In Brief: Retail Marketing Strategies; Corporate Controversies

January 5, 2018


Retail Brands Are Struggling With Personalized Marketing

Over the past few holiday seasons, retail brands like Lord & Taylor and Gap Inc. have struggled to reach prospective customers through individualized email offers, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“Nearly 90 percent of organizations say they are focused on personalizing customer experiences, yet only 40 percent of shoppers say that information they get from retailers is relevant to their tastes and interests,” said Brendan Witcher of Forrester Research.

To better connect with consumers, retail brands, which were once highly successful at data-based customer communication, need to rely less on market segmentation. Assumptions about spending habits based on gender, income and geography aren’t always accurate, depending on the person. 

Instead, the Journal says, brands should pay closer attention to consumers’ previous purchases and web-browsing behavior.

Jason Grunberg, vice president of marketing at personalization technology company Salithru, says, “Ozzy Osbourne and Prince Charles are both British men in their late 60s, but they aren’t necessarily interested in buying the same things.”

Corporate Controversies Weigh on Everyday Employees Too

When large companies get tangled up in public scandals, it’s the ensuing executive shakeups that garner most of the attention. But a recent Wall Street Journal piece suggests that employees are strongly affected by these circumstances, too.

During times of corporate controversy, workers tend to experience anxiety and guilt, leading some of them to leave their jobs altogether. After an Uber employee found out about the sexual harassment issues at her company, she said quitting was her only option. “Staying there would have meant going against what I believe in,” she told the Journal.

For more enterprising employees who feel hurt but want to stick with their job, there’s the option of trying to affect change from within — as long as it doesn’t turn you into an apologist for your company’s wrongdoings.

“There’s a shadowy side,” said Christine Bader, a former Amazon employee, who advocated for fair working conditions among private-label suppliers. “If you take that thinking too far, to the point that you’re rationalizing staying at a place where you truly shouldn’t be, then that’s no good.”

Movie Studios Are Using Earned Media as Paid Media — but Is It Ethical?

To drive up ticket sales and garner excitement for their movies before the Academy Awards on March 4, the film studio A24 is employing a savvy marketing tactic: presenting earned media as paid media, writes Adweek.

In other words, rather than creating Twitter posts that link to an official movie website, A24 —the studio behind such critically acclaimed films as “Lady Bird” and “The Disaster Artist” — is instead directing users to feature stories in prominent publications like Variety and Glamour.

Though Adweek writer Chris Thilk admits it’s a clever campaign, one that can both capture people’s attentions and perform well with social media algorithms, he isn’t entirely sure it’s ethical. He writes, “If you squint, it looks like you might have paid for editorial coverage, which can raise questions of what paid promotion promises were made to the outlet by the brand and how much it potentially influenced the outlet’s decision to provide coverage.”

How to Stay Healthy and Sane During Stressful Work Periods

When busy stretches occur at the office, it’s natural to downplay the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. But, it is, in fact, this balance that aids our productivity during such a chaotic period, such as the post-holiday return to the office in the New Year.

“When stress takes over, often the first things to go are the ones we need the most — sleep, water, exercise, whole nutritious foods,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H, R.D., C.N.D., a clinical dietician. “And that can actually compound the issue, leaving you less equipped to handle the stress well.”

To stay sane in the face of work stress, she recommends, in a Glassdoor blog post, to make such small life changes as taking the stairs rather than the elevator to keep your energy level up and rejecting a sugary vending machine snack for whole grain crackers or almonds.

When the workday ends, Zeitlin advocates for unplugging from technology and reading a book. “When you’re at work, you have to stare at your computer screen. But if you want to be healthy enough to stare at it again tomorrow, you’ll have to steer clear of screens at home — at least, as much as possible,” she says.


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