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From Hunches to Hard Data: How to Make Better Business Decisions (Episode 161)

JJ Reynolds started his journey into digital marketing by running ads for content that he created at a small agency. However, he quickly learned that most organizations didn’t use numbers to guide business decisions.

Now he focuses on assisting businesses in measuring and acting on their marketing data by running Mediauthentic and teaching on Better Than Data.

Understanding that online marketing can make huge improvements with small changes, he helps eliminate the “guesswork” by strategizing with companies using tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.

Reynolds helps clients using Google Marketing Cloud, where he’s able to predictably increase MRR (monthly recurring revenue) while measuring each channel’s step in the marketing journey. With his team, they take all of their clients’ data from their CRM, Google Analytics, and cart platform, then turn it into a real-time data dashboard for you to take action.

JJ believes that what most digital businesses need is someone to provide reliable, consistent data to help them take action.

What you will learn

  • The compelling reasons why all businesses should be using dashboards and data
  • Using data to make good investment decisions when it comes to advertising
  • How to use paid media effectively to acquire new leads
  • How Apple’s data privacy policies are affecting your ads
  • The steps JJ takes to build a data dashboard
  • The powerful role AI plays in business data today
  • JJ shares his struggles and the challenges he’s faced on his own entrepreneurial journey
  • The critical importance of systems and processes
  • The tools JJ uses when collaborating with his remote team
  • Plus loads more!


Jeff Bullas

00:00:06 - 00:01:08

Hi and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me, JJ Reynolds. JJ started his journey into digital marketing with running ads for content that he created at a small agency. He quickly learned that most organizations don't use the numbers or the data to guide decisions and in the digital world this is absolutely vital.

He now focuses on assisting businesses and measuring and acting on their market data by running Mediauthentic and also teaching on his other platform BetterThanData.com. So, it’s basically about providing data that helps guide people in the decision making of this very, very digital world. He helps eliminate the “Guess Work” by strategizing companies using tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. He also helps people use Google Marketing Cloud, where he's able to predictably increase monthly revenue while measuring each channel’s step in the marketing journey. So this is a podcast about data to help you grow your company and control it.

So welcome to the show. JJ, it's awesome to have you here.

JJ Reynolds

00:01:08 - 00:01:12

Hey, thanks so much Jeff. It's a pleasure to be here.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:13 - 00:01:37

So JJ, data is actually very interesting and I want to get straight to the point on this. So why is data exciting? And before we do that, let's look at why, what got you into this data journey? Tell us your story of how you crossed the rubicon and stepped into data and you told the story of back channel. But how did you get here?

JJ Reynolds

00:01:38 - 00:03:49

Yeah, I'll give you the quick two minute overview everybody. So basically how I started out was, I was pretty good at video camera throughout like high school and college, made some money doing videos for for people in college. I was like, I wanna be a videographer, started shooting videos with my little LLC that I started up and got like pretty good at it, got solid business there. I didn't realize nobody knew what to do with the actual video. So you get the video and be like, cool, all right, this is awesome. Then now what? And you're like, I made the video, pay me, I'll see you later. But then the videos will just sit either on a drive or on the like the about page of a website which no one ever goes to. And so I was like, okay, like, let's try this Facebook thing out. If I push this button, it says boost, I can spend money and then the numbers of views on my videos go up. Cool. So I started running ads, like early Facebook days when you could get a lot of outcome for very little dollar. Those days are kind of gone. And I've then realized that like the numbers weren't what you expected, right. Like if you're running for the business owner, like you spent $10,000, $1000, $100,000 add as many zeros or as few zeros as you want, then the owner is like, well, what did we get? Like, do we get more than that back? And you're like I don't know like, I said boost it said I got you 10,000 impressions for five bucks, what do you know. So then it ended up diving in this world of like, okay, we need numbers. That's the thing that we have established that we need to know, we needed outcomes, we have to have revenues, we need to have sales, all those pieces and we need to know how those sales were achieved. Was that through the ad? Was it through the word of mouth? Was it through Google Ads because that other agencies running. And so now, that is all that we do, like we are some of the best at strategizing data collection and visualization so that you as like an owner or a marketing director or a marketing person can then take action and not be like bogged down by like I don't know what number to look at. Like we bring those to the top and say here look at this what are you gonna do about it now?

Jeff Bullas

00:03:49 - 00:04:05

Okay cool. So essentially you do two things. Number one, you actually create a dashboard to collect the data for the company or business and number two, you actually then interpret that data and guard them in making sense of the numbers, is that correct?

JJ Reynolds

00:04:05 - 00:04:49

Yeah and like the biggest thing is like you have intentions and outcome but that's the two biggest things that every business has is if you have an intention, you’d have an idea. I think we should run SEO like for blogs and I mean, we should write 10, a hundred blogs this month for SEO, right? That's the intentionality. But then what was the outcome that was achieved? And so that's what we guide and like the goal is that every one of our clients or one of our students over BetterThanData is that like, you can look at that information and be like, we tried to do this thing, we ran ads, we spoke at a conference, whatever it might be. What was the outcome that was achieved and was that in line with what you expected? And that's like at the heart of it a lot of nuance and nerdy stuff in between but that's the heart.

Jeff Bullas

00:04:49 - 00:05:07

So why should people be using dashboards and collecting data? You sort of, we've talked about it but what's, so tell us the big, number one, big reason then actually maybe some other reasons to wrap that.

JJ Reynolds

00:05:08 - 00:05:52

Yeah. Like the biggest thing that everyone needs to like to do, right. If you're like, I don't know what to deal. The only way you're gonna ever know that is if you have some feedback loop. We use Google Analytics, it's free for like, go create an account in Google.com, bam, got an account. But then you have to say like, what are you gonna do with that information? And that's the quick, the easy way to have a feedback loop is like how many people saw the thing, how many people bought the thing, where they come from? Like that's the easiest three questions you can ask, how many people saw it? How many people bought it? Where did they come from? And if you can answer those three questions and be better than most people, you'd be surprised.

Jeff Bullas

00:05:52 - 00:07:15

So yeah, the reality is that people are like, let's do some ads and they're going, then you also may be getting traffic from organic search results, right? So people type in a question, comes up and if you're good at what you do another creating content optimizing for Google, you maybe appear on page one, globally maybe. So, that's good to know but then is that driving sales or if I'm running Facebook ads or Google, YouTube video ads, for example, which ones producing another way to spend a dollar? I don't want to get 50 cents back because then it's just a complete waste of money. So tell us about your approach to driving because number one, you want attention, alright. In other words, that impression is another word for it. Number two, you want leads, okay. Number three, you want sales and then number four at the back end of that, which a lot of people forget about is how many people have bought my product never come back or they're buying a monthly subscription to something and keep churning. So the last number I believe is churned. So they're the four, tell us your approach to help people make good decisions based upon data around spending money for ads and generating impressions, leads, sales and reducing churn.

JJ Reynolds

00:07:16 - 00:10:17

Yeah, I love it. Love the question because it is like the foundation of where every conversation starts like and to give an example of like, if anybody goes to like, BetterThanData.com, there's like a big button on the top right corner that says cheat sheet, okay, it is a lead magnet, leads. That's the first beast there, I know that every single person who sees the page, 38% of you are going to fill that out. Like it's consistent, rock solid does not change very much over time. And so with that I can go to any channel I want to and we have a benchmark to start with. So you can say like impressions is people who saw that, 100 people saw that and 38 of them downloaded the thing, okay, we got leads. So that way you have a very, very basic way of saying, okay, how people saw the thing. They saw what you're offering, right? Whether that's a lead magnet or a webinar, whatever else. And then did the thing that you wanted them to do, you then can take that back and say, where did they come from? And is that a different behavior for ads versus YouTube versus different platforms or organic social media, right? And so that's like the heart of it, you start with that thing, download the thing, boom. You have that, the answer there. Then you have the next question of how many money did you get? Which everybody wants to know, right? Because that's the end of the day. And so you can do the same exact concept with that is how we saw the offer page. If you have a single offer, right? Like say for example, you're like a course that you sell or if you have something on those lines like how many people saw the page? Start with that and then how many people bought the page or bought the thing that was on the page and go there and like you'd be surprised at knowing those like five metrics, right? People who saw the thing, people who then got the lead magnet, the conversion rate of that, people who saw your offer and then people who bought the offer and the conversion rate of that and where they came from, broken down by the source of the traffic. And that right there is like, hopefully you're still following me, I know we're on a podcast here and I'm giving examples, but that at the heart of it is where you can start and then there's a ton of nuance of how you can get into more granular of different steps of different things. But that gives you a guide post of say, hey, here's our direction or trying to go and are we going there? We expect to have 100 leads this month or 1000 leads this month, 80% of those are gonna come from Google Ads. Like is that true? Yes or no. Let's find out. So, that's at the heart of it, how you can start. And that probably was a lot for some people, apologies. But hopefully that made some sense.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:17 - 00:11:18

Yeah, I think people need to understand that data gives you the insight, otherwise you're flying blind. It’s going, well I think the ads are working. We've got some leads in our email subscription list, we've got some revenue, but which channel is working. So, it's interesting questions here in terms of, the landscapes change, in other words, you used to be able to buy ads cheaply and over time ads became much more expensive. You used to basically, you know, back in the day, back in the early 2000s, you used to run Google Adsense, I think it was. So, and you could make, it was cheap, you could spend money and it was not hard to get a return, in other words, spend a dollar, get two or three $5 back. So where are we today in terms of lead generation with paid digital media? I'd be interested in what you're observing. So it gives people some insights and what they should be doing.

JJ Reynolds

00:11:19 - 00:12:56

Yeah. So the cost per lead, I think across the board like it used to be like. You measure your cost per leads in cents. I think those days are gone. It's now costs like in dollars like, I'd say 2-5 dollars is the range for the majority and there's outliers on either side of the cost per lead. What we're seeing from like the actual like implementation is there's kind of two different schools of thought that we've seen, one is you gonna lead heavy, you're like, we're gonna nurture these people, we’re gonna like put an offer on the thank you page, 1% of people are going to take that so hopefully it helps subsidize or add cost and have an awesome newsletter or automation series that's going to kind of get them into the into our products etcetera, right, another school of thought that we've seen is throw leads by the wayside. It's just so expensive now that we're gonna go straight for cost to acquire a customer. Like we're gonna go straight for the ask at maybe a low dollar thing to get them into our system and break even on the spend. So those are the two kind of schools of thought that we see on pretty much most clients or one or the other. They're like legion all the way or their customer acquisition cost all the way. And so that's really the trend that we're seeing is like a divide between the two strategies, whereas it used to be much more like you kind of do both at the same time. Whereas some business models are kind of going one way or the other way.

Jeff Bullas

00:12:57 - 00:13:38

So in terms of your clients you're working with because in this digital world you can actually create very low cost products that actually have high gross margin. That might be a monthly newsletter that you create, it might be then you've got more B2B that are selling like $100,000 piece of equipment. So in other words if you get a lead and then it converts and that's maybe it's not easier to actually make money out of it, but everything's relative to the cost of the good and the money that the business makes from it. So which area you sort of working and finding the best success? Is it like the high end B2B? Is it B2C? Or across the board?

JJ Reynolds

00:13:39 - 00:14:43

Yeah. We mostly work, I'd say about 50-50 at the moment between B2B like kind of softwares-like style, software adjacent type of companies or B2C where they're selling either information or like actual products like e-commerce, multiple high skew of websites. So our divide right now is about half and half, we don't really have any major like pharmaceutical companies because the volume is so low, right. Like you're like there's 100 hospitals that we're gonna sell this to. So like we don't really need to measure because we call them and then we'll have like a list that we keep manually, right? We need to have some level of volume. And like to your lead point like one of our clients has near close to 1000 leads a day that they're like taking in and then like we're measuring the entire back end system with them there. So like again, all over the board but that's usually sas software adjacent or kind of direct response style there. Of course creators, things like that.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:43 - 00:15:38

And what type of digital media advertising are you focusing on and what maybe of the top 3-4 that people should be considering in terms of, you know, getting impressions, getting leads, getting sales and then also observing how should reduce churn? That's another story, part that to the side. So what are the top, because we've had some recent in the last year or so. Apple said, we're not going to hand out information to Facebook because you're using that data to provide almost creepy information about people and we would respect people's privacy, that's what Apple says anyway. So with Apple sort of privacy and people opt into ads and so on or opting to hand over their information, has that had any impact on ad spend or ad efficiency?

JJ Reynolds

00:15:39 - 00:17:22

I think the new number that we're trying to see more and more is like the marketing efficiency ratio, which sounds really scary when you say it out loud, but basically how much spend did you like, across all channels, right? Like how much money do we spend across all ads, including agency fees, if you use agencies kind of marketing in general and then what's the new revenue acquired and like what's that ratio of like that percentage. So we're seeing that more and more, more businesses that are starting to like look at things more holistically as opposed to like in Facebook, how much money we spend and how much money we make, that kind of moving upstream a little bit. Although we can still break it down by channel. And to answer your question around platform specific, it really depends on who you're talking to. Like if you have something that is low cost and a low like, under the age of 30 demographic, like TikTok ads might knock your socks off. But like if you're a software that has a customer like average monthly cost of $300, like you're going to LinkedIn. And if you're looking for somebody, like, in my experience, over the age of like 45 people like Facebook like your demographic there. So like you kind of have these different segmentation behaviors of how that traffic performs. But I think great marketers and ad buyers will be able to change platforms. They're not like I just run Facebook ads, they're like I, we do ads, basis of our kind of avatar. So, that’s worth kinda seeing.

Jeff Bullas

00:17:22 - 00:18:30

Okay, so in other words the demographic of the platform very much drives, which one you should use for your particular audience once you know, well, if you know what your audience is already over 45 in the 20s and so on. Okay so in terms of insight, so tell us something about how you go to the client and you go, okay we need data, build us a dashboard, okay so what, how do you do that? What's the process for building a dashboard? Because there's a lot of different software out there, there's like different CRMs, there's different people. Obviously just everyone has Google Analytics. If any website developer knows their stuff, there's always you sign up for Google Analytics done, it's free, great. Alright so how do you build a dashboard? What do you need from the clients? So people understand what, if they contact you going, okay, you say to them this is what we need and this is how we work, just take us through the process of building a dashboard from go to whoa.

JJ Reynolds

00:18:31 - 00:22:04

Yeah there's kind of like three core steps. We operate in the Google Suite. So basically Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Google Looker Studio and then we have like a few other things on the back and they might not have heard of like Google Big Query and Google Cloud Platform, okay. So mostly in the Google platform overall, but on the like actual implementation standpoint is step one, identify what you're doing, like what are you trying to accomplish, right? Yeah, what's your goals? You're like, hey, we're running traffic to this lead magnet or hey we're going to the offer, like what are you trying to do actively, write that down step, say, okay, cool. And then what we're gonna go up from that, so say, what would be the previous step to this? Like hey, we're trying to sell this product, this, I don't know, bespoke pins, cool. What would be that one step before buying? Okay, that's like adding to cart, one step before that viewing the product page, one step before that, oh, the product page loaded, one step before that, they like the page, like the website loaded, right? And so what we do is we take each of those steps and we categorize it. Like what is the intent behind this step? So that's kind of step one for us is like, what are you trying to do? And let's kind of backfill that with the intentionality behind your marketing plans. Some people, super short pages, buy it now or leave, right? Like that's their style's super long video sales letters. There's a lot of different styles of marketing, right? And so we want to benchmark those. That's kind of step one is that data collection aspect.

Then step two is the visualization piece. So we want to make sure that the reporting makes sense to you. I like to envision a Venn diagram if you guys know that, basically it's like two circles where they overlap a little bit in the middle and one circle is the insight. So hey your cart really sucks. You only convert at half a percent, everyone's adding to cart and never purchasing, okay, insight identified. Action, we don't have a developer that can rebuild the cart. We can't do anything about it. Well, we're back where we started like, so you have to find that overlap of insight that you can take action on because if you have insights that you can take action on like, you're gonna be out of luck. So the beginner marketers, as starting your journey, you have less actions that you know to take right, you might know how to write an article, you might know how to do some basic stuff and as you become more seasoned as a marketer, you then have more actions that you can take. You know that like oh hey we can rebuild this page tomorrow or, oh hey, we can like redo the sales funnel. But you kind of know what to do. And so that overlap becomes bigger and bigger, the more experienced of a team or kind of strategist. So that's kind of step two. The last step here is, insights based off of that. So what do you expect? Expect 5% of people to go from here to here. Let's make sure that that's colored to be, if it's above 5% it's in the green, just between 3 to 5%. It's yellow, if it's below that, it's red. So that way you could say like if everything's green, go back to doing your jobs, we're good to go. If it's yellow, take a look, hold your, take 10 seconds to dive deeper. If it's red, we're hopping on a call to make sure nothing broke or your systems aren't really producing bad results. So that was a much longer explanation that I'm sure you wanted, but that is the gist of it there.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:04 - 00:22:47

So, what you mentioned using colors is very interesting in terms of data, when a lot of people look at data, they're going, their eyes bleed, their eyes start streaming and they're going, oh my God, what does make sense. But what you're using is using colors to make it easy for people to visualize whether it's working or not. In other words, it could be green, red warning, green tick, read a lot to do, it's not really working. So what colors do you use to actually help get the visualization, using visualization to help get the message across? What are the colors you use?

JJ Reynolds

00:22:47 - 00:24:00

Oh yeah. Usually it's red, yellow, green. We're going to stop light all the way universal. More or less everybody understands red is bad, green is good and yellow is kind of iffy there. Yellow, that suspect color that we always think of. So usually it's those kind of three. The biggest takeaway though with that like if you're listening to this is use those colors for the percentages, never the outcomes because if you have 100 sales today and you're normally having 10, right, what happened? Was it like that you had a million page views right, and then your conversion rate is terrible, right? It will be bad because you converted such a small percentage of that traffic or did you have one sale today and you expected 100

and you're like, well do we just have a low traffic number that day because there was like a Google release on our organic dipped or we accidentally turned off the paid ads or ad account got banned and no one let us know that's happened before. So that if you have the percentage be red, it's much more actionable than saying, hey, we don't have enough sales if you want that to go to your bank account, it'll tell you like how many sales you had, don't use a dashboard for that.

Jeff Bullas

00:24:01 - 00:24:32

Okay, so you mentioned that there's these two challenges with you giving information whether it's okay, you built the dashboard and then you're giving advice basically to them. So you're offering two services in a way as dashboard build I suppose, custom dashboard build and then ongoing reporting. So how's your business model on that? Do you sell it as a monthly subscription? Do you build the dashboard for a set price? Tell us about your business model in terms of your service, I’m intrigued by that.

JJ Reynolds

00:24:32 - 00:26:10

Yeah. So how we work is like, it's a three month initial sprint. So we basically try to get, we kind of scope everything out in three months. We get you pretty much the way that we expect to like, hey, here's this like it's delivered. But the problem is that you're building new funnels, you're adding new pages, you're doing new things, you're trying out a quiz instead of a lead magnet, you're doing a pop up instead of a page, right? There's so many things that we change and like most marketers don't even notice that are changing those things, but all those nuances need to be reflected in the reporting. So basically how we operate the business model is like 90 days is like a sprint and then beyond that is like a percentage of that like amount as like a monthly kind of retainer where we a hop on calls, usually it's like a weekly cadence for most people is like a 30 minute call once a week and then sometimes we go to every other week and then we maintain everything. So as platforms change as GA goes to GA4 as everything else happens, we make sure all those things are maintained and like the data is congruent. And then we help with those insights of saying what are you guys trying to do? Oh hey, like here's how you measure that, here's the outcome, here's the percentage of the people drop off. Hey, the quiz is way worse than the cheat sheet or the webinar or whatever else. So let's do drill into quizzes because here's the numbers unless you want to change the quiz or try again like this is where it's at. So that's how our model works. And the businesses that work with us like freaking love us, like they are super loyal and they really enjoy working with us there.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:10 - 00:27:20

So the other challenge I'm sure you would have is like, okay, so you report to your client, building the dashboard to a 90 day sprint, you then start reporting on a weekly basis, quick 30 minute call. Okay, so some of your clients, I'm sure you've struck it is going, don't have the resources to do X or don't know where to find the resources to do X. How do you find that in terms of advice? Do you have people you refer them to do like deal with a landing page? Do a quiz, do Facebook ads. How do you, how does that operate? Because you don't sound like you don't do that. You do more like just the data side and reporting and making sense of the data. So how does that, how do you work with clients that go, I just don't know where to start, I'm doing this. I'm getting organic leads from my SEO results. I don't know how to do Facebook ads, I don't know how to do a quiz, okay, how do you approach that? What's the modus operandi for your clients on that?

JJ Reynolds

00:27:21 - 00:28:44

Yeah. So it's a combination of like is it an in house thing that you guys should do or is it like an outside contractor agency. We have a pretty big referral network for the majority of services. Because we like we measure that we like our role as like the measurement department of our clients that roll is super important because you then know if your agency is working or not working like you know if that contractor is better than the other contractor that you worked with and so like we know the good agencies and the good contractors because we've worked with a lot of people, a lot of vendors and everything else. Some like some clients of ours and the reason why we don't like the ads type of things is because we've become like you're gonna say your stuff works like if you run Facebook ads, you're gonna be saying that your Facebook ads are knocking the socks off that business. Any positive growth because of us, and so we have this plot of like, we're kind of agnostic in the sense that we don't really care which vendors you use if you're running traffic on some random sketchy website, does not bother us at all. We kind of started with them to make sure that there's a way to know what is working or not working and then how to kind of build back from that. So that's kind of how we operate in that middle thing. So it's a unique spot to be in.

Jeff Bullas

00:28:44 - 00:29:16

So just a question about your business if you're prepared to reveal it, I don't know. So how do you guys generate leads? And the other thing too is how did you, when you started this, you had to incite people need data dashboards. So let's go back to, right to the beginning again when you started, okay, you wouldn't have any clients and when was the aha moment going, I'm going to build data, dashboards, report. When did that happen?

JJ Reynolds

00:29:17 - 00:32:05

Basically that started like, that started when I went from like I was actually ran ads for a while like on Facebook ads and Google ads, I worked at an agency, all that other stuff. And basically when people were like what's working or not working? And are your Facebook ads better than the Google ads, was when I was like, okay, the business doesn't know what's happening, like there's no controller there, like relying on the, they're relying on the agency to tell them it's working and that doesn't work when you have multiple agencies or multiple contractors doing it like because everyone's telling you it's working so you're like, I spent $10 on Facebook, I spent $10 on Google and I spent $10 on LinkedIn, spent $30 total and each one and that day I made $100 but each platform is telling me that they made $50 so now it says we made $150 but my bank account says 100 who's lying and that's the situation that a lot of businesses can find themselves in. And so that's when I was like this is for me, I can like, like that's my sweet spot of handling those tough conversations figuring out what's happening and then building a team around that so that's what everybody on our team now is like that's what they do. And then as far as lead gen and if you want a podcast and share my screen and show your dashboard but the how we do lead gen is we kind of have two businesses basically the agency, we do done for you, work with clients talking about, we have better than data where we do training for, if you're interested in what I'm talking about, go check out BetterThanData. And then we have a blog that's called LookerStudio.VIP and so how we kind of structured it, which I'm not sure I'd advise this, is that LookerStudio.VIP is organic. Like we rank really well for a lot of the Looker Studio reporting questions, which feeds leads into our CRM and then from that there's like a newsletter and that feeds them into the other, BetterThanData or in through the agency set of things. We also have a YouTube channel as well. So BetterThanData on Youtube is where you can find us. And so we kinda have this multi pronged approach. We have different heads of business to serve different niches, are not different like sizes of business. If your company does, I don't know at least three million, then the agency might be for you. If you are doing less than that, like we have training on how to do that, have one of your team members or somebody else go through it or if you're wanting to offer that as a service bam, there you go. And if you want to just learn how to push buttons and Looker Studio, we have a whole blog that's nothing for sale there. So that's kind of our business model in a box.

Jeff Bullas

00:32:05 - 00:33:09

Yeah, cool. So in the last few months we've seen the explosion of AI, generative AI, generated artificial intelligence and we've seen ChatGPT launch on November 30 last year and this is a forest fire that is just exploding. I believe it was the fastest growing platform in history to reach 100 million users that was done in two months. TikTok took 18 months, Facebook took five years to reach 100 million users. So I'd be intrigued by what you think about the use of AI to gain even more insights because as humans we can look at the data and sometimes we just can't identify patterns and this is where really complex data and AI start to make sense. What do you think about dashboards and data trying to make business decisions on your marketing? So where do you see AI today and where do you see it going?

JJ Reynolds

00:33:10 - 00:35:04

Yeah. So AI is coming up more and more so the way that I look at it is that you have to have and whatever guy is telling you something has to know the full story and currently there aren't any AIs that have that full story. You might have reporting systems like that say hey like this geographic region is converting twice as well as everywhere else, right? It's kind of like an insight, an outlier detector. But most of them aren't very useful. It's not like oh yeah, like this is what I'm gonna do about that. So the problem is they don't have the intention behind it of like you spent a lot of money or you did this thing, like I spoke at this conference or whatever else that's what caused that thing to happen. That outlier happened, was that outlier expected or not expected? The first company that can kind of integrate the intention of like we did this thing and the outcome we did this thing and then have a way of telling you what to do about that.

Like that is gonna be the one that succeeds. I haven't seen it yet. So right now how we're using AI is basically using it to help us write some more code stuff, using it to help generate ideas. We use it to like once we have the idea of like we need to combine the users and the transactions and the lead data into a single table to give us the like to give us an answer to how many leads by in the first 24 hours, 72 hours, 90 days etc. We would like to use AI to help write that code for us to then join it all together. So that's how we're using it. But right now I haven't seen an AI like from a language model that's like hey do this stuff as if as an experienced marketer would look at a bunch of things and say now we're gonna go do this. So that's where but I'm sure in the next year that's gonna change or the next two years we'll be off to the races.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:05 - 00:35:51

Yeah. That's interesting about data. You've got to have enough data to make, to get insights. So the more data the better insights you're going to get and this is what gets really fascinating between places like China and the USA and the bigger countries that actually collecting so much data that actually can get insights that make a lot of sense that if you're only collecting 100 pieces of data a day versus millions, the AI is just going well this is we sort of think this is happening but we don't have enough data to make get an insight from that. Now the other thing I'm intrigued by is when you started, did you build the dashboard for clients yourself or did you outsource that? And what are you doing today?

JJ Reynolds

00:35:52 - 00:36:48

Yeah. So we like when I started it was all me, I do everything from the strategy to the data collection to setting up Tag Manager and Google Analytics and other tools and Facebook ads and all the like getting all the data all the right spots. Now like we do that still like but now that team handles a lot of that. We got really advanced setups, we've got some basic setups and everything in between. So like we all we do it all like we kind of handle the entire thing and that's the beauty of it is that you, the client, own it like how we set everything up. You're not like buying a SAS product that once you stop paying it goes away. You're like, you're building an infrastructure that you have to maintain so there is a cost like there is a cost to maintaining anything. But you own it so you can customize it and change it and ebb and flow as a business does. So that's kind of what we do now.

Jeff Bullas

00:36:48 - 00:37:13

So yeah that's just good to know because a lot of people don't have the technical skills to do something like what you've done. But that's what the digital world is about. It's about basically entrepreneurs, whether they got to, you know, the ability to do some programming, ability to play with technical tools. So just to wrap it up, in terms of you started this business, what about six years ago, is that correct?

JJ Reynolds

00:37:13 - 00:37:18

Yeah, 7 years ago I think now or almost 7 or 6.

Jeff Bullas

00:37:18 - 00:37:32

Okay. Cool. What is, so this is for the entrepreneurs that are everyone's got their own struggles. It's both joy and pain. What are some of the challenges you've had along the way that you've learned from?

JJ Reynolds

00:37:33 - 00:38:37

Oh, challenges along the way. I'd say the biggest one for us was like putting all your eggs in one basket. And so like, for us we have like one really large client, like a massive client. That would be a huge paycheck, a huge payday. Like you're like, yes, but then that goes away and you're like, well now what right, feast and famine. So we basically like, learn that and then we're like, okay, we need to diversify then we have like, kind of tiers of levels. We've got like, the small businesses like less than $5 million businesses, we got the $5-50 million businesses and then the 50 million plus. So we kind of have tiers now where the smaller businesses, we got awesome insights, awesome things like more structured, the larger businesses usually like more understanding like what's happening, figuring out like where you're going to go because there's so large, there's like 1000 things happening at once. And so we now have the tier approach as opposed to going after the large, huge companies there.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:37 - 00:38:56

Okay, so in other words don't put your eggs in one basket, which is important in terms of making sure that one client doesn't own you instead of you owning it. Now the other thing that I’m interested in too is a lot of people, especially small businesses start up with very poor processes or non-existent, how important our systems and processes for you today?

JJ Reynolds

00:38:57 - 00:39:48

Oh, extremely. Yeah, that's been our biggest struggle in the past 12 months, it's like dialing those in. I feel like you break them at like, the one like, when you're one person, you don't have any, you just like I'm gonna do whatever I want. When you're three people, you have two people reporting to you basically, I mean three people. And then you're like, okay, I can tell everyone with a deal, but the second you add that fourth person and someone else is telling someone else what to do and you're not the hub, you need to have really good processes so that everyone knows what they're expected to do as opposed to just doing whatever they think they need to be doing. So that's been our like, the past 12 months is like our biggest growth internally is getting those processes in play.

Jeff Bullas

00:39:48 - 00:40:03

So that leads to another question in terms of what's happened since the pandemic arose is that there's a lot of remote work being done now. So are you basically running a remote team now, where are you placed today regarding remote work?

JJ Reynolds

00:40:04 - 00:40:44

I am the biggest remote advocate you'll ever find. Yeah, so we are fully remote. Our team is like we happen to live in Nevada. So like I live in Northern Nevada or in Reno Nevada, which if you're in the United States, the state to the directly east of California, and so we have two team members in Nevada, couple in California, one in, I think we're all in Nevada and California, but we're all remote, like we don't see each other except for through zoom, except for maybe once a quarter every once in a while. We'll fly out to see each other, but nothing too crazy.

Jeff Bullas

00:40:44 - 00:41:02

Now, that leads to my last question and I'm always intrigued about it. What are the tools that help you maintain systems and processes and also communicate? So what other, I suppose in modern digital age of remote work, what are some of the key tools that you just can't do without?

JJ Reynolds

00:41:03 - 00:41:30

Yeah, if you go over to BetterThanData.com/tools, like it's like tools we love in the nav like we have them all listed there also, but off the top of my head, here are the ones that like, love is Slack, big Slack. We have all of our clients in Slack. We have everything in Slack, Slack is where it is at, big slackers over here. And then we have Notion for SOPs. So Notion is where most of our like SOPs live for those processes.

Jeff Bullas

00:41:31 - 00:41:34

Standard operating procedures, that's what you mean, don’t you?

JJ Reynolds

00:41:34 - 00:42:05

Yes. Yeah, the standard operating like, so basically how to do something in a replicable process, ClickUp is like kind of the project management thing that we use, so ClickUp.com I think that's what it is. And then Zoom is the video place. So those kind of, that kind of four is the core four and then add in a couple of little sprinkles on top, like Missive for like an email client and like Loom for videos and like a bunch of other ones, but like those are the core four.

Jeff Bullas

00:42:05 - 00:42:13

So what do you use to keep your data and videos and so on? Where do you keep that? Google Docs, Google Drive, where’d you keep it?

JJ Reynolds

00:42:13 - 00:42:33

We have a Loom for like kind of ad hoc videos that are like, you can kind of delete them after they're recorded, Vimeos where all of our like longer term videos, like if it's a video gonna keep sending to you and then we use like Google Sheets and is for and Google Sheets and big career like the databases of like actual data.

Jeff Bullas

00:42:33 - 00:43:16

So awesome. Yeah, just I'm always curious about what tools people are using and because in the past, the tools were expensive to they had to be sitting on everyone's computer now, they sit in the cloud, you can access them anywhere, which means that you can do it from your phone's quite often as well as apps also that you can have a Slack app on your phone, so you can take it wherever you go, so yeah, really cool to hear about the tools and we use quite a few of those as well, so, but JJ, how can people find you if they want to build a dashboard and make sense of their data? How do they get?

JJ Reynolds

00:43:16 - 00:43:56

Yeah, if you are interested go to mediauthentic.com, there's an apply button, we have a G4 sprint if you're in the business or if you need your G4 setup, we have that for those smaller businesses there, so if you're interested, that's one thing. I'm on LinkedIn, JJ Reynolds, I post there quite often and get into fights all the time. So it's pretty amusing if you're interested in following somebody on LinkedIn to give you a little smile on your day. And then lastly is BetterThanData.com if you're interested in learning and you can find all those things have lead magnets so you can give your email wherever your heart desires. Hit reply, they all come to me so I can hit reply back.

Jeff Bullas

00:43:56 - 00:44:21

Great, JJ, it's been an absolute pleasure to have a chat with you and learn about dashboards and data and tell you what guys, you got to fall in love with the data and the insults you get from it. Otherwise you're flying blind and JJ and his team give you visibility and truth tellers about your data. So thank you very much, JJ. It's been an absolute pleasure.

JJ Reynolds

00:44:22 - 00:44:24

It’s been a pleasure as well. Thanks, Jeff.

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