Profile: Ryan Mallett, Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Retail, Microsoft
After spending several years in marketing roles for startups and, most recently, a retail/brand-focused marketing agency in Seattle, Ryan Mallett wanted to switch things up. His goal was to work directly for a brand to challenge himself further in the retail marketing environment. With Microsoft headquartered nearby, Mallett was able to find a perfect role through networking. He landed on the North American consumer and device team supporting retail partner channel marketing.
Please describe your current role and your company’s digital initiative.
Mallett: As digital marketing manager, I oversee online strategy and execution for the Office and Windows categories across our key U.S. retail partner accounts. This includes Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Office Depot, Staples and more. My focus is on setting and steering strategy while creating best-in-class digital experiences through marketing programs and dot-com initiatives.
What are the goals of your overall team?
Mallett: Put simply, we want to create the best customer experiences possible for our products through our retail partner sites. Creating fans and delivering on our promise to help every person and organization achieve more are integral to what we do.
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How does your organization promote digital innovation?
Mallett: We’re constantly working with our retail and agency partners to drive new program opportunities and initiatives. We’re encouraged to test and trial across new platforms to ensure that we are staying on the cutting edge of digital innovation and constantly learning as we go.
Can you share a recent example of your team’s work that stands out?
Mallett: Over this past holiday, our team launched Windows Mixed Reality across our retail channels, which was a massive executional effort across our digital, in-store, training and demo teams to bring our story to market. We ran full-scale media campaigns that drove awareness, increased purchase intent and delivered foot traffic for assisted in-store demos.
Where do you see digital marketing headed in the next few years?
Mallett: I’m excited to see what’s ahead, and it’s apparent that modern technologies and trends will continue to shape the digital marketing landscape. I’m expecting to see more aggressive innovation in voice, augmented reality and marketing automation with artificial intelligence, along with continued growth in mobile, social/influencer, personalization and video technologies.
How can brands – in general – take better advantage of the opportunities in digital?
Mallett: Digital marketing provides such a robust opportunity to meet your customers where they are, but often it seems like there is a lack of a cohesive strategy behind the tactics and messaging put into market, making a campaign feel disjointed. A well-defined strategy is key to getting the most out of digital.
What does omnichannel mean to you in your current role?
Mallett: It comes down to staying tuned into what our partners are doing and understanding where their roadmap is taking us. That way we’re ready to partner at every opportunity to make our experiences as seamless and continuous as possible. I also stay connected with my visual merchandising counterpart to ensure that we’re aligned in our messaging between in-store and online and are constantly looking for new ways to connect the experiences.
What digital devices and services do you use most often, and how much of an omnichannel shopper are you?
Mallett: I’m a huge fan of wearables and smart home solutions, even though I was skeptical at first. Turning up my home’s temperature before we arrive home from a weekend away or keeping an eye on home security directly from my mobile device is extremely convenient. I’m almost strictly an online shopper these days because it’s become so fast and easy. With that said, I do enjoy the tactile nature of the in-store experience but truly do prefer the simplicity of the online experience.
How do you keep an ear to the ground in such an ever-changing digital landscape?
Mallett: The fast-paced nature of the digital landscape is something I love but does make it a challenge to stay connected to the constant evolution that is occurring when you’re executing on your daily deliverables. I try to find focus time each week to read, watch and listen to industry news and events so I can stay educated and plugged into what’s happening.