What 30 Years in Commerce Marketing Has Taught Me


Since I started Icon Marketing Communications more than 25 years ago, the marketing and advertising landscape has only become more complex. One of our earliest clients began as a mail-order-only brand. We’re still partners today. That client is now a global, Fortune 1000 company that engages customers across a myriad of sales and communication channels.

Technology is evolving rapidly every day, and consumers are quick to adopt it, their interests and preferences evolving at nearly the same pace. It used to be that consumers only had a handful of places to get the information they needed to make a purchase decision, but today’s buying journey is more complicated. Brands need an agency that can navigate it.

It’s tempting to try to keep up with this pace and focus on short-term gains as each channel offers new features. After nearly three decades of marketing for brands that have become household names, I’ve seen that it’s the long game that makes the difference. 

Prioritizing brand longevity

Over the years, we’ve expanded our capabilities and changed our name, but Icon’s goal remains the same as it was in 1997: to promote the long-term health and growth of the brands we serve. In 2023, that means not focusing solely on the shiny new tech, but instead using data-backed insights to drive a holistic strategy across channels that keeps the brand at the center.

Icon Commerce approach to commerce marketing

Growing brand trust

Your brand exists to do more than just sell products. Yes, sales are important. But remember why you’re here: Your brand exists to solve a problem your customers are facing. The role marketing plays is to build trust with your customers so that they believe you can solve their problems. The result of that trust is sales. 

How do you build trust? By showing up the same way every time customers encounter your brand across their journey. Yes, your messaging changes as they move down the funnel, and yes, you need to show up in the new ways and places your customers are; but the experience they have of your brand should be consistent and cohesive. 

Every shopper touchpoint and decision—from being introduced to your brand to making a first (or second) purchase—is an opportunity to build or break trust with your brand. 

Partnering for success 

Agencies don’t win unless their clients are winning. We take our work as a full-service omnichannel commerce agency as a charge to ensure our client partners achieve a unified brand experience. Backed up by decades of experience working with top consumer brands, this charge gives us an edge over other, more channel-specific agencies. 

A partnership with Icon looks like: 

1.    Brand-Centric Approach

We put your brand at the center of everything we do, gaining a thorough understanding of your brand's essence and objectives. This solid foundation allows us to execute strategies across channels that reinforce your brand's identity, values, and messaging to create a cohesive and compelling experience for your audience.
2.    Curated Team of Experts

We’ve intentionally curated our team to provide clients with both breadth and depth of expertise. To help brands navigate a fast-changing shopping environment, we tailor solutions to the needs and challenges of your brand, from strategic media planning to conversion-optimized design and cutting-edge tech and development. 

3.    Data, Analytics, Insights, and Strategy

Our approach to every business challenge is iterative and dynamic. We gather data, analyze it, form insights, and build strategy around consumer behavior, market trends, and untapped opportunities. Then we do it again—each time getting smarter and more efficient at reaching and converting your customers. You get more than a readout of your brand’s performance. We unlock the potential hidden in your data and then activate it.

In 1997, branding and advertising looked very different, but the core needs of customers remain the same: Will you solve my problem, and can I trust you to do so again and again? Addressing those needs in today’s world requires a truly data-driven approach centered on the customer experience with your brand. With the right combination of data and brand, we help our clients stay one step ahead of the competition—no matter how the world changes next.


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