The definition of what we consider as “marketing” is changing and becoming broader. 

No longer is it just about branding and advertising, marketers must work together with other departments to focus on building great customer experiences and engaging customers for long-term relationships.

The growth of online content has given consumers more power. They are no longer a passive party when it comes to learning about products. 

They’re not waiting for you to tell them how great your products are. 

Instead, they’re going out and doing their own research.

So you have to offer them something more than information.

We are all consumers of someone else's business, every day we make an unconscious bias in our decision to shop with one company/brand over another.  

When we in multi-channel retail reflect on the past 18 months what have we really learnt about the key drivers in consumer behaviour. Changes that as we now know were enforced on many businesses by this pandemic and not by foresight and innovation.

With HoF, Debenhams, John Lewis, M&S, Sears, Nordstrom and others finally succumbing to the reality that simply stacking the sales floor with the same old same old doesn't quite cut it in today's digital and socially savvy multi-channel world are we now seeing the green shoots of change from innovative retailers?

Transformation isn't about digital, channels, tech, Apps, websites, or other fixed mindset stuff, it's totally about being consumer centric, then working out how you can add value by leveraging what you have to build the transformation bridges to the new future. 

Many retailers have done an amazing job during these trying times and have looked inwards to resolve the external abandonment by consumers of their brand. 

I'm not going to name all of them but a few have literally stood out for all the right reasons and unfortunately many of them still stand out for all the wrong reasons.

A big shout out the the entire Marks and Spencer teams who have reinvented the food shopping experience but still seem totally lost with the fashion element as 'guest brand' partnerships are akin to the department store days of old. 

The website is so Web 2.0 I wonder why anyone would use it, the inclusion of the video link to the TV advert with the call to action saying 'Watch our TV advert' suggest the eCommerce team are still following the rules set out by the brand police because the 'local stores are producing some great 'social media' content of their own.

Another game changer for me has to be the work that's going on at 'Frasers Group' and in particular with both the 'Flannels' and 'Sports Direct' portfolios - the speed of change around store design and aesthetics is nothing short of amazing and from what we know about the numbers consumers are voting very much with their wallets in the right direction.

The great transformation is being led by incoming CEO 'Michael Murray' who I see as the key visionary behind most of what's going on whilst ably assisted by his COO David Al Mudallal who between them are not only reinventing retail that was but also breaking down old school command and control hierarchy management structures by empowering and rewarding respective portfolio teams to 'get on with the job'.

The social media presence is not only strategically aligned, its as customer focused as it gets so no wonder they are harnessing great engagement and obtaining feedback all in real time.

Q) Is working with 'The Hut Group' like buying a Chocolate Fireguard'?

I will be keeping a very close watch on 'THG' given the ongoing issues in relation to shareholder revolts, underlying performance issues, and the knock on effect of cash reserves that's seen the share price plummet in the last quarter of 2021 and confidence rocked in the City. 

THG(LSE: THG) has had a torrid time this year. Formally known as The Hut Group, its market value has plunged by nearly 75%, from a share price topping 800p in January, to around 200p in November and currently trading around the £1.84 mark. 

It’s the small but growing division 'THG Ingenuity' that’s causing a stir. Ingenuity is an end-to-end technology platform that provides e-commerce solutions for consumer brand owners, including offering marketing services, brand development and global fulfilment.

There are many D2C brands who have signed long term deals with THG on the basis of their 'Ingenuity' platform, along with gaining access to so called expertise in logistics and associated resource infrastructure. These include PZ Cuzzons and previously troubled retailer 'Homebase' so a careful eye needs to be hovering over these brands whose operations could end up as collateral damage if things continue to decline.

I for one will be looking forwards to see what happens in the first trading quarter of 2022, what about you?