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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LiftPoint Consulting Blog

 

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  • Posted on: 08/30/2018

    Which market research tasks are likely to be taken over by AI?

    Repetitive tasks that are currently done by researchers are the easiest things to automate with AI. I think that will include survey design, fielding and analysis, particularly sentiment analysis and language processing. The key parts of research that should never be replaced include:
    • "What is the key question we need to answer?";
    • "What will we do with the findings when they are complete?";
    • "what are the implications of the findings for the brand and the business as a whole?"
    Benefits include reducing time for a research project and therefore reducing cost. The risk is that researchers and marketers begin to rely on AI to answer questions that require some level of intuition and subtlety to find the real "nugget."
  • Posted on: 08/29/2018

    Amazon’s warehouse workers become social cheerleaders

    The core of social media is authenticity. I am not sure that the social media effort of the FC ambassadors fits that requirement. Ideally, Amazon would highlight to the organization the wish for them to engage on social media, if they would like to. Then the company would stay studiously away from that effort in order to keep it original, spontaneous and genuine. Trying to "manage" the effort, in terms of recruitment and incentives, is sure to be perceived as a violation of trust.
  • Posted on: 08/28/2018

    Walmart turns to Moosejaw for curation

    Moosejaw is an excellent strategy to permit Walmart to access brands that would not be willing to deal with Walmart directly. These higher premium brands appeal to a broader set of customers than the traditional Walmart shopper and thus increase their overall footprint. As the Premium Outdoor Store broadens, it should begin to compete more and more with Bass Pro Shops, REI, etc., in a whole new market segment for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2018

    Report says voice commerce is all talk

    On the scale of technology adoption described by Geoffrey Moore in his book “Crossing the Chasm”, voice ordering is at the early adopter stage. The early majority are waiting for the early adopters to spread the word that the technology is ready for prime time. I have no doubt that voice ordering via Alexa, Google or Siri will become widespread. The question is just when the tipping point comes. Given the rapid pace of technology adoption today, I would imagine that we will see voice ordering becoming prevalent within the next two years. For packaged goods brand marketing, there will be more emphasis placed on marketing via these devices. There is also substantial risk, as noted in the article, that the technology providers may substitute their private label products whenever a brand is not designated by a customer.
  • Posted on: 08/07/2018

    Starbucks prepares for a Bitcoin future

    The only way that Bitcoin can be used in the consumer marketplace is if the value remains relatively stable over time. Starbucks is doing the sensible thing, working to convert that coin into dollars and then permitting consumers to use those dollars to conduct transactions. Right now, Bitcoin is simply too volatile to be pegged to any consistent nondigital value. I would imagine that other retailers will follow Starbucks, as they have with the Starbucks mobile app before.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2018

    Walmart still trying to figure out home delivery

    Many grocery retailers have struggled to make home delivery profitable over the past 10 years or so. The challenge is the razor–thin margins in the grocery business, and consumer reluctance to pay extra for delivery in a time of Amazon Prime. To succeed, Walmart must make a substantial investment in infrastructure and analytics. If the home delivery system can be used to prompt consumer interest in automatic replenishment, and if delivery vehicles can store a range of commodity items, such as paper towels, that can be sold to consumers at the time of delivery, the service can be profitable. Ultimately though, the results of home delivery should be evaluated at a customer level, not at a service level. If home delivery customers purchase a higher share of wallet of their grocery needs through Walmart, and if those customers are retained at a higher level, then customer value will increase. Increased customer retention drives higher value. If customers purchase some delivery and some in-store, then their profitability must be averaged across all of their purchases. Too narrow a focus could lead Walmart to miss a substantial opportunity.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Will America win the trade war?

    The very concept of a trade war ignores the interconnectedness of the global economy. Supply chains are frequently integrated across countries. In addition, the perceived imbalance is often a result of focusing exclusively on goods rather than goods and services. The result of trade wars is likely to be inflation and a decline in both revenue and profit for American companies -- the very ones that Trump states he wants to protect. Wasted time, wasted effort, lots of cost and a slowdown to the economy. Now there are unequal playing fields, particularly with China, that need to be rebalanced. But trade wars are not the way to do it.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    Amazon to start new Christmas tradition with its own toy catalog

    This move to send holiday toy catalogs makes sense for Amazon for a number of reasons: 1.) A specific consumer segment uses a catalog for wish lists for their children, which works the best when the children can browse rather than look online; 2.) Catalogs serve as persistent reminders and credibility builders for Amazon toys (since consumers don't necessarily associate Amazon with kids toys), and 3.) A catalog can be a vehicles for content-based marketing (stories that engage consumers and their children). Given that Amazon incorporates dynamic pricing on the site, I believe they will have to go to the lowest price available rather than lock consumers into the catalog prices, which could be higher.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2018

    Will California’s new privacy law set the standard for data protection?

    California frequently is in the vanguard when it comes to progressive legislation. The danger of this "early adopter" role is that the state might not get it right in the first go-around, meaning the legislation would require enhancements over time. This situation is the case when it comes to the new privacy law. Giving consumers insight into how their data is used makes complete sense. Permitting consumers to request that their data be deleted from the company itself places an undue burden on the company and restricts the ability of the company to provide valuable services to consumers in general. And the lawsuit provision needs to be tightened extensively before it can be considered reasonable and effective. It is understandable that consumers wish for more insight into how their data is being used (both inside the company and as regards selling the data to third parties). This new law needs to be adjusted to make sure it is fair to the company as well as the consumer -- adding value to both.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2018

    Will an online dating site formula work for pop-ups?

    Malls have always had pop-up stores when they have open space. Typically Halloween and Christmas items are featured. Kiosks in malls also play the same role. What PopUp Shops does is permit retailers to scale the concept across malls rather than negotiate on a mall-by-mall basis. For the malls it drives new customers and fills unprofitable space. For retailers it scales a method of trial and customer engagement without a long-term lease. Sounds like a win-win.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2018

    How many e-mails are too much?

    Retailers are sending out too many emails — bad emails, that is. Emails that scream offer, offer, deal, deal, buy now, buy now with little branding, personalization or added value to them. The best emails incorporate storytelling (content-based marketing) as well as value-driven offers to make the combination more compelling and drive open and click-thru rates. Consumers want to read stories and especially stories that relate to their lives and needs. That is a lot of work to put into a little email, but well worth the effort.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2018

    Costco workers get a raise and the retailer gets more good press

    In this world of expanding e-commerce, customer experience is one of the few differentiators a retailer has. Fundamentally, employees who are not paid a living wage cannot deliver the type of high-quality experience that is necessary to keep customers off their phones and away from Amazon. By paying a strong hourly wage, Costco gets to select the best retail associates, and maintain their competitive advantage. This approach would seem obvious, but few retailers have embraced it. Too much of a focus on expense line and not enough on incremental customer value, which leads to strong comp sales.
  • Posted on: 06/05/2018

    Is data-driven marketing holding back storytelling?

    Stories are not driven by data, but by people, real or imagined. As the data identifies patterns of customer behavior that can lead to segments, marketers must then turn those segments into personas -- typical people who most resemble the behaviors in that segment. The behaviors come from the data, the attitudes come from research (qualitative/quantitative) and experience of front-line staff with those customer "types." Behaviors and attitudes lead to needs and barriers, and the resolution of those challenges are best told with stories. To succeed at leveraging customer behavior, marketers must use both the left and right side of their brains to draw the picture and create the story that will engage customers.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2018

    Retailers can make personalization work

    When retailers blindly implement business rules that are driven by technology without data insights, then you get the kind of miss that is illustrated in the toilet seat example. Leveraging data to better understand customer shopping patterns in terms of product associations and timing will lead to personalization that is perceived by the customer as truly valuable.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2018

    The importance of prioritizing high(er)-value customers

    Josh's piece is a wonderful, clear description of an approach to identifying and understanding best and potentially best customers in a retail customer base. He is also correct that a retailer must evaluate and prioritize initiatives by how they impact those two customer segments in particular. Modeling customers on potential value can provide lists of qualifying customers; however, you must break down those groups through thoughtful analysis to better understand who they are and how they interact with your retail or ecommerce environment. What products do they prefer? Which of those products tend to skew to those valuable customers? Analysis such as this will provide the insight to ensure that you build your marketing, as well as product assortment, merchandising and promotions, to benefit those customers in particular.

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