the wool over our digital customers' eyes regarding the permissions to private information that they've "fully agreed to relinquish" buried in the mountain of fine print that no one ever reads or understands. "Just click and accept and your new widget will be on its way!" E-commerce is a convenient, fast and an unprecedented enhancement to the retail experience until it becomes manipulative and creepy. Our customers eventually figure out true business motivations and this bill is a natural market correction that will ensure necessary transparency -- giving the power back to the consumer and ensuring a healthy return to retail loyalties.
  • Posted on: 09/11/2019

    Will Walmart have more success creating consumer direct brands than acquiring them?

    Walmart will succeed by building brands or buying brands that appeal to their customer base. Period. Did the core Bonobos customer ever shop at Walmart? Um, no. Jet? Nope. ModCloth? Unh uh. Stay in your lane and stay true to your brand promise, Walmart, and you will undoubtedly succeed.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2019

    Lord & Taylor to be sold to Le Tote

    The low price and easy terms Le Tote got for L&T made it a no-brainer for the former. Le Tote will do well with renting the high ticket dresses and will make inroads into that market (against Rent The Runway). Lord & Taylor may well reinvent itself as a 20,000 square foot retailer dedicated to digital personalization. Look for lots of testing with BOPIS and L&T-branded subscriptions offered to the new customer base that hasn't considered that model before. Interesting, low-risk acquisition for Le Tote.
  • Posted on: 08/27/2019

    Will Nordstrom’s sustainable fashion site win over eco-conscious consumers?

    Perfect for Nordstrom. How H&M signs a deal like that is beyond me. But the times are changing and retailers must adapt or die. Millennials and Zs will rightly buy (or rent) sustainable products and keep clothing for a long time. Classic styles will redevelop. Fewer trends mean more planet...
  • Posted on: 08/27/2019

    How to make a big deal out of a chicken sandwich

    A combination of the right tone, right time and right place, plus a good product and lots of help from Popeyes' competitors! Social media marketing is unpredictable. It's a volume game where you keep working it with clever stuff knowing that eventually you'll hit the mainstream chord. Fun to watch.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2019

    Will Kohl’s shoppers like the ‘emerging brands’ chosen by Facebook users?

    Smart move by both marketers to seamlessly connect online and offline retail. Facebook gets much needed credibility by partnering with trusted brands and Kohl's gets a little hipper. Physical retailers are eager to connect with the "instant chic" of digitally native brands. And of course, customers expect it. This is the future of "all channel" retail.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    I have serious reservations here as I think the variables for the successful fit (both size and styles) are too great for "subscription." Shoe fit is particularly important during the toddler years. Shoe style is particularly important to tweens. And the 12 pairs a year model (for kids) is just absurd. I suspect early adopters will give it a try and deliver initial success for Nike but this will soon peter out as busy moms (and dads) wake up after eight months and say "What was I thinking?"
  • Posted on: 08/09/2019

    Can Victoria’s Secret recover from its founder’s past relationship with Jeffrey Epstein?

    Interesting opportunity for Wexler to do good for society and his brand in one fell swoop. Fork in the road for Victoria's Secret. Sexual discrimination is not sexy anymore. Inclusion and social responsibility are. Why not make a big splash and make some lemonade out of this?
  • Posted on: 08/05/2019

    The Container Store debuts new custom closet store concept

    True custom closets take a surprising amount of expertise and customer service to pull off without a hitch. The Container Store has mastered it with their in-store ELFA offerings and has seen significant growth. Why not leverage this proven high growth service with a "dedicated" concept unto itself? Macro retail trends suggest younger shoppers are looking for smaller, more focused and more authentic personalized shopping experiences. So here you go!
  • Posted on: 07/26/2019

    Your company has a vision: Why can’t everyone see it?

    The creation of an actionable vision (mission) statement takes courage from the leader who is staking their reputation and possibly their career on it. It takes courage because the purpose of the statement and the intended result of the statement is plain, clear and measurable. "Making people happy" is nebulous and arguable either way. "Putting a smile on your face" is not. "Putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade" is a crystal clear vision for what success will look like. And so our nation was able to embrace it and get it done. What does your company stand for? What are doing to achieve your clearly defined vision in the CURRENT marketplace? And how will you, your employees and most importantly, your customers know what success looks like? None of the above mentioned mission statements describe nailed-down tangible success, although each is closer than most. The most important attribute in business (and political) LEADERSHIP is clear, stubborn and indomitable long term vision backed by a (flexible) plan for hard work leading to long term, measurable success. Victory goes to those willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in, as Teddy Roosevelt most eloquently put it. Wishy washy, flip-flop, and fuzzy thinking need never apply!
  • Posted on: 07/22/2019

    Is Amazon’s deal with indie brands a Faustian bargain?

    This is such a lopsided deal for Amazon it's hard to imagine that it's for real. Let the buyers beware...
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Target expands its college tour

    The college market is an especially vital one for retailers right now because younger generations need to be "educated" about the value proposition of physical store retail in conjunction WITH e-commerce. Target's college stores are also a canary in the coal mine for college bookstores across the country. Students are time pressed and thrifty so a one-stop shopping experience for ALL of their dorm life needs (well beyond books) will be well received and quickly adopted with success. College bookstores will need to compete with Target and raise the bar on price, service, quality and a seamless online/offline customer experience.

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