Thursday, February 19, 2015

CMOs: 3 Ways to Accelerate Big Data Analysis Transformation in Your Company

Big data is exciting. As a CMO, you know Big Data is becoming more and more critical to your business' success. As an IMC graduate student in Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in Northwestern University, I’ve been doing some research in how traditional companies transform into a data-centric company, and here are two articles that best address the issue.

The first article, titled “Getting big impact from big data” by David Court and published in January 2015 talks about how to take advantage of advancements in analytics and mobilize the organization to make a big impact on the company from big data. New data analysis techniques and tools are introduced to deal with the challenge of achieving scale of impact. The real challenges lie beyond new tools, and ask for more focus on change management, more job redefinition, and more cultural change.

Another article talks about data transformation is by Derek Steer, the Co-Founder/CEO of MODE.  This article, titled “Building credibility for your analytics team- and why it matters”, published on January 21st, 2015 focuses on how to build credibility for the analytics team in the company and over time turns the company into a data-centric firm. First start with simple tasks, then analyze and communicate effectively with colleagues, think data as a conversation starter, not a diagnosis, and make the process of data analysis transparent and understandable to other teams.

After reviewing these articles, and based on my experience through the IMC program, here are three action items any CMO or marketing manager should immediately begin to think about and take actions on:
  • Start small - Start with simple tasks that give immediate returns. This establishes the trust and over time builds confidence in the company.
  • Redefine jobs - Automating part of the jobs requires redefining job responsibilities to best leverage and support the ongoing development of big data.
  • Change culture - Build a foundation of data-driven culture in the company by developing competitions that reward and recognize the teams that can generate powerful insights through analytics.

I am currently a graduate student in Northwestern University Medill School, and major in Integrated Marketing and Communications. I will graduate in December 2015 and am looking for employments in data analytics. If there is anything you would like to discuss with me, you can reach me @AmeliaChenZhao on Twitter.

CMOs: 3 ways to avoid big data mistakes

As a CMO, you know Big Data is increasing market share and bottom-line profitability for all types of businesses...only if you do it right. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communication program with an interest in data analytics, I have found 2 article highlighting important concepts about using Big Data successfully. 

Information week’s article Big Data Success Remains Elusive: Study reveals a cruel survey result that only 27% of the organizations described their big data projects as "successful". This survey is conducted by Capgemini Consulting involving 226 company respondents across regions and multiple industries. According to this article, big data failures are primarily the result of: 1)Inconsistency between big data analytics and business objectives. 2)Attempts to use their existing data management systems to process big data stream. 3)Scattered silos of data resulting in a lack of unified view of data. This article also suggests key success factors for big data approach, that is “a well-defined organizational structure”, “a systematic implementation plan”.
Shanker Ramamurthy, Global Managing Partner of IBM, holds a similar opinion in his article Speed To Insight: Key To Big Data Success: Big data analytics should become ubiquitous across different departments in the business organization, including HR, sales, marketing, and etc. Another important factor he put forward is “speed” from data to decision-making. The case of Wellpoint is used to illustrate the importance of speed. This health benefit company implemented a system that quickly correlates clinical research, patient data, and clinical practice guidelines to shorten the pre-approval process so nurses are given best options for each patient in a matter of seconds. By doing this, WellPoint is reducing costs improving service, as well as catering appropriate treatment for each patient.

Based on these two articles and my industry studies as a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, here are three actions I would recommend
to companies that want to succeed in big data approach.

l     Share Big Data Organizationally: Big Data Analytics impacts across divisions and requires integration of multi-sources. So create analytics teams to gather and use data uniformly throughout your organization

l        Bring into decision-making: Don’t isolate Big Data Analytics from you business process. Make it the engine to drive your business decisions and actions

l     Accelerate the speed: Shorten the time from data to insights . Be receptive to changes as business market is becoming real-time basis. Take timely actions accordingly!

In today’s business environment, becoming Big Data-centric is a shortcut to become competitive. While, as every other front-edged technology, big-data is like a vitamin tablet that take time to digest. In current stage, business organizations are still attempting this technology while separate it from its business process. I believe real benefits will be realized when big data analytics will be into its decision-making process as well as into operation across different departments in a timely manner.

Jill is a current master student in Northwestern University, studying marketing analytics. Before that, she graduated from Tsinghua University, experienced in management consulting and strategic marketing planning. She is dedicated in delivering actionable strategies and in-depth insights through data-driven methods. Feel free to comment and repost. Jill can be connected through Twitter and Linkedin

Digital Agency Manager: Ready to get ahead of the cross-device real-time data game?

   As a digital agency manager, be aware of the latest digital advertising trends: the cross-device integrated real-time data is changing the digital advertising game rule of how to market your brand to the most valuable customers through a most effective device/channel. As a Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) graduate student, I am not only interested but also doing some research of digital marketing. There are two articles that are related to the digital advertising that will change the way you see current multi-media advertising.
  The first article indicates the fast growing digital advertising market on mobile, video and real-time biding. Traditional online banner ads will gradually lose its market share in digital advertising and be replaced by these three areas. Companies that are aware of mobile, video and programmatic ads are getting ahead of the digital advertising game. Transactions made by mobile is steadily growing, video watched becomes more common among customers while real-time biding helps a company to target on its customers anytime, anywhere. See:Mobile,Video, And Real-Time Bidding Are Driving A Boom In Digital Advertising written by Mark-Hoelzel 

(Cross media : yay or nay? )
  The second article is about the impact of the acquirement and the launch of Facebook’s Atlas. Solving the problems of “cookie” that have a tracking success rate less than 50% and cannot be applied on cross-device, Facebook’s Atlas is able to target customers with “people-based” technology and advertise to these customers on all mobile websites and apps by accurately predicting the customers’ preferences and monitoring their footprints outside Facebook including all websites and apps they are browsing and using.  See”What Facebook’s Atlas Means for Brands ad AgenciesAd Serving and Tracing Technology Solves Two Big Problems forMarketers. written by Don Mathis 

    Based on these two articles and what I have learned from Northwestern Medill IMC, here are three action items I recommend you as a digital agency to do as soon as possible.  They are:
  • Take it seriously -  While digital marketing has evolved rapidly, these developing advertising strategies have to be taken seriously or else you will be left behind in the marketing trend and lose the market share of digital advertising in a flash.

  • Get involved - Traditional way of buying ads by people will be outdated within just a few years. Programmatic ads buying leverage with real-time data from social media is going to replace the traditional mass media marketing. It’s time to contact expertise or companies that are making the future digital advertising game rule.

  • Be Aware - Other agencies will of course be noticing the ongoing changes. It would be about how well you can interpret the customers’ data as soon as you received a bunch of customers’ behavior and modify your targeting strategies.

  Be ahead of the game, it's time to better integrate cross-device real time data into your agency strategies.

Ivy Chen is a Graduate Student of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), Medill, Northwestern University. She worked for Double A, an international paper company, in Taiwan from 2013-2014 as a Channel Development Coordinator. She is passionate about digital marketing and brand consulting and will be graduated from Northwestern in Dec, 2015. 
You can follow her on Twitter: @ivychen2015 or get connected to her on LinkedIn:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Brand Managers: Sponsored NBA shirts are a Challenge and a Reward

New branded shirts for the NBA are the first or many new way to reach a target market...but you have to know how best to use them. As an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) student and sports fan, there are two issues in discussion: how will the fans react to this new trend, and how will brands benefit from the new 2.5x2.5 inch ad space?

According to Tony Manfred in his article titled "The NBA's Massive New TV Deal Clears The Way For Putting Ads On Jerseysfor Business Insider, the sponsored shirts are tied to the new $24 billion deal with ESPN. Both the Network and the league expect to see profits by displaying a highly viewable space on the players. With some issues that still remain un-resolved, such as if the sponsors would be national or local brands, the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, referred to the ads on NBA jerseys as “inevitable”. Sponsored shirts is something that will happen in the near future, a groundbreaking innovation to the league that will have a major impact on teams, sponsors and fans.

Image source:

Kim Skildum-Reid offers a critique on her blog, arguing that “(teams) You’re hurting yourselves, limiting your value, and limiting the appeal of your sponsorship to companies who don’t get it – a rapidly diminishing pool.”  Furthermore, she elaborates on how shallow is it for a brand to only take a space on a shirt, hoping to see returns from it, as opposed to actually engage with highly passionate communities such as sports fans.

After reviewing these two articles and drawing on my sports marketing expertise developed in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have three action items you need to consider when developing your marketing strategies as a brand manager of the actors here involved:

  • Set a goal that transcends the jersey - As a brand manager from the sponsor side, you must think about what you want to achieve by buying a space in a jersey. That Engagement Strategy might not be well rewarded if not followed by a thorough IMC plan.

  • Match brands and team positionings - As a team brand manager, think what´s the price to have a sponsor on your shirt. You might want to be picky and choose one which stands for the same values as your team and deliver consistency to your devoted fans.

  • Take care of your league - The marketing division of the NBA must take care of their league, establish homogenous criteria for sponsors and teams to not affect the league´s image as a whole.

In sum, the league is opening a door for sponsors to have a bigger presence in the NBA. For the first time in its history, the league will have branded shirts, and this new scenario compels all actors involved to think clearly and strategically of how to deal with it to have benefits for all.

Manuel Altomonte| @manualtoIMC
About the author: 

Candidate, Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill (Northwestern University, Chicago IL). I have work experience in corporate communications and marketing, development and management of communication platforms and digital marketing. I enjoy team-work to find creative solutions to challenges.

Brand Managers: 3 Ways to Really Be Authentic

Brand managers know that target audiences want authentic dialogue. They want to be spoken to directly. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications IMC program, I have found 2 articles that address the need for authenticity and present ways to achieve this in brand communications.

As consumer trust moves increasingly towards peers via reviews and social media, skepticism of advertising is growing. Consumer behavior responds to authentic, one-to-one conversation and referrals from trusted sources. In my graduate coursework, I have explored this changing communication relationship between business and consumer. The following articles address the rising importance of casual language with consumers and the value of an emotional connection, even in situations of extreme consumer skepticism.

In Branding Magazine’s article Scaling Familiarity: How Language Can Help Brands Move Closer to Customers author Chad Cipoletti discusses the importance of the familiar language of brands. With greater access to data and a world of social connectivity, brands are viewed more and more as a familiar relationship. Brands are more like the county grocer than the distant celebrity. The language of companies should reflect that. As customers increasingly view corporations more like other “people” (as described in this Baylor College of Medicine study), there is a greater emphasis on the language of brands. With more brand encounters and more touch points, this requires a concentrated effort but also, opportunity! This article highlights this importance and articulates an effective approach to embracing familiar language.


In another article, Brandbuilder blog author Olivear Blancard’s Advertising and Skepticism describes the consumer’s current environment and how it leads to greater skepticism of advertising. Traditionally, advertising sought out people, and people did not seek out advertising. Today, that relationship has changed. Consumers are skeptical of the truth in the abundance of advertisements and instead rely on trusted sources via peers, social media, or online reviews. This article points to interesting research from the University of Washington on consumer responses to different types of advertisements. The research reveals how even the most skeptical of consumers will respond to emotional advertising. But there’s a balance in tugging on the heartstrings and executing an emotional branding strategy with the right impact. Emotional connection grabs attention, but can also be distracting. The article quotes Vanderbilt University psychologist David Zald: "We observed that people fail to detect visual images that appeared one-fifth of a second after emotional images, whereas they can detect those images with little problem after viewing neutral images.” Emotion has influence, but the key is in finding the sweet spot where the message is relevant to the consumer and in line with the brand character.

Based on the insights in these articles here are 3 ways for your brand to really be authentic:
  1. Be familiar with your target market. Reveal your company’s human side in what you say and how you say it.
  2. Communicate relevance to your target market. Create emotional experiences that connect deeply with the consumer.
  3. Be realistic about the connections you’re trying to make. Match your product accurately with the emotion you’re trying to evoke. The emotional tie can lose value and lead to skepticism if it doesn't match the identity of your brand. 
More and more, consumers place incredible value on a real brand connection and relationship. Brands face pressure to be authentic. The challenge is in determining what authenticity looks like for each brand and implementing a strategy to communicate it.

Katie Lahti was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN where she received her B.A. in Business Leadership and Management and Business Communications from the University of St. Thomas. She has worked in print, digital, and social media in private education and is focusing on brand strategy, content marketing, and digital and interactive marketing in Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications program. @katielahti

College Students: The Dangers of Fat Talk and How to Combat It

We’ve all heard it; we’ve all done it. Fat talk and muscle talk have reduced our precious words to
degrading our bodies and those of others. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications(IMC) program with an interest in positive body image, I have examined two brilliant articles that delve into the dangers of "fat talk" and "muscle talk" and have provided 3 strategies to combat these degrading practices.

According to a 2014 Huffington Post article, "How Fat Talk Became a Social Epidemic – And How you Can Stop It," the term "fat talk" was coined in 1994 to describe how young women talked about their bodies in a "self-abasing and apologetic" manner. The term was later redefined by Notre Dame psychology professor Alexandra F. Corning as "self-degrading talk about the body, food or eating." Fat talk is a critical element within the phenomenon of "normative discontent" - a term describing how people are socialized to feel and speak negatively about their bodies. If my friend complains about her enormous thighs, I feel compelled to negate her comment and chime in with a complaint about my own body as an expression of empathy. People feel as if they must conform to these practice to provide and receive reassurance, garner acceptance from peers, and interact with others. A study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University reported that around 93% of college women have engaged in fat talk.

Fat talk is as damaging as it is pervasive. Fat talk reinforces the idea that certain body types are inherently bad. This idea, perpetuated by our favorite TV shows, movies, magazines, and clothing companies, instigates a fear and preoccupation with avoiding "fatness" that can quickly escalate into self-loathing. "We're so afraid that our bodies might be perceived as fat," stated "Fat Activist" Lindsey Averill "Fat is literally one of the worst things you can be in our culture, and it comes with so many different prejudices and negative effects, that when we look in the mirror, we're so afraid of crossing over into that category and we internalize that fear into hate."  Indeed, Northwestern researchers reported that those engaging in fat talk reported higher levels of body dissatisfaction and guilt than their body-positive counterparts. These heightened dissatisfaction levels are linked to higher rates of disordered eating and eating disorders.

A New York Times article "Fat Talk Compels but Carries a Cost" echoed these concerns and highlighted an important, but often overlooked, part of the equation: men. Renee Engeln, Director of the Body and Media Lab at Northwestern University stated that men often perseverate on different issues than women, such as thinness and muscular bulk, but are also susceptible to these damaging conversations.

The pervasive and escalating nature of fat talk makes it difficult to break.  We have become comfortable with self deprecation that confidence is perceived as "unsympathetic" and "arrogant."  Confidence, however, remains an important catalyst for changing the conversation.  Based on my experience with Body Positive Activism and Fitness I have provided three important steps, based on the findings of the articles discussed, to combat fat talk and promote positive-body image.

1. Break the Cycle - The first step to defeating fat talk is not partaking in it. When those around you speak disparagingly about their body or those of others, don't engage. Instead, redirect the conversation.  Reassuring your friends that they are "not fat!" only reinforces ideas that fat is "bad."  A more compassionate and productive way to support your friend would be to ask directly what they're actually thinking or feeling...the likelihood is that their verbal expression of body discontent is related to something deeper.

2. Leverage Your Relationship With the Person
Your response to people in these conversations should depend on your relationship to him/her.  You talk differently with your best friend than you do your classmate.  Shutting down fat-talk follows the same rules.

3. Change the Way You Talk 
In order to stop fat talk, you have to monitor your own language. Don't say anything about yourself that you wouldn't say about your best friend. Educate yourself on the media's body shaming tactics and don't ascribe to them.  Carolyn Bates, a senior at Notre Dame, doesn't say that she doesn't fit into clothing, but rather, that the clothing doesn't "get" her. This lighthearted positive attitude, is refreshing in an all-too critical world. By serving as a strong role-model for body acceptance and positivity, others are sure to follow. 

Fat talk is pervasive and harmful. It detracts from the quality of our interactions with others, our self-esteem, and our mental health. By practicing the above three steps, we can work to stop the cycle of fat-talk and engage in more productive conversation.  In doing so, we not only protect ourselves from the harms of fat talk, but those around us who may be affected second or third hand. Fat talk stops with you.

Huffington Post - Rebecca Adams
New York Times - Jan Hoffman

Colleen Daly is a M.S. Candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.  She is the Co-Founder of Embody Carolina, an organization that trains college students to serve as compassionate and effective allies for those struggling with eating disorders.  She is a nationally certified fitness instructor and personal trainer, and body image advocate. 

Business Owners: Increase Profits using Hyperlocal Technology

As a business owner, I'm sure that you've come to find that new technology and e-commerce is making it difficult for you to keep up. As a graduate student in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, I have focused my research on tech marketing and have found two articles which will give you insights into how to use hyperlocal technologies to grow your business.
According to "How Hyperlocal Tech Is Reviving Brick-and-Mortar Sales" by Allan Haims of Street Fight Magazine, hyperlocal technology is revitalizing physical retail locations. He suggests that the ubiquity of smartphone use has opened the door to direct digital marketing. Haims also discusses the various  ways in which new marketing technologies are affecting the hyperlocal retail market. First, he talks about the ability to monitor in-store traffic patterns to improve the store and sales and mentions the expanded use of different payment types that allow brands to be more connected with the consumer. Second, Haims touches on beacon technology and the use of social media to target customers with discount deals. Lastly, he calls on retailers to improve the efficiency of their inventories using new marketing technologies.

The second article, titled "Apple Watch will support hyper-local ads urging users to flash the cash", by John McCarthy of The Drum, surrounds the highly-anticipated release of the Apple iWatch and its tie-in with Hyperlocal Technology. McCarthy is reporting that the upcoming Apple iWatch will have the ability to receive ads pushed to it, hyperlocally, from nearby stores. Also, the fact that the smartwatch will be Apple Pay compatible means that these ads will be able to be redeemed and paid for just by touching your watch. The rest of the article is comprised of quotes regarding the potential magnitude of the Apple iWatch.
Based on my insight gained from Northwestern's IMC program and the information from these two articles, there are three actionable tactics that I recommend you as a marketer should do:
  • Invest Hyperlocally. Start to consider options for investing in hyperlocal beacon technology. If you fail to get ahead of the trend, your competitors will leave you in their digital dust.
  • Accept Digital Currency. Create the ability to use Apply Pay and Google Wallet in your retailer locations so that customers’ purchases are as simple as touching their wrists.
  • Prep your Team. Develop hyperlocal campaigns and financial strategies that would be most profitable and implement these campaigns/strategies using beacon technology.
As a marketing executive, it is crucial that you stay abreast of technologies like hyperlocal and beacon technologies that have the potential to be the “next big thing” in marketing tech. Follow these three steps in order to stay ahead of the curve and eclipse your competitors.

Brandon Duran, originally from Los Angeles, CA, is
pursuing a Master’s in Integrated Marketing
Communications from Northwestern University’s Medill.
Currently on the Brandy Strategy and Data Analytics
specialization tracks, Brandon is interested in using data
analytics to improve the equity of brands in the tech industry.

Connect with Brandon on Twitter and LinkedIn

Tech Startup CEO/CMOs: Three pitfalls you should watch out when launching your product

As an executive at a start-up, you know that it is often tricky to introduce a new technology into the marketplace. 
As a masters candidate of IMC(Integrated Marketing Communication) in Medill School, Northwestern University, I have identified two articles that can help you bypass the pitfalls with ease and grace. 

In the first article Failure Is the Best Thing That Could Happen to Google Glass, The author Marcus Wohlsen points out the first blunder Google Glass committed is to target the wrong group, the lack of insightful user cases is to blame.  The author believes that google was crippled by an typical engineer kind of pitfall: Overconfident in “the sheer force of its(the products’) awesomeness” to loosen the purse string of the customers while overlooking user case and customer insight analysis. Google Glass may have been better suited in specific industry context, But Google played the wrong card —they put too much effort in creating the hype in the B2C section.

                                                             (Resource: The Forbes )

While Google Glass represents the most recent hallmark failure in the domain of disruptive technology, Google+ is another lesson Google present to tech marketers in the red ocean. Danny Crichton, a former employee at Google, has spoken out his thoughts over Google’s notorious failure in entering the social landscape. Danny acclaimed “focus is absolutely everything” in his A Personal Reflection On Google+, contending the lost of focus is fatal to Google+. In his perspective, the big internal chasm between engineer culture “where data and algorithm reign supreme” and the demand of everyday users also takes its toll in pushing Google+ one inch closer to the brink of failure.

After reviewing these articles, and based on my experience through the graduate program at Northwestern Medill IMC, here are three action which you should think about to shunt away botched product launch:

  • Connect your customers - It’s not only about making awesome product, but also making it applicable to your customers in their day-to-day use cases.
  • Gap the internal chasm. it’s paramount for tech start-up to build an effective way of communication between its key engineering people and marketing/business crew.
  • Keep your goal simple.  Don’t try to overcomplicate your product -it will only confuse the customers and scare them away.

Rina(Xiaoru) Lin is a full-time IMC student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. I'm passionated about “connecting the dots”, combining the data and consumer insight and turn them into actionable strategy. I'm interested in tech market because I believe the power of technology makes the world a lot better, and I want to be part of it. 

@ her at twitter! @RinaXiaoruLin

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

CMOs: 3 steps to integrate big data analytics into CRM

As a CMO, how you integrate big data analytics into your customer relationship management systems could spell the difference between success and failure in today's data-driven marketing era. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications program, I have found two articles that can help you learn more about CRM analytics and its impact on building a comprehensive understanding of your customers’ needs and preferences. 

The article “The Future of CRM Analytics is AlreadyHere points out the importance of applying analytics to customer relationship management efforts.In order to gain a 360-degree view of the customer, many companies have blended customer data, operational and transactional data and data analytics to develop comprehensive understanding of their customers. The integration of data analytics and CRM has proved success- the complete views of customers resulting from the integration have enabled these companies to generate meaningful insights about marketing campaigns and put them at a better positioned to identify and act on cross-sell and upsell opportunities.


In the article “Five Reasons Why CRM Analytics are Essential for Success, Marianne Cotter explains five reasons companies should integrate data analytics into CRM and use data and CRM analytics to tailor the customer experience for improved engagement and better profits. The five reasons she points out include better customer understanding, better understanding of the customer-facing operations, decision support, predictive modeling and benchmarking.
Based on these two articles and my graduate learning in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, here are three action items I recommend you consider:
  • Adopt real-time and predictive analytics - be aware of real time tools and utilize them to process data in real time to connect with customers more immediately and deliver highly personalized experience. Tie predictive analytics with CRM to learn more about customers' buying behavior.
  • Create expert team -recruit people with complementary skills who can bridge big data analytics with CRM. Have people with analytical skills who can understand structured and unstructured data working with business managers and IT people in a team.
  • Cultivate interaction - besides monitoring customers and conducting big-data analytics on social media, interact with your customers by providing them more customized opportunities.

As a CMO in today’s data-driven economy, you really need to start thinking about harnessing the power of big data and integrating data analytics into CRM to facilitate smarter sales and better customer engagement. I recommend you look at these three action items and use them when develop a future strategy for big data and CRM.

Xinwei Zhang is a M.S. candidate of integrated marketing communication at Medill School, Northwestern University, specializing in Marketing Analytics. She is going to graduate in December 2015. With dual bachelor degrees in Psychology and Consumer Economics, she is passionate about analyzing consumer behavior and synthesizing data to actionable insights, stories and marketing solutions.
Any questions and comments? Contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Fashion Marketers: Can Gamification Rescue your Retail Strategy?

Fashion marketers need to use more techniques to engage their consumers and increase shopping experience to compete with the rise of e-commerce.

As a graduate student in Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill, Northwestern University, I've found two articles about how gamification motivates sales that can help you win the battle.

In the article Retailers Must Reinvent Their Stores, reported by BOF team (The Business of Fashion) on January 27, 2015 points out the importance for retailers to reinvent their physical stores to better suit the behaviors and expectations of today's hyper-connected consumers. The article suggests physical stores to retain the advantage of personal interactions, further extend these interactions through new technology to offer deeper and tailored lifestyle suggestions and communal interaction. According to the BOF team, physical retail store has its nature to engage customers and can should learn from e-commerce to enhance services. 

The “mirror” lets the customer see how a current outfit looks in comparison to one she just tried on. 

In How To Solve YourBiggest Marketing Problems With Gamification by Steve Olenski (@steveolenski) and published in Forbes on March 5 2014, introduces how can gamification increase engagements. According to a survey conducted at the end of 2014 by Gartner,Inc, 70% of the Forbes Global 200 saying they are going to gamify. The influence is going to expand with the number of Millennials increase. Steve points out the reason why companies are adapting Gamification is because it can getting people engaged, coming back and feel involved, it can also turn average into the exciting.

Based on these 2 articles and my graduate learning at Medill IMC program, I have three actionable things I would recommend you as a fashion marketer to do:

1. Gamify to Increase Motivation - Use the Gamification techniques to leverage customers’ desire.

2. Start Personalize - Learn form e-commerce and provide each customer with personalized customer service.

3. Start Innovation - Physical retailers can implement interactive gamification devices, to make the static environment more dynamic and increase shopping experience.

Shopping in a physical retail store has its core advantage over e-commerce. It can provide authentic shopping experience and a real connection with the product and retailer. I believe, with the right gamification approach, retailers can successfully manage customers motivation and desire, and provide the experience and service that e-commerce cannot compete with.

Yanran Yan is an Integrated Marketing Communication graduate student at Medill, Northwestern University. She will be graduated in December 2015 and is particular interested in digital marketing for fashion industry. 

Contact her via LinkedIn, or Twitter @YanranY