Amazing Stuff Overheard at NRF 2012

by Joe Skorupa

Whenever you gather the smartest and most successful retail executives in one location you  pick up some nuggets of useful information that are so cool you can’t get them out of your head. I did a lot of listening to some brilliant people for four days and gathered the best of what I heard. Here are the good, the great and funniest statements I heard at NRF.

“Tablets are a Swiss Army knife of capabilities,” Alan Dabbiere CEO of AirWatch
“Historically, retailers have looked at the number of Likes on Facebook as the end game, but they are worth zero unless you do something with them,” Dave Martin of Hershey’s
“If I get one more coupon from Macy’s for a one-day sale I’m going to puke,” Deborah Weinswig of Citi Investment Research
“Amazon is hijacking customers from retailers,” Mike Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy
“Digital is an important language that we must speak. We dedicate budget to social engagement and listening,” Dave Finnegan of Build-a-Bear Workshop
“Multiple market analysis indicators that look ahead point to smooth sailing and tail winds for retail in 2012,” Richard Hastings of Global Hunter Securities
“By 2015, the CMO could very easily have a bigger technology budget than IT does, according to Gartner research across all industries, and I think this is very much the case in retail where directionally I believe it is spot on,” Jeff Roster of Gartner
“I work for the Hershey chocolate factory. I eat one half and sell the other half,” Dave Martin of Hershey’s
“I never met a CEO that didn’t have an iPad,” Mike Saylor, CEO of Microstrategy
“We invite our fans to market with us. We don’t market to them,” Dave Finnegan of Build-a-Bear Workshop
“Customers have a mental accounting process about retail brands and they are constantly making deposits and withdrawals based on their experiences,” Paul D’Allesandro of PwC
“I got this from an RIS event where someone spoke about cockroach IT, which refers to the situation that happens when you shut off the lights and then you see there is all this IT there and no one knows how it got there. No governance or oversight from the IT team,” Todd Michaud of Focus Brands
“Sears has a good loyalty database they have built over 20 years, but how good are loyalty databases really? When Sears analyzed age groups it found the average age was 120,” Mike Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy
“We are seeing faster adoption of big data applications in retail than in any other industry,” Paul Darcy of Dell
“Good ideas are hard to come by, but executing them is harder,” Alan Dabbiere CEO of AirWatch
“Once you get the Facebook Like, most marketers don’t know what to do with it,” Todd Michaud of Focus Brands
“This is not a good time to be holding back with mobility. There are significant bets being place by retailers on mobile moving into the mainstream,” Jeff Roster of Gartner

“Fifty percent of the economy is dematerializing into software. This includes movies, music, books, postal documents and even retail POS, customer service, warranty programs and delivery of many products,” Mike Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy


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