Mara Maddox, for Public Relations Manager at Bloomingdale’s

Since the arrival of shopping online, many have predicted the end of department store shopping, yet it hasn’t happened. Much research confirms that a customer often shops both online and in the store, sometimes simultaneously, before buying. That leaves retailers with the difficult task of managing the customer experience across channels and touchpoints. And at no time is the task more challenging—and potentially rewarding—than during the holiday season.

So, how are retailers dealing with the challenge? We talk with Mara Maddox, a former Public Relations Manager at Bloomingdale’s for some insights.

How far in advance is the content strategy for the holidays planned? Does data inform it?

Holiday is considered one of the biggest opportunities in retail. The fall season as a whole is the largest boon to retail, with the final push being holiday. A lot of ammunition to please and delight the customer is planned. Typically six to nine months in advance the marketing, buying, and merchandising teams work to get the best items available and presented in a compelling way to customers. Data from the market, street style, and fashion shows absolutely influences both marketing and content production.

What message do you aspire to convey to customers across channels about the Bloomingdale’s shopping experience?

First and foremost it’s fashion. Bloomie’s is the retailer for the discriminating shopper with the hottest designers and cutting edge fashion available. Through its recent campaign #100percentbloomies, the company has teamed to create over 1000 exclusives by 100 designers. A big feat! Bloomingdale’s utilizes a strong “fashion voice” to convey this important time of year in all our platforms and channels.

The 100% Bloomingdale’s campaign uses strong imagery for a unique “fashion voice”


The Bloomingdales Big Brown Bag App
The Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag App for iPhone

Walk me through the content process at Bloomingdale’s from conception to implementation throughout the holiday season.

The content changes each year in that the store offers new and exciting collaborations, hot holiday merchandise, and exclusives. What’s formulaic is the omnichannel approach in servicing the customer across all platforms to reach her where she is most and be completely accessible while offering shopping rewards on her favorite finds. For example, the Bloomingdale’s Big Brown App lets users shop Bloomingdales and get service on their mobile device while maintaining the ‘Brown Bag’ branding and tone that they would find in-store.

How do departments such as communications, IT, and marketing collaborate?

Basically, everyone works across lines to get the same goal- serving the Bloomingdale’s customer with the top in fashion and making the experience unique.

What tactics do you employ to enhance user experience and customer engagement across channels?

Bloomingdale’s adopted the now-popular “buy online, pickup in store” about two years ago. That is a big advantage to the customer. Offering exclusive merchandise and unique collaboratives with top names in fashion are what really sets Bloomingdale’s apart. From Diane von Furstenberg and Rebecca Minkoff to John Varvatos and Billy Reid, designers are quick to respond to requests knowing the store will deliver.

The Authors

Content Science is a growing content strategy and intelligence company and the publisher of Content Science Review. We empower digital enterprises for the content era by taking their content approach to the next level. Customers of our professional services and one-of-a-kind products (such as ContentWRX and Content Science Academy) include the Fortune 50, the world’s largest nonprofits, and the most trusted government agencies.

Mara Maddox served as Public Relations and Marketing Manager for Bloomingdale’s for 10 years before moving onto the B2B marketing space.  She serves on the Advertising PR board for Grady College at the University of Georgia and is happiest when honing her skills with like-minded professionals.

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