Scott Magids

CEO, Motista
Scott Magids is co-founder and CEO of Motista. Motista’s predictive intelligence enables business leaders to accelerate profitable growth by activating Emotional Connection. Scott has led Motista to develop and deliver pioneering predictive intelligence solutions, resulting in accelerated growth for F-1000 brands. Scott has authored articles in leading publications, including Harvard Business Review, Chief Executive Magazine and CFO Magazine. Prior to co-founding Motista, Scott led the technology ventures unit of the University of Maryland, where he helped start, finance and grow technology companies, and taught entrepreneurship courses. Earlier in his career, Scott led a predictive analytics firm supporting strategic and financial investors. To learn more, visit:
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Millennials, not Boomers, say associates are key to shopping experiences

    Human store associates, and “smart store” technologies are not, as some suggest, at opposite ends of the spectrum. Rather, those smart technologies complement and enhance the in-store personal experience. Realistically, robots and AI won’t replace human workers entirely – but it will streamline and customize the shopper experience, and allow those human employees to take more time with customers. Shopping – whether online or in-store, or whether it’s with human-only associates or a technology-enhanced human experience – is always going to be an emotional experience. Understanding the key drivers behind buying decisions is the role of that technology, and that information, and the smart store technology that drives it, is what will make that shopping experience more personal.
  • Posted on: 09/10/2017

    Will Levi’s virtual stylist put more online shoppers into its jeans?

    As the technology improves, virtual stylists will work well for Levi’s as well as other clothing and fashion brands, not only in reducing the rate of ecommerce returns, but also in engaging consumers in a more personalized manner. Advanced AI is reaching a tipping point, where virtual shopping tools can deliver a customer experience that is as good as the in-store shopping trip. The real advantage to Levi’s and other brands using these tools, beyond being able to more accurately guide the customer into a product that fits well, is the opportunity to better understand those customers on a much deeper level. There is a tremendous opportunity here to use these shopping bots to learn more about customers at a very granular level, and to use that intelligence to create greater customer loyalty.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2017

    What are some common missteps when launching loyalty programs?

    The greatest misstep in most loyalty programs is approaching it as a one-size-fits-all initiative. It’s true that everybody loves a discount or a reward, but you’ll get a bigger impact if you truly understand the motivators behind purchasing decisions beyond simply saving money. Offering rewards that appeal to shoppers' emotional needs will create far more loyalty in the long run.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2017

    Do retailers need to buy the loyalty of consumers?

    Price and value are certainly big factors in driving sales, but those things by themselves create loyalty only until the next guy comes along with a better price. What’s most important is understanding the connection consumers have with retailers, and what factors – beyond the obvious price factor – are driving consumers' behavior. To the point of the question, yes, loyalty can be bought – but often the price for loyalty is not just in low prices. It’s in understanding those emotional drivers and filling those emotional needs.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2017

    Does the internet know us better than we know ourselves?

    Consumer surveys can be useful, so long as they gather the right type of information. The traditional “unsatisfied – very satisfied” continuum often used in consumer surveys provides very little insight into buying behavior. That said, Big Data isn’t going to replace surveys, rather, those surveys will need to incorporate more meaningful questions, and the results combined with transactional and other big data points. In our own survey of more than a million consumers, we were able to go beyond that satisfaction continuum to get to the heart of the emotional motivators behind customer behavior, which is of much more value.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2017

    Can customer journey methodology level the playing field for brick and mortar retail?

    Integrating that kind of analytics into brick-and-mortar operations is essential, and it will be accomplished when those brick-and-mortar stores stop seeing a division between brick-and-mortar and ecommerce. Increasingly, the customer expects his or her journey to incorporate elements of both. Working with that expectation, and incorporating digital tools in the physical world, is the beginning of retail success – not only because those digital tools serve the customer on their journey, but because they give the retailer greater insights than ever into who that customer is, what they want, and what they are likely to want in the future. The “smart store” is the future of retail, where the store’s intelligence anticipates the customer’s needs; and more importantly, the “smart customer,” armed with more information than ever, is a reality to which retailers must adapt. The advanced analytics brick-and-mortar retailers must bring on board go much further than general demographic information and buying trends gleaned from shopper cards. Today’s analytics will help retailers – both online and brick-and-mortar – understand more deeply who that customer is, what emotional drivers are behind their buying habits.
  • Posted on: 07/26/2017

    Can in-store experiences save retail?

    It’s not an either-or scenario. Those unique in-store experiences are driven by data analytics and a better understanding of what the customer really wants and what drives their purchasing. Whether that sale is made online or in-store is less relevant that understanding the real motivators behind what makes customers buy. Professor Fader is right in saying that the idea is to treat shoppers differently rather than attempting to “wow” everyone as a group, and that’s where the analytics come in. Good analytics doesn’t just provide basic demographics about large groups, its true value comes in identifying emotional motivators of shoppers at a more granular level. The uniquely powerful in-store experience being delivered with smart shelf technology for example, doesn’t just recognize a demographic, it recognizes each individual customer as they come into the store, and makes recommendations based on the motivators that drive each individual shopper.
  • Posted on: 07/19/2017

    Are retailers measuring omnichannel all wrong?

    The engagement-minute metric is useful, but still limited in several ways, and does not provide a true picture of what the customer wants and needs, and how likely they are to make a purchase. The sales process starts long before the sales agent engages with the customer, often with the customer doing their own research online. More important metrics will focus on how emotionally connected customers feel to the brand, and that connection is the result of many factors besides direct engagement from sales staff. Sales per engagement minute may be a good tool for measuring the effectiveness of sales agents, but more important are metrics that look at the entire customer lifecycle, how engaged those customers are long-term, and how loyal and emotionally connected they may be to a brand. A high sales per engagement minute rate is only a small piece of the puzzle and that metric will be heavily influenced by what has already gone on before the customer walked into the store.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2017

    Where’s the art in data-driven marketing?

    We’re seeing a tipping point in data-driven marketing today, and in my Harvard Business Review article "The New Science of Customer Emotions," we talk about the scientific aspect of marketing and understanding emotional connections. The evolution of marketing can be seen along a continuum, with the earliest being purely human and instinctual. The first marketing technologies and forays into big data collection attempted to automate that human element and put live consumers into checkboxes, sometimes without much success – but the tipping point is in achieving a higher level of automation which brings back the human element, and uses technology not purely to automate, but to better understand the human experience. Data and the tools to collect it are only part of the story – effective marketing uses that data not just to categorize consumers, but to know them at an emotional level.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2017

    What does it take for retailers to thrive amid shifting consumer preferences?

    The first point, “go where others aren’t,” speaks to the need for differentiation, and that’s by far the biggest challenge in today’s hyper-competitive environment. Retailers need to recognize that differentiation is a constantly moving target, and that which sets you apart today will be copied by all of your competitors tomorrow. Creating better products, slicker websites and offering superior service are all good tactics, but they are tactics that everybody else are using as well. Cultivating a mindset of going beyond being a vendor of excellent products is what gets neglected most. Retailers go beyond by truly understanding the customer on an individual level, understanding not just what they want but why they want it, and how it makes them feel when they get it, and what’s going to motivate them at the deepest emotional level to return to your shop, even if other shops are offering the same thing.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2017

    Will Amazon’s use of data transform how retailers operate stores?

    Retailers have always sought to draw on insights to strategically locate items in-store, with insights ranging from anecdotal and “gut feeling” instincts to big data driven analytics gathered from point-of-sale customer data. Few retailers have as much big data as, and Amazon’s deep experience in analyzing data trends and in guiding the customer experience will play well in their success in the physical world. Amazon’s ventures – not just in the physical bookstore, but in other brick-and-mortar ventures like Amazon Go – represent a new type of seamless online/offline convergence that other retailers must appreciate and embrace, or perish. This seamless convergence is at the heart of understanding the emotional triggers that cause consumers to buy, and to remain loyal to a retailer. We’ve reached a state where it’s not a choice between online retail or physical retail, rather, it’s about achieving an equal balance that meets the emotional needs of all customers in a very personalized way.
  • Posted on: 05/19/2017

    Are digital CX initiatives being lost on Baby Boomers?

    Mobile engagement is not lost on Baby Boomers, but smart marketers realize that it’s never a one-size-fits-all proposition. If Boomers are slower on the uptake for digital CX initiatives, maybe the reason isn’t because they lack the technical skills but, rather, that the marketer is trying to put all age demographics into a Millennial box. The use of big data and analytics -- and understanding the emotional motivators that drive buying behavior on the part of each age group -- will help determine go-to-market strategies and how to subdivide those strategies to take better advantage of what motivates each group. The IBM study showed what Boomers don’t care about, such as using a mobile app while shopping, but we need to dig deeper and understand what they do care about and factor that into the digital CX campaign.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2017

    Is marketing research suffering from an identity crisis?

    The real relevance in market research and data analytics does not lie in the numbers. Those numbers may tell us what is happening, but they don’t tell us why. The real value lies in how close it brings us to understanding customers as human beings. The numbers might tell us for example, that people between the ages of 25 and 34 buy our products, but that information is of little use until we understand why they do buy – and why people outside of that age range don’t. Rather than predictive insights, advanced analytics should give us emotional insights – what are the emotional motivators that drive behavior? As the technology grows more sophisticated, the gap between analytics and observational insights is closing.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2017

    Has Fabletics bridged the digital/physical divide with its omnicart tech?

    There is absolutely a need for a frictionless connection between online and brick-and-mortar shopping experiences, although Fabletics’ approach may not be the solution as it seems far too high-touch to be practical. Stefan’s example of Amazon Go is a great example of where the intersection of online and in-store needs to live, and it’s relevant across all industries, not just apparel. It’s fully automated, with minimal interaction by consumer or sales staff. Fabletics’ approach is a somewhat awkward approach to gathering data, requires extra work on the part of the consumer (providing immediate feedback), and doesn’t really take into account the emotional motivators shoppers have for going into a store, or for going online. When the two can blend seamlessly, enhance one another with value-adds, and do so transparently while making the shopping experience pleasant and emotionally satisfying, then retailers will have a winning strategy on their hands.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2017

    Should more brands offer rewards linked to store purchases?

    Loyalty programs are winners, but only when they are easy for the consumer and don’t require extra steps. Consider the reward aspect – there is an emotional factor in getting a reward. When consumers have to work too hard to get it – by scanning in receipts and sending them in – the perception of the reward’s value diminishes. It is less emotionally satisfying. Even if a back-end technology does not yet exist for bringing together consumers, CPG vendors and retailers in a transparent manner, it’s likely it will exist in the foreseeable future, and both stores and CPG vendors will benefit.
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