September 21, 2022

Not Understanding Merchandise Personalization

I've told this story before, but it comes up often enough that it bears repeating. I'm at a meeting at a "Portfolio of Brands" ... meaning that a holding company scooped up a bunch of brands and they're having a strategy session with the heads of each brand (and other assorted Executives).

One of the sessions includes a analyst sharing results of online personalization testing. This woman, probably 27-30 years old, was FABULOUS. Full of energy, passion, and she made her brand A FORTUNE. It's quite possible that 10% of net sales, on an annual basis, were because of her and her alone. This also likely means that about 30% of annual profit was because of her and her alone.

Think about that for a moment.

She finishes her presentation, and the room full of Executives all begin giggling and whispering ... they're having private conversations about how geeky her presentation was. In essence, they didn't listen to her words (because her words showed that they were going to get nice bonus checks ... because of her), they addressed her as an entity ... they perceived she was a nerd.

Maybe she was a nerd.

They didn't realize they needed a nerd.

Every analytics person reading this post knows exactly what it is like to be humiliated by a traditional business Leader for no good reason other than making the traditional business Leader look good. In the next ten years, we're going to see significant changes in Upper Management. Baby Boomers will continue to leave the workforce, replaced by a different mindset. Something will be lost, no doubt about it. But something will be gained ... like respecting the woman in this post.

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