Paul Gross walks us through how the evolution of optometry marketing through the years has moved more to digital marketing to increase sales for National Vision. Then, he explains how personalizing ads and tailoring content for specific posts in certain areas will make the biggest difference in marketing successfully.

Resources from this interview

Linkedin Logo

Announcer: Welcome to the Ignite podcast, where we help marketers and CEOs learn the latest tips and tricks to help ignite growth in their business. This isn’t your typical marketing podcast. We push beyond platitudes to deliver you real-world stories from the trenches. Are you ready to learn? Are you ready to grow? Are you ready to have fun? Well then, buckle up because you are about to enter the Ignite podcast.

Alex: All right, everybody, I’m excited to have you today. I’ve got an old friend on the line with me you guys. Someone that has grown tremendously large organizations over and over in the retail healthcare space. I could not be more excited to have Paul Gross online. Paul, welcome to Ignite. How are you doing?

Paul Gross: Hey Alex, thanks for having me.

Alex: Yes, no worries. Paul, you’ve got quite the experience in leading really large groups helping them scale, helping them sell. I know you went to the best university in the world. We’ll talk about that later. Talk about going from Luxottica let’s start there and then how’d you make your way over to National Vision and who is National Vision most recently.

Paul: Okay. Well, when I was living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, working for [unintelligible 00:01:14] and well, my wife graduated from graduate school, and we had to pick a city and we ended up picking Cincinnati. Then I found a job with LensCrafters and after several years have been impacted its marketing with Procter and Gamble and Fruit of the Loom, I found myself in retail marketing, and I really just took a real liking to it. Because every day, you could– And packaged goods, you’re always thinking 18 months out, and you have to be so disciplined and so practicing that it’s hard to operate more than 18 months out.

In retail, I can try something today, realize whether it works or not and implement it the next day. You can try a lot of different things, move fast to grow the business, and it just fit my style more to be able to move more quickly and make things happen in retail space. I spent 10 years at LensCrafters and grew through the ranks there from managing a few stores to managing the marketing for the whole company. I was actually recruited to leave by the old CEO for a startup company, in a computer screen, and work with him there for four years and we had a small exit.

Then an old boss at LensCrafters became CEO at National Vision, and I remember getting a phone call from them and he said, “So Paul how many kids do you have now?” At the time we had three. He goes, “Do your parents still live in Atlanta?” I’m like, “Yes, we’re living at Cincinnati at the time he goes, “Should those grandbabies be near their grandparents?” I moved down to Atlanta to come to work for National Vision, I was 39, I had three kids, and the company was in bankruptcy and it had no future. Everyone always wants to know why I moved my family and kids to a place for a job that had no future in terms that it was in bankruptcy.

I knew Reed, and I knew the business, I knew the category, I knew we could make a run at. Now, 18 years later, it’s gone from less than 400 locations to over 1,200, 200 million in sales to almost 2 billion, and $15 million market cap to over $3 billion market cap.

Alex: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Hell of a story. By the way, Bowling Greens where they make Corvettes I wouldn’t [unintelligible 00:03:21].

Paul: Right. I’ve done the tour there.

Alex: Yes, I bought the cars there. All right. Most recently CMO National Vision talk to us. A lot of people don’t know. They know the brands within it, but they may not know the National Vision name so America’s best contacts and eyeglasses world that’s in Walmart as well. How are you achieving such great success there? First of all, let’s just start with the turnaround, we came in, what did you say the market cap 200?

Paul: No, we’re doing about $200 million in sales market cap was $15 million.

Alex: 15 million only. What were the steps you re-took? What were some of the first things you did? I think this is fundamental. I’m curious, what are the first things you do in a turnaround? Where do you go, how do you cauterize the wound? What wounds do you look at?

Paul: I’m going to step back for a second and say when I was in high school in college I worked at a grocery store, it’s a chain that no longer exists that was called Big Star and owned by Colonial Foods. About every year, we’d have a big meeting about some new marketing program we’re going to do, and all this time, when we get paid to go [unintelligible 00:04:23] we go there, and then nothing would ever happen.

We would talk to the store, it’s like to the people in the home office not know what really goes on in the stores. The programs will last two months, we’d go back to run our business the same way that we always did. Then a year later, there’d be a new program. I [unintelligible 00:04:39] base at LensCrafters, and then carried over to National Vision, the answer is always in the stores. When Reed and I came in National Vision, Reed and I are very philosophically aligned, we both traveled the stores and we talked to store associates saying, “What’s missing, what’s not happening, what do you need?” We knew a lot of the things that we were going to change.

The core of the business was we brought the associates, engaged them in to what the right answers were. If you hear something one time from one associate that’s like, “Okay, that’s nice to know, good to hear.” When you hear the same answer 10, 15, 20, 30 times. There’s an aha moment there. Very simply, there are worse than smart things that we did, but the real brilliance was we engaged the associates, we empowered them to have a voice and responded and did what they thought was important and needed to be done.

Then, we knew that do it in a scalable way. If someone have an idea that might make sense for their stores, then then we would know how to take that idea and make it in a scalable way where we could grow the business. With the time Walmart was taking away the leases, and it was all in the contract, Walmart wasn’t doing anything wrong, but we started turning around sales and growing sales and we caught the eye of a private equity group that was Berkshire Partners and wanted us to, what might take us private and then make an acquisition at the same time to have the management team lead into probably Walmart stores to buying America’s best.

The real answer was, we never tried to outplay our coverage. We listened to the stores, and we block and tackled and we did the things that we knew what work they may set. It’s nothing fancy, there’s nothing shiny, there’s nothing that everyone that’s going to make the history books, but it was all just doing the right thing for the right time knowing the customer and the associates are two most important pieces in that equation.

Alex: The inventory always wins the wars. I’m curious, what are some of those things in boots on the ground, was it a lack of technology in-store they’re not– Like I always come at it with, “Were we driving enough leads?” but that wasn’t the issue. There were operational issues and where were you looking at operational or marketing?

Paul: It was a combination of both. There were some marketing blocking and tackling things that could be done. In healthcare space, we get the advantage of being able to collect all the information that every other retailer wants. We get your name, we get your phone number, we get your address. Those things weren’t being used very well for like retention marketing. In any kind of business, there’s two ways to drive your business, new customers or repeat customers.

They were not using the data that was available to them to drive levers to repeat customers, but also the new customers. There were a lot of things from the hours that we were open to how many appointment slots there would be, to how the pricing should be done. Things that the store throughout they’re going, “This stuff doesn’t make sense. I can’t believe they’re forcing us to do it.” We were saying, “Yes, that doesn’t make sense, we shouldn’t be doing it that way anymore.”

We turned the company upside down, they used to get compensated. The home office dictates what happens, and the stores follow, and we turned the model upside down said, “The home office listens to the stores and we try to do what’s important for the stores because they’re your first contact with your customers.” That’s really what we did is we turned the model upside down and made it more associate customer-focused and not, we rule the roost from the home office.

Alex: I love it. Yes, boots on the ground, getting in there to understanding exactly what you’re associate- I’ve heard different things, I’ve heard people say, “We talked to the customers, what did the customers want, what were the gaps.” You guys have another approach which is talk to the associates in the stores and figure out what was wrong in the stores and how do we scale the solution.

Paul: Right.

Alex: I like it. We get out of the red zone, the danger zone and we’re starting to grow. How were you opening 600 new stores? How do you scale an organization like that? How do you keep yourself out of the weeds Paul? What were some of the key learnings there of getting that kind of growth? How did you manage it?

Paul: We became very good at doing it. We put a real estate team together, we got a marketing plan and we just figured out a way to make it almost cookie cutter in the process that we could do it. When we first started, we said we’re going to open in existing markets, we’ll open in existing states, and then we’ll go to new states. When we first started opening up new stores, we were opening in markets where we already had a presence. We weren’t having to fight the battle, learning what the optometry was were in those markets, fighting the brand new awareness battle, hiring new associates where we transfer associates.

We started off with the things that we knew we could do well really fast and stayed, again, we’re always a company that stayed within our reach of things that we could do. The first thing was, let’s open where we can be the most successful in markets where we already have stores, we already know the rules, we already have people. We got that done, we said, “Okay now let’s expand within those states,” because it’s easier to move people around, we still know the optometry laws, and there is a remote level of awareness going there and once we finished out that, then we start expanding beyond and opening new markets.

Well, by that time when we got to there, we had figured out how to kit a new store and our distribution center where we had just sent out everything that was needed in a new store. We had a construction team that already knew what kind of space to look for. While we were learning, we stayed within our scope of what we were doing. I think that’s the biggest key is everyone’s always looking for the home run. Usually, you win by a series of small steps or a series of first downs or getting people on base and not by a home run or throwing a touchdown, so we always built our business by saying, “What are the things we do well first?” We’ll get those, do those really, really well, and then we’ll move on from there as opposed to trying to do something that we didn’t have a lot of experience in.

Alex: You’re making it sound really easy. What were some of the biggest hiccups that you guys had along this hyper-growth trajectory?

Paul: I think the reason it seems easy and the reason why it looked easy is the way that we did it. First of all, we had a great management team that nobody was focused on, for almost everybody, nobody was looking at getting promoted. Everybody was focused on just doing their job well, we trusted each other. If I knew someone was going on in merchandising, I didn’t worry about it, I knew I was taking care of it and so you had a team that worked well together and trusted each other. Secondly, and a lot of companies say it but it’s true, we made all of our decisions in terms of what was right for the customer.

The hardest part probably was maintaining our low pricing and finding other ways to improve margins and go there. Along the way we were owned by two private equity companies and went public, and so there was a lot of pressure to deliver sales growth and profit every year, and the easy thing to have done would be to increase prices because your raising prices is almost just a direct drop to the bottom line, and that would’ve looked pretty for a year or two, but then your customer count would have started going down because your prices would get too high.

The biggest challenge was finding our investors and saying, “We’re not going to raise prices, we’re going to keep our prices where they are. We’ll grow our business by driving customer count and we’ll sacrifice a little bit of margin percent, but we’ll win through more sales growth by holding our pricing down.” That’s really the vital one. The thing I’m probably most proud of it in what we did in growing the business is we never took the easy step to success. We never said, “Oh, let’s raise prices. Oh, let’s do that.” We blocked and tackled our way, and built it this way and built it over time as opposed to go for one big win in a year or a one big every one, two years, we managed our growth in a way that we could sustain it.

Alex: Unreal. Always doing what’s right for the customer and doing things that you guys are best at, staying focused on that and the cohesion of the management team I guess underrated to some but not, I don’t know, when people go looking for capital I guess that’s what PEs and VCs must look at as was the management team constructive, I don’t know, what’s the cohesion there?

Paul: In my 17 or my 18 years there up until what time we went public, we had one turnover in the management team and that was somebody who retired and so everybody we hired, my boss started in April 2002, I was just second and we had a management team and we went public in 2008 and 2017, there was only one change in the management team during that whole 13 years from the new folks that we started with until we went public. We were a cohesive group that stayed together and we all had kind of a shared philosophy on how to run the business.

Alex: That’s why Dan Quinn hasn’t been fired yet. You got to keep the same team, same clothes, same waiters, [unintelligible 00:13:06] this whole year. I shouldn’t be dogging on. This is going to be our year. Kept the team together, very little turnout, kept the cohesion and kept the structure there, let’s get to marketing. That’s who everybody is going to listen to any damn way. You’re managing fairly big as much as anybody we’ve had on this show. $80 million yearly marketing budget is that accurate across National Vision?

Paul: Sure. Yes.

Alex: Wow. What was that? 99% went to digital or what was the maker for?

Paul: Well, you know it’sevolved over the years back in 2005, 2006 it was probably 70% TV and the rest through direct to mail retention efforts, in-store signage things like that. As the years have evolved, TV has come down as a percentage of that and digital has grown and it has grown tremendously mostly in the improving SEO and on pay per click with a little bit of digital video in there as well.

Alex: You had a great team, there is a great team in place now. I’m still great friends with some of them. We see the billboards all the time. America’s best contacts and eyeglasses. Traditional out of home still a big component there and they still work. Paul, tell us the split. How does someone go about determining the split between traditional out of home and digital?

Paul: Sure. I don’t know if there’s a right answer. Do you know what the exact split should be? I think all the mediums have a place in your mix. Broadcast media, let’s call it TV does a great job of building awareness and make it [inaudibe 00:14:39] also can make your digital work harder because if I see it on TV or I see it online it kind of ties it together. I think if you just do one, that’s out of place. What we did was we would take a little bit of money out of TV and put it in digital and then track sales and we do it by market, and we’d see sales increases and we kept pushing and we found we could take a lot more from TV than we thought.

We drove our business on digital mostly through pay per click and SEO. TV still has a place, but I think digital along with TV is a whole lot more impactful than just TV by itself.

Alex: Yes, we agree and I think groups just have to scale to where they can do that. I think starting with digital is where they start because their cost per acquisition is lower, but then scaling up and including TV and billboards and radio is important. It helps you get more market penetration and like you said, one holds more powerful. I noticed that you implemented CRM or revised CRM, talk about the conversion points for National Vision. Was it getting people in for eye exams and or sales online? Do we really care about the online optical sales or really we just needed to push people to store?

Paul: We always made our business that we didn’t care whether the customer bought online or bought in-store, we want to make it easy for them so we measure our success on total sales. If someone bought online, that was great, if they bought in-store that was great. We were agnostic as to whether how they did that, but at the end of the day, our job was to drive sales. How we drove sales, if we could get someone to the website, we consider it a success if they got to a website and they looked up a find a store link, if they scheduled an exam or if they bought something.

That was success in terms of if someone got to our website. In terms of measuring success over our advertising mix, we want to increase sales. Appointments is a way to measure that and then appointments converting diagnostic sales is another way to measure that, but at the end of the day we just looked at, “Here’s how much we spent and here’s how much sales we drive, does that math make sense?”

Then we had established a benchmark, and then we’d see if we could lower the cost of acquisition per customer as we drove that through. The other part is once we had someone buy from us, your prescription expired about every two years and so we start about 18 months, some customers at 12 months, we would start sending them notices remind them to get their eye exam again because that was the entry point to get a new pair of glasses and getting an eye exam.

To our existing customer base, we’d remind them that it was time to get a new eye exam and that’s how we would improve retention it’s just by providing the service of reminding people, if you go to the dentist every six months they call you and tell you this time for your checkup, we would do the same thing remind people that was time to get their annual eye exam.

Alex: Is that the giant CRM transition that you had to do was to get more of those reactivations?

Paul: We had a CRM system in place, but it didn’t give us all the information that we needed, so it really just helped us refine it when we moved to like texting and email. Our original CRM system was really more just about setting up direct mail and we need to be able to kind of tie the customer together and the database and if you came under [unintelligible 00:17:46] me as Paul Gross and that one day I was P. Gross, and the other day I was my nickname, Leo or whatever.

How do we tie all those customers together so the new CRM system helped us take if the customer went to different stores or used a different name or did something, tying it up to the same person and then allowed us to find the right way to communicate with them via e-mail, via direct mail or even text if they wanted to. We always had a CRM program, so I’d put in the new system we just made it a more robust.

Alex: Yes, and we’re able to hit people how they wanted to be communicated with and on the different channels. Those reactivations are a clutch. Looking at that guys, you increase reactivations, use traditional, combine it with digital pair it back on the traditional, over time put more into digital as you saw things evolving through marketing. What do a lot, this is recorded during the height of COVID across the south. I won’t go into why things are escalating except [unintelligible 00:18:44] but that is what’s happening, and outside of the south Paul, I think a lot of healthcare is wondering what’s going to happen next? How do they accelerate things?

Do you have any tips on how medical groups, healthcare, retail? I don’t like the term survive, I think that’s boring. How do they thrive, either now or soon as we get the vaccine notice? How do we get out of this?

Paul: I’m going to give you the answer that has always been given and it’s easy to say but hard to do and I’ll give you some examples. A lot of times we get onboard in company, and we look at decisions we say, “What’s best for our business?” People make decisions where in terms of what’s best for what they think is for their business, and they forget that if that decision is not good for the customer, it’s really not good for their business. I’ll give an example, my wife and my daughters were out shopping the other day and they were at a retailer, and you couldn’t try on clothes in that establishment and you couldn’t return the clothes. All right?

Now I understand why they don’t want people trying on clothes and I understand why they didn’t want to take returns, but as a customer, if you can’t try it on and you can’t return it, why would you buy it? That was a policy that the retailer was making to try to make their life easier in terms of managing the disease but they made it where it wasn’t really possible for the customer to make a decision. Now, they were at another place they said, “Look, we really don’t want you to try on the clothes but you can return anything that you buy.” That decision that said, “Look for all these reasons, we don’t think it’s safe to try on clothes, but if they don’t work for you it’s no risk for you.” I think when companies forget that they’re in business to serve customers and that customers have choices, it’s hard to thrive and win. When you sit there and say, “How do we protect our associates? Protect our customers? Protect our business but still doing in a way that helps them to work, it’s become customered focus.

It used to be as retailers, even as health care providers we would tell our customers, “These are the hours we’re open, this is the way you can communicate with us, this is how you get in to do business with us, and this is how you can pay us, this is what you do.” The world is flipped upside down where the consumers control those decisions now and that they want to tell you, “These are the hours I want to shop, this is how I want to communicate with you, this is how I want to pay, this is how I want to do business,” and the customers you can adapt and be flexible and say, “How do we become more consumer-centric?” Are the ones who will thrive.

The ones who sit there and say, “I’m going to do business the way that worked 50 years ago,” won’t work. That’s easy to say and it’s easy to know that, it’s hard to have the discipline to go and execute it and do it and always put that in the front center of what you do. I think those are the people who will thrive and win in this. There’s a hospital system in Chicago that figured out that it’s hard to do elective surgeries and have COVID patients in the same time and so they said, “Hey, these hospitals in our system will become COVID and we’ll do that and these hospitals will do elective surgeries.”

Instead of setting down all our hospitals, they made it possible where people get to be treated and taken care of in a way that was unconventional with the customer focus in their mind and what they are doing. There’s a lot of work on them to shift their people around, have different roles at different places, have different care techniques in these other places, but that’s what makes sense for the customer, they all did that and they’ve been able to thrive during this by keeping elective surgeries still up and going, and taking care of COVID-19 patients and not worrying about the whole hospital being infected.

Alex: The Chicago example and the retailer that was doing it right, I wonder if they just went and talked to some customers and patients and said, “How would you like to be treated? Where are the gaps right now? How can we do this better?” It can just start with these conversations just like how you guys went into stores and asked the associates like all of these groups out there, just go talk to your customers and patients now, find out how they want to be treated and served. I think you can just start there.

Paul: Yes. I’ve been doing retail marketing for almost 30 years and I’m sure that a week did go by, but I’m going to say there wasn’t a week that went by that I wasn’t on the phone at least three or four hours a week talking with store managers, district managers, regional managers, “What’s working? What’s not working? Why are these stores doing well? Why aren’t these still doing well? How can this store was doing well and it’s not doing well?” I would like to tell you a lot of the success I’ve had in my career is due to my brilliance, but unfortunately, it really had nothing to do with my brilliance.

It had to do with talking to the people who knew what was going on and listening to them and then reacting to the things that made sense to what they’re doing. I always thought that was the most important part of my job was talking to the stores and in some ways, that’s like talking to the customer. Talking to the stores, the store managers, the leadership in the field because that’s where the answer is when you’re in retail. If you’re selling a box in a grocery store, you can make the most of your decisions in a home office but if your job is about dealing with people, your first point of contact is your greatest source of information.

Alex: I think most of your success can be due to your good looks but sure, we can talk, I find it hard, this is a leadership question. You had all these store managers and you had to do the Q&A with them and then correlate all of their, I’d say, combine all of their thoughts and come up with some kind of new strategy. How did you keep yourself from just saying, “Screw it, I’m coming to Arkansas to your store to fix this.” I have trouble staying out of the weeds. How did you stay out of the weeds with your managers?

Paul: In kind of life, there’s the bell curve exists in anything. You have your really good managers, your average managers and you’re below-average managers. The bell curve is going to exist no matter what and you have to play that. When we had really successful stores and we had really poor stores. The way I managed was I focused on two areas of driving success in the business. I take the really strong performers and try to make sure that they stay performing strong and see if I can make them perform stronger, and we would take the weakest stores and try to lift them up to move them along the way and then you hope the stores in the middle gravitate towards the stronger stores.

You can never go to a store, there’s too many go do that, but you learn what’s going wrong and then when you fix it in one store, you try to fix it in a way that you can fix it in multiple stores. It’s just the store manager, then you just have to replace that store team you have to do that, but if you see something wrong you always have to think about, how can I fix this in a way that is scalable that I just don’t fix it for this market so I don’t have to replace? It is hard to understand you’re always going to have some winners and losers. Even if everybody’s winning, somebody’s winning more than somebody else and it’s about making sure that you focus on the far side.

The right side of the bell curve and the far left side of the bell curve and if you keep them moving right, the ones in the middle move right as well. I’ve had markets where I spent on not so much stores, but I’ve had markets that were struggling where I spent more of my time, there was probably warranted trying to solve one market problem but invariably I found when I solved what was going wrong in that market, I was able to take that and leverage it for other markets as well.

Alex: There’s the systems thinking, making sure that you’re spotting any issue in one market and then applying it across the board. This is a personal develop team. I struggle with not trying to solve the problem and I guess in your position of having managed so many people you just have to stay out of it, solve the problem but do it for everybody. Let’s talk about marketing trends. You guys were pulling slightly out of traditional, or broadcast and more into digital, do you see that continuing this year in COVID or do you see any big marketing trends happening this year during COVID or when we come out of it let’s assume good times, where do you see things going that retail marketers need to be looking for?

Paul: The way TV market happens and I’m not saying anything that’s not already known. It is just changing. Screen time is probably higher in the rails, but TV is more on-demand. People don’t sit down in front of the TV like they used to as much anymore and TV is on-demand. The folks who aren’t sitting there and trying to evolve, how do I make sure I stay in front of eyeballs without doing that or missing a beat? Digital is clearly becoming more important whether that’s digital video, pay per click, leveraging your SEO, display ads, or whatever that all makes a lot of sense.

I think what’s going to make the biggest difference and people talk about it and it’s really not all the way there yet, but becoming more personalized with your content. Tailor it to those specific folks and time it to who they are and where they are and having that make sense and I think that’s the trend that’s going to continue to evolve where it used to be I would create one ad, and then it had to reach 2 million people and I hope that it worked for those 2 million people. Now, I might have 600,000 different ads for 2 million people personalized based on what’s important to them.

Based on what I know about them through the things that they do, I’ll be able to tailor my ads specifically to try to encourage them to come leverage. They’ll probably never be that many but you get the point that personalization in Geo locating is what’s going to make the most sense. If you live 30 miles from a store that I’m trying to drive traffic to, my odds of getting you are slim to none, but if you live within a mile, I need to be able to take advantage of your location and my location and put those two together in a much faster way than I was able to before.

Alex: How do you keep up to date on all the latest marketing trends? You’re staying up to it, you have all this coming, you’ve been in marketing 30 something years, went to the best university, it’s Georgia State University by the way everybody. You are a flying captain of the cross country and track, are you still running every day?

Paul: I still run. I don’t know if I run every day but I still do run and I run more for enjoyment now. The only time that I race anymore is if somebody asked me to run a race with them or to help them get a time that they want. I don’t enjoy racing as much but I run to clear my head.

Alex: Yes, which we need to do quite often. One more question, how do you stay up to date on the latest marketing trends? Where do you do it? Conferences, blogs, awesome podcasts like this one?

Paul: There’s a lot of reading, and one of the hardest parts about my job and your job and anybody’s job are the number of sales calls that you get of everyone to sell you everything but what I’ve learned over the years is I don’t respond to every sales call that I get, or every sales email that I get, if I did that my day will be taken up, but I’ve learned to try to be selective and take some calls, the business stuff because you learn by talking to people. You learn by hearing what people are selling, you learn by what’s new out there.

I do all the reading, I do all that stuff, but I will take calls and I will set up sales appointments and I will meet with other people to learn what they’re doing to try to figure out what’s going on.

I’m always willing to test things. I’d say when the key start success of growing sales every year, we started a year, we knew exactly how we’re going to deliver that year’s numbers and most of what we spent during that year was testing our theories to build our plan for the next year, right? Every year we are building out from one fence to the next. Then a lot of that meant talking with people, learning what was out there, what were they doing, and saying, “How can we leverage that and do that.” We are always working one year out in terms of developing our plans for the next year, while we’re executing the current year trying to bring in those new things and testing them. The traditional way is though we would read, we would talk to people, we would let sales people come in and we would reach out to sales people if we saw something interesting, but we never just chased something because it was shiny. It always had to have some real meaning for what we were doing.

Alex: Yes absolutely guys. Paul, you just gave a lot of inspiration to sales people out there.

[laughter]

We work so hard and we’ve got a cold average team, but we’re always looking to educate the market. We’ve got new tips and tricks and we work with your competitors, so we’re trying to educate. It’s refreshing to hear that you’re taking the meetings. The CMO as big as you running National Vision was taking meetings, learning from sales people. Guys keep up with the cold outreach. If you’re out there providing value and educating, the market can be really used far in a great way. I like hearing that, boots on the ground type stuff. It’s refreshing, everybody you know, you hear so often, no I don’t take cold calls. There no pride. There should be no pride in that. That’s not good you’re not learning from anyone by doing that. All right, good to hear Paul, this has been amazing. I love it. We’re going to get this out to everybody and promote it big time. Thank you for joining us on Ignite.

Paul: All right. Thank you Alex, appreciate it. Joy talking with you.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. If you like what you heard, please leave us a rating and review. Before you go please remember to subscribe to this podcast, so you don’t miss the next episode. For more digital marketing tips, make sure you visit cardinaldigitalmarketing.com. Have a great rest of the day. Don’t forget that the most important part of your job–

[00:31:56] [END OF AUDIO]

Paul Gross

Paul Gross, CMO of National Vision Inc.

Alex Membrillo

CEO

Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal, a digital marketing agency focused on growing multi location companies. His work as CEO of Cardinal has recently earned him the honor of being selected as a member of the 2018 Top 40 Under 40 list by Georgia State University as well as 2015 and 2016 Top 20 Entrepreneur of metro Atlanta by TiE Atlanta, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2016 Small Business Person of the Year,and the Digital Marketer of the Year by Technology Association of Georgia (TAG).

Cardinal has experienced exponential growth under Membrillo’s leadership, being consecutively named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately-held US companies for the last three years. Membrillo’s innovative approach to digital marketing has transformed the industry and delivered remarkable results to clients of all sizes and markets. He has been featured in leading national publications including The Business Journals, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, and The Wall Street Journal. He has also served as an expert speaker for conferences including the American Marketing Association, SouthWired, and Vistage Executive Leaders, where he spoke on his unique approach to Millennial Management to over 400 CEOs.

Alex Membrillo Cardinal CEO