It's Time To Smell Some Roses -- In Real-Time -- And Yes, In Real Places

As the marketing and media industries become increasingly reliant on real-time data processing, it seems like it might be a good time to step back and smell the roses. And I don’t just mean that metaphorically, but for people in the business to actually go out and experience firsthand what their “end users” experience when they are at their “moment of truth.” You know, when they’re standing inside a store and actually interacting with a brand at retail.

Yes, real-time marketing and commerce data is amazing, and it is possible to correlate the exposure of a digital ad impression directly with a conversion -- or for that matter, an abandonment -- for all that digital data power, it’s worth remembering that nearly 90% of all retail sales still occur in a physical retail location, not online (see Census Bureau estimates).



So I wasn’t surprised to learn that digital-savvy marketing and media expert Dan Hodges’ next big thing wasn’t online, mobile or even VR or AI or another data-driven shiny thing, but good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar: a series of curated story experiences organized around a marketer’s specific business objectives.

Hodges' new business -- aptly named Retail Store Tours -- is a logical outgrowth of the kind of curated walking tours he developed as founder of Consumers In Motion, which originally focused on the next new shiny digital things on display at CES and other technology meccas.

As important as those “physical” experiences are, they’re just not the real world that most consumers actually experience brands in these days. And while people increasingly research and window shop products and services online, as the Census Bureau’s data points out, the vast majority of purchases are still made in a physical retail location.

That’s why Hodges launched RST to focus on experiencing the “new retail.”

Not surprisingly, the tours kicked off in late summer in China, with a series of walking tours in retail establishments in Shanghai, which are being followed by a series of tours taking place during Advertising Week in New York City.

Venues on the New York City itinerary include the just opened Hudson Yards retail community, as well as slightly more established locations such as SoHo, the World Trade Center’s Oculus, the Flatiron District, the Meatpacking District, Times Square, and of course, Madison Avenue.

Check out Hodge's sizzle reel below to get the idea, or sign up for one of his two-hour tours and experience it firsthand.

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