PROFILE

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.

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  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    While I applaud this initiative to increase the direct connection between brands and their customers, I am not sure that America needs another shopping holiday. In order for this effort to succeed, there must be a clear benefit to customers for working directly with manufacturers. It's clear that the price must be consistent with the price offered by intermediaries for comparable products, and in addition there must be some level of access or rewards to distinguish the direct-to-customer relationship from other alternatives. The direct-to-customer initiative is also very consistent with the needs of Millennials, who as a group tend to want to work directly with authentic, value-driven organizations. At the same time, I am not sure about the piece about moving away from Facebook and Instagram. It seems to me that the communication channel plan should exist separately from the overall strategy of going direct to customers. All in all, it will be exciting to see how this plays out over the next couple years.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Will a purpose-driven site do good for Zappos?

    The appeal of these sorts of offerings falls squarely into the needs of Millennials. The key factor is that there is not a tradeoff in functionality, fit, style for the "do good" benefit. Accumulating these brands seems to be a solid proposition and will have a fallout effort of associating Zappos as a whole with a good for the world/environment benefit.
  • Posted on: 10/28/2019

    What makes voice assistants creepy?

    It's clear that we are in the middle of a sea change in the way consumers relate to technology. First the Millennials and now the Gen X'ers are becoming more and more accepting of the leverage of their data to improve their experience, either by anticipating their needs or suggesting complementary items, discounts, etc. As these two groups form more and more of the collective buying power, the role of anticipatory technology continues to increase. At the same time, research suggests that consumers consider the monitoring of their conversations to be a "red line" that retailers and e-commerce merchants should be wary of crossing. At least for the moment, consumers in the younger segments who are mobile-fixated tend to be comfortable with the leverage of data to improve their experience when that data is voluntarily provided. And the definition of voluntarily provided seems to be shifting over time. In the next five years, I anticipate that even conversations will be considered fair game -- just that more patience is required.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    What does artificial intelligence mean for loyalty marketing?

    While it is true that in the future artificial intelligence will play a role in delivering marketing personalization, it is important to recognize that the capabilities described in this article have been available through traditional modeling and marketing technology for a number of years. The strategy of bringing the "right offers on the right products to the right customers through the right channels at the right time" has been present in marketing for many years; however, customization has been available only to this point in segmentation form. Now, with the introduction of more powerful processing capability, that segmentation can be delivered to smaller and smaller groups, getting closer to the end goal of personalizing communication at a 1:1 level. Even that level of personalization has been done for limited use cases over the past 10+ years, e.g. Kroger/Sainsbury coupon personalization. AI will not introduce any new strategies at the beginning; rather the promise is to increase the level of personalization -- an important goal, but not a revolutionary one.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Will Nike’s new CEO accelerate its consumer-direct digital transformation?

    Nike has been a digital or multi channel brand for a number of years now. I do not see John Donahue as bringing a stronger brand e-commerce focus as much as launching enabler applications that can be leveraged across partner websites as well as Nike's own. E-commerce is growing as a percentage of the shoe industry, and Nike, I am sure, wishes to bring their brand presence and lifestyle benefit to a higher level across their partner sites as well as their own. I do not see a significant difference in strategy going forward; rather, I see an expansion of the course strategy across more applications and more sites, helping to maintain Nikes ubiquity in the marketplace.
  • Posted on: 10/22/2019

    Seven things store managers should do now to be ready for Christmas

    While sales must be the highest priority, a "selling" focus can lead to a customer experience that drives prospects and even past customers out of the store. Associates need to deliver outstanding service and support first. Service and support drives trust which leads to cross-sell and increased UPT and total revenue.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2019

    Should Amazon be charging for ‘curated’ toy guide placements?

    The approach of Amazon in charging large amounts of money for placement in their curated holiday guide is absolutely in keeping with traditional grocery and retailer practices. The question to ask is whether that approach, which is tried and true, is the best approach to use solely in developing their holiday circular. In this time when consumers are seeking authenticity from the companies where they choose to purchase, a "carefully curated" holiday guide that in fact is determined more by dollars than value of the item, would seem to be a practice that would break down the trust between Amazon and customers who might otherwise use that catalog to determine their holiday purchases.
  • Posted on: 09/23/2019

    Will free same-day delivery boost Macy’s online sales?

    While same-day delivery will be perceived as a benefit for customers, the question is what will be the impact on revenue. In some categories, such as pharmacy and grocery, same day delivery is more valuable because consumers often have needs for same day usage. I am not sure the clothing category fits the same behavior pattern. I worry that this benefit will be used by consumers who buy multiple sizes only to return most of them, and also by consumers who may purchase, wear once and then return. If this segment is the younger, less frequent shopper, then the increased cost of delivery will not be offset by incremental revenue per transaction or frequency. I do not see that Macy's is focusing on a specific customer segment and so fear they are simply raising their cost of doing business without offset revenue.
  • Posted on: 08/08/2019

    Has the starting point of customer journeys moved?

    I am not so sure that values resonance is a new-ish trend. Starbucks has become the "third place" for a specific consumer segment for some time, and Apple has been selling affiliation and attitude as much as electronics. But the point is still valid -- consumers do purchase more and more influenced by affiliation. A key point is that the affiliation is not just with the values and behaviors of the brand, but also of the consumers who purchase that brand. Word of mouth impact has been amplified by social media and increased 24x7 device usage (maybe 18x7 -- people do need to sleep!). Retailers must seek to cultivate word of mouth as much as brand values to succeed in this very fast changing retail environment.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    CVS subscription program goes big to outdo Amazon Prime

    CVS seems to be acting to stem the bleeding of revenue and volume to heavy Amazon customers. One piece of research that would be useful to know is the percentage of the CVS program customers who had been utilizing Prime for similar products. In other words, does the CVS program steal share from Amazon or insulate a different set of customers from thinking about Prime for CVS products? The program looks expensive for CVS, but may pay out in terms of increased spending per order and frequency among specific customer segments. I expect the other pharmacy brands to offer similar benefits, probably by the end of the year. By going virtual, CVS could steal share where they lack physical presence and that is just too big a risk for the competitors to take.
  • Posted on: 08/05/2019

    Will outsourcing jobs help Lowe’s associates better serve customers in stores?

    This play is clearly a cost cutting move designed to shift costs to third party providers and off Lowe's P&L. If this effort had been designed to increase the number of associates that are dealing with customers, then the layoffs of assembly workers would have to some extent been offset by an increase in on-floor associates, which is not the case. Lowe's can increase short-term earnings through this maneuver, but long-term, growth is always driven by finding and filling customer needs through great in-store customer experience.
  • Posted on: 08/01/2019

    Has dynamic pricing hit a rut?

    As retailers improve their inventory tracking in order to be able to provide "boy online, pick up in store" (BOPIS) their ability to execute dynamic pricing improves. If a retailer can do dynamic pricing online, then they should be able to do at retail if the price tags are electronic. The cultural change is all about control. Merchants believe that they have some special insight into consumer needs and price sensitivity, when the only real way to gauge is to conduct price sensitivity analysis and test dynamic ranges.
  • Posted on: 07/30/2019

    The clock is ticking for J.C. Penney

    Operating under mountains of debt makes the timing critical for J.C. Penney's to succeed. I am also not sure if there is enough time for the new concepts to work. Ultimately, the only differentiation that a retailer can have if they do not want to go the "fast fashion" way is to provide a superior customer experience. In all the details provided, I did not see any training, retention programs, empowerment of staff -- they types of activities that are critical to the success needed by J.C. Penney. Lots of classes are well and good but, if the staff is not engaged, then it is all just talk...
  • Posted on: 07/29/2019

    Staples creates content to reposition and differentiate its brand

    The launch of Staples Worklife is a classic content marketing effort, focusing on adding value to the high-revenue business customer segment. The goal is to increase brand engagement and also to position Staples as a solution source beyond just a transaction. I would imagine that this effort will be very successful at expanding Staples' positioning as well as driving frequency, since Staples will be "front and center" in the minds of their best customers when needs come up. The most valuable content will be information about how to improve the lives of business customers and the least valuable will be focused on products and sales. As long as Staples stays away from "salesy" content, this effort will definitely be successful.
  • Posted on: 07/02/2019

    Are offline experiences becoming more important to online performance?

    More and more, online brands are discovering that offline interaction with their customers is critical to their success. Whether it is catalogs from online retailers, pop-up physical locations or PR events, online brands are seeing incremental sales from physical interaction with their customers. As the article notes, online customers do not live online alone; a specific segment of online customers (usually those who are truly multi-channel) respond to a variety of engagement stimuli and are critical to a brand's success.

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