PROFILE

Mark Price

Managing Partner, LiftPoint Consulting, Inc.

Mark Price is founder and managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting Group, which he has led for over 14 years.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences as an expert on data-driven marketing and authors articles on the same topic. Mark has a podcast called The Lift Point and also blogs regularly.  He is responsible for leading client engagements, e-commerce and database marketing and talent acquisition for his firm.

Prior to founding LiftPoint Consulting in 2002, Mark was the Practice Leader for Zamba Solutions, focusing on data warehousing, marketing automation and data mining. Mark’s business experience also includes brand management at General Mills and Ralston Purina.

Mark has an MBA from the Darden School of the University of Virginia and a BA from Haverford College. He lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., with his wife,  poodle and Great Dane.

Other Links from Mark Price:

LiftPoint Consulting Blog

 

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  • Posted on: 08/31/2017

    Is outsourcing a better option for in-home tech help?

    There are benefits and drawbacks to outsourcing tech services for retailers. The benefits include not having to continuously retrain a team to address the latest technology, not carrying additional headcount on the books and being able to flex staff costs as demand fluctuates. The final benefit is recognizing that most retailers do not have heavy service delivery as a core competence.The drawbacks focus on handing over a key element of customer experience to an outside team, which may or may not represent your values. Remember, customers will see the tech services team as an extension of the retailer's brand, not as an outside group. Any misstep falls on the retailer's head.If a retailer can place stringent enough controls and measures on an outsourced group, that strategy will be the strongest.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2017

    Is there a ‘right way’ for retailers to help in times of disaster?

    Authenticity is the key to responses to natural disasters as it is for everything else. Retailers should address the needs of their employees and their customers and then expand out to the wider community. If the retailer can do so consistently with their core positioning (e.g. The Home Depot and building supplies), so much the better. If not, then merely providing safe spaces, food and living supplies, is the key.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2017

    Are Whole Foods’ price cuts game-changing for food retailing?

    Amazon is likely to see the biggest benefits of the Whole Foods acquisition to be rapid entry into the grocery market, particularly fresh produce, and the immediate acquisition of hundreds of points of distribution for the Amazon organization as a whole. As a result, Amazon will not be as dependent on the high margins of Whole Foods; rather, they would like to increase the traffic into the stores, which further benefits their ultimate goal -- a physical presence across online and off-line.I anticipate a gradual reduction of prices on commonly compared products across the Whole Foods product assortment.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2017

    Should Starbucks close its online store?

    Most marketers consider integration of customer experience across all channels to be essential to reinforcing customer engagement and driving long-term customer value. With Starbucks, which has an unusually digital audience, this is all the more so. That's why it is surprising that Starbucks would close their online store. Their customer base engages heavily online and when Starbucks outsources their online purchases to Amazon, they lose critical customer information.The closing of the Teavana stores would seem to provide another rationale for maintaining and expanding the Starbucks online presence.We will have to see what Starbucks rolls out as an alternative to maintain their engagement with their customers (and all the customer information).
  • Posted on: 08/02/2017

    Are there too many grocery stores?

    Over time, markets segment. That is an eternal law of marketing. What we are seeing is an expansion of alternative channels that are taking a piece of the grocery "pie" (only a small pun intended!). The segmentation of grocery will narrow the customer base (segment) for each channel to customers who have an affinity for that channel. Then the channel must work to optimize share of wallet and margin by improving customer experience and product options for the specific needs of that segment.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2017

    Are private equity firms the true retail chain killers?

    I must concur with this assessment and expand on it. I know of two retailers in specific that have been driven into bankruptcy by the heavy debt burden of their private equity owners. The debt burden is compounded by the unwillingness of private equity to invest in the business, choosing to seek dividends and a quick exit at any cost over the longer-term play of investing in customer experience and assortment required to win in retail today. What a shame.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2017

    Is ‘free’ a big enough incentive to get consumers to try click and collect?

    Consumers will always say that a reduction in price will change their behavior. While that may be true to some extent in the short term, consumers tend to return to their old patterns without some longer-term customer experience benefit. If BOPIS requires standing in line after struggling to find parking, then the initiative is doomed from the start.Retailers can make better use of their money by improving customer experience for those BOPIS customers than engaging in discounts that will quickly be matched by competition.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2017

    Are retailers measuring omnichannel all wrong?

    The fundamental assumption around sales per engagement minute is that the best way to measure the value of engagement is through short-term revenue. Analysis of best customer behavior suggests that the value of engagement is best measured in share of wallet over a longer period of time, like a year. In addition, best customers tend to bring friends to the retailer as well, which needs to be counted in their overall value.We have enough trouble with short-term thinking by retailers. I know everyone has to hit the quarterly revenue numbers, but consideration must be given to total annual value as well.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2017

    How can retailers make loyalty programs more effective?

    True loyalty is not driven by deals; it is driven by personalization, as noted in the article.One aspect of personalization that is not noted is personalization of channels. Millennials frequently wish to conduct all of their business through mobile devices. Mobile will be the key to driving loyalty in this segment, as well as in pieces of other segments as well.That is one area where Starbucks got on board early and retained their focus over time — delivering key functionality and then expanding capabilities on mobile devices over time. Today, Starbucks has the most comprehensive mobile experience available, both for transactions, added value and loyalty program. Combining all three on mobile devices will be the key for retailers seeking to build loyalty going forward.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2017

    Do customer reviews suffer from a herd mentality?

    To balance things out and to increase credibility, retailers should supply consumers with third party evaluations of their products, in addition to consumers reviews.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2017

    Is marketing research suffering from an identity crisis?

    Shopper marketing today must combine the best of quantitative and qualitative methods to identify insight to change businesses. More important than the methods, however, are the questions.Market research must ensure that the questions they are solving are current and meaningful. Current, as in reflecting the most recent advances in technology that are impacting consumers today. Meaningful, as in the answers to the questions have potential to shift the marketing effort and improve customer acquisition and engagement in measurable ways. Issues regarding point solutions are not anywhere as important as attribution analysis and a deep understanding of multichannel communications and the context/problem that each digital tool (and non-digital) solve for specific segments of consumers. To solve those questions, MR must use both qualitative and "hard" data tools.Only by focusing in this way can market research avoid the risk of irrelevancy.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2017

    Has Fabletics bridged the digital/physical divide with its omnicart tech?

    The omnicart concept is an exciting one. The question is how to structure the process so that the cart is actually a benefit to consumers. I am not sure that placing items tried on in-store in the cart will be a big boon to consumers who are used to making decisions much faster these days.A bigger benefit would be to scan the consumer's measurements and image in-store, and then permit the consumer to see themselves online trying clothes on. Measurement storage, as well as "next most likely product" marketing, would be clear benefits.Storing items for later consideration could have a small lift, but is not the game changer.
  • Posted on: 05/09/2017

    Will next day delivery make Target an omnichannel force?

    Target is trying to achieve two objectives simultaneously with their restock program. First, compete with the home delivery segment of the market, which is growing as specific consumer segments grow accustomed to online grocery shopping. Second, Target has struggled with the profitability of their grocery business and this initiative helps increase turns in this poorly performing store section.The restock program will also provide additional value to the Target credit card.A parity move to match competition seems to lack the innovation to drive revenue or customer engagement. Perhaps this is a move that will enable Target to build further enhancements on top of next-day delivery, such as same-day delivery, delivery of products that Target does not carry in-store and perhaps replenishment programs.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2017

    Can Walmart dash past Amazon with its own product replenishment system?

    Walmart's system leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide insight into consumer behavior that can permit the company to better anticipate consumer needs for replenishment. In theory, that is a very convincing proposition.Now let's look at the challenges:
    • What percent of Walmart consumers will permit the company to use their personal data to predict when they need product? Can't they just reorder when they are getting low?
    • Providing consumer behavior data from RFID is not widely accepted at the moment. Younger consumers tend to be more willing than other groups, but that information must still be heavily permissioned.
    and so on...I guess the real question is: what is the consumer benefit here? I see lots of technology in search of a consumer benefit at the moment.
  • Posted on: 03/21/2017

    Why is the U.S. so bad at airport retailing?

    U.S. retailers make the mistake of assuming that consumers in an "airport mall" are more focused on the "airport" than the "mall." True, specific segments of consumers purchase items to make their flights easier, but many consumers, particularly frequent flyers (who make up a great percent of the ordinary daily airport traffic), treat shopping at the airport as a substitute for the actual mall. More mainstream stores with more mainstream staff and items will drive more consistent traffic and revenue.

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