Data Driven Business Strategy

Episode 21: Data Driven Business Strategy, with Carey Weston

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Data driven business strategy with Cary Weston. Learn about blending agency insights and impactful results of data driven business strategy.

Data driven business strategy is something that you need to utilize to stay ahead of the competition. Join us in today’s episode for this insightful discussion with today’s guest, Cary Weston. 

Cary Weston is President and Chief Marketing Officer at Sutherland Weston. Cary is the person that will cut through the trendy business-speak and help define what the real goal is. A fan of function over form, his charge is to ensure that creativity doesn’t mask the need and that the work is focused on results.

Too honest at times, he believes the world could benefit from some more ‘old-fashioned’ and less ‘bright and shiny.’ When it comes to clients, his approach to using data driven business strategy gave them a much-needed boost to get ahead of the game.

Cary is active on several community boards and causes, including volunteering as a board member for little league and coaching youth basketball and football.

He was a founding member and the initial Chair of Fusion: Bangor, an organization developed to connect and inspire young professionals to become active and engaged in their community. He has served as a multi-term city councilor, is a former Mayor of his hometown Bangor, and founded the Mayor’s Coalition in Maine.


What you will learn in this episode is about data driven business strategy:

  • How Cary’s nontraditional professional path began
  • What Cary learned the first time he walked into an agency
  • Why Cary’s new perspective led him to use research as cornerstone content
  • Why the fear of failing doesn’t stop Cary’s drive
  • The impact of Cary’s research on business development processes and personal relationships
  • Ways Cary is continuing to help solve client’s problems using a data driven business strategy




Data Driven Business Strategy: Full Episode Transcript


How does data driven business strategy benefit agency owners? Listen to this podcast and you will stay ahead of the game as well.


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. My team and I created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant and you’re looking to grow a thriving and profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality, then you’re in the right place.


If you want proven strategies for attracting a steady stream of well-prepared, right-fit prospects into your sales pipeline, yep, we’re going to cover that. If you want to learn how to step away from the sea of competitors so you actually stand out on the ground you’re standing on, yep, we’re going to cover that, too. Do you want to future-proof your business so you can navigate the next challenges that come your way?


Absolutely. We’ll help you there, too. I promise you, each episode of this podcast will contain valuable insights and tangible examples of best practices not theory. From thought leaders, experts, and owners who have done exactly what you’re working hard to do. So I want you to think practical and tactical. Never any fluff. Each of our guests have built a position of authority and then monetized that position by claiming their ground, by growing their audience, by nurturing leads and, yeah, converting sales.


But all the while they did it by being helpful. So every time someone from their audience turned around there, they were with a helpful answer to an important question. So their prospects never, ever, ever felt like a prospect. I also promise you every strategy we discuss, every tool we recommend will be shared in full transparency in each episode so you can plant your flag, claim your ground, and fill your sales pipeline with a steady stream of right-fit clients.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Carey Weston’s Introduction


Okay, I am super excited for you to meet our very special guest expert today, Carey Weston. If you’re meeting Carey for the first time, he’s the type of person who will cut through the trendy business speak and help define what the real goal is, as you’ll no doubt hear in his voice. Carey is a fan of function over form, and his charge is to ensure that creative work doesn’t mask the need and that the work is always focused on results.


Carey is also the co-founder of the agency Sutherland Weston, located in Bangor, Maine, an agency that is hyper-focused on serving Maine. So, I’ll use their words for a moment. Our specialty in Maine, from Maine for me. So when Carey and I were batting around the idea of him joining me for this episode, I should probably give you a bit of a heads up or maybe even a warning because you might want to brace yourself a bit, because no doubt, Carey and I will share a couple of baseball analogies or connect an example or two back to the game that he and I both share a passion for.


But as I was saying, when Carey and I thought through what we want to talk about, I asked if he’d be willing to share the behind the curtain story of why he and his business partner, Elizabeth Sutherland, decided to go down the path of commissioning a research study to better understand and to be even more helpful to the businesses their agency serves.


So you’ll hear me ask Carey to break down their decision to select research as their cornerstone content instead of another form of content. I’ll ask him to share how they decided to select or what they decided to select as their research topic, and then who they decided to select as their research partner and how they decided what to study. Or perhaps to see that in a different way while still using their data driven business strategy.


What did they want to test? What were they hoping to confirm? Or maybe what were they hoping to validate or potentially disprove as a result of the study? And even though the research is still hot off the press, have there been any early results? And lastly, how do they plan to share the results? How do they plan to teach from the results and what impact the research will most likely have on the agency’s business process and their relationships with clients and prospects?


So, without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast, my friend Carey. Even better to be here. Thanks for having me. Thank you for saying yes and thank you for joining me. It’s a delight and a pleasure, as always. I love getting to and I am not with you and rubbing a baseball as we’re talking. So right on point with your analogies.


Okay. So full transparency moment, everyone. While we’re in the green room before hitting record, Carey and I both have this love of baseball, as you heard me just say a couple of minutes ago. And we both have this thing that we have baseballs on our desk. And it’s just, I don’t know why if it’s like a spinner or something, but we just do that.


So before we dive in with this really big, meaty topic that we’re going to call, Research is Cornerstone or whatever the title of this ends up being. Before we get there, actually take us behind the curtain here for a second and give us a little bit more context beyond the bio, a little bit more context around you and your path, your journey and, you know, a couple of minutes and then and then we’ll dive in.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Cultivating Your Professional Curiosity


Yeah. So, my path or journey to the company is probably nontraditional, unorthodox, however you want to define it. I actually graduated with an accounting degree here in the University of Maine, and once I had my degree, I was about three months and my dad had an accounting practice that’s about three months. And that I am not fit to be in, I’m just not going to work for me.


And so I just started a different path. I had a goal, though, before 30, I wanted to start my own company. I had no idea what it was going to be, but I remember the list today. I wanted a leather chair and I wanted my own business card. So that was my credential and I did it. So I remember one Friday I left a job.


I know weekends. Honestly, Stephen, I had one client. I was working for an agency in town. I walked in one day and I said, “You need to hire me.” And I convinced them to do that. I don’t know how, but they did because I wanted to see what an agency owner knew that I didn’t. I wanted to see how they ran their business.


I wanted to see what I didn’t know. You know, what I realized in being there was they were trying to figure it out, too. So there’s no magic pixie dust that puts somebody in the best position to do it. They were just struggling each and every day to make the right decisions and serve people. And I thought, I can do that.


And so I left. I bought a plastic table at Walmart and a laptop at Best Buy and converted a bedroom into a business. And then 5 years later, probably one of the most beneficial moments of my life was meeting Elizabeth Sutherland, who has become my business partner. I had a life event. I had in the sense, of course, of six months.


I had a mother-in-law who tragically died on a treadmill. I had my dad in a medical coma in ICU. And I realized if I looked at my own professional position, I wanted a company, Stephen. But I didn’t have one. I had a job, and I guess I had two employees. But if I didn’t come to work, no work is done.


So therefore I didn’t have a company, I had a job and I wanted something bigger than that. I wanted life balance. I wanted to create something bigger than just my time at a desk. And so a conversation with Elizabeth turned into a company. 17 years later. We’re still doing that. She’s the best professional thing that’s ever happened to me.


And we just tried each and every day to do the right thing, make the right decision, and be as helpful as we can to not only the employees but to find some sort of “Wow.” So, let’s go back to something that you said almost at the onset of that context. You said you wanted to see what I didn’t know.


Yeah. And I literally wrote that in my notes, and highlighted it. And the reason is because I’m like, okay, that really sparks this, or that was like this curious spark. And we’ll continue to talk about that, how that went into the research through the use of data driven business strategy. Maybe that’s why that was a very natural cornerstone content for you but has this because it sort of unlocks or starts with curiosity too to find what can be helpful.


But is that spark of curiosity? Is that always been part of you and a Ted Lasso fan? I know if you’re a Ted Lasso fan, but one of the Ted Lasso is, if you will, quoting something that’s either real or not be curious, not judgmental. And that became when that show I wrote Be Curious, Not Judgmental is on a post-it note here in my office because it really does as much as I could explain it in one sentence, kind of cultivate my professional curiosity.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: You Can’t Get a Hit If You Don’t Take a Swing


I’ll tell you another story. I flunked the very first paper I typed at the university as a freshman. I turned in my very first paper. I got a Big Apple to start on it and it wasn’t because of the content. It wasn’t because I didn’t do the assignment because I handwrote it. And she said, no handwriting.


This has to be typo. I don’t know how to type. I have no idea how to type. This is the beginning of when we still had that one computer that came through the hallway on the rolling part in that big plastic case, right? Yes. And you had to wait in line for one in the morning in the library to get the right stuff.


And so I just went home and I said, “You know what? I need to learn how to play it.” But I spent the whole weekend just because there was no YouTube back then. You just did it and then you learned it. And that has been kind of my professional all along. I’m just going to go do it.


I mean, they’re going to fail. I’m going to learn something. I might be good at it. And yeah, that’s a professional curiosity for me. We call it fail fast, bill cheap. I learned that from Doug Hall here at the university. And you know, you talked about Derek Jeter in the green room striking out how many times? Thousand plus.


You know, it’s still one of the greatest Yankees and greatest ballplayers both times, but failed over 1000 times. If you look at that and we try to teach that each and every day and be curious, try to fail. You didn’t fail. You learn something.And so I think that’s been kind of a driving inspiration for me.


So let’s go back to that. What we were chatting about in the green room, because when we were talking about strikeouts, you then said, “You’ll see this better than me, but like no hit was ever made without taking a swing.” Like, that’s what you’re talking about right there. I’m just going to get up to the plate and I’m going to go do it because I can’t get a hit if I don’t take a swing.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Growing Your Professional Career


Everyone goes to swing the bat, right? We have kids. I do a lot of coaching. My son plays baseball or an all stars now. And, you know, next play, you’re going to let the play go. What did you learn? And what I don’t want to ever see is to just watch three pitches. Combine, not swing. Always go down.


Swing it, swing the bat always! Something’s going to happen. But we know it’s not going to happen. Know, just drop the ball. But you know what’s going to happen if you don’t think about it. See that? That’s why mine are safely tucked away in the closet. Otherwise, everyone would hear us both dropping baseballs. Okay, so let’s continue down this path of curiosity and then connect it to the research.


So what was it about research that you and Elizabeth decided that, yes, this should be our cornerstone content? Like what was attractive, and compelling? Was it scratch the itch, a curiosity? Tell us about that. So I know your audience. I’ve known you for a while, followed you, learned a lot from you. And I know that the audience for you, your business in this podcast is other coaches and agency owners, and so I’m going to speak to it through that lens, through what you introduced us at the beginning as. Let me back up one step.


The second most important person I’ve ever met in my professional career is Drew McClellan, who oversees Agency Management Institute. The day that I walked into that at the event and see what I didn’t know, I opened my eyes to, you know, there are people struggling that you think know what they’re doing. And as we built our business and grown, we don’t know what we don’t know.


But there are moments on that journey where you’re like, man, I wish I had known that four years ago. Like, I feel like I’ve been kind of flying blind or circling that airport for a long time. And I met Drew McClellan and I actually at a non-AMI event in Nashville, Tennessee, put on by a guy named Michael Gast.


And then Drew was a presenter. And at the time I talked to Elizabeth and I said, “We’ve got to do something. We’ve got to do something to learn while we grow up.” And we’re just kind of like I told you. I went to accounting school, like we come from an agency, we’re building instruments. Then, we chose to talk further to Drew.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Connect With the Right People


We chose to become a member of AMI. And at that moment it was like, wait, this thing. But you’re like, “I didn’t know that.” Yeah, like, how come no one told me that? Right? And the ability for us to kind of find ways to expand our comfort zone and learn things we didn’t know and be around people that we can learn from has always been a goal, and we take advantage of it.


And so through the lens of your audience, I will tell you that Drew told us, much like he’s told you and others, you know, find the position, find a niche, and use the data driven business strategy to move further. What are you good at? What you think in our inventory, when we look at what we’re good at, we’ve been a generalist for a long time, but we have some really skilled people that are familiar with the characteristics. The people, the region, the issues that are within our state.


And we’re finding that the more we position ourselves as the familiar and connected, and experience with what happens in our borders, the better off we are in having. Like you say, better meaningful conversations. But we also want to be more than just a producer, right? So our firm, we have strategists in PR consultants who do what we do, but we also have doers. We have web and graphics and video.


I know some people don’t, but I never wanted to be just a commodity shop. So we needed to find a way to, you know, for lack of better vocabulary, how do you look smart? How do you position yourself as someone who is smart or at least thinks smart or whatever? And so we went back and forth.


We’re going to a workshop and all this stuff and we met Susan, Susan Baier, Audience Audit. And we learned a little bit about how we met her four or five years ago, so that was not an instant. Yes, that’s it. It was a consideration. It was, you know, and then we finally said, “You know what? I think we need to talk to her.”


I think this is something that we can do. And so, Susan helped us on our path and we can talk about how that went. But the reason that we did it was twofold: We have a hospitality and tourism director here now that we were able to lure in from 20 years being executive director of an agency that oversaw, the Convention and Visitors Bureau. We decided that was enough of an opportunity in our state to plant a flag.


And so we are now going down the path of continuing that main theme, but doing it with a piece of our business that’s going to be focused on hospitality and tourism. But if we’re going to do that, we have competition, and competition is outside the state as well as inside the state. We really wanted to be the folks that could talk the language position and get value as it pertains to Mainers and the way Mainers think.


The service was a natural fit for where we wanted to go, and so the ability for us to partner with her and then go down that journey that I’m smiling about is because it started pre-COVID. So I think we took a little longer than we probably normally would have taken, but it was fruitful. We learned a lot and we’re going to do it again.


But yeah, that was the reason we wanted to have a flag that positioned us as being able to talk about things that was new and different and meaningful and valuable to the audience in a way that just wanted to look it up for. Okay, see if this is a fair assumption. 


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Decide On What You Need to Learn


So when you talking about Drew and then how you had a couple of those moments where you said how come no one ever told me that this sounds like, the research is an opportunity for you in a really good way, not in a self-aggrandizing way, but in a really good way for you to then stand in front of your audience and say, “These are the things we’ve learned, these are the things, the outcomes of the research that we believe will be helpful to you too.” But then doing that in full transparency and being generous and all of that, you’re creating those moments for them.


What are they going to say? My gosh, I don’t know. Never told me that before or what I just learned from Carey or Elizabeth. I just now realized what I didn’t know. And now I do know because they helped me. And even if it’s not new knowledge, it could be a new perspective and a new lens or a new take on something they thought to be true.


And so that was it might not be 0 to 100. Now I know it couldn’t be just perspective. And as you know, you can hear the same thing over a number of times and it means something different because of the experience, the perspective, the position you’re in, what’s happened to you. And so that’s where we want to use the data driven business strategy for that as well.


That’s smart. So how did you decide? So it seemed like research was a really natural fit both for your curiosity and some of the experiences you mentioned. But then just being able to share and teach and all of that and help your audience be better clients and prospects. We better learn something new. But how did you just know that Elizabeth Susan, as your thinking partner, how did you decide what to study?


So that was a very interesting path for us. We started with an internal exercise with our own thing. What conversations are we having with businesses? What conversations are you having yourself? What are people asking? What are we talking about? So we did a mind map of just a laundry list of questions and topics and assumptions and all the challenges. That’s where we started.


And then we started to see some priorities. We started to see some commonalities. We started to see some consistencies, and we just doubled down there. And then we said we layered that on and we said, “You know if I was somebody looking to work with a partner in Maine. If I was this person, if I was the right size client, if I was a prospect that wanted to work with people, what’s some of the data, the information perspective and skills that they could bring to the table that would help me?”


And so we started layering that. And I think the cherry on top was, is there anything that’s not here that we hold to be true, as we say in Maine, Don’t let a fact get in the way of my opinion. Are there things that we hold to be true that we can’t have any basis for supporting? We just think it is right?


And so that was kind of our cherry on top. And that combination of exercises and evaluations and just kind of self-exploration led to a spreadsheet of both questions. And what other became the survey and the research. So was there like a formal list? I’m just asking the question that way. But like, was there a list of things of like everyone, these are the things that we’re trying to validate, or here are the things that we’re looking to contradict?


Like was there any of that? And I guess I guess maybe somebody might think of that as bias, I’m not sure. But were there things that you’re either trying to prove or disprove as you embarked on the study? I’m sure there were more than one, but there’s one that just screams in my head as well. So as you look at our state, we have a very large state in terms of proximity of New England.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Know Your Goals


So we are at the top of New England. If you look, we’re the largest state by critical mass in any state. And then we one, two or three times other states physically okay. But from a population point of view, this massive state only has 1.3 million people. Our largest city is Portland, which has maybe a hundred thousand people. So we’re not talking about dense population per square mile.


Remember, weevils growing up, totally remember weevils? You remember what the Louisville weevils were? They don’t fall down right? Yeah, right. Our state is a weevil, right? So if you look at our state, it’s very heavy at the bottom and very light at the top. And if you were to take our staple on the desk, it would do what we were able to walk down.


So two thirds of our population are in one third of the geography down the bottom. So there’s been this we call two mains. I’m sure other states have the same thing, north, south, east, west. But there’s two mains.And so as you ask me that question and the one pervasive thought that we hold to be true is that there are two mains and those mains are completely different.


And the people think differently and they have different attitudes and all that stuff. And so I think if I were to answer that question, it would be that that was probably the one thing that we went into it as a question, a myth, whatever you might want to call it, that I wanted to see it go through. 


And it did not really. It did not. And so Susan helped us and she was fantastic. Yes, she is. We didn’t know. Listen, you don’t talk about not knowing what you don’t know. I have no idea what we were doing. No idea what we’re doing. We knew why we were doing it, and we kind of knew what we wanted the outcome to be.


But that’s a big gap in the thought. “I have no idea how to get them right.” So you would spend half. And so she asked us this question “What is it that you want to get out of this? And what are some of the things that you want to either prove, disprove, or know more about all that stuff?”


And so when we were done, she’s smart, she’s got some smart people, and they took and they sliced and diced, they use your phrase, they slice and dice the data. And we came up with three attitudinal groups. And so mindsets of Maine was what we called it when we were done. It was a look at the attitudinal behaviors of Mainers, and we based on her criteria and the answers in the data, she created three mindsets that had nothing to do with age.


It had nothing to do with demographics, it had nothing to do with it. It was just attitudes towards things related to Maine. And I have them here in the cheat sheet. But what we found was and she had some really cool software, so you can start to lay these data points and you can include in excluding these and you start to see the map of Maine.


And what we found was the three attitudinal groups. Not only were they about a third of all the people that we surveyed, but they were evenly distributed in all parts of the state and they were evenly represented by gender. They were evenly represented by age. You know, it was really fascinating to see the myth to be debunked, their point of view.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: The Slice and Dice Format


Now, there are certain things that happen in southern Maine that don’t happen in northern Maine that get all that. But from an attitudinal perspective of who these people are, what they think and how they feel about the questions that we asked them couldn’t have been more equally distributed. So, as you’re starting to share this now and the outcomes from the data driven business strategy and teach from it and so forth, and we’ll get into a little bit more of that in just a second.


But this initial sort of wave or batch of people that you’re sharing that with, are they just as surprised to see that, gosh, was it because you’re from here? Yes. If you’re from away, as we say then okay, that makes sense. But if you’re from here, you’re like, my goodness. Like, that blows me away.


I mean that. And so there has always been a thought process that there are different people that we will, but there are different people that gravitationally pull themselves in terms of mentally, how they view position, and what they look like. And so we looked at this from a couple of different angles: consumer buying behaviors and the workforce for our state, which is a huge issue.


There are workforce shortages and all kinds of national. I understand it, but as we are rolling this out, we are talking about it into frames of reference. One is the buyer, the consumer, the attitude of the Maine buyer, the attitude of the Maine, as well as the attitude of the Maine worker. For example, if you are hiring and you’re looking to bring folks in, there are characteristics in those three attitudinal groups that you want to pay attention to because they will play well in certain areas and not others.


And so as we go through that, the light bulbs and the cars and that’s interesting. It’s encouraging when you see that this work that you put time into is turning into these light bulb moments where people that and sometimes it’s new data and sometimes like we said, it’s just a new perspective on an old thing. But it’s proving to start meaningful conversations know have people invite us to present the data to their group, right what I haven’t scheduled yet is in October. We are presenting the state’s largest what will become the state’s largest marketing conference for business owners and executives in hospitality and tourism.


We’re doing that in our backyard and we are using that data in a slice and dice format. Again, stealing from you to lead awareness and conversations for both sponsors and participants leading up to that conference, where this will become a chunk of what we talk about because we’re super, super smart that you guys are doing that conference.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: It’s All About The Perspective


That was awesome. Thank you for sharing that. Such a great stage for you to be helpful because if I’ve understood the study correctly, if your business is located in Maine, the study outcomes are helpful if you’re a business outside of Maine. But looking to sell through into Maine, the study’s outcomes will be helpful when you mentioned kind of the light bulb moment. I have your study here in front of me. It just kind of helps as we’re going through this conversation and the three segments that you talked about. The Proud Mainers are one segment, the disparages are another segment, and then the change seekers are the other attitudinal segment that you talked about. 


And then I looked at this kind of light bulb moment that you put underneath the segments, and it reads like this, Mainers aren’t all the same and don’t all share the proud Mainers, quote unquote proud Mainers. Enthusiasm for the state or the belief that its residents are unique.


Nearly 37% have substantial complaints about Maine residents being stuck in the past and resistant to change. So, if I’m a business that recognizes Maine as one of my markets, that’s a really powerful insight for me in how I’m going to want to approach Mainers. If I think of that as a target audience and then dig a little deeper into that in the executive summary, which is available on the website, there is another layer to that where you’ve heard it, too. 


I know you have where we’re local. It’s not just the main thing, but we’re local. Local matters were looked at well. We asked people, does local matter? How do you define local? The chart of responses and what people care about, what they don’t, what they think, and what they define as local is eye-opening.


And when we talk to businesses, and we’ve done five presentations now of the data to trade groups and private businesses, the one takeaway is not only there. The two main, now attitudinal studies and whatnot and another section is getting a lot about price and where people get their information from, but either validating or just super validating. However you define local, and what it means, people are like, “Okay, it didn’t mean what I think it means or was as important,” or it’s more important like that particular piece of study has caused a lot of the conversation.


And again, it’s all perspective because the data is what it is, right? It’s the lens that you look at it through and how you apply it to your position, your opinion, and your goals. Okay, so let’s go into the five presentations and talk a little bit more about how the research is becoming that foundation for whether a presentation or some other way to teach it or share it or whatever.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Leaving A Cookie Trail for Your Audience


So, in addition to the five, maybe just kind of forecasting what your plan is, how do you and Elizabeth, intend to take the research and continue to teach from it? So we’re borrowing from your wisdom, to be quite frank, as we are trying to create one of pounds and nuggets and then create content. And our path, if you will, is at the moment not 12 months, it’s from when we started, which is about the middle of June to the conference in October.


We plan on commissioning again with Susan because once it took us, much like everything else you do in life, the mental challenge of doing it the first time goes away. We want to do it again, right? So the repetition of short news and the things you’ve learned that maybe do it better. It took us much longer to do the first one than it will be the second one especially when you don’t have the data driven business strategy ready.


But by the time the first one, we’re done, or like what the next one is going to be done about right. And so we’ll start that position and have it ready for maybe next October. But right now, what we are doing is using the data to write posts, blogs, emails, or videos to lay a cookie trail up to the conference in October.


Okay, so let me say that in a slightly different way. I love the cookie trail reference, by the way. We’re going to use the content. You’re going to slice and dice the content in such a way and put it in the right places so that right-fit attendees for the October event not only see it but are helped by it. And then realize that I need to go to that October event because my community is going to be there and I can learn from these really smart people. Not just the people who are on the stage, but the people who are in the room, right?


Yeah, that’s exactly right. These are much better than I did, but that’s exactly right. It did sound better than it did some. So tell us, like you’ve said it before, like, I said that those are my words. You are just repeating my words. But I think that’s exactly what it sounds like. Do you remember that goofy tangent?


Do you remember it for a few years? Well, it’s probably like ten years ago now. There was like this UPS or maybe was FedEx. I think it was FedEx, this FedEx commercial. The people there were like a bunch of people in the boardroom in this one that one person said, “Well, why don’t we just ship it through FedEx ground?”


And they’re like, “That’s a dumb idea.” Then this one kind of slick guy said, “You know, what we ought to do is we ought to do the shipping through FedEx, ground it like with all this business speak”. And everybody’s like, “Yes!” And then the guy is like, “That’s what I just said.”


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Going Further into The Insights and Not the Data


But all joking aside, so then when you’re in October, my guess is that you’re going to be taking the research here and then slicing it also in a different way. And that may become the foundation of some of what you deliver from stage, is that correct? Yes, because again, I’ve mentioned the word perspective here a few times, but the business owner or decision-maker population in the state also has their own perspective, depending on what industry challenges side.


And so even the same information can be delivered differently even if you have a niche down audience. And so when it comes to tourism and hospitality, what we’ll be doing is taking the data that we’re delivering in the executive summary that you see online in generic ways of insights and takeaways. And going even further, niching down to how it is applied to hospitality, how do you as a business owner, how do you as a decision maker in the hospitality and tourism industry, take this nugget and apply it to your business or this nugget, apply it to your employees or this nugget and apply it to your customers?


And so we’ll go even further on the insights because it’s not about the data but rather the data driven business strategy that you’ve done. Like, you know, Google Analytics is a big thing for a lot of our customers and we can give them Google Analytics all day long. In fact, people ask for and we deliver reports on a regular basis, but nobody knows what the numbers mean. They’re not looking for the numbers.


They’re looking for a nugget, they’re looking for an insight into what that means. Those are the four words that we look for. And so the ability for us to take this and say, “Okay, here’s the data, but let’s put it into perspective that you can actually personalize, internalize, and you write.” So functional reform, I don’t want it to be pretty if it’s not valuable.


So if I can’t have you participate or listen in one way, you get something out of it. And I haven’t done the job right. So that’s what we’re aiming to do. When I put out particular ideas, Amanda, that you mentioned, Drew, you know, a little bit ago, and Drew and I were actually just talking about this URL earlier today. Coincidentally similar or that ties into what you just said, and that is agencies, the people who are listening to you right now.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Building Trust and Confidence for The Next Conversation


One of the big complaints that we hear, you’ve heard it, you know, time and time again is as an agency owner, gosh, I wish we had a strategic seat at the table. Or worse yet, we used to. And now we’re treated like a vendor. And what you’re doing is you’re turning that completely and going 180 degrees in the opposite direction.


You, Elizabeth, Susan, and your team found a whole bunch of insights, strategic insights that show are extremely helpful and then also earned. You also keep that strategic seat at the table. You are showing that you’re worthy of being the strategic advisor and that you’re not just giving Google Analytics data. That doesn’t mean anything. Google Analytics data means something, but you also need to have the lens of the advisor here to say, well, this equals that.


That data point connects to this one over here, and this is what it means. And more importantly, this is what we should do, right? Like you have it really so right. You’re especially in a world where we measure everything. And we don’t know what it means. We have not. I don’t want to hear the eye again because nobody knows what that means.


There’s so many lingo and measurements and stats and data, and people just throw out numbers and hope that you’re going to be impressed, you know? And we’re at a point where there’s too much information out there now to rely on numbers to dazzle. You’ve got to bring it back and make it meaningful and relevant. And when we’re just trying to do the best we can, but we got to teach.


We’re going to educate and help people learn. And that’s how we make connections and that’s how we feel. Quite frankly, it’s helping people solve problems and help people explore. Help people learn something that’s relevant to them. And then if you’re the person that gifts to them if you’re the person who helps the light bulb, come on. If you’re the person who helps them solve a problem or see the answer, then by association, you’re hopefully building trust and confidence for another conversation.


And that’s how we look at the study. Well, that’s what it means to sell with authority. You’re not selling at all. What you’re doing is being, as you described, helpful. You’re pointing out insights, you’re connecting the dots, you’re showing them how to be better as a result of the information and then what to do next.


And then, of course, they look at you and say, with all sincerity, gosh, that’s really smart. Can you help me do whatever that is? And then, of course, your prospect never, ever felt like a prospect because your entire goal through that process was just to be helpful. It’s amazing. And one of the nuggets I love, because I preach it all the time, is pricing on your website, right?


So that was one of the questions I threw in as I talk to people that leads the whole content conversation and I’m a certified coach working with market share it. And in that asking answer and the ability for us to look at content ideas and be helpful, educate, learn to be transparent, you know, the whole buyer’s journey of choosing.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: Be Generous and Don’t Expect Something in Return


And so one of the questions that we have here is the biggest frustration. What are your biggest frustrations in buying and waiting on the website is one of them. If the information’s missing, if our whole goal is to build trust and confidence in people that we haven’t met yet, right? We start that conversation if they feel like we’re hiding or being less than transparent, we’re not building trust and confidence.


And so the ability for me to say with authority, right, to use your word that you need to have pricing on your website, it becomes more than an opinion. It becomes more than just something I say. If it comes, we have data. And yes, another research, but we have our own research that says the biggest frustration to two is the system itself and the ability.


And then that leads to the reason I bring that up, if business does come from that conversation, even people say, “Well, that’s interesting”, you struggle with that. How would you do that? Well, I have an article that I can share with you because I read it, and that’s something you can help me with. And then that leads to, you know, while we’re at it, this is comfortable.


If I can get people, if you look at the home page on our website, we want to answer questions right to the issues that are plaguing growing businesses. That’s our goal. If we can get someone to ask a question, that is the initiation of a conversation that can lead to some really meaningful things. This will go great if you have the data driven business strategy ready to launch during this phase. Amen. And so everyone here and you’re listening to your right now, one of the ways that you can sort of promote nudge, prompt your audience to ask the questions is by being helpful without any expectation of return, teach, step into that moment, be generous.


And then what ends up happening is they say, Hey, just one second, carry in, Elizabeth, could you? And then all of a sudden the conversation is off and running, just like Cory just described. So I know our time is running short. We need to come in for a landing here, Cory, but I really appreciate your generosity. Thank you.


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Data Driven Business Strategy: How To Get in Touch with Carey


Before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, what’s the best way for our audience to reach out and connect with you? So we are very transparent. So is our company. We have a team page that has individual bios, LinkedIn connections, email connect and it’s all over the place. So I would say the single easiest way to get a hold of anybody is by suddenly, what’s the dot com?


Okay, everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and listen to Carey’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. The key is you need to take what he so generously gave you, what he shared, what he taught, what he took you behind the curtain to shine bright light on. Take your data driven business strategy and apply it into your business.


And if you do, you’ll accelerate your results. Just like the promise. In the beginning, when I was introducing Carey. And Carey, thank you very much for taking time out of your compressed schedule to come on to the show, to be our mentor and guide. Help us move our businesses onward to that next level. Thank you so much, my friend.


A pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.


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Sell with Authority Podcast

The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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