Words from Wunderkinds: How our Executives in Residence Create Value for Retailers

As a member of the Client Partnerships org at Wunderkind, my team has the privilege of working alongside some of the world’s top retailers—addressing some of their most significant challenges on a day-to-day basis. Even during much of the economic uncertainty that has come with the spread of COVID-19, we’ve achieved success in being the most efficient performance channel for hundreds of our retailers. This success comes from our desire to craft an approach that isn’t just cookie-cutter for our partners. Instead, we work to know their business goals and objectives through-and-through. To assist us as we craft these tailored strategies, my team leverages the career experience of our executives in residence. To highlight this, we sat down with two of these execs, TJ Papp and Milton Pappas, to discuss how Wunderkind is backing up the mantra of being “the people who get people.”


Houston Pearce: How do you think about creating value?

TJ Papp: Remove friction. Create distinction.

Milton Pappas: It really is different for everyone. There’s a reason that Wunderkinds are encouraged to do ample background research on what our partners are goaled on. Sometimes it’s acquiring new customers; sometimes it’s increasing AOVs; sometimes it’s bringing people back to convert. 

TJ: Right. One of our main goals is to ensure we’re actually driving undeniable value for retailers—and this means something different for each one. We never want to place the technology or products that Wunderkind has ahead of a very holistic understanding of each partner, their industry, and the challenges they face. Their marketing-technology spend is a catalyst for addressing their very unique needs.

Milton: Absolutely. Instead of trying to sell up a bunch of features, I always encourage the team to show retailers a specific example of what we’re able to accomplish—made just for their brand. It always amazes me how Wunderkind’s analysts can put an exact revenue number to this and then contractually guarantee it.

Houston: How do you prioritize your goals?

TJ: I like to bucket my priorities into “now, next, and wow.” It’s something that I adopted during my time at Nike. I saw it in a deck 4 years or so ago. It was a normal slide; they didn’t even emphasize it, but I loved the simplicity. It helps me focus on what’s important while also thinking about the longer term. 

Houston: Can you give us examples of putting this framework to use?

TJ: Sure. “Now” includes the things that you need to be actioning on every day. It could be growing your marketable list, increasing LTV, or making your site’s user experience best-in-class. “Next” includes things like product launches in the next couple of quarters. “Wow” is creating something with undeniable lasting value.

Milton: It helps me to go back to the principles that guide most great marketers. I’ve found success when I aim for three things: driving more revenue, being efficient, and reducing cost.

Houston: If you were to evaluate Wunderkind, how do we fit into that criteria?

Milton: You’re all able to drive significant revenue—something like 11-20% additional digital revenue—for your clients. Just that amount of money on the table is something that can’t be ignored. But the fact that it’s such an efficient spend for this return—in many cases, the most efficient— that’s what really draws me in.

Houston: As a marketing executive, how would you evaluate Wunderkind?

Milton: No one does what Wunderkind does. Full stop. You have such a unique ability to send triggered emails at significant scale. These are the messages that we know perform better than any other types, and through your ability to identify more traffic than anyone else, you can reach the right people with the right message at the right time. 

TJ: Milton hit the nail on the head. I just want to add that, even though Wunderkind does leverage its unique technology to serve retailers, you are much more of a strategic partner than a tech tool. Wunderkind is able to weave the consumer into the fabric of the organization and then use tech as the tool to drive revenue for their brands. 

If you’d like to experience what TJ and Milton discussed for yourself and put our unmatched level of care to the test, reach out today and we’ll provide an entirely custom performance estimate.


About the Interviewees

TJ Papp began with Abercrombie & Fitch as a senior recruiter, and later branched out into several facets of retail – from directing Men’s Footwear at Cole Haan to being a Senior Director of Merchandising, Global DTC Football at Nike. Most recently, TJ was the Senior Vice President Global Brand, Digital Brand & DTC at Kenneth Cole Productions. TJ advises several companies, and in addition to being one of our Executives in Residence, he is the Interim Head of Digital & Marketing at GREATS.

Milton Pappas has an extensive career in marketing and eCommerce having held senior leadership roles at companies such as Toys”R”Us, Nine West Group, New York & Company, Hudson Bay Company, and RTW Retailwinds. Milton advises several companies, and in addition to being one of our Executives in Residence, he is an advisor and acting Chief Marketing Officer at Toplooks.ai.


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Houston Pearce

Houston Pearce is a Client Partnerships Executive at Wunderkind. In addition to his role on this team, Houston is on the leadership team for the Executive in Residence program. With a background in luxury hospitality, Houston’s favorite part of working for Wunderkind is constantly delivering maximum value to our clients. A native of the Southeast, Houston has most recently worked in New York for some of the fastest-growing companies in the country.