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.

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  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    Johnson & Johnson takes aim at digital disruption

    Managing all the channels is a requirement for top CPG brands today. Distribution will be absolutely critical to success, and distribution strategies will need to be flexible and agile as the digital and discount channels change with new retailers and e-commerce providers emerging and changing their value propositions.In addition, consumer engagement across channels will be critical. Customers must be researched and segmented as their behavior is evolving -- making the challenge even greater.Success will be driven by distribution and engagement and the best CPG marketers will be highly focused on both.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    When are text messages welcome from retailers?

    Clearly the main question is about the importance of the communication. Consumers who are in the segment that accepts and even encourages text messages do not want text to just become another email, where you receive so many communications it is hard to identify the important ones.Text messages need to contain time-sensitive information, perhaps based on location data, as well as transactional information. Context as well as content will be critical to the success of text messaging as a tool to drive engagement.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2017

    Do U.S. retailers have a big cross-border opportunity?

    To the extent that companies can identify specific customer segments within new markets that would benefit from their product, new markets can be profitable. The barriers to entry are high, though, in terms of regulation, shipping and VAT. One additional cost that manufacturers underestimate is the cost of distribution, both in terms of dollars and time to train, manage and ensure effective operations.Increasing free trade zones can help to reduce those costs and grow businesses in the U.S. by opening those markets to new products for those segments that would really benefit.
  • Posted on: 10/23/2017

    Will in-store clienteling aid Neiman Marcus’ digital push?

    Providing powerful data driven tools to enhance customer experience in-store with the associates has been a long time coming in retail. I applaud Neiman for moving this ahead. The ultimate positioning for any retailer is "you know me" and tolls such as this will help Neiman reinforce their relationship with their core customer base, increasing retention and frequency.This capability will provide a bigger benefit to customers the more often they come in and the more they purchase. Being able to access sizes and colors based on historical transactions, as well as "next most likely" product suggestions, in-store, will provide a human touch with essentially digital capabilities.I am excited to see how Neiman and other retailers will use this capability to improve customer experience.PS: you need well-paid, retained associates to make this work, by the way....
  • Posted on: 09/29/2017

    Personalization works. Why don’t more marketers use it?

    The greatest gap I have seen in my clients is a combination of skills, process and software. Let's take it in reverse order. Most of the digital marketing automation software available on the market today is fully capable of executing personalized email marketing. However, the software may not be configured to do so, or may not be connected to the right data to build the personalization rules.Second, many retailers have a slow, cumbersome approval process for products and offers, involving multiple revisions of products and pricing by buyers before emails can be sent. Personalization (multiple versions) simply multiplies the work and leads to other emails falling farther behind.Finally, the marketing team finds themselves required to dramatically increase the complexity of their email campaigns, without additional staff or time for training to improve speed while maintaining accuracy. This is a slippery slope and leads to burnout and attrition inevitably.Personalization, to succeed, must be introduced piece by piece rather than through a big switch.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2017

    Macy’s counts on new rewards program

    The new loyalty program does not address one of the most critical issues that I believe is curtailing Macy's growth -- customer experience in-store. Discounts, special merchandise and on-line benefits are good builds to enhance best customer relationship, but the foundation of success in retail is in-person customer experience. Having enough staff and having the right staff to deliver a 5-star customer experience must be addressed as the highest priority.No amount of loyalty program development, no matter how solid, will replace a poor experience.
  • Posted on: 09/27/2017

    Should shorter lines for the iPhone 8 concern Apple?

    Long lines and scarcity are critical to Apple's "leading edge" image (although many of the features of iPhones are available for Android already). I believe that the X will have long lines, and Apple has reduced production quantities which should ensure scarcity.The launch of the 8 and the X simultaneously was an unusual choice and diminished the appeal of the 8, even though that phone has some clear benefits.I think the multi-level launch strategy will hurt Apple in the long-run. Apple represents new and different, and the launch of the 8 simply does not meet that mark and customers responded appropriately.
  • 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.

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