Mark Price

Managing Partner, Smart Data Solutions, ThreeBridge

Mark Price is Solution Partner for Smart Data Solutions for ThreeBridge, a national technology consulting firm.  Prior to joining ThreeBridge in October of 2018, Mark was founder and managing partner and founder of LiftPoint Consulting Group, which he led for over 16 years.  He is a frequent speaker at conferences as an expert on data-driven marketing and authors articles on the same topic. Mark blogs regularly.  He is responsible for thought leadership, leading client engagements and solution development for ThreeBridge.

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.

  • Posted on: 03/06/2019

    Will attribute-based product recommendations be a game changer for Walmart?

    I think that natural language processing and machine learning will represent a cutting-edge improvement in customer engagement and the value of product recommendations. The retail industry is plagued with content that is manufacturer and merchant generated, with little validation from users that the language used has any relevancy whatsoever. NLP will not only improve the authenticity of language used with consumers, but will provide additional connections between products that can be used in product recommendations as well. And this is only the beginning of true personalization of marketing communications.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    Are legacy retailers on the right track or heading off the tracks?

    The greatest challenges facing legacy retailers in today's environment are two: developing and executing on an omni-channel strategy, with customers truly receiving the same products, pricing and benefits; and the challenges of developing and maintaining a superior customer experience in-store that clearly differentiates that retailer from other brick and digital alternatives. The failure to invest behind these two initiatives has led retailers to where they are today. There is no easy answer anymore; retailers must invest to catch up, which inevitably will depress short-term profits for long-term gains. Balancing that with investor pressure is the hidden challenge for retailers today.
  • Posted on: 01/15/2019

    NRF: Consumers prefer self-service, but associates still have a role to play

    Consumers only prefer self-service technology for low value added parts of the customer experience in store. So when that becomes most of the customer experience, it is a strong indictment of store associate performance, which is directly related to the priority that corporate places on developing and continually training store associates to make a difference for customers. The only benefit that retail presents to online is customer experience. With one day or same day shipping becoming more prevalent in e-commerce, retailers must focus on their store associates as the linchpin for successful growth for their business.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2019

    Whole Foods halts 365 concept’s growth

    The overall strategy for Amazon in acquiring Whole Foods, I believe, is to create additional physical outlets for their shipments and e-commerce brands, add value for Prime members and grow membership by attracting Whole Foods customers, who resemble Prime best customers to a large extent. Maintaining and potentially expanding small footprint locations where appropriate seems to fulfill those goals as well as larger stores do. I would bet small format stores remain part of the strategy, just not under the 365 brand.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2019

    What can IoT really do for retailers?

    Specifically, the winning retailers are distinguished by their focus on leveraging IoT data to improve customer experience. Facing an onslaught of online competitors, customer experience truly represents the main distinguishing factor that can lead retailers to succeed or fail in the coming year. The best retailers will be leveraging IoT data as well as transactional, website and third-party data and sift through the data to discover opportunities to differentiate their experience in a way that leads to meaningful customer satisfaction.
  • Posted on: 12/07/2018

    Will Active Ride Shop customers be stoked over lifetime commissions?

    I love this plan because it is not fundamentally transactional. Customers do not just receive a one-time reward, but get to feel like they are part of the company, with the same values -- shared through personalized events and releases. The Join the Crew program creates affinity and provides access, a feeling of being on the inside. That may prove to be more important than the points program in retention, expanded revenue and business expansion.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2018

    Can Gap cut its way to profitability?

    Closing stores will certainly help profitability. However, if the chain does not understand what are the key drivers that led those stores to underperform, they are likely to fall into the same trap in the future. From my experience, the issue usually has to do with a smaller group of best customers and prospects that resemble best customers within the trading area of the store. They must understand what differentiates their best customers, and then be able to apply it to the prospect universe in the trading area. Only then will the company gain insight that will help the remaining stores and any stores they may wish to add in the future.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2018

    Will Walmart’s bring your own device policy work for it and its associates?

    This approach is tailor-made for a large segment of Millennials, who live on their devices all day long. By providing customer service information to store associates on their own devices, Walmart lays the foundation for a stronger customer experience. The one missing piece is the ability to check out customers from those devices. But I applaud Walmart for taking this step, and expect customers will as well.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2018

    Why aren’t women buying Amazon’s private label clothing?

    While it is relatively easy to compare private label with branded items in a grocery store and other stores with relatively generic products, fashion presents different challenges. In order to succeed with private label clothing, manufacturers have either had to go higher end or give consumers the ability to see the product in person. It is clear that Amazon will continue to grow share of the fashion market, but largely in products that are very familiar to consumers today.
  • Posted on: 11/05/2018

    Consumers say online recommendations are the worst

    Consumers will always have higher expectations online vs. in-store since the company can leverage customer data and recommend from a broader range of products. Retailers fail at product recommendations when they try to take advantage of customers by recommending products with higher margins or greater inventory rather than exactly what the data might suggest would be the optimal product for that customer. If retailers continue with that practice, they will end up driving away the very customers they hope to retain.
  • Posted on: 11/02/2018

    Are Target and Walmart customers dreaming of a mobile checkout Christmas?

    Checkout has long been a major source of frustration for consumers in retail and one of the contributing factors to the growth of e-commerce (although a very small contributor!). Holiday time is the worst time for checkout lines, so I imagine this capability will be well-received across both chains. Since Target's customers tend to be a bit more digital and a bit younger, I imagine they will have a higher adoption rate, although the take-up will be strong for both chains. Post analysis will be interesting, determining which customer segments found this feature the most popular.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2018

    Is there a failure to communicate between retail HQs and stores?

    Before speaking about the challenges that district and store managers face in acting on corporate initiatives, it behooves us to step back and examine the fundamental gap between retail stores and the corporate office. The gap is not one way, from corporate down to the stores, but in fact is both ways, as corporate consistently fails to acknowledge critical feedback from the retail workers that can be used to dramatically improve customer experience and revenue. Corporate executives involved in determining retail strategy must begin to spend time in stores on a frequent basis, and also develop key contacts at the store level to provide them with frank, honest feedback about issues facing store associates as well as the difficulty of translating corporate initiatives. Only in this way can we work to lessen this critical gap.
  • 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.

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