Using Customer Data to Drive Value

Hosted By Matt DeCoursey

Full Scale

See All Episodes With Matt DeCoursey

AnnMarie Wills

Today's Guest: AnnMarie Wills

Co-founder and CEO - Leverage Lab

Kansas City, MO

Ep. #993 - Using Customer Data to Drive Value

It’s the final episode of our KC Inc. 5000 series. Let’s close it up by discussing the use of customer data to drive value.

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey opens the studio for AnnMarie Wills, CEO and co-founder of Leverage Lab. They shed light on the value of data to deliver a personalized customer experience. Every decision should be based on statistics to drive value into the customer journey and the business.

Missed the other episodes in the KC Inc. 5000 series? Here’s a gateway to all the previous episodes.

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Covered In This Episode

Is there a right way to use data? How can you harvest the right data?

All these things and more are under Matt and AnnMarie’s discussion radar. They sift through the nitty-gritty of using customer data to drive value to your business, which will increase the bottom line.

Be prepared for an insightful talk. Listen to this Startup Hustle episode now.

Podcast for Starting a Business


  • AnnMarie’s backstory and her obsession with data (02:04)
  • How to use data to make sales decisions (06:10)
  • On customer journeys (10:00)
  • Getting the right data (14:43)
  • Bad digital personalization experience (19:43)
  • Features versus benefits and how people communicate them (22:51)
  • Fact-shaping versus fact-based marketing (27:21)
  • What is personalization? (33:26)
  • Onboarding on being a conversational process (36:53)
  • The digital equivalent of going to market (40:29)
Matt and Ann Marie in the Startup Hustle Studio

Key Quotes

People who believe that serving their customers a more personalized experience is going to lead to more purchasing, higher average order value, more diversity of purchases, and more retention. Those are the folks we work with.

– AnnMarie Wills

Everyone that I talked to that has been in the space or specializes in it, they’re trying to make things better for a consumer. And, for me, just take me straight to what I want.

– Matt DeCoursey

I have data about them that I can use to make their experience better. I should use it. That’s really at the core of what we believe you should use. What you’re being given in terms of that value exchange relationship that you have with your customer.

– AnnMarie Wills

Sponsor Highlight

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey 00:00
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation hoping helps your business grow. Hopefully, you’ve been listening all week as we have been highlighting companies that made it to the Inc. 5000 in 2022 that are located in my hometown of Kansas City. If you’re not aware, that’s where Startup Hustle is created, and we’re proud of that. So this whole week of Thanksgiving, we’re highlighting local companies. You have another great company to have a conversation with and talk all about data, which is apparently the most valuable thing in the world these days. Is it? Maybe, maybe not. We’re gonna get into that too. Before we do, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by Hiring software developers is difficult, and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And we have the platform to help you manage that team. Go to to learn more. That’s my company if you didn’t know, and I’d love to talk to you about it. With me today I have Anne Marie Wills. Anne Marie is the co-founder and CEO of Leverage Lab. We’re going to Much like there’s a link to Full Scale, there’s a link to Leverage Lab once you scroll down. Click that before you listen to today’s conversation so you can learn more about what her business does. Let’s just jump right in. Anne Marie, welcome to Startup Hustle.

Anne Marie Wills 01:24
Thank you so much, Matt.

Matt DeCoursey 01:26
Yeah, as I love to do, let’s start a conversation with a little bit more about your backstory.

Anne Marie Wills 01:32
Yeah, great. So I started my career in the media and publishing industry. And it’s an industry that was just lousy with data—customer data, user data, behavioral data. And I became kind of obsessed with the idea of using data to personalize an experience for your customer. And in a lot of ways, personalization at the time was just incredibly difficult to do because data, usually within an organization, is living in lots of silos across the organization. So in order to get a really clear picture of what your consumer needs, you need to bring that data together. So I became obsessed with it in the 90s. Obviously, the technology and data management capabilities back then were pretty challenging, expensive, and hard to create. So I kept thinking, you know, I’ll just keep waiting. I’ll wait until the tech catches up with me. And it literally was 2015 when I realized that tech had finally sort of caught up with those needs for companies. So I had an amazing sort of transformational experience with a company I was working for using some really nascent, new technology called customer data platform technology. It blew my mind, so much so that I was like this is the time. This is my if-not-now-then-when moment. So we started Leverage Lab to really work with organizations to leverage these new technologies to help them solve these sorts of siloed data problems. And so, we work with our clients to essentially leverage that data, hence the name. Leverage them, leverage that data to create more personalized customer experiences. And the payoffs are outrageously amazing for companies. So we’re out there helping people get better returns on their advertising spending by leveraging their data. Helping them build more personalized experiences for their consumers. Getting better outcomes at every stage of the customer journey. So it’s really God’s work that we’re doing, I think.

Matt DeCoursey 03:41
So you meant I mentioned at the beginning of the show that data has this, like, worldwide value that has been a part of so many conversations with stuff. And you mentioned using the term siloed. You know, we’ve had a lot of conversations on the show about data, different stuff. And for those of you listening, you essentially, in this structure, have structured or unstructured data. Now, data is everywhere. Like if you build a web platform or anything, you’ve probably got a whole lot of it in your server. It’s just until you can structure it, meaning put it in. Let me visualize it since you can put it into a pretty spreadsheet where you understand the columns and the rows or something. It doesn’t always make any sense. But even in that format, it’s still not super valuable unless you can create something actionable for it. And it’s gotten, and I think that’s been one of the biggest challenges with data-driven stuff because people go back and do data analytics. And for the exam, you’re like, Oh, we notice if these things, these three things occur, we lose a subscriber. How do we figure that out? And they’ve done two of them. So part of what level slab does is about creating that actionable output? Yeah, absolutely.

Anne Marie Wills 04:46
The way we think about it, it’s what we call the three Ds. So there’s data infrastructure, which brings all your siloed data together. I saw a stat not too long ago that enterprise companies have up to 100 different technologies in their marketing technology stack. And even smaller companies we work with some smaller companies that have several up to a dozen. So we’ve got to bring that data together and create this sort of resolved identity for a consumer. I like to characterize it like it’s a baseball card, you know, if you could look into a system, a technology system and see, you know, here’s Matt, on the, on the front of the baseball card, and all the back is everything that he’s done with your organization.

Matt DeCoursey 05:30
So home runs, yeah, doubles. RBIs.

Anne Marie Wills 05:35
Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Matt DeCoursey 05:38
So we get the data right on, right? Throw that in there. I love it. It’s one of my rookie cards.

Anne Marie Wills 05:44
So it is very valuable. But once you can get to that place where you’ve got these baseball cards for all of your consumers, you know exactly what they’re doing, what you’re talking about, you know, with hey, can we predict what they’re going to do next, based on behaviors, that’s where the second D comes in: the decisions. It’s like finding the noise, the signal in the noise, the disproportionately important moment that you need to act on in order to save that customer up, upgrade that customer and provide a loyalty, you know, opportunity. So data decisions, and then delivery. And that was the other thing that you said, it’s like, okay, I want to make I want to do something that’s actionable. I need data that’s actionable. And the last mile is I’ve got my data resolved, it’s all in one place, I’ve got great insights through the decisions that are coming from that data, the noise in the signal, and now I need to be able to act on it. And I want to act on it in any channel where my customer is going to be. And that’s, that’s really, you know, how we talk about personalization and personalization at scale. So the systems that we helped create, and the infrastructure that we helped create with our customers, aligned with methodology, is what really drives that sort of ability to build personalization at scale. So for those of you listening, Leverage Lab was number 1235 on the Inc. 5000 list, so you guys had 526% growth over the three-year period. Congratulations. Now, your week before hit record, I, so I have these for those of you that don’t know, I have these notes. And we call them a setlist. And it’s we have a production team that does research, and part of what they look at is industry served, and it says advertising services. But we have a momentary debate about whether that’s it. But so, who are the primary users and customers at Leverage Lab? Is it marketers and advertisers? Yeah, you know, I would say that anybody who really truly believes that they are under leveraging their customer data and that they can get more value from their data would be our type of customer. So we work across a wide variety of industries. We have gaming companies, we have consumer packaged goods companies, a lot of retail, and we have this weird little beauty industry niche that we’re creating, with some of our getting a little cachet of DTC direct-to-consumer beauty companies that we work with. But really, again, I think it’s just, you know, people who believe that serving their customers a more personalized experience is going to lead to more purchasing, higher average order value, more diversity of purchase, more retention. Those are the folks we work with. And again, you know, we’ve got some of the largest brands in the world, or consumer packaged goods companies in the world that we worked with all the way down to mom-and-pop shops. So I think it’s like a psychographic, almost kind of profile of the companies that we end up working with.

Matt DeCoursey 08:49
Is there merit to saying that, okay, so I look at I talk to people a lot, they seek advice about sales, salesperson, right? Input and I tell people a lot, I’m like, you know, 80-90% of the sales process is the same across industries. Yes, do you find that to be similar to a lot of data? Because, like, I look at it, like, Okay, so the lat and the business school that I dropped out of, they always refer to widgets, you know, ACME Corp sells widgets, right? But that kind of trains your thought process to like the thing you’re trying to sell, improve, or whatever can be universal. It’s not necessarily just, you know, stuck in an industry lane. Do you take that approach? Or I know that doesn’t work in every case, but is that what plays out a lot?

Anne Marie Wills 09:38
It’s like you’re looking into my soul, Matt. So yeah, we absolutely believe that, you know, customer journeys are not as complex as people make them out to be either sale, right? In the customer Journey, like in our world, retail, you go from I have no awareness of you, too. I am aware of you, and now I’m engaged with you, and I am looking at products, I am buying products, and I’m becoming loyal. And this customer journey, we actually call it the infinite customer journey. Because in this data-driven world that we sort of create for our customers, where you live, that customer journey is very clear. Like the data in the system can tell you exactly who’s been engaged with you but hasn’t purchased, we can know who’s purchased but hasn’t repurchased like all of that data lives in the ecosystem together. So and again, we can segment it. We can activate it and the channels. So our way of thinking is very, there’s a very holistic sort of methodology that we think about when it comes to the customer journey, use the data to define where people are, and then the marketing bit of it is coming up with the tactics to move them along, move them from this stage to that stage, or back into this stage. You know, like, again, we call it the infinite customer journey, and we really apply the same methodology to every company that we work with doesn’t matter if you’re, you know, a gaming company that has these huge gaming releases, or you’re selling, you know, mascara and eyeliner, customer journeys, same.

Matt DeCoursey 11:14
Yeah, I was trying to simplify that when it comes to here, the thing is really in the end. I mean, trying to sell something. I mean, that’s the main way this stuff’s valuable. Yeah. I mean, can we do a better job? And you know, some people are angry at data. Yeah. And you know, you laugh says it all there, because it’s like, but here’s the thing, like, okay, so I’m going to use Facebook, whether they get my data, right or not, I’d rather have them show me things that I’m interested in or find useful, or whatever. And by the way, your phone’s not listening to you, people. It’s just actually they’re that good at it, like Snickers. I said something about Snickers. And Facebook showed me an ad three seconds late. Yeah, that wasn’t supernatural. There’s, you talk about billions of people on the planet, and we’re very, very predictable. Yep. As people and you get into the sophisticated side of data analysis, as I mean, like, Okay, so let’s say people are angry at data, and rightfully so in some cases, because used improperly, and it has been a lot of cases. But overwhelmingly, everyone that I talked to you that has been in the space or specializes in it, they’re trying to make things better for a consumer like, and for me, like, just take me straight to what I want people. Yeah, like, I’m down with that, like, show me what I need. And I appreciate, like, well, you just use Amazon or any of these things. So Amazon at the bottom, I’m about to buy something. And it’s like, you probably need this too. That is data. Yeah. Like just, and that’s simple. And that’s not super complex. It’s like literally, like, people buy this, this, and this with these things together. And like I find a convenience to that, and sometimes also a discovery process. Oh, man, thank you for reminding me. Because Nothing’s worse than getting the thing you need. And then there’s that other thing you really didn’t think you needed it. And now you need it. And now, here it is. So what do you do to simplify it? Because we talk? Alright, so you mentioned data, but I can’t remember the name of it. I was reading. I was trying to build some of my own stuff. Look at how we help people fill roles for software developers. And with that, is anybody that posts a job for a software developer as kind of a lead? Yeah. So we went and collected all that data. And we’re like, Oh, my God, this is too much. What it really was. I mean, we could have, like, in, you know, we had like 85,000 lines of data and all figured out how to structure it because we came from different sources, and then how to rank it. And really, in the end, it was just all about, like, how do I simplify this down? Because 85,000 people or companies is not a reasonable approach pattern. In fact, that’s way too wide of an advertising group. Hey, so we wanted to get it down to, like, 850. Yes, simplification and shaving some stuff out? And, like, how do you realize what you should care about? What do you not? Yeah, simpler?

Anne Marie Wills 14:05
Oh, my gosh, such a good question. So when we started the company, again, you know, we were coming off this experience that that myself and my co-founding partner had at a company, using this new technology, getting our data organized, building this infrastructure and then activating it. And we took this very boil the ocean approach, you know, like, we just need everything that, you know, touches a customer, anything and everything so we can get all this insight. And then we’re going to be able to really use predictive modeling and sort of, you know, data science and machine learning modeling to really, you know, pull out those really important moments as disproportionately important moments and act on them. But what we learned was that there’s a very select set of data that really predicts behavior, when it comes to purchasing. It is where your product and interests are, you know, what are you looking at? What have you been engaging with, you know what drew you to hear in the first place? And then it’s your level of engagement, you know, how active you are, how frequently and recently, and what’s your momentum of engagement. So we started to learn that there were just, you know, we didn’t have to boil the ocean, we could get more discreet, you know, identify the specific data elements at, you know, an individual client level that are going to be the best predictors of behavior and bring that into the ecosystem first, and then do baby steps, you know, like, the tactics that we do with an organization evolve over time, you know, right out of the gate, just doing a better recommendation of a product on the website, like you said, with Amazon, you know, getting those recommendations in there.

Matt DeCoursey 15:42
Oh, yeah, that’s not difficult to actually complete a purchase.

Anne Marie Wills 15:46
Yeah, or make it easy to complete a purchase or recommend something in the purchase cycle that goes well with the product that you’re purchasing. So it’s really just being thoughtful about what consumers help consumers like to buy. So I guess what I’m describing is to keep it simple, to really think about this as a series of stages. And what we’ve really focused on in our business is making sure that we have a really solid methodology that we have the tech and data chops to get the right data in. Cuz everybody’s tech stack is, you know, a Franken stack. Yeah. So we really focused on making those stages of that evolution simple. And being really focused on the conversion, you said it, it’s like, it’s all about buying stuff. It’s so simple.

Matt DeCoursey 16:35
And people make it way harder than they need it to be. And you talk to people about it. And I’m like, What are you doing? And they’re like, we’ve got this A, B, C, D, E, F, G, comparison, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, even know why people buy your stuff? What’s your value proposition? How do you stand out? What’s the problem that you solve? Like, yeah, and then that you talked about, like the buyer? Psychology people have asked me what we sell at Full Scale a lot. And they’re like, What, are you gonna sell peace of mind? Yeah, because without that, nothing else has any flavor. They’re like, Well, what do you mean, you don’t really sell peace of mind? You know, we kind of do it because we are a premium service provider, like we went through 49 applications to find one person to hire. So you didn’t have to Yeah, you have the peace of mind of knowing that you’re not wasting your time, your money, your trust any of that. And, you know, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that like that right there, like if you can figure out why whatever you’re selling gives people peace of mind, you will sell a lot of it. And we then get on the list with you. Yeah. But without that, I want to back up a little bit. Because there’s, there’s a few things that let’s talk for a second about the things that if you don’t get a couple of these things, right. I don’t think the greatest data analysis in the world, it doesn’t mean anything. Now before we get into that a quick reminder that finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available testers, developers leaders are ready to join your team Back to that comment about like, okay, so we mentioned like, if it’s hard, if it’s difficult to buy a set on Amazon, change the zip code on all of us when it comes to convenience of buying. And if you’ve been using Amazon for a long time, and I have been, you’ve noticed that they continue to simplify the number of steps, they shorten the distance between you and the cash register, they made it really easy to do one click buy it, and you have that trust that it was gonna get there pretty quick right now. I mean, why do you sometimes tell me it’s like two days, and then it’s the third day, but I get it. But with that, like, there’s I think that there’s some things and that user experience or that difficulty, like what do you find that that will get like that will negate great data and understanding through terrible process or approach? Like, what are some of your experiences or findings with that?

Anne Marie Wills 19:03
Oh, so like a bad personalization experience? Is that kind of what you’re talking about?

Matt DeCoursey 19:08
Sure, that can be one of them, yeah. Yeah, that’s what you found, like, but let’s talk about that. Is that like, going to a site and it shows me all women’s clothes when I’m there to buy a baseball jersey? Yeah.

Anne Marie Wills 19:19
It wouldn’t be an unusual experience. Right. I mean, I think, you know, here’s what we know. There’s a lot of facts. There’s a lot of data out there. And since COVID, there’s been a dramatic uptick in the number of people who are purchasing online right, so now the marketplace is moving online. And there’s a ton of data that says that, you know, basically I think three out of four consumers are going to a digital experience, a digital shopping experience expecting personalization like you said it Amazon the Spotify is of the world, you know. Netflix although they’re having their challenges right now, but those guys yesterday they came back in. They’re like, two and a half million new subscribers didn’t even just announce that yesterday on the decline, and yes, and that too.

Matt DeCoursey 19:58
Yeah. But some of that personalization, though, is like, Okay, so my wife will sometimes watch things with foreign subtitles. But then I’m in her profile. I’m like, Ah, like, you know, because I’m not gonna do that. I do want to use subtitles, mainly because I’m half deaf. But I don’t want to like, yeah, so but that’s some of that personalization, they are really bad at it.

Anne Marie Wills 20:30
Exactly, they changed it. So a lot of them are so bad at it. So I use this example all the time. And if they find out, you know that I’ve been talking crap about them. Over the years, I will feel bad, but I buy a lot of clothes from this one brand, like Battlefield, but I feel bad. I won’t change anything. But I buy a lot of my clothes from one brand. And you know, it’s a brand that when you land on the website, it says, Hey, give us your email address, and we’ll put you on our mailing list. So I assume that once I’m on that mailing list, they know that they have my email address, right? So I get their emails offering, you know, random things that aren’t necessarily tied to my profile, I’ll give them a pass on that. You know, they don’t, they don’t ever show me things that are aligned to the stuff that I buy. They’re always just showing me what they want to show me. So anyway, give them a pass on that. But when I click on that email, and I go back to the website, and it asks me for my email address, that’s like, that’s an offense. Yeah, that is an offense. And I think that the time is coming when that kind of digital experience is just not going to be acceptable.

Matt DeCoursey 21:35
I mean, it’s already here in a lot of ways. Yeah, absolutely anything. It’s just you’re calm, like, well, you can chalk a ladder. But that’s the thing is, that’s why I said shorten that distance to the cash register, you keep making me do the same obstacles and Gerber, like, the simplest example is, as Ecommerce has evolved, how many of you abandoned a purchase because they wanted you because you had to create an account? Yes. And there were like five steps to that. So then you could then go to buy it. And that’s why I bought it on Amazon instead.

Anne Marie Wills 22:04
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. It’s an easier, easier path to purchase.

Matt DeCoursey 22:07
I got a big one that I talk about regularly. And it doesn’t matter what the product is. This is ACME Corp selling more widgets. But so people that sell stuff are really bad at telling you what features are but not really telling you what the benefit side features are. Yeah, and like, so you got to understand people that you make your you buy something, not because of the features, you buy it because of the benefits of those features provide. And too many salespeople and just things that are organized by anybody trying to sell stuff, make the assumption that people understand those benefits. I was used as an example. I went to Best Buy and will name your best buy there. Yeah. But I went there. I wanted to buy a nice camera, because my wife was always complaining about the quality of the pictures that we have on like Christmas morning and stuff. The first time I’m at this, like, you know, like a 20 year old kid, like going down this list of stuff that I don’t even know what it is. And I don’t care. And then I left? Yeah, look, I didn’t buy anything. And that’s I’m I make decisions quickly. Like I went to buy something I was just like, it was just all confused about it. And I really need to know what does this chip really matter and use me? Yeah. And I went back later. And I went back again, while hoping to buy something but still kind of confused. And I talked to someone else. And this person did a really good job of telling me what the benefit was. I started with asking what do you want to use it for? My wife is complaining that our pictures there just come from our phone are kind of crappy. Now this was not that, cameras are a little better and phones. And so, that salesperson didn’t go through any of the features and took me straight to something that said this will give you good pictures and you won’t have to do a lot to mess with it. Put it on this was like an A for like automatic. Good to go. I said wrap it up. Let’s go. I didn’t even ask him what it was. Because it solved the problem. And that was the main thing. So in that particular case, you get back to peace of mind. I was buying peace of mind because I’m not going to I wasn’t going to get chewed out for us having crappy family photos. Exactly. Yeah. And I don’t care about the features. Like that’s not really my thing now left out some buyers do. Yeah, some buyers do but don’t make the assumption that people understand the benefit of your product.

Anne Marie Wills 24:26
Yeah, exactly. Well, now think about that in the digital space. Right? So like if you weren’t shopping in a brick and mortar, but you were actually doing this in a digital world. Come right up front. Yeah, yeah. And we think a lot about again, going back to that customer journey. If you are at the top of the funnel, let’s say people love to look, we use that terminology. But if you are just becoming aware or just coming for the first time in a very long time and you’re looking at cameras, we would think about content that you should be delivered at that point would be different than when you’re Were like doing feature comparisons and the comparison tool and all of that, because that’s a very, that’s a bottom of funnel activity. That’s like, I’ve already figured out what I want. Now I’m trying to, you know, test and make sure that it’s the appropriate purchase. So we even think about the content delivery and the messaging that should be delivered at different stages of the customer journey.

Matt DeCoursey 25:23
Adam, right in the face with it, people yeah, get it get to the point.

Anne Marie Wills 25:27
Yeah, if you’re at the top of the funnel, you’re looking for solutions.

Matt DeCoursey 25:31
You know, and sometimes as you when you’re mentioning this, I’m thinking of like, the new site that you’ve gone to, and you don’t miss some of it. Sometimes that benefit statement is about you. Oh, absolutely. You like you as well, who? Whatever it is that you do, because you have to establish a little trust, because there’s probably someone else if we’re talking about packaged goods, especially someone else who sells it. Oh, for sure. Absolutely. So why do I want to buy it from you? And that’s the thing and really don’t undervalue like, like in the example that I use that camera that you see online. Take amazing family photos, right. That’s what they’re there to do. Take them. This is great for nature and outdoor photography.

Anne Marie Wills 26:18
Yeah, that’s what I care about. That’s what they care about. Not this, like, huge list of specs, lately. Well, no, no, no, no.

Matt DeCoursey 26:24
Like, I’m looking at it. I know I’m looking at a MacBook right now. And they’re like, it’s got the M four chip with blah, blah, blah. And I work in tech. And I’m like, Is it fast? Does it not load? Does it load Quickly, because that’s what I’m buying a work computer for? Yeah. Yeah. So So alright, so a couple of stats here that we can discuss and see if we think these are right, because she’s talking about data and stats, there is I use the term fact shaping. And I mean that in a good way. So you can look at data and facts, and you can shape them into a favorable message. There are so many different ways to say things like you look at the difference between the words cheap and affordable. Yeah, yeah, appreciate it. We’ll use those interchangeably. But you know, so with that, I kind of chuckle with stats, because sometimes they’re facts shaped in a way. So Alright, so let’s see, if we let’s play, let’s play a new game that is not new to the world. And we’ll just call it this is our true or false game. So 91% of customers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them.

Anne Marie Wills 27:33
91 is pretty high. But I have seen 75, 71 in different studies.

Matt DeCoursey 27:38
So do we think that this is true?

Anne Marie Wills 27:40
I’m gonna say it’s true.

Matt DeCoursey 27:41
I feel like that’s a fundamental basic thing in e-commerce. And I let him back to the point like you’re the expert, they’re there for that expertise to make a recommendation. All right, yeah. We’re going to go back out on the internet with these and tell them that they’re either right or wrong after it’s my time here. So 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Again, I would say true, I’m gonna say true as well. I think that that’s a key thing. And if you look at, I once worked at a company that had 250,000 SKUs. Well, crazy, that’s SKU stock keeping unit, if you didn’t know that, I didn’t know what that meant, until I helped build an E-commerce platform years ago. So that’s what that means. But with that, you get into this like, and there’s but personalized recommendations if you have a huge product catalog. Now there’s a whole segment of business. And I love that too. That’s like, hey, we were really good at one thing. Yeah, it’s like the restaurant that only sells chicken fingers, you know, but they’re really good at it. Right? So in that case, it’s hard to maybe personalize the experience. But there’s ways to do that.

Anne Marie Wills 28:51
Oh, for sure. Different people want different chicken nuggets for different reasons.

Matt DeCoursey 28:55
I’ll go with that one. All right. Here’s another one. 90% of US customers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing.

Anne Marie Wills 29:04
So I would say false.

Matt DeCoursey 29:05
I’m going to Yeah, I’m gonna lie. I’m gonna go with false because saying, Hi, Matt. Doesn’t make me want to look at your stuff.

Anne Marie Wills 29:15
That’s kind of a table stakes, you better be in the right name.

Matt DeCoursey 29:19
So there we go. Alright, so how about this 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging.

Anne Marie Wills 29:28
I’m gonna say false, 72 only.

Matt DeCoursey 29:31
They only engaged but I think that kind of goes back to that last question. Like, I’m, if I’m interested, I’ll look, but I’m not gonna do it or not do it?

Anne Marie Wills 29:38
Because it’s like I’m at. Yeah, I’m kind of on the fence on that one. I’m going to say false too.

Matt DeCoursey 29:42
Okay, but you think it’s close?

Anne Marie Wills 29:44
I think it might be a lower percentage.

Matt DeCoursey 29:48
When you think of personalized messaging, how would you describe it?

Anne Marie Wills 29:56
Well, I guess, Matt, or is that like, you showing me products that you think I might like? Well, and I’m actually going broader than that. I’m thinking about advertising. You know, I don’t know if you feel this way. I definitely do. But probably 75% of the ads that I see which I pay attention to, of course, because it’s in my industry, but 75% of the ads that I see are absolutely irrelevant to me.

Matt DeCoursey 30:21
I’m being targeted based on some data point that is not meaningful on social media or other places.

Anne Marie Wills 30:24
I would say digital display is the most prevalent place. I would say that it definitely happens in social media. I mean, you got a lot of people out there doing crappy social media.

Matt DeCoursey 30:34
Facebook nails me, like they have figured out a lot of it, but I’m not. I’m also pretty hyper specific with like, what I’ll post the things that I go to, like, they know I like business and entrepreneurship. So I get a lot of things that are business tools. Yeah. And yeah, but I, again, I’ve never, I’m like very rare that I collect something and then buy it. Yeah. And I am anti conversion. In a lot of ways. Yeah. You know, that’s a big thing. Back to the data, the whole idea is that people get obsessed with traffic and clicks and the cost per click, and you shouldn’t care about any of these conversions. Absolutely the cost to actually sell something. Right. Not to talk about selling something. Those are the people who are very different things, talking to salespeople to be like, Yeah, I’m gonna, this is gonna happen. I’m like, so you’re talking about selling something? You either sell it or you don’t? It’s a very thing. Okay. 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a website that recommends products. I would say it’s true. Yeah, I’m gonna say it’s true. And I’m also gonna say, what site doesn’t recommend products? Oh, you’d be surprised. Maybe? I mean, it feels like, but I mean, yeah. Yeah. Okay, sixth and last one. And thank you for playing the first ever true false game with me here on the production team. I’m going to be really excited that I’m used to all Oh, good for you guys. So thank you for doing all the work you do. Yeah, I got to thank our production team and our producer, because they make all of our lives easier of course, and we work for them. Because if they don’t want to help us then we have to do all the stuff we don’t want. And that’s my biggest fear. All right, 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics.

Anne Marie Wills 32:34
I would say it’s true.

Matt DeCoursey 32:36
I’ll go with that. I’d still think one of the things if we look back, the stats, don’t give me enough insight on what they define as a personalization tactic. Is that what you know?

Anne Marie Wills 32:46
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s a big point of confusion for people is like, what is personalization? How does it feel? What does it look like?

Matt DeCoursey 32:53
What would be an example of poor personalization?

Anne Marie Wills 32:57
Well, that brands that I mentioned, would be a good example of poor personalization. I mean, they’re sending me emails, and I click through on their emails, and then they asked me for my email, that’s a, that’s a pretty bad experience. I think other examples of poor personalization is if, if I’m a consistent buyer, I’m a consistent customer of yours, you have an opportunity to use the data that I’m giving you, in our very valid and very trusted sort of value exchange relationship. Like, I think that’s the thing that we go back to is like, we need to have more humanity in the way that we think about marketing. If I’ve got a customer who’s transacting with me, consistently, they’re putting money in my pocket, as a as an, you know, as a, as a company. And I have data about them that I can use to make their experience better. I should use it, that’s really at the core of what we believe you should use what you’re being given in terms of that value exchange relationship that you have with your customer. So if it’s, you know, the 250,000 SKU company, then is it you know, providing better deeper, deeper Richards or recommendations around products, you know, cart, you know, the ideal sort of set of solutions that should come together based on what you’ve done in the past. In our opinion, that’s really good. Customer experience. So we worked with a QSR that is on the east coast. And, you know, for them, they were like, you know, we sell this certain food item, you know, like Kwik Trip has the rolled food, they have sandwiches. So they want to sell these sandwiches, they want to also provide, you know, a better sort of fuller cart experience. So, being able to say, all right, Matt’s been here before when he gets this sandwich, he also buys this other thing and he gets this kind of drink and this is the sweet item that he gets, being able to spit that back to you when you’re in that order. Probably assess. I mean, that is good customer experience, and there’s nothing weird or creepy about it, it’s just simply using the data that’s been given to you based on your behavior.

Matt DeCoursey 35:10
I think that repetition of stuff is like so. And for those of you that aren’t aware, quick trips, a convenience store chain, largely in the Midwest, so we have listeners all over the world, one of the things that they do that I don’t understand why everybody doesn’t do is they have a cashier, and they have a spot available on either side, left or right. So it is way faster. Because while one person’s like, collecting their shit and putting it in their pocket, that they’re checking me out on the other side, and it’s like, but for me, that’s personalized enough, because like, make, just get this over with, like, move it forward. I think that when I think about personalized stuff, you know, throughout this whole conversation, the term conversational has come to mind. And I love that form of selling. And I think that in many ways can be one of the ultimate forms of personalization. Now, brands tried to do this. And companies try to do this with live chat and stuff like that. And I think the future of a lot of sales is social, we try to do this with the Full Scale platform. And I’m a real big onboarding nut. Because like, so we can ask you two minutes worth of questions about your business and literally recommend, like highly technical solutions just based on? Yeah, no, that was like, so that’s like, 13, like, click a box type questions used to be like, 30. Yeah. And it just kept going back to that simplification and simplification. And some of that was simple, like understanding it. But with that, it’s a conversational process, you know, like, tell me what stage your business is at. And like, and some of these questions have been asked the wrong way, or not, conversationally, feel invasive. Yeah. Your business, right. But some of that, too, is there are unseen things that you know, like, are somewhat conversational, and interactive. And they’re like, you know, I feel cap get your info on. So when they come back, they know it, that’s a cookie in a browser. This is not high technology, and 2020 to see return and they’re like Emery Welcome back. You know, what, what are you thinking about today? And here’s some things you looked at before. And you know, people that like these things really like these things? And that’s personalization. Totally. I love the efficiency of it. Absolutely. So there’s, we’re almost out of time here. So I want to remind everyone that if you need to hire software engineers, testers or leaders Full Scale can help. We have the people and the platform, and a quick onboarding process to help you find what you need. Just go to, you answer a couple questions. And our platform will match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, leaders who specialize in building long term teams that work only for you, it’s my company more than happy to talk to any of you about so. You know, there’s I’m going to also dry all, I’ll lose sleep tonight if I don’t bring this up. So everything we’ve talked about, it’s about the conversion, it’s about the personalization, it’s about the sale, but with the sale. So you don’t need data analysis to do this. People are so bad at asking you to buy stuff, ask for the sale. I have this theory that I could increase any organization’s sales, no matter how big or small, by at least 20% in a day, if I could get everybody there to ask for a sale. So what does that mean? It’s not like it’s no pressure. Like keep in mind these people come to your store, they come to your website and they want to buy something. But we oftentimes as salespeople or organizations, we’re like, oh my god, it’s like, I don’t want to ask him to buy it. Any offended. Yeah. But you asked for the sale. And that can be a key ingredient. Like I shouldn’t have to figure out how to buy something on your website. I shouldn’t have to, like, I literally, okay, two things. One, I bought a lot of stuff that I never needed or wanted because I’m so excited that the salesperson actually asked me to buy something. Like it’s that bad, right? That freakin bad. Yeah. And then I’ve literally not bought a lot of stuff that I’m sitting there going, man, if this person just asked me to buy it, I’ll do it. And it just bugs me. But these are back to this kind of those things that you know, hey, look, some really important and successful people say things like be brilliant on the basics. Mm-hmm. people to buy stuff, right, like and then analyze data and make that even better. But yeah, just that simple thing. Yeah.

Anne Marie Wills 39:29
Do you find that with salespeople, like, oh my gosh, I get sold a lot every time someone and so rare that it happens where people say I really want your business. I really want to do this deal with you. How can we make this work? It’s just so rare when people ask that. That’s part of our ethos. But yeah, it’s pretty rare. And then think about it in the digital in the digital equivalency of that is, gosh, you know how many times do you go to a website they’re like, if you just give us your email address, we’ll be 10% off or You know, we’ll give you 15% off, you haven’t even looked yet. I mean, it’s kind of the digital equivalent of that. It’s like going to market sort of scared and timid, you know, going to market, giving people what they want, informing their experience as much as possible and making it easy for them to buy this kind of digital equivalency.

Matt DeCoursey 40:19
Once again with me today, Anne Marie Wills, and she is the co-founder and CEO of Leverage Lab, there’s a link for that in the show notes. Or even if you can remember it, go to Leverage And learn more about how your data, whether you know, where and how it’s shaped and formed or whatever, that’s what they do, they’re going to help you figure that out. That is easily said, and not always easily done by people. I’ve learned this myself. And, you know, there’s so much data out there. And I would imagine that you, folks that Leverage Lab, find a way to simplify that for people we do. It doesn’t have to be rocket science people, like there’s so much there’s a beauty and simplicity that is really like and, and I’m glad the world is figuring that out. Because like, I really did, I’ll leave, I’ll leave your site, if I need a guest checkout, I don’t want to. I don’t want to create an account for one-off purchase, I don’t want to send it out. And on the side too, if I also want to understand data is okay, if you email me every time I give you my email and you are sent, like Patagonia, I love your clothes, but you do not need to email me twice a day. That’s why I’m not on your list anymore. It’s true. Like some of it, but having an understanding of that as you also have an idea of how you’re maybe driving people away. So yeah, as we close out an episode. So congrats again, on the Inc. 5000. They’ve got a bunch of Kansas City companies.

Anne Marie Wills 41:44
And to you. It is pretty impressive.

Matt DeCoursey 41:48
I don’t I didn’t compare that year over a year because we were selfish and focused on our own success this year. And everyone else’s. But But yeah, so on our way out of this episode, I like to do a founders freestyle and just kind of like give everyone a chance to close out the episode and their key points or something you might have forgotten or people wrap recite poetry, it’s, it’s your mind, I’ll follow you up with a couple things on the way out as well. But is there anything you’d like to say or advice you’d like to give on?

Anne Marie Wills 42:17
Oh, gosh, you know, I’m definitely not going to rap or sing or anything like that, but it really has happened.

Matt DeCoursey 42:23
I didn’t even ask. Most people actually say they’re like, I’m not gonna represent.

Anne Marie Wills 42:32
But I will say that you know, on our website, we have a manifesto. And our manifesto really, you know, says that we’re here to kind of change the way that marketing gets done and bring it back to its humanity. You know, and we believe that that is absolutely where we come from. And we wish more people really felt that way, you know, do what the consumer wants based on how they behave, and, you know, be human in the way and thoughtful in the way that you approach them.

Matt DeCoursey 43:00
Yeah, I agree. And I think that I mean, I think what I want to say on the way out is that you know, try to look for that simplicity. I mean, and it’s great to hire companies like Leverage Lab, you know, if you’re not ready for that, there’s a lot of stuff that’s just right in front of you. And some of that’s just simple, like, if you’re doing, you know, CPC or cost per click ads, like set up conversion tracking, oh, fresh, and some of that is just like on the basic small level, and then you’ll see as your sales grow, and then that you get a lot of data. And the crazy thing is, I probably should have looked at my phone and figured out what audible book I listened to, but phone companies have terabytes of data per day, hour, it’s like insane amounts of it. So on larger levels, it’s, you know, that’s a lot to go through. And it’s a lot to keep up with. You don’t know what you’re looking for. And there, I mean, there’s a ton of that, which isn’t really the case for your business, most likely people like this, just like look at it. And remember that, you know, the idea if you create if you make it easy for Alright, so people asking for help a lot, and advice or input or whatever, and the ones that get it are the ones that make it easy for me to help them. Yeah, first off, the people that are like, I’ve never met you, but I’d love to buy you coffee. It’s 30 minutes away from your house. And I’m like, No, man, it’s like a $3 thing, and it’s gonna take me two hours of my day. Yeah, but it’s the same thing with your buyers, your clients, and your users, and you can be customer centric with that they have a problem that they want to solve. And that’s why people buy stuff and then whether it’s an, you know, and that really is it, and you know, there’s if you can figure out what that is, you’re going to find that you’re going to have a lot of really happy people that buy stuff and sometimes people really can’t compete with Amazon Yeah, sure you can because there’s that there are there’s a level of people that want that and need that and you can follow the examples in the footsteps of some of the giants because they’re big because they got it right. Yeah. To make it simple for me to buy, click right here. I need to untrain my wife. I’ve had to do that. I’m gonna get to work doing that now, so I’ll catch up with you down the road.