Andrew Steel says a lot of digital marketing solutions rely on trust. And he knows how to build it. | Rise Grind Repeat 097


LighthousePE is a pretty specialized brand, providing proximity marketing primarily for the travel, casino gaming and hospitality industries. But Lighthouse CEO Andrew Steele has a lot to teach anyone who deals with customers in the digital marketing solutions realm. He has tips for easing customers’ minds when it comes to privacy:

— “We are very strict that the data we collect is only to enable LighthousePE to work for them.” — and on relationship-building through a crisis like COVID-19. “Just the ability to be able to maintain mindshare and touchpoints has value,” Andrew says. “It’s engagement that makes consumers feel you understand them.”


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digital marketing solutions andrew steele

| Rise Grind Repeat 097 |


The key that we’ve learned is don’t present a new customer with a blank slate, because that slate will likely stay blank for you know longer than you want it to, which creates churn risk for us. So we’ll you know, aside from doing sort of the typical, alright, let’s walk you through and show you how to do everything. We’ll also spend time with each customer getting to know and talking about, well, what are your business objectives?


On today’s episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat, we talked to Andrew from White House PE, they help businesses with proximity marketing to help fuel their loyalty and profits. Let’s dive right in. Thank you so much for joining another episode of Rise, Grind, Repeat, I’m, I’m excited. you’ve actually done some research on the company, you guys are very technology forward. And I think we’re big on geo fencing, geo targeting, geo locating anything that can bring value to customers and whatnot from a digital mobile front. And that’s I mean, you’ll get into a little bit more, but sounds like quite a bit of what you guys do. And before we dive too much into it, love for you to kind of introduce yourself who are in kind of what’s your backstory? Sure, absolutely.


Well, thanks for having me. My name is Andrew Steele, I’m the CEO of LighthousePE, my backstory is sort of a long and windy road, I moved here to Arizona back in 2014, after spending 17 years in the Silicon Valley. So I moved out there right in the middle of the bubble, you know, fast times in the Silicon Valley kind of thing. And, you know, went through a couple of cycles, boom and bust cycles, worked for some big companies started a couple of companies. And in 2014 ended up moving out here for two reasons. Number one, I was ready to get out of dodge get out of California. But my family’s here and I wanted to you know to be closer to them. So not too long after I moved here, I just through mutual friends connections met neurologist who had been working on this little mobile app for him to use in his practice. Long story short, we ended up co founding a company called beck and call together, which is a mobile communication platform for doctors, mainly for use cases when they’re on call. And patients in hospitals need to get in touch with them, rather than using a call center operator or answering service. Our app basically automates all that communication. So we we started that in 2015. And fast forward, we’re in discussions now to exit the company to another company here in in Phoenix. So that’ll hopefully be a good news story all the way around.


That’s awesome. It is it is it’s it’s been a heck of a ride. And healthcare is a really hard industry to do technology. And it’s very archaic. That’s, that’s fair, we just had had a little one four months ago. And just I mean, just getting the data. I mean, I haven’t been in the hospital too often and stuff like that. But it’s even just getting the bills from the different departments. And there’s communication issues on all fronts, it seems it’s just the whole communication in the way just billing and the admin side of things. On the healthcare side. It’s very archaic. I think there’s tons of opportunity from a technology perspective, which I think would bring better health care to everyone and ultimately could help reduce the cost. I mean, overall, I can’t imagine how many hours be important to manual, looking over bills, sending them out. And I think there’s a huge, huge play for automation to help just make make better healthcare coverage for everyone.


Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, if there’s a sort of long term benefit, if we want to call it that to COVID. In healthcare, it’s that it really has forced the issue with a lot of ways for healthcare organizations to adopt more technology. And I think that’s going to be a lasting impact, which, you know, which will be a good thing.


Yeah, I think, always trying to find the positivity and things. I mean, all the negative to have on COVID. I think that’s, that’s the biggest appreciation that I have is kind of expedited the technology adoption. But also, I mean, just the creativity that I’ve seen businesses come out with in terms of changing business models, how they’re making money, policy, how they’re adopting technology. That is, that is the coolest thing that’s happened from COVID. And once we get past it, it’s gonna be interesting to see how much sticks how much gets, you know, push forward more quickly in terms of technology?


Absolutely. Absolutely. So LighthousePE. So I got involved with with the business with the team. early last year in April, the technology LighthousePE platform was developed inside of another agency here in town called off Madison F. And the really the Genesis of the the technology and what the technology is designed to do came out of the agency’s work with clients in the casino gaming industry. And sort of the simplest explanation for the problem statement was, how do we get our best players to come back to our floor more often, rather than going to one of my competitors? And how do we get them to spend more money? You know, the casino business model is no secret, how do we get to spend more money on our floor? And so that that very simple problem statement was really the colonel that that grew LighthousePE. And so, you know, the the, the agency has been developing the technology for the last couple of years. And I think, probably in in late 2019, or sometime in 2019. I think the light bulb went off that, hey, we’ve built something here that could be bigger than just one of the tools in our agency toolkit. And so they started to think about, well, what if we took LighthousePE, he took the platform, took it out of the agency and built a company around it, you know, so take this technology we’ve developed create a SaaS platform company and grow it like that, you know, COVID, put the brakes on that plan for a little bit. But I got involved, you know, as I said, last spring, to help sort of help them develop that strategy. And as we were working through that process, you know, we sort of mutually came to the conclusion that it made sense for me to, you know, to join the team full time at that point, I was I was a consultant to the agency. So I joined full time last October. And it’s been a whirlwind ever since?


No, that’s, that’s amazing. I worked at a couple agencies in the my past life and had a couple casino clients and understand the how do we get people back more frequently, more often spending more in each of their visits? So I mean, that that technology is huge. And I think it’s more applicable, even outside of the casinos, which which it sounds like you guys have obviously expanded into other industries. But I think that’s the biggest struggle for most brick and mortars is they see, they see the benefits of all this digital marketing and the trackability. But in terms of getting people in, being able to track that, whatever that may be, I think there’s a there’s a big gap. And I think a lot a lot of brick and mortars are trying to figure out how can I target people based on where they’re going? How can we get them back? So we’d love to hear more about how does that technology help?


Yeah, and I think you’re absolutely right, that when you sort of dip below the fortune 500, or fortune 1000, you know, the brick and mortars don’t typically have either the technical wherewithal or the budget, you know, to do things that brands like AAA, and BestBuy, and Burger King are doing, you know, to leverage this this kind of technology. So LighthousePE technology is really built around the principles of behavior design, which is, you know, it’s a, it’s a, I’m not an expert, but sort of a socio economic discipline that had a big hand in building big consumer brands like Instagram, Facebook, oh, ima off Madison Avenue, the agency, you know, has built an internal discipline around that as a service for their clients. And so you know, LighthousePE really is a manifestation of those principles in a technology platform. Basically, the way that we apply those principles is our sort of First Person or main first person, or first party data set is location. So we look at location using a mobile device, you know, we track devices, not people. So we’re keyed into the unique device ID for a mobile phone. And we look at not just Where are you now, but patterns. And our sort of hypothesis or principle behind LighthousePE is that location is a manifestation of behavior and preference, especially when you look at that, you know, patterns over time. So it might, you know, it’s not just Where are you right now, but where were you before? You know, and when was the last time you were here? Or how many how much time have you spent here, all kinds of data, you know, individual data points like that, you know, we stitch together into patterns. And in then the platform basically takes action based on the criteria that our customers build around those patterns. The primary way we we capture location data is using GPS you know that the onboard GPS of the phone, but the platform also supports that beacon technology. So you know, when you go inside of a building your GPS becomes pretty much useless for, you know, location based type targeting like we do, obviously, beacons are, you know, sort of fill that gap, and are a lot more precise. So if you’re like in a casino, where you have applications that, you know, could range from, you know, I want my Pit Boss to know, when someone that’s an A player in his book of business pulls into the East parking deck, we can do that with beacons. Or, you know, if if, you know, the line is too long at the buffet and my poker tables are empty, I can target players inside of the facility, using beacons to say, Hey, you know, maybe given an offer to you know, to play poker for the next 30 minutes and wait for the buffet line to go down. So there’s all kinds of of, you know, pin or point point of location data and location patterns that that feed into the the interactions that that LighthousePE triggers, the way we do that primarily is through push notifications, okay. So to a consumer to an end user LighthousePE is a b2b brand, we’re not, we’re not a consumer brand. So they’ll just know that they’re getting a message from, you know, their casino, or their Med Spa, or their favorite restaurant with something, it could be just communication could be content could be an offer. But all of those pushes are sort of what that’s the the manifestation of LighthousePE doing the work, you know, behind the scenes. Now, that’s


awesome. I love that. And that’s what one of my questions was, how do you deliver these communications is that through digital ads through banners or the push notifications, but seems like the push notifications, and even after hearing that, there’s so many, so many areas of opportunity, where like you said, if you have a bunch of people in one area, and nothing over here, you can incentivize kind of breaking it up and help with logistics and workflow. And I mean, there, there’s a lot that can be done in order to just help operations overall. Overall, I think a big topic right now, I mean, I love everything that you’re talking about, I think I’m all for, how can we get inside the consumers had a little bit more to understand who they are what they want, so that we can deliver relevant messages that they’re gonna like, rather than just serving random stuff that’s like, Well, that doesn’t make sense to me. But I think consumers want it. But there’s also the side of privacy and all of that, how are you guys weighing that? And I’m sure, it’s a question that comes up as you guys are pitching the product as well. But it all sounds great. But you know, aren’t PR my consumers gonna get mad? Because we’re collecting too much data?


Yeah. So it’s great question, and it does come up all the time. And there’s a couple of ways we address that. Number one, of course, everything from a consumer perspective has to be opt in, right? That’s those are the rules for, you know, the app stores. And so for LighthousePE, to be able to engage with a consumer through our customers app, that consumer has to opt in both for location data, as well as push notifications, if they opt out of either of those, then we don’t we don’t track we don’t touch. The other thing, I think speaks more to our business model where you know, there’s there’s a lot a lot of the the bat backlash maybe isn’t the right word. But a lot of the negative press right now around privacy and location has to do with companies like Facebook that use your location data to monetize you with third party advertisers. Were a completely different business model. We’re LighthousePE is an engagement and retention tool, not a customer acquisition and advertising tool. So the all of the data that we collect, number one, we don’t sell it, like platforms like Facebook and Instagram do but number two, we don’t even share that data between our customers. So we we are very strict about how we use and handle the data that we collect on behalf of our customers. Such that we’re only using it to enable LighthousePE to work


that no, that’s awesome. I think that’s the right approach. And I think the reason why there’s the backlash, the negativity is I think, a lot of brands that have leverage the data. Exactly a great, great word to use one of the dance around it. I haven’t used it, but I mean, it’s it’s, I mean, being in digital marketing for eight, nine years. I mean, I see the conversations that happen and it’s, you know, if it’s on the table, it really comes down to, you know, how does that business operate? Are they Okay, kind of going over those lines and abusing it. And I think that’s where this new iOS update has come from. I think consumers are speaking up more. I think consumers still want the personalization, but without the abuse of the data and to be monetized.


Yeah, I think what you just said is is the key to it all is if the consumer feels like they’re getting value for sharing the data, then they’ll share the data. I think that, you know, we’ve certainly there’s, you know, there’s some generational differences in people’s willingness. But, you know, we look at our casino customers, and, you know, there’s, there’s players in their 80s and 90s, that, you know, love to gamble. And because they love their casino, they want to know, anytime there’s something going on, or there’s an offer or anything like that. So they opt in, you know, we see across our customer base, anywhere from two thirds to three quarters of end users opt into both. So it’s, it’s a pretty high, you know, percentage of the overall user base. And that’s, you know, that’s a significant enough portion of our customers customer base for them to get really massive value out of out of using, you know, LighthousePE


Yeah. And there’s tons of tons of value in like, you’ve kind of already communicated, I mean, people in the location, getting them, you know, over to different areas of the business, whatever that may be. So that’s, that’s communicating while they’re there. What are you guys doing? As you mentioned, you try and bring people back, I guess, what are some applications or use cases that the tool has been used to bring people back into casinos? Or the restaurants, whatever, man?


Yeah, so that’s, you know, that’s, that’s a great question. That’s actually the primary set of use cases. You know, as we look at the usage of LighthousePE, across our customers, it’s, you know, our job is to bring people to our customers doorsteps, right. So we’re not delivering clicks, we’re delivering people to your front door, which, if you’re a brick and mortar, that’s, that’s the most important. You can’t, you know, of course, you can sell things online. But But I, you know, there’s a lot of businesses, any kind of services business, you can’t do that you have to, you know, bring people to to your front door. So using, again, going back to the location as an expression of behavior and preference, there’s a whole range of ways to use the data, you know, from as simple as, you know, if one of your customers hasn’t been, you know, to one of your stores in 14 days, send them something, then you can sort of drill down on that to say, all right, well, if, you know, if we’re integrated with that business’s CRM system, we can get very precise about what we want to send them. So if I’m, you know, a day spa, and I know I have a customer, my membership program that loves hot stone massage upgrades, and I haven’t seen him in two weeks, or 30 days or whatever, you know, however, they want to use that, I can send them a push at that interval to say, Hey, you know, come in, in the next, you know, 24 hours, 48 hours, and we’ll give you a free hot stone upgrade to your massage. Those are incredibly effective, you know, we see, you know, upwards of 25% conversion rates on notifications, push notifications like that. Another one, which is, you know, it It sounds kind of weird that sleazy is not the right word, but sketchy, right is, is, you know, casinos, one of the most frequent and highest performing use cases with casinos is to geo fence their competitors. And when you pull into the competitors parking lot, you get a notification right there that says, hey, come by in the next hour for something, you know, 30 minutes of free match player, you know, 20 bucks on the slots or whatever, which again, can be customized based on what we know about those those players from the casino CRM system. You know, what we see, you know, again, those typically 25 30% conversion and higher on those turnaround sick we call them turnaround signals, which is even more incredible when you consider they’ve actually got to turn their car around and drive somewhere. It’s you know, it’s a, it’s a fairly considered behavior, right. It’s a commitment. That one in particular, you know, is is sort of modeled after probably one of the most famous location based marketing campaigns ever, which is the Whopper detour. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with it, but Burger King did this a couple of years ago. They geo fenced every McDonald’s, I think there were, I forget how many 14 15,000 stores in the US. And as soon if you were a BK customer and you had the app, whenever you pulled into the parking lot of McDonald’s, you’d get an offer for a penny Whopper. It was immensely successful. I think they sold over nine days, something like five 600,000 whoppers and people figured it out. Right. People are smart. So you know, they, you know, there was definitely gaming of that offer, but who cares, you still got that customer away from McDonald’s. And what was really interesting is that the CMO of Burger King said, yes, this was an incredibly successful campaign. But the way that we were able to get people to download engage with our app Because of that nine day campaign has immense sustained strategic value, you know, to them over time. You know, and it was back then I think I, I’ve actually never seen how much they spent to pull that off. But they worked with two different agencies, and it took them a year to develop it, they integrated six different platforms to do it. So you know, the the cost was in the many millions, which goes back to sort of our point earlier about, you know, companies with that kind of capacity can pull stuff off like that. And so really, in a lot of ways, what LighthousePE is doing is letting you know, local regional restaurants or beauty spas, or any kind of brick and mortar, really be able to execute marketing campaigns with that same level of sophistication. And that same level of targeting at, you know, a huge fraction of the cost and time, you know, to do that,


now, I think he hit the nail on the head, I mean, we’re starting to see technology, Twitter was only accessible to the fortune 500 of the 1000s to, you know, go more towards that, that smaller business. And I think it’s going to be an exciting time. Because if it’s used correctly, it just enhancing the customer journey or enhancing the experience that they have with you, there’s so much creativity, especially, I’m just huge on the app side of things because like you said, it’s you can push notifications based off of where they go, what they’ve been doing. And it sounds like you guys tie into a CRM as well. So there’s, there’s a ton of different data from purchase data to where they visit on the website, how they’ve engaged on social that if you get creative and looking at that consumer behavior, you can you can, man, you can message so well that it almost makes them feel like they’re best friends with the brand. And when you do that, that’s, that’s absolutely, and that’s, that’s what the, you know, the the access to that data, you know, enables us to do, which, you know, in turn enables really any business to be able to do it, you know, the data is there, it’s just a matter of, of collecting and then executing against that data. You know, and in terms of driving technology down market, it’s you know, it this is a well worn playbook, right? If


you look back in the early days of CRM, only businesses who could afford to pay Siebel millions of dollars for an on prem system had it, you know, a CRM, everybody else use spreadsheets? Well, along came Salesforce, which was still, you know, big and expensive and complex. But you fast forward. Now I get I get CRM for free from HubSpot. So I think, you know, this, this vertical, this mobile engagement, just highly personalized engagement through mobile devices is going to follow that same pathway. And we think we’re, you know, we’re helping push that to, you know, to happen faster.


Yeah. And the beauty is with the push notifications, because where my head was, at first was, will take location data, and then sell it to third parties, or whatever. And then you can serve banner ads and all that to them. But there’s a cost to serve that banner, with these push notifications, there’s no cost. And so once you get someone onto the app, in terms of the communication, I mean, it’s like email, but the open rates or the the visibility, the chances to get in front of someone are tremendously higher than what email used to be. And so


absolutely, and I think even more recently, you know, we compare ourselves to SMS marketing, right, which is also bottom of the funnel, it’s engagement and retention. It’s also highly regulated, like email, and like email, there’s a marginal cost every time you send something, and that’s the beauty of pushes, there’s no marginal cost. So the, you know, the marginal economics of being able to personalize at scale, work with push, they don’t work with SMS or email. And so I think we fast forward, you know, 510 years, hopefully sooner, but I think, you know, our, our growth is largely going to be coming from budget migrating out of channels, like SMS and push, sorry, SMS and email, you know, over to, you know, a platform like ours. Yeah, no, I


agree. Because I think the capabilities of what you can do with an app, I think, the whole app thing, it was really ahead of its time. I mean, it’s, it’s, I feel like had mass adoption. And it kind of hung out for a little bit. But I think as people figure out how to use apps for their advantage, it’s like we’re an agency. It’s like, Well, how do you think you can use an app? And it’s, I mean, if we can tie to our project management tool, the CRM to give dashboards, it’s, there’s so many different applications that I think if you just get creative, you can make a great app that’s going to be applicable to your customer base. And once you get them in there, in terms of the communication, it’s just so much easier than all the other channels. And I, to your point, every text he sent out, whether it’s a penny Penny and a half, whatever it is, you get a list of 20 100,000 a million people that’s a big bill, you got to start paying everybody salutely every month.


Yeah, no doubt.


Yeah. And with that, I mean, you delivered through through an app So I guess the The next question is, you know, if I’m a business, this all sounds great. Do I need to have an app for you guys to integrate? Or, you know, as you mentioned, a lot of small businesses might be a little bit behind the technology curve. And in terms of having an app, so how do you guys I guess, bring a solution to that?


Yeah. So what we have done is basically built a library of, we call them templates, there’s, they’re almost white label apps, right for different types of businesses that were focused on. So for, you know, a fast casual restaurant or for a day spa, or a med spa, or for a casino or a hotel, we’ve built, you know, like I said, it’s sort of templates that businesses can very quickly customize from a branding from a, you know, content perspective. But, you know, but not encouraged sort of the big upfront cost to develop an app from scratch. And right now, you know, we’re in, we’re trying to grow as quickly as we can, right now, we’re not charging businesses to use those apps. And so for us, you know, obviously, we’re not in the app business, but the app is a sales enabler for us. So we think it’s a smart strategy to take as much friction out of that piece of the equation as possible. Because what we’re getting in return is a long term recurring revenue customer. And that’s, that’s really our approach to that. So far, you know, I’d say, from a sales funnel perspective, maybe a quarter to a third of the, you know, the opportunities we see need an app. But, you know, going back to what are the things that have changed over the last year, right? I think that most businesses now see that, you know, the app isn’t a nice to have for their business anymore, it’s a must have. When you look at the, you know, the brands and the businesses that actually did better in 2020. In our target verticals, the app was really the linchpin and all of that, when you look at the data, you know, I believe the number from 2019 to 2020, the amount of consumer time spent in Apps was up 40%, from 18, to 19, it was maybe 18, or 19%. So, you know, the growth, not only was there more, but the growth doubled year over year. And I think, you know, sort of the the organic momentum there is demographic, but what what COVID did was really, you know, again, force that issue, and it’s, I think that there are definitely some, you know, systemic permanent changes that in, in consumer behavior that are going to, to stay in one of those is, you know, people’s understanding of and interest in using the app as a point of engagement with the businesses that they like,


it’s amazing, you guys offer that app at no cost. I mean, granted, I know, you mentioned it’s a template, but at the same time, it’s, you have two options, you can use the template, I mean, it’s still branded to you, it’s not gonna look bad. Or you can go out and develop your own own app, which mean you haven’t done so far. And if you see the price tag on that, you’re gonna go towards this. And I think it’s a genius move, because those numbers actually a bit lower in terms of a quarter 33% of the people that come to you guys don’t have anything, I would think that number would be higher, but that would be the biggest friction to getting the business to scale. Because if you’re trying to cater to the smaller business, I would assume that chances are most of them don’t have an app. So it’s awesome. You guys create a solution for that? Is it on the roadmap to start charging for that at all, or? It’s tough, it’s, it’s the need in order to scale this out of the revenue, but you know, on the other side of the coin, could be leaving money on the table? Yeah, it’s weighing those two different options.


That’s a great question. And you know, the answers are qualified maybe. Right, right. Now, like I said, you know, our goal is to remove as much friction out of the sales process as we can. And, you know, that’s, that’s a part of doing that. But, you know, over time, we may decide and part of its also learning. This sort of, we talked about it as the app assembly line, right? Is this something that we can scale efficiently? Or as we grow that population? does it start to create some friction on its own? Right, in which case, we probably, you know, might have to look at attaching a cost to that. But, you know, the flip side is, I think more and more businesses may be, you know, sort of independently approaching the app before we get to them. So I don’t know we’ll have to see how that plays out.


Now, it’ll be interesting. As we’ve mentioned, I mean this last year with COVID it’s kinda force people to recreate their business and everything like that. I mean, I could see huge application for you guys offer in terms of even if it’s a restaurant, I mean, you had a lot of takeout and now using social distancing, I mean, you could create more of a process or help with the logistics on when people are showing up when things are available. What are how did you guys pivot? And I guess help your clients, you know, through the last 12 months?


Yeah, it’s, it’s been an incredible 12 months. And I think the ways that we helped our customers really vary by industry, right? If we look at, you know, travel and casino game gaming, it shut down. And so, you know, there were many months in 2020, where our customers were shut down. And so we didn’t build them while they were shut down. So that hurt us, but it was a way for us to support and maintain that customer relationship. You know, during that, that really tough time. Others, like if you look at, you know, in the restaurant space, obviously, it’s, you know, it’s well known how takeout, how ordering through the app became not a more important, but the only way that, you know, restaurants were able to, you know, sell and engage with their customers. But I think even if we take a step back from sort of the transactional interactions, just the ability for brands to maintain mindshare and touchpoints, when they’re not together in person, also has a value. You know, we have a customer in the, in the day spa, beauty bar business, that was really creative in how, you know, they they communicated with their customer base, while they were shut down completely, which translated into an ability to basically bounce back a lot faster than they were, then they would have otherwise been able to had they just gone dark, and said, you know, hey, after six months remember us. But you know, they within probably a month, even though they’re operating at reduced capacity still, I they’re based in calc Colorado, you know, they were within a month back to their top line utilization targets pre COVID. And so it’s Yeah, there’s a lot of ways, but I think it just comes back to the engagement and the engagement in a way that, you know, like you said earlier, makes the consumers feel like their brand, that brand is their best friend, they understand them. And that’s, that’s really the key, you know, and that’s, that’s, again, it’s a big difference in how brands can nurture their customer base through other channels like email or SMS, you just can’t do that level of, you know, personalization at scale.


Yep. And I mean, to your point on pause, and the billing on your clients might have hurt in the short term in terms of cash flow, but I’m sure, over the long term, it’s going to be tremendous. And I’m sure that your partners that appreciate it, your clients appreciate that. Yeah, come back, and I’m sure it extended, what would have been the relationship, I’m sure would have been a long time either way. But by having that it really shows, you know, the partnership, and we’re in this together. And so in terms of the lifetime, I have a customer, I’m sure it just did wonders. But the thing that I love is, you know, staying Top of Mind the really staying in front of people and doing it through I think an educational way. And I think another beauty I’ve seen from COVID is it really differentiated. There’s a lot of marketers that really sales people and it’s all the messaging is very transactional, it’s very deal oriented. And this really, you can be that because you were shut down. But this gave people an opportunity to be a good marketer, where’s the education? What’s the history of the company? What are the values, and if you can do a good job with the educational piece, it’s going to drive sales. And I think that’s what I love most about the product is most people push back on the branding, the brand awareness, the educational side of things, because it’s cost per impression, cost per tax, car cost per communication, where you can do this, you can be very good at educating. And if you connect to your CRM and first party data, you can do wonders in terms of building that relationship. And you’ll need less sales, promo type of messaging, which then if you’re offering discounts, it helps their margins and so it’s you guys are helping tremendously build relationships, helping helping with margins, and ultimately helping both on the top and bottom line for businesses


if they use it correctly. Absolutely. And that’s, I mean, there is there is a lot of education, you know, the onboarding process for us is really important. Because, you know, by and large, we’re not working with sophisticated marketers, like the CFO, cmo at Burger King, right? But it’s common sense, right? It’s common sense to say I want to communicate with my customers in a way that they want to be communicated with. And, you know, we talk internally about sort of the differences between that sort of transactional location based marketing and what we’re doing. And you know, we talked about it in terms of, sort of the transactional approach is A brand telling their customers something they want to tell them, right? What we’re doing is allowing a brand to tell their customers something their customers want to hear. And it’s a subtle, but I think really powerful difference. And again, you can’t the marginal economics and the technology are huge barriers to do that with other channels like email and SMS. And so I think as we, we look out over the horizon, and, you know, we play this out sort of to, to, to the extreme, you know, LighthousePE could, you know, ultimately get to a point where we never send a push to more than one person at a time, right? Because that push is only relevant to that one person at that one time. Will we ever get there? I don’t know. But that’s, that’s really sort of the big vision.


Now, I think you put it put it Well, I think and that’s what it should be is there should not be this mass communication going on. Because if you’re saying one thing to 1000 people, there’s not that level of personalization. I mean, I think we’ll get to the point where consumers will identify that not want that because it’s like, well, you’re talking to everyone and I like to, I like the love. I like to feel exclusive. I like to and I think it should be every brand’s goal to get to the just one to one communication. There’s always the world that seems like it’s going to take a lot of time and energy figuring it out. It does. But once it’s all automated, it’s just off to the races.


Yeah, yeah. The automation is the game changer.


Yep. One thing you mentioned the whole onboarding process, we’ve had a couple other SaaS companies on here. And they’ve mentioned that tweaking their onboarding processes has done wonders in terms of just bringing on new clients, but also the sustainability of them and the retention and everything. How have you guys gone about that the onboarding process, what have you guys kind of learned through through the months of of onboarding,


we’re still, you know, we’re still getting better every time. But I think that the key that we’ve learned is, don’t present a new customer with a blank slate, because that slate will likely stay blank for you know, longer than you want it to, which creates churn risk for us. So we’ll you know, aside from doing sort of the typical, alright, let’s walk you through and show you how to do everything. We’ll also spend time with each customer getting to know and talking about, well, what are your business objectives? What are the things that you want to try and achieve, and at the outset, we’ll work with them to build we call them signals, which is a combination of the data and the criteria to trigger a message, we’ll work with them to build that initial slate of signals, so that you know, within a day or two of of going live, they’re already you know, going at full speed. And I think what we’ve learned is that that’s really the biggest key because, you know, like any product and this is, you know, been written about a ton, the faster you can get a customer to feel like they’re getting value. And in our case, we talk a lot about ROI. The faster we can get a customer to feeling like they’re generating positive ROI that just cements the, you know, the long term value and really, you know, torpedoes the return risk. So that’s, that’s a very big focus when we onboard new customers, it’s to make sure that, number one, we’re not giving them a blank slate number two, we’re helping them go through crawl, walk, run, you know, as quickly as possible.


Yep. No, I love that. And I think the whole, what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish, I think is the best way to, to look at it. Because there’s two sides, you can try and automate it and have like a triangle, and then it’s click this and do that. But then it might not be aligned with what they’re trying to accomplish. And some of that we’re trying to focus on internally is instead of, hey, do you want SEO paid media video, it’s what are you trying to accomplish? And then we’ll let you know what we think services are best for that. I think that that’s the best approach. I mean, you talk a lot about automation and scaling. And one could say that it kind of is the opposite of scaling, because you got to take time to you got to listen, you got to hear, give them that templates. I mean, how are you balancing that know when you guys are trying to get to full blown scalability, but also had that retention?


Well, honestly, I think, I think those two two goals are really, you know, one in the same or at least inseparable. We have to do that. Otherwise, you know, our customers aren’t going to spend the time figuring it out on their own, right. You know, in many, in many cases, we’re not selling to, you know, a director of marketing or, you know, an IT organization, we’re selling to an owner. And that owner already has 1,000,001 other things they need to do to keep their business, you know, running on all cylinders. And so, you know, our ability to shoulder that early load, I think is really key. And that’s you know, that that comes up In early sales conversations as well, that’s, you know, that’s a frequent sort of source of pushback, and objection why I don’t I’m not good at technology, you know, I don’t have the time I, you know, I can’t learn, learn this stuff. And so that’s, that’s, you know, one of the areas where, you know, from a sales perspective, you know, we spend time trying to clarify, so that objective goes away, that it’s, it’s fire and forget, yes, like anything, there’s, there’s some investment in time upfront, but after that, you know, you reap the benefits.


Yeah, no, I agree. And it’s always funny to hear that I don’t have time. And it’s like, well, if you just choose not to, but if you did take the time to learn it and understand it, it’s amazing how much more time it could free up, because you’ll be driving incremental sales, you have revenue to deploy for many more resources, whatever it may be.


Right. And I mean, if you’re a go back to the, you know, the beauty and wellness industry, which is one of our targets, you know, you say you can’t, you don’t have the time to invest in this, but do you have the time to continue losing 50% of your members every year, right. And those are, you know, those are just use cases that are ideally suited to, you know, to LighthousePE. helping solve that, you know, those turn issues we have that the customer I mentioned before, within 30 days cut their membership churn in half. And track we track that over the course of a year. And it’s it’s, you know, stayed pretty constant. So, their ability to, you know, with with, we all belong to gyms, right? Or we have at some point in our history, and I’m sure we’ve all canceled our gym memberships at some point in history. Well, what’s the main reason you cancel? Because you don’t go? And you look down at your bank statement one day, and you say, geez, I spent 500 bucks over the last six months. Yeah, exactly. That’s it’s a nice donation. But you know, if you were, you know, in that case, if you were going two times a week, then you wouldn’t even think twice about that $500. And so again, goes back to the behavioral design approach to say, you know, if we’re getting recurring payments from customers, the best way for us to continue getting them is to make sure the customers are feeling they’re getting the value, and to get the value they need to come in. And so that’s, that’s what, you know, LighthousePE does to help.


Yeah, no, that’s great. Because I think so many businesses focus on trying to get new customers, but it’s the most expensive customer is a new one. And it’s amazing what it’ll do for the business. from a financial perspective, if you just bring up that lifetime value of a customer, you know, how to deploy as much time and resources to acquiring new ones. And that’s, that’s essentially what you guys help with. And I think so many just overlooked the, the retention side and how to prevent churn. And I think, especially with the channel that doesn’t cost for every message you go out, I


mean, it’s the perfect solution. It is it is and and I think a lot of business owners do understand that, you know, there’s a number that gets thrown around all the time, I think it’s few years old, but you know, a, it’s five times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep the customer you already have. And you know, that’s a pretty staggering statistic when you multiply that out over hundreds or 1000s or 10s of 1000s of customers. And so that’s, you know, you know, again, going back to what we do engagement is all we do engagement and retention. So that’s Yeah, absolutely critical.


Yeah. And I mean, we’re huge on data analytics, and we’re very ROI focused, as well. And from that we have a sweet little dashboard that I mean, shows all the metrics that we kind of determine after the onboarding and everything. How are you guys delivering, I guess, the success of what all these push notifications are doing? How well it’s helping with churn? And ultimately, how much more money it’s putting in their clients pockets? Do you guys have something like that?


So yeah, we have a customer dashboard, where they see not just all of the activity, but also the performance data. So we track conversions for every signal that gets sent. And the interesting thing is, you know, conversions can mean different things. You know, unlike SEO, where a conversion is a click right, that’s, you get that click Alright, we’ve done our job, we’re done. You know, with us, again, we’re Our job is to bring people to the doorstep, right. And so we could define a conversion as I send a push, you know, if that person person shows up in the next week, I’m going to count that as a conversion or I sent a push with an offer that’s only good for 24 hours. So someone that shows up 36 hours later, is useless to me. So I only want to track the people that show up within 24 hours to you know, to understand that conversions. You know, then when when we take that and we combine that with what we know about you know, our customers what’s what’s their average ticket size, right which you know, if you’re a QSR fast casual restaurant, it could be 1215 bucks, if you’re a beauty bar, it could be, you know, 100 bucks. But from there, it’s it’s super simple to say, all right, well, I counted, you know, 100 conversions this month, and my average ticket size is 100 bucks, well, I just you know, that’s $10,000 in top line revenue that I just drove with zero marginal cost for each one of those those pushes the ROI is that the, the mathematical ROI here is is massive, you know, if we’re, if we’re not in the triple digits and ROI within a month or two, then we’re not doing something right. Well, I


mean, everyone looks to email as the most profitable channel. I mean, I think it’s like 44x ROI, typically on an email. But I mean, as you’ve mentioned, there’s more regulation passed, there’s less people opening email, there’s more people sending email. And so I think this is the biggest competitor in terms of the channel stacking up and what’s driving ROI, because I mean, just the applications are just in my was already turning. And what I would say is, how are you guys, you know, look, in the next three to six months, how are you guys? What are your guys’s biggest goals? For the company? What are you what are you guys trying to accomplish?


Yeah, so So the biggest goal for us as a company goes back to where I started with this, which is we, you know, we’re gonna spin this out into its own company, right now, we’re still under the agency, you know, roof. And that the trigger for us to do that’s going to be based on growth. So, you know, our goal will be to concurrently raise, you know, some funding and spin the company out, that funding goes into the new company. And, you know, it’s, it’s off to the races from there. So the business has been completely bootstrapped by the agency. So far, there’s never been any outside capital. So this has been, you know, a commitment by the, you know, the agency and the owners of the agency to fund this because there’s a belief there’s, you know, there’s a big opportunity out there to go chase with this. So, you know, we’re, since, you know, since I’ve been on board, I think, what, five and a half months. Now, we really spent the last quarter trying to understand what is and isn’t working from a sales and customer acquisition perspective. And going into the second quarter, it really is about starting to play some bigger bets on tactics that, you know, will hopefully start to move the needle faster for us,


from a marketing perspective. Hey, guys getting it out there. There’s huge applications. I think, on the affiliate side, I mean, I’m like, how we have five, six clients, I know could use this right now. And as Do you love to meet him? Do you have anything in the pipeline for affiliates to where if our, you know, if we have clients, and it’s a good tool in any way that we can bring them to it?


You know, we don’t in the form of a formal structured program, we don’t, but we are having those conversations. It is part of the, you know, the acquisition roadmap for us, you know, looking at what channels can we leverage to get out there more quickly than we’ll be able to, you know, to do from a direct perspective. So, you know, affiliate is going to be an important one, we think, app developers, whether they’re just sort of the independent shops, or developers that are building vertical specific apps, online ordering apps for restaurants, you know, booking apps for, you know, med spas, and things like that. So, those are elements of the channel strategy as we grow, as well.


Love it. Love it, this has been great. And as we kind of wrap up, you know, some of the audience might be listening, go, this is amazing, I’d love to test this out. And for those that are kind of contemplating, I guess, what’s the biggest piece of advice or biggest thing that you’d say to them to help set expectations if they were to reach out or move forward with this kind of technology?


I think the biggest thing I’d say is don’t be afraid, you know, just do it. I you know, I think again, you know, when we’re dealing with companies that aren’t, you know, in the fortune 1000, I think fear is, is probably the biggest fear of the unknown, is, is probably one of the biggest headwinds that we face. Part of that unknown is just the knowledge that hey, there’s actually you know, a product out there that can do this that will work for you and it’s not going to break the bank and you don’t have to spend two hours a day you know, babysitting it. So yeah, biggest piece of advice is just go for it because it’s you know, it’s gonna work there. You know, you look at again, the you know, the big brands like, you know, chick fil a they do an awesome job with their mobile app. That’s probably my favorite, you know, restaurant, you know, mobile app right now. Flipside not not to throw shade, but you know, Starbucks, I get, you know, I go into a Starbucks, buy a coffee walk out and I get a push notification that I’m near Starbucks. Guess what I turned off push notifications, which is for Starbucks, which is probably not what they want. But again, it goes back to the value of being able to personalize, and every time you bother me on my home screen, I feel like it’s a worthwhile effort of the few seconds it’s gonna take me to click it and see what’s up.


Yeah, I think the one that comes to mind Yelp does it really well. Yeah, to where I go to Scottsdale or whatever look at the hot new things in Scottsdale are going on. I think that’s a great example that I think a lot of consumers can relate to where it’s the capabilities that you guys bring to the table for smaller businesses. I think that it’s a good example. This has been great. Really appreciate you taking the time to come in.


Thank you very much. It’s been fun. Awesome. Appreciate it, Andrew

Where To Find Andrew Steele

Email: [email protected]


On the previous episode of RGR, Dustin talked to master sales consultant Justin Michael. Justin has made a science of sales, studying what works and using that knowledge to help his clients.

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