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99 Skills of 21st Century Market Place : Week 15

Enjoy Week 15 of the 99 Skills of 21st Century Market Place! This week, we dive into the exciting world of marketing and selling, focusing on three essential skills: Visual Merchandising, Creative Pitch, and Product Management. These skills are key components of successful marketing strategies that captivate customers, drive sales, and ultimately contribute to business growth. We will explore the importance of these skills, their practical applications, and actionable tips to enhance your expertise in marketing and selling. Let's get ready to unleash your creativity, captivate your audience, and drive the success of your business!

43. Visual Merchandising

A Quote:

“Looks do count. Deliver visually stunning merchandising. Engage at the point of sale. Help consumers shop with their eyes”. ~ Michael J. Silverstein

A Definition: Visual merchandising refers to the strategic arrangement and presentation of products in a way that enhances their visual appeal and entices customers to make a purchase. It involves utilizing various elements such as store layout, lighting, color schemes, signage, and displays to create an engaging and memorable environment.

An Example:

In the early 2000s, Angela Ahrendts, the former CEO of Burberry, took on the challenge of revitalising the brand and transforming it into a global luxury powerhouse. One of her key strategies was to leverage the power of visual merchandising to create captivating and immersive in-store experiences. Ahrendts understood that visual merchandising is not just about arranging products on shelves but about storytelling and creating an emotional connection with customers. She worked closely with her team to develop innovative and visually stunning displays that showcased Burberry's iconic products in unique ways. From elegant window displays to beautifully designed store interiors, every element was meticulously curated to reflect the brand's heritage and luxury image.

The impact of Ahrendts' visual merchandising approach was remarkable. Customers were drawn to the captivating displays, which not only showcased the products but also conveyed the brand's values and identity. The immersive in-store experiences enhanced customer engagement, increased foot traffic, and ultimately led to a significant boost in sales and brand loyalty. Ahrendts' emphasis on visual merchandising as a strategic tool for brand building and customer experience revolutionised Burberry's retail presence. Her innovative approach not only helped save the day for the brand but also set new standards for visual merchandising in the luxury fashion industry.

This example showcases the importance of visual merchandising in creating a compelling brand experience and driving business success. It highlights the ability to create visually captivating displays that engage customers, evoke emotions, and effectively communicate the brand's values. Ahrendts' expertise in visual merchandising played a vital role in transforming Burberry into a global luxury brand and serves as an inspiration for aspiring visual merchandisers.

A Checklist:

  1. Understand your target audience and their preferences.

  2. Study the latest trends in visual merchandising and retail design.

  3. Develop a keen eye for aesthetics and attention to detail.

  4. Learn about product placement techniques and how to create effective displays.

  5. Enhance your creativity and think outside the box to create unique and impactful visual presentations.

  6. Stay updated with advancements in technology and how they can be integrated into visual merchandising.

  7. Continuously evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of your visual merchandising strategies.

44. Creative Pitch

A Quote:

“Sometimes the creating that we do is creating a platform that allows other creative people to pitch in”. ~ Theaster Gates

A Definition: A creative pitch is a persuasive presentation that aims to captivate an audience and convince them of the value and uniqueness of an idea, project, or product. It involves effectively communicating the key features, benefits, and vision of the concept while evoking emotion and generating interest.

An Example:

In the late 1990s, Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., was facing a challenging time as the company's product line and market share were declining. In a bid to turn things around, Jobs introduced the idea of the "iPod" during a pitch to Apple's board of directors. At the time, the music industry was dominated by physical CDs, and Jobs envisioned a portable digital music player that would revolutionise the way people listen to music.

Jobs presented a simple and persuasive pitch, emphasising the importance of seamless integration between hardware, software, and content. He highlighted the user-friendly design, the intuitive user interface, and the potential for a vast digital music library in the palm of your hand. Jobs's pitch focused on creating a remarkable user experience that would disrupt the music industry and change the way people consume music.

The board of directors was initially skeptical, but Jobs's unwavering belief in the product and his persuasive pitch eventually won them over. The iPod was launched in 2001 and quickly became a massive success, transforming Apple into a global leader in consumer electronics and paving the way for future groundbreaking innovations like the iPhone and iPad.

This example demonstrates the power of a compelling and persuasive creative pitch in shaping the trajectory of a company. It highlights the importance of presenting a unique value proposition, understanding market trends, and effectively communicating the potential impact of a product or idea. Jobs's creative pitch for the iPod not only saved Apple from decline but also revolutionised the music industry and laid the foundation for Apple's future success.

A Checklist:

  1. Understand your target audience and their needs, desires, and pain points.

  2. Research and gather relevant information to support your pitch.

  3. Craft a compelling story that aligns with the audience's interests and aspirations.

  4. Develop strong communication and presentation skills to effectively convey your message.

  5. Use visuals, storytelling techniques, and engaging anecdotes to make your pitch memorable.

  6. Anticipate and address potential objections or concerns.

  7. Practice and refine your pitch to ensure clarity, confidence, and impact.

45. Product Management

A Quote:

“Product management really is the fusion between technology, what engineers do - and the business side”. ~ Marissa Mayer

A Definition: Product management involves overseeing the entire lifecycle of a product or service, from ideation and development to launch and ongoing optimization. It requires a combination of strategic thinking, market analysis, customer understanding, and project management skills to ensure the successful delivery of products that meet customer needs and drive business growth.

An Example:

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is known for his exceptional product management skills, which have been instrumental in the company's success. One remarkable example of his product management expertise is the development and launch of Amazon Prime. Bezos recognised the need to enhance the customer experience and create loyalty among Amazon's customers. With his visionary thinking and strong product management skills, he conceptualised and implemented the idea of Amazon Prime—a subscription-based service that offers a range of benefits such as free two-day shipping, access to streaming services, and exclusive deals.

Through careful market research, Bezos identified the pain points of customers, including the desire for fast and reliable shipping options. He understood that by addressing these needs and providing additional value through perks like streaming services, he could increase customer loyalty and drive more sales. Bezos and his team worked on developing the infrastructure and logistics to support fast shipping, negotiating with suppliers, and expanding the product range available for Prime members. The result was a highly successful program that revolutionised the e-commerce industry and transformed Amazon into a household name.

The strategic implementation of Amazon Prime not only improved the customer experience but also boosted customer retention and acquisition. It became a key driver of Amazon's growth and profitability, setting the company apart from its competitors.

This example highlights how effective product management, coupled with customer-centric thinking, can lead to the creation of innovative services that cater to customer needs, enhance loyalty, and drive business success. Bezos' product management skills were essential in envisioning and executing a groundbreaking program that has reshaped the way people shop online.

A Checklist:

  1. Understand the market landscape, industry trends, and customer preferences.

  2. Conduct thorough market research and competitive analysis.

  3. Define clear product goals, objectives, and success metrics.

  4. Develop a deep understanding of customer needs through user research and feedback.

  5. Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including engineering, design, and marketing, to drive product development.

  6. Prioritize features and requirements based on customer value and business impact.

  7. Continuously iterate and improve products based on feedback and market insights.

Come & Collaborate

Thank you for joining us on this journey through 99 skills at the 21st-century workplace. We believe that the key to success is continuous learning, so we encourage you to keep seeking out new knowledge and skills.

To help you on your path, we are offering a special #DISCovery Session for our readers. This one-on-one coaching session will help you identify your strengths, set career goals, and progress to a personalized plan for success. To book your session, go to at and use the code "99SKILLS" for a special discount.

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