Shopify Ecosystem

How Fashion Retailers Can Connect With Customers In 2022: Q&A With Joanna Milliken

how-fashion-retailers-can-connect-with-customers-in-2022:-q&a-with-joanna-milliken

This article was originally published on Drapers Online, here, and has been adapted for the Emarsys blog.

In an era where many marketers wear their countless campaigns and channels as a badge of honor, we’re working to evangelize the vast benefits of data centralization and tech consolidation.

I sat down with Joanna Milliken, our new CEO, to get her quick take on the current state of the oversaturated martech space. Enjoy our Q&A.

Related: Greetings from New Emarsys CEO, Joanna Milliken


Q: Could the exponential explosion of tech/SaaS players lead to a figurative implosion of marketers’ sanity (or ability to vet, choose, manage, and integrate all these different tools)?

A: Marketers working in retail have become conditioned to believe they need more stuff, more tools, more pieces for their tech stack. The lack of differentiation and the number of martech products that don’t work as promised definitely don’t help matters. To be blunt, many martech platforms aren’t built for marketers. A good solution needs to drive outcomes, not just deliver content. As of now, most marketers are pretty oblivious to why they use what they use and have no idea what they truly need. They end up stitching together multiple different platforms… resulting in problems, creating data silos and a hampered ability to create great personalized experiences.

Q: A centralized platform or dashboard or “source of truth” is the golden bullet. What do you want marketers to know regarding the benefits of using a single platform vs. a plethora of disconnected software systems?

A: A single platform allows creative teams to manage their entire customer journey from start to finish. When retailers are empowered to engage with shoppers before, during, and after a sale – regardless of when, where, or how they choose to shop – both parties benefit. Whether running personalized email campaigns, managing promotions on the website, building loyalty programs, automating marketing campaigns, or managing your mobile app, you really need to have it all in one place. Centralizing the tools and data that your need helps to drive business outcomes, which in turn improves how quick your customers get what they truly want.

Joanna Milliken

Joanna Milliken

CEO, Emarsys

“Centralizing tools and data improves how quickly your customers get what they truly want. Whether sending personalized emails, managing promotions, building loyalty programs, automating marketing campaigns, or managing your mobile app, you need to have it all in one place.”

Q: We’ve all heard about big data, AI, and other buzzwords permeating the martech industry. Can you bring this down to earth a bit?

A: Unfortunately, a lot of brands and retailers don’t have access to the customer data they need because it’s stuck in silos between different departments, channels, or stores. You’ve heard the phrase “unite customer data,” which really means “use one tool for everything.” In addition to having less to worry about, you’ll better understand audiences and be able to deliver personalized, one-to-one customer experiences, in real time, on all channels and devices.

Related: How Top Brand Marketers Unify Data and Break Down Silos to Drive Business Results

Q: What is your message for other women aspiring to build a career in the tech world?

A: As a female leader in tech, my position is that everyone, including women and underrepresented groups, deserves to find and own their unique professional path. If young women see female role models in leadership roles, it lets them know that it’s achievable for them as well. Now, it’s my privilege to be a leader and help others, paying it forward to the next generation of all leaders.


As Joanna describes, it’s incumbent upon all of us, as marketers, to reverse this cycle of  monotony. When we become stuck in the status quo because we aren’t willing to seek out better ways, our customers are the ones who pay the price.

Outdated ways of thinking will only hold you back from tapping into your brand’s greatest potential. It’s by buying, trying, and doing less (as opposed to more) that you’ll be able to maximize your output in this age of information.

Make 2022 the year of recentering, recalibrating, and auditing where you have too much. Then, decide where you can centralize your efforts, free your time, and make customers’ lives even better.

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Michael Becker

Michael Becker

Digital Content Manager, Emarsys

About the author

Michael is Digital Content Manager at Emarsys. In conjunction with his team, he manages the Marketer + Machine content hub and podcast – creating best-of-breed, educational material for e-commerce and digital marketers. Michael is a published author on industry publications including Content Marketing Institute, JeffBullas.com, Business2Community, and others.

Special thanks to our friends at Emarsys for their insights on this topic.
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