Mark Nicholson

VP, Marketing at Nicejob
Mark Nicholson is a Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Nicejob, a leading solution for review management for businesses to manage their online reputation. Prior to joining Nicejob, Mark has worked in marketing for over 20 years where he has worked in-house, within agencies, and consulted to a vast number of businesses, including e-commerce and retail like consumer electronics, clothing, home products, CPG and more.
  • Posted on: 11/09/2017

    Are retailers caught in a content trap?

    Many believe user generated content (UGC) is the path to more. While it's true in some ways, such as the ability to scale, it's not without risks. To use it means relinquishing control. Leaving content production to the masses as UGC does can often result in derailing content strategy. The only UGC that would be recommended is reviews, in many cases. The most common recurring issues with content strategy are often focus, as in to stay on topic and maintain relevance, and having that focus validated through keyword research to identify where to put resources. In the case of the latter, it happens all too often. Both really. As a result, you have lots of content, but less than 5 percent producing results. Having seen this many times, especially with retailers, it's time they start to understand how content marketing can and needs to work with SEO in order to be effective at generating results. They are in fact two separate areas, but provide significantly more ROI when they come together. The author mentions that "adapting involves a shift in mindset toward creating connections" but I believe it isn't about "creating connections" and more about serving demand, with focus/validation, as described.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Big Data is done, put a fork in it

    Marketers should make use of data, but knowing where to look is critical. Identifying churn can have a real impact on a business. About 80% of companies believe they deliver out­standing customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree. Less than 5% of dissatisfied customers speak up, they simply disappear. Watching for signs, clues and red flags through data can alleviate this dilemma to some degree. Most marketing is focused on acquisition. Around 80% of revenue comes from customers already earned, yet many organizations spends maybe 2% of revenue on customer service. Big data can solve much of this.
  • Posted on: 11/08/2017

    Will mobile make another big leap this holiday?

    U.S. mobile search is roughly 58 percent of overall search query volume, and half of that is related to local. If retailers want to maximize these opportunities, they need to:
    • Proactively respond to customer inquiries promptly (hours not days) via all channels;
    • Include reviews for product pages for social proof of decisions (improve conversion);
    • Ensure their website is mobile-friendly (not optional);
    • Develop/implement loyalty rewards programs (with apps).
  • Posted on: 11/07/2017

    Why is it so hard to get retail associates to upsell?

    Leaving in the hands of fate that associates might upsell won't help. Encouragement won't do a lot, training is required. Incentive is often the best motivator. But it doesn't have to be upselling, and depending on the situation, it can be offering peace of mind (warranty) or necessities (add-ons) or other options to help associates rationalize.
  • Posted on: 11/06/2017

    Amazon undercuts rivals by adding discounts to marketplace seller prices

    Seeing how Walmart might be Amazon's biggest competitor, they have no choice but to compete on price. With Amazon taking the discount hit, it's good for e-tailers, but not great for competing marketplaces. During this time of year, sales often involve loss leaders to attract customers, but there is little loyalty with bargain hunters that will flock to where ever the best deals are found. This might be a short term win, but questionable whether it's a sustainable long-term approach.
  • Posted on: 11/03/2017

    Was Amazon scamming or searching for its HQ2 location?

    It's almost certain that Amazon entered this with their own criteria/agenda, and it wouldn't surprise me if HQ2 was also planted in Washington State in the end. It might come down to weighing incentives versus the talent pool, which could put New York and San Francisco in the running, but somehow I see Seattle operations expanding. The sweepstakes approach is clever as its free PR and, at this time of year, well played.
  • Posted on: 11/01/2017

    Would store associates benefit from acting lessons?

    Considering how crucial the customer experience is, and how the 80/20 rule (80 percent of future profits come from 20 percent of current customers) suggests that retention can make or break you, then whatever it takes to reduce churn. Over half of customers that defect do so over preventable issues tied to customer service. Does acting translate to selling? Doubtful. If I'm in at a retailer, I want to speak with a courteous, knowledgeable representative, not someone doing a performance.
  • Posted on: 10/30/2017

    American Eagle invites college kids to do their laundry

    They've created a lead magnet and just need to determine how to capture and nurture. A good example of creating value to draw prospects, allowing you to be center stage when its your show. There are some pros and cons; it's a good concept that will appeal to several.
  • Posted on: 10/27/2017

    When are text messages welcome from retailers?

    The choice should be up to the consumer about types of messages they wish to receive. Retailers should follow opt in as a guideline. Future communication tools that could be of value include location based alerts, such as being notified of a sale within a certain proximity to a store.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2017

    Amazon to begin making in-home deliveries in 37 cities

    A bold move that will require a shift in consumer behavior. Adoption will likely be slow. While many other retailers or services might be interested to be part of this, Amazon will probably keep it closed to others for a while. This will have to play out, as there are all kinds of possibilities (both positive and negative) that will determine whether it is successful. It will be interesting to see if an increase in smart home products occurs, and if there are other spin-off services as a result.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2017

    How should independents prepare for Black Friday?

    Promote your door-crasher loss-leaders online and offline in advance and talk to other retailers (including competitors) about exchanging stock like car dealers do for a wider variety. Also ensure you have a way to capture customer information/email addresses to build your list so you can continue marketing to them all year long.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2017

    E-commerce chief expects Walmart to ‘crush it’ over next two years

    When it comes to online and e-commerce, innovation is often the key to scaling. First-mover advantage, with the right idea, can also help. It's going to require disruption, but they might have a shot over the next decade if they incorporate acquisitions in their growth plan. A query in Google of indexed pages ( vs. shows Amazon has 98.6 million pages indexed, while Walmart has 12.4 million, with Amazon holding a little over 9 million in the top three spots, while Walmart has about 1.2 million. While Walmart wins offline, Amazon has a giant lead online within organic search and SEO that even the deep pockets of Walmart will have a very tough time competing with. This is an important channel and battlefront for any e-commerce business. While Amazon accounts for 43 percent of U.S. online retail sales, Walmart's online sales were reportedly up 60 percent recently, making them one of the few (or only) e-commerce competitors. If Walmart can keep momentum, they might compete in a decade.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2017

    Online and Amazon to grow more dominant over the next decade

    Unless you're Walmart, you can't compete on price. A study by Gartner states that 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. People seem to shop online for 2 reasons that are difficult to compete with -- price and convenience. But if retailers prioritize the customer experience, they can create something that online can't replicate, and competitors would have a tough time to duplicate. To mitigate online sales growth, offline sales need to embrace the offline experience. Practically everything can be bought online, and experienced at an acceptable level. including buying a new car. It seems one area that will always have a tough time is fashion, due to fit and whether the color is not the same as on screen. Amazon accounts for 43% of US online retail sales and soon to be the largest retailer. I don't think there's anything will won't be impacted. Processes will change, along with consumer behaviour. But the shift will also fragment, starting with key players, and niche verticals or marketplaces will emerge in time. It's already started in many markets.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2017

    How can retailers make online reviews more useful?

    While this discussion is dated, I felt I could offer some insight on the topic. About 90% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more. To make them more useful, it can be beneficial if reviewers have a profile status that is earned (like gamification) and rewarded through contributions to earn levels, points and even unlocking features or perks. Google does this and has levels for reviewers. Yelp reviewers can earn their way into the Elite program through engagement like submitting great reviews, photos, and up-voting reviews. Amazon customer reviews are ranked by overall helpfulness of their review by members as well. Moderation will always be required to some extent, but a peer monitored system where others can flag inappropriate reviews is always helps police the community. Allowing sub-sets of features to be reviewed, as mentioned with the Macy’s and Home Depot examples above, would seem to provide more values to readers. While this might only prove useful at a category level, one way that might have a broader use would be allowing reviewers the option of rating features with auto-populated menu options. Sorting and filtering is also helpful, but not just by what is most helpful, or highest to lowest rating, but also by the authority of the reviewers and their individual ratings/rank would bring another view of use. A study by MIT suggests 1% leave reviews, another by PEW says about 1.5%, on Amazon it's between 5-10% and contributed Yelp reviews is around 9%. So we rely on reviews from a small amount. Which isn't a surprise, the Social Technographics ladder report from Forrester Research a few years ago cited numbers suggesting most of us are spectators. With such a high percentage of us putting trust in online reviews, you would think more engage and contribute rather than passively observe. It's not just about what they say, but their credibility as well. Much like an eBay seller in some ways. Badges on reviewer profiles certainly give insight to the value of who said what. Google probably has the lead on this front with their levels method, however, it's an incentivized approach that drives their participation, so motives might skew results. I believe the real value in reviews is going to revolve around who says it, how they rank within the community, and that it was not incentivized. The way communities currently rank members requires more thought. Contribution level, helpfulness, levels, badges, recency, and any crowd sourced collective consensus would all help.
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