Growth. The one thing every brand wants. The one thing most brands get wrong.

For this episode of the podcast, Paul sits down in conversation with Matt Lerner (Growth Specialist and Founder @ SYSTM) to uncover the secret sauce to massive brand growth. 

With a unique approach rooted in deep customer insights, fast iteration, and quantitative analysis, Matt shares tactical advice for driving true brand success through growth marketing.

Delve into this dynamic world as Matt discusses:

  • Uncovering Growth Levers: Matt shares insightful stories and strategies, including finding PayPal’s growth levers, and emphasizes the importance of understanding your business – inside and out – to find your own.
  • Matt’s ‘Growth Model’: Explore Matt’s Growth Model, which focuses on finding and unblocking bottlenecks to surprise and delight customers, turning them into Advocates. 
  • Agile Marketing: Explore Matt’s approach to in-the-moment marketing plans, and gain valuable strategies for fast iteration and continuous improvement.
  • Collaborative Leadership: Discover the importance of this in driving organizational success, and learn how to empower your team to achieve remarkable results.

Listen to gain insights into top-tier growth, marketing, and Advocacy strategies. Use them to help your brand grow. 

Rate & review Building Brand Advocacy:

Connect with Matt:

Building Brand Advocacy 061: 


How to Unlock Advocacy: Cracking the Growth Code: ft Matt Lerner 

Paul - Hello, welcome back to Building Brand Advocacy. I am your host, Paul Archer. And today I am joined by the amazing Matt Lerner. Matt, how are you doing? 

Matt - Great, Paul. How are you? 

Paul - I'm pretty good. Pretty good. Bit tired. There's a new addition to the Archer household of late, but yeah, pushing through it. Now, I'm really excited. 

Matt - Congratulations on that. 

Paul - Thank you very much. Now I'm really excited to have you on here. Not only are we old friends, and I not only know you personally, but also have been through the course that you actually run, something being transformational for me and my company, we went into it knowing that we had something that people wanted, but we couldn't quite articulate it. We couldn't quite tell that story as to who we should work with and who we do it well for in terms of the software that we made. And we went through this process, we ran sort of 50 customer interviews, we had these realizations about A, who was buying from us and really narrowed down it.But B. the why, why they were selling. And we were trying to sell far too many things at once and really narrowed down our offering so we could provide the most value to the people who needed that value the most. And actually since then, we've grown like tripled in size since then, we've get to work with some most incredible brands in the world and so I owe Matt a debt of gratitude to do that. So you are one of the world's leading experts on growth. I mean, you have over 76,000 followers on LinkedIn. 

You have an email list of 30,000 people that's followed from everyone from CEOs to famous celebrities to everyday startup idiots such as myself and actually, I only have, I think, three newsletters that are in my priority inbox that I read every single one of them and yours is one of that. So, I'm really excited about this. And also, you've released a book which we're going to touch on, which is something which I think everyone needs to read in terms of when they're understanding actually how do they grow businesses.

Um, so before we kick things off, can you give me a little overview of who you are in your career and how you came to be writing this amazing book? 

Matt - Um, obviously American started my career in Silicon Valley for a startup failed, second startup failed, third startup. Uh, we sold for about 40 million bucks, which back then was actually a decent amount of money. I didn't own very much of it at this point, but, uh, anyway, so I, um, quit traveled around the world, came back and learned by the way, as much from those failures as from the success.

I came back and I joined the growth team at PayPal in 2004, which was a pretty auspicious time to be joining PayPal. So we grew quite a bit in that time. And yeah, I had various roles building and running and leading growth teams. And then later as a general manager, moved to the UK. I was there for nearly 11 years, left PayPal and became a VC with Silicon Valley Fund 500 startups. And I was their partner in the UK.

That's probably when we met. Anyways, the cool thing about being a VC is you get all these pitches and so you can sort of pattern match. Like what are weird things I learned about PayPal and which of these things are like general trends. And one of the biggest trends I saw was so many companies were taking so much talent and so much investor money and just squandering it, making frankly kind of basic avoidable, the same set of basic avoidable mistakes over and over again. So that led me to leave the world of venture capital found my own business system where we help companies figure out, you know, earlier stage startups figure out how they're gonna scale, find their big growth levers, we call it. Now worked with about 200 companies in that capacity. After you do something 200 times, you know it pretty well. So I wrote a book on it and here we are. 

Paul - And that book hit bestsellers in four countries on its launch day, it sold thousands of copies. I'd highly recommend it to anyone, but we're going to delve into that in a bit. But like, just to start with a really obvious question, because a lot of people use the term growth. Everyone wants to grow their business and they want to grow their revenue in every way. But really, what does it mean when you mean growth, growth leavers and growth marketing? 

Matt - All right. So let's talk about growth and growth versus marketing. So fundamentally, at the end of the day, what companies wanna grow is revenue and in some cases, even profits, depending on their investors and their sector. But revenue and profits don't appear by magic. They come from having lots of happy, loyal customers. So the first driver is getting lots of happy and loyal customers, that's growth. Now, how do you do that? I'll sort of contrast, I think marketing is a discipline. It is something that companies do that can help drive growth.

But if you study the most successful companies, certainly in tech, the best ones, growth isn't like a siloed function. The stuff that they've done that had the biggest impact was a collaboration, certainly between marketing and product and sales, but also even in my own experience, customer service, risk, onboarding, supply chain, like every piece of the company can work together to drive growth.

And so it's kind of a, it's an entirely cross-functional approach to increasing your, you know, your customer base and yeah, generating lots of money. 

Paul - And can you give me an example of like, some examples of how this has worked and what are those levers that they've found for particular companies and organizations? 

Matt - Yeah, sure. I'll give you a story from my PayPal days. We were signing up lots and lots of new customers. We had a new product we launched. It was basically card processing APIs like Stripe, only before Stripe. It cost $30 a month and thousands of companies were signing up, but only 10% of them ever actually started using the product. So we went and we fixed all the obvious stuff, like better documentation and get pre-integrated with e-commerce systems.

And we kind of got that number up to about 30%, but then we just hit a wall and we could not get that number any higher. And my boss just kept asking me like, Matt, what's the target for this quarter? And I was like, I don't know, 31%. He's like, Matt, you're sandbagging, what's the target? We gotta get that up. And I could make up numbers to make my boss happy, but I didn't, I had no idea. I'd spent six months trying things that didn't work. And then the answer found me in Omaha, Nebraska.

So went out there to do what I should have done all along, which is get on the phone with some customers who hadn't activated and find out what was going on. I think the second or third customer, and she said, oh yeah, we love the PayPal, it's up on our website, it's great. And so we looked at her website and there it was, and we're like, okay, so why haven't you processed any transactions yet? And she said, I don't have any customers. I was like, oh, okay, I can't market my way out of that. Thank you for your time, bye.

But as I thought about that, I realized probably a lot of our customers don't have customers of their own. And probably a big piece of this problem is not addressable. So then I emailed Igor, who was my favorite analyst at the time, that night from my hotel room. And I said, Igor, what percent of our revenue comes from our top 10% most valuable signups? And Igor said, he replied, like by email, like half an hour later, and he said 102%. Igor has an advanced degree in aeronautical engineering from Stanford. This is not...a math error. He didn't fat finger this. So the punchline is that a lot of the signups are, well, a handful of the signups are fraudsters and they end up sucking a lot of value out of the system. So the bottom 1% of signups are worth like negative 4%. So net-net, it's like negative 4%. The top 10% are worth 98% of all the revenue and the middle 80% are worth like 2%. All that is to say, sorry, math doesn't work well on a podcast without a whiteboard.

But the point is we got 98% of our revenue from our top 10% most valuable signups. We didn't need to get the activation rate up to 40%. We needed to activate the right 10%. So worked with Igor and the data science team, built a predictive model to score new signups, find out who was likely to be a valuable customer. And then we gave them a special high touch welcome onboarding experience where, you know, our customer service team called them, made sure they were on the right product and got up and running, did that as an experiment. So 50-50 split, we called half of them and ignored half of them. And the ones we called ended up being worth about 40% more on average after six months. So we were able to increase the value of a new cohort of signups by 40% with this basically a customer service treatment in data science and absolutely no sales and absolutely no marketing. But the key was to understand the business well enough to figure out where that leverage was.

Paul -  And I mean, it really just comes to the fact that you just asked. And like the number of, I think brands are very kind of set in their way. It's like, okay, a fashion brand. We know how fashion brands work. They have, they have stores, they have online, you, you get models and you do shoots and like your marketing is a little bit of the, how you customize the mix. But actually the brand itself is the, is the reputation of, of that company. And actually what other people tell you about that story and everything you've got from there and what blows me away.

In all my work and the brands I talked to, the number of them that have never once picked up the phone to speak to a customer, just to understand why. Why do you buy this? How many people have you told? Why did you tell them? What is it you like? What is it you don't like? And then actually play to building a strategy around it just blows me away. And, and, and so obviously with the way that you're encouraging people to take this customer insight and to, to work with it, I mean, like, when you go down right down to the tactical level for anyone who's working at any company, what's the first step you can take to try and have that moment where you chat to the equivalent of that lady in Omaha, Nebraska? 

Matt - So when we work with companies, I think the obvious thing that people would think of doing is just calling a customer and saying, how did you hear about us? And why did you buy our product? And I cannot think of two less useful questions, except maybe that like, obligatory banter about the weather. So how did you hear about us is gonna tell you the last step in like a 10 mile journey. Nobody wakes up and spontaneously buys an expensive luxury purchase, high performance gear, anything like that. That's never spontaneous. So how did you hear about us is gonna be, I was talking to my friend Paul and I said, hey, I'm looking for a new gilet, blah, blah. What do you recommend? But I didn't just wake up that morning, right? 

Like I had some kind of clothes, I wore some kind of jacket before that, something changed, something was wrong with it. So how did you hear about us just tells us about the very end of the journey. And then why did you buy us? Generally people just make up stories that they've been telling themselves that they wanna believe. So instead what I like to do is retrace the journey. So it's like, okay, hey, you bought this thing, what does that thing enable you to do? And then I understand their goal.

Why did they want this product? And then I take them back to the beginning of the journey. When did you first start thinking about achieving that goal? And now just sort of walk through it. Where were they? Who were they with? What did they try first? Why was this goal important to them? You know, a lot of times, and this is true in B2B too, but certainly in consumer, there's some functional thing like a jacket keeps me warm. My watch tells time, but the money, the real value is some kind of social or emotional goal they're trying to achieve.

They need to impress someone, you know, or they're afraid to disappoint someone, or they want to send a message or feel a certain way about themselves. And those things are not obvious. Like when we make those purchases, we're not consciously aware that the real reason is behind that. So it takes some real expertise and very good listening to try to sort of uncover the story behind the story and understand why people are actually doing these things. 

Paul - So I mean… because you started there and I was thinking, okay, well, that makes sense for a startup who doesn't know what their customer will want. But actually, that's exactly the same for any brand because they probably think, I sell jackets. Of course, they want to buy that jacket to keep them warm, go and buy my jacket. But actually, what you're touching on is there is always another reason, even if it is for a completely homogenized product like a jacket, we've all got jackets. They're not really that different when you compare them. But actually, there's this emotional piece there. So what are you trying to get at when you ask these questions? What are you trying to achieve? 

Matt - So what I'm trying to get here is if I want to sell you a bike, I need to understand what are you going to use a bike to do. But what I'm trying to do here is get a sense for what is the perfect bike that will enable you to achieve so that when I market to you, I can position this product in terms of those outcomes. You know, just like if you ever go, you know, skiing and you're up at the mountain, there's all these pictures of like four wheel drive you know, driving up through the snow, right? That's what an Audi enables you to, you know, drive up to the parking lot at the ski resort. So the questions, that's an interview technique where I'm basically trying to unlock the truth inside your head. So you remember we talked about, like most people don't really understand their, their deeper true motivations when they buy things. 

Paul - Yeah, that's amazing. And it's something which works for a very generic purchase, as we said, right up to a bike right up to a software purchase, it seems to be across the board for it. What are the next steps that someone should take? Once they've kind of understood the reasons why, so presumably you have a number of these customer interviews, you start to spot a trend, they're saying I want a different or I want it light, and you find that one thing that is the why for your brand, for your product that unites the what's next? How do you make sure, like, do you build a strategy around that? A marketing strategy? Are you looking at the positioning on your website in the way that you tell your story? Like, what are the next steps that someone should take? 

Matt - So the first thing I would do is I'm, so to be fair, my bias is extremely quantitative and reductionistic. And I understand that is one approach to marketing and growth, which may not be for everyone, but I would map the business, what I call the growth model.

Now I'll explain what that is in a minute, but basically that's gonna help me understand mathematically where are people getting stuck and where is the most leverage in the business. So a growth model is basically just a diagram of how your company finds and attracts and engages and delights customers and then turns them into advocates who are gonna recommend your product or your brand. And so you're gonna have, you know, this many people start following you on this social channel and this many on this social channel and this many of them go onto your email list and this many of them buy one product and this many of them join your rewards program and become loyal customers and buy more products and multiply that times different product segments in different countries and it can get quite complicated. But ultimately, I'm just trying to get at where is the most leverage. So in the PayPal story I told earlier, we were signing up lots of customers, they weren't using the product. So the leverage, the sort of bottleneck in the whole system was this activation step.

So you'll have to figure out, you know, are we very good at building our audience on social? Are we very good at converting them into subscribers and followers? Are we very good at converting those followers into customers? Are there certain products or customers where we're falling down? So then depending on where you find that bottleneck, we're going to use the insights from the customer interviews to come up with experiments and try to unblock that bottleneck, if you will. So for example, you know, if this company was trying to sell more of these bicycles, they would have a bunch of ideas of who to sort of talk to in their social. They'll have a bunch of ideas of like, also, you know, if our customers, you know, buy this bike, what other products do they buy? So they'll have ideas maybe for who to partner with, or, you know, who to bring on board as influencers. So once you understand what your customers are trying to do, or it's just the message and the positioning, but it gives you a sense of like, where are the opportunities to grow at that sort of...bottleneck step in your business. 

Paul - How often do people get this wrong? Because a lot of brands will be sitting here, well, we know our customer, particularly if you're an old brand that's existed for decades, you'd be like, yeah, of course we know our customer. How often is that general assumption incorrect in your experience? 

Matt - So let's separate, because I tend to work with startups and then you've got big established brands. So startups, you know their failure rate, right? I mean, take 2000 startups and watch them for five years and after five years, 5% of them are gonna be massively huge and 50% of them are gonna be out of business and then another 30% are just gonna be plotting along doing so-so like, you know, or growth. So I'd say based on that about, you know, in startups about 80% of these companies are wrong as evidenced by the fact that they end up going out of business or not particularly growing significantly.

So in big brands, in my experience, it's the exact same ratio, you know, 70 to 80% of them don't really know what they're doing. But the thing is once you've gotten lucky or done something right, you've got a big established brand, you have enough loyalty and enough free cashflow that you can screw around quite a bit and try a bunch of dumb things that don't work and still do just fine. So a lot of these companies, you know, they're doing stuff and something's working, but.

They don't know which thing is working. They don't know why it's working. So they just kind of keep doing more stuff and occasionally stop doing things and hope for the best that wasn't the big thing. 

Paul - And so if you are working in one of these, these organizations, uh, like, and you, you want to run experiments to try and find these out, you sort of touched in it with the growth process there. Like what is, what is the right sort of cadence that someone should take in terms of tactic would be like, right, let's run some experiments. So presumably they're doing a bunch more customer interviews that they never did previously. Um, and just by the way, how many customer interviews do you think is an optimum point before you can really pull some good information to maybe start actioning and start designing some next steps? 

Matt - It does depend on the company, but in my experience working with teams, by the time they have 10 good customer interviews, they can start figuring out some pretty good next steps. 

Paul - Okay, amazing. And so the next steps are you want to run some experiments and test some assumptions that you've bought from there. Like how...What should that look like? Is there, is that like a weekly cadence? Do they monthly? Like how long should it take when you experiment with each one of these different opportunities? 

Matt - So the next step is you've got an idea. You've got a hypothesis and it's grounded in something, a theory based on something you learned about your customer. You know, we think it's all, you know, mountain bike sales are all about friendly competition or, you know, whatever people buy our bikes because they want to say that they're different. You know, that they're interested in performance and they're not conventional or whatever that brand represents. So you come up with your idea and then you write an actual hypothesis, just like you would in science class, we believe X and therefore we're gonna do this thing and we predict that it's gonna have this result and if we're right, we're gonna change our business in this way. Write that down. Everybody makes predictions because you're gonna be wrong and this eliminates hindsight bias and leads to better post-mortem discussions and then you're gonna set up and run the experiment. Typically when I work with startups, we suggest they try to run experiments in a time span of one to two weeks. Most things that most companies would wanna do take longer than one to two weeks, especially in bigger companies where you need to get approvals and sign-offs and things. So therefore what we say is narrow the scope of the experiment and be scrappy. So if you can't test the whole thing, figure out what is the riskiest assumption.

And what is the quickest, simplest way we can test just that assumption? So for example, you know, maybe you're in your business, you can't really change the homepage on the website without like getting permission from God and IT resources. And it's hard to do, but you wanna test some different messages. So you could test those messages in advertising copy and maybe test those ads. You could test those messages in social media posts you could literally walk out of your building with boards with those ads printed on them and show them to people and say, hey, what do you think that means? What's that gonna enable you to do? So there's lots of ways, you just kind of have to be sneaky and resourceful and like work around the processes. But the reason I say one to two week cycles is because your success depends on the pace and quality of your learning. So the faster you learn, that the more likely you are to win before whatever the next budget season before someone else gets promoted ahead of you, you know, whatever is, is driving your timeline. But I guarantee in every job, someone thinks time is pretty important. 

Paul - Yeah, that makes complete sense. And a lot of these are like, sort of positioning things, as you said, you're optimizing it. But if you're thinking about a big project, like, for example, you at some point made a decision to write a book, that's a, it's a long project, that's going to take you years. And it might not be a book, it might be starting a podcast or something like this. It took us two years before we actually really started to get traction to be like, this is a great thing for us to spend more time on with this podcast, for example, like, what, how would you think about long term brand building projects? And how would you find short, scrappy ways to actually find out if it's worth making that big investment?

Matt - That's a good question. I started posting on LinkedIn and now I ended up, gosh, I've probably invested. I've been working on it for two years now and it worked out well. I went from having very few followers to now having about, well, you said 76,000 followers. And that's been a great platform to build my email list and sell my products and get new customers. And that was a long-term build, right? That stuff just doesn't work overnight. So the way I think about this is if you're gonna have to commit to something that's expensive, that's hard, that's long-term, I wanna de-risk as much as possible. So the first thing I'm gonna ask myself is how big can this be if it works, right? So if you do a partnership with a company and it's only to sell one of your products and that company only has 8,000 customers, this just can't be that big, right? So just do the math of like, if this really works, how big can it be? In my case with LinkedIn, every person I'd ever wanna sell my product to is on LinkedIn. So, you know, how big can it be?

What does it take to win? So you've got to understand, okay, you know, to win on LinkedIn, you've got to be able to write content better than 99.9% of the content on LinkedIn. If it's SEO, you've got to, you know, be able to create content that ranks for lots and lots of terms, and you need to have enough backlinks and domain authority that you can actually rank top three for those terms. If it's going to be paid advertising, you've got to have deep pockets you know, and like access to cashflow or borrow money to pay for it. You've got to be very good technologically, very good at data and, you know, advertising tech integration, very good at direct response, copy and marketing. So just sort of ask yourself, you know, whatever it is we're trying to do, is this thing in our DNA, if you're going to be an organic influencer, can you make good videos? You have gorgeous products. Can you come up with interesting stories? So whatever the thing you're going to do is like.

Can we be good enough at this to realistically win? Is this in your DNA? And then, can we dominate if we do it well? Who are we up against? If you're selling, you're not gonna outrank Patagonia or North Face for the term fleece jacket on Google in a million years. So just don't bother, right? So that's kind of the calculus you put in. And that's sort of the, all this doesn't make sense on paper. And then you've just gotta go try it and be bad at it for a long time and be learning every with every cycle and get better and better and better until suddenly you're good at it. By the way, just in a moment of honesty, when people suggested I tried LinkedIn, I was very much against the idea and it took about four months of smart people telling me, no, Matt, you should try this before I finally caved. So I make this stuff all sound like really simple and cookie cutter, but when you're in the fog of war, it is never that obvious.

Paul - And that's one of the things that I find fascinating, it's really hard to understand where you put the investment in. And I like that. Okay, what is right? The other thing that I always think of is for me, it's just like, what am I interested in? Like, I desperately tried to get on to Twitter, but I just don't care what anyone's saying on Twitter. So it was it was one of those things I had set a reminder to do some tweets. And I was like, God, no, I don't care. It's not for me. And like the channel that was interesting for me was podcasting because I consumed a lot of podcasts and it was a channel that I was interested in and therefore it felt intuitive. So that was the one part of it and hopefully had the ability to do it too. So I can definitely see how a person can do this and then an organization can also do that as well. So that's really helpful, particularly because a brand has these values, a brand exists, they're good at some things, the teams are good at some things, they're not good at other things, they don't have the resources.

And so it actually gives you that tick box to actually realise, is this something we should do? Because the number of hype cycles that we all have to talk about on a day-to-day basis, is, oh, great, AI is the new thing. Oh, no, you need to be on threads. It's the new social platform, which brand builders are constantly terrified that they're going to miss the opportunity to be on the next TikTok, and they didn't get on it early enough. Actually deciding, is this social platform intuitive to us?

Is it visual? Do we have a visual product? Is it, is it audio? Do we have an audio product? Does it work in those kinds of areas? Actually makes it easier because most of the time the brand builders should be saying no, or at least running a small experiment to test it before they kind of all go, go feet in to try and make this a challenge that do you think that kind of echoes in the same sort of scenario? 

Matt - Absolutely. It's got to be, you know, I call it in your DNA.

It's gotta be something you and your organization are built to do and are gonna enjoy doing day after day because it's gonna be a slog. But I guess one thing that helps simplify it is if you sort of zoom out one level from like, is it threads or TikTok? There's only about six ways to get customers. So look at it from the other standpoint, like how do you ever hear about a new product? Google, word of mouth, you know, a salesperson, some piece of content, some influencer you know, maybe a sales, maybe some kind of partner introduces you, like, they want you to use their product and to do that, you need this other product. So really, there's only like six-ish channels out there in the world. So that does simplify the decision somewhat.

Paul - Yeah, and of those that you outlined, actually, a lot of them can be bracketed as advocacy in terms of actually why someone makes a purchase because they're someone they trust, an influencer is still advocacy. It's a word of mouth from a friend, even from a partner, I guess, that falls under that. Do you think that you can hack that in terms of advocacy in terms of running experiments around word of mouth? Have you seen anything really, really interesting in terms of turning that needle from a from a startup perspective that then can be lent to a lot of brands to understand how they can start driving word of mouth as a machine?

Matt - The answer of course is it depends. So let's talk about what it depends on. You know, you talked about is this or that thing aligned with your business. And so I think same thing with brand advocacy, it needs to be aligned with your business. So if a startup asks me, you know, or a big company, Matt, should we be investing in this? Is this a growth lever for us? The first thing I'd say is, do you have a product people talk about, right? If you're selling wart remover or hair plugs, probably not.

Sorry if that's captain obvious, but the next thing is, is it easy for your customers to think of people who might want it? If they post it on their social, are 80% of their followers gonna care or is 1% of their followers gonna care, right? So like, if it's a super niche product, that can kind of work against you as well. The next thing I look at is like, is there an obvious recommendation situation? So like, you know GCSE or high school or GCSE math tutors. That's the kind of thing a lot of people would ask for. So is there already a situation where people are going to naturally in their lives need this and ask for a recommendation? And then the last thing where I think brand advocacy can be really powerful is if you've got an area where frankly the majority of the options that are available right now are pretty mediocre. So if it's kind of like already slim pickings, people are going to start asking their friends. 

Paul - Yeah, that's good. We talk to a lot of brands who are trying to figure out whether they want to do social commerce and they're like, oh yeah, we want to get social commerce as a thing. But actually a big question is that, well, how social is your product? Particularly if they're looking at your Instagram or TikTok channels, it has to be a visual product and there are like a financial instrument is very hard to post on Instagram about. Apart from Monzo nailed it with a bright card, but you're probably not going to win that again. It's hard to do that. So is it a good channel or actually is… talking about the values and benefits on another area gonna work for you. So I totally see that. And kind of like heading into, like we're recording this just a little bit into 2024. And what are you predicting in terms of the way that the market's gonna be shifting for the way that brands and companies grow? Because there's some pretty massive underlying shifts that are happening right now. Do you think that's gonna change anything? 

Matt - Yeah. I mean, I think a lot is changing right now. So first of all, let's remember the fundamentals, right? People are gonna, anytime you advocate for a product, you're taking a risk, right? If this other person buys this product and it doesn't work, that reflects badly on me. So people are only ever gonna recommend products that they're really excited about. That's just like a no-brainer. So like fundamentals like that are not gonna change.

But I think one thing that will change is companies have a, because of, and I'm sorry, everyone on your podcast, when you ask your predictions, I'm sure, is gonna talk about generative AI. But the technology that's coming from these large language models gives companies suddenly an inexpensive way to completely differentiate their customer service. Where I think it was Klarna just talked about how they replaced their entire customer service team with generative AI and...

You know, their customer satisfaction rate, you know, went up from 60% to 90% and their average handle times went from like four hours to four minutes or something. I don't remember the exact numbers, but the point is it's suddenly dead easy to deliver a remarkable customer experience. And the brands who jump on that bandwagon quickly are gonna differentiate themselves. Cause right now, just being not bad at customer service is actually a huge differentiator.

Paul - Yeah, that's huge, actually. I never thought about that as just one of those sort of areas that actually is fundamental in terms of your brand building, because your brand is your reputation and it's built in the times when you don't do well, the number of people that tell people about, oh, my product's great and the service is great. Yeah, sometimes they're more likely to talk about it when the service was terrible. And, but then that's also the opportunity. The number of times that we talk about great customer service when something went wrong is so much more than we just talk about a great product that got there and actually the opportunity to convert that and make that interesting is massive. And I've been playing around literally this weekend to build a chatbot and trained it on some proprietary data that we had, just like a few documents. And it was already as good as the offering that we had spent years developing, which is just phenomenal. And the opportunity to, and it had so much personality to it that you might get with a kind of a real human, but also humans have bad days as well. And it was almost like it was a better experience for it. So I can see that being really a big opportunity for companies and brands that they may not be focusing on because that will then lead to that word of mouth moment. So in terms of like, I think we've kind of, we've gone all over the place. Pretty much these techniques that you've been talking through the interview process to really understand the why and the moment why a person buys a product and then the experimental process that anyone can run to try and then solve those whys or optimize towards those whys. This is the basis of the book that you've read, right, Growth Leaders. It's not very long. It's like two and a half hours on Audible, if I'm right, and it's all of this stuff kind of packed into it. And I don't want to sort of put like promo and these sorts of sales, these things, but I can advocate for it because a I'm not getting paid by you to do this and B I've read it and I think it's great. And it genuinely the experience we went through your course with my company Duel and we found an unlock moment and we tripled revenue since that and it was all about just really understanding the value that we went into it. So I totally can recommend it. I know it's not written for brands.

I do think there's something in there and understanding how startups are being built because the sort of the knowledge you're bringing in the tactics you're bringing something that every organization can learn. But I think it's something that brands in particular don't do well, in my experience of talking to them. So yeah, it's me sort of talking about it. And how has it been since the launch of the book? Is it has it been anything that's been really surprising for you? 

Matt - I mean, it's just overall, it's been thrilling. You know, I get emails every day from complete strangers thanking me for writing their books. Dozens of people take selfies with the books, post pictures of the books on LinkedIn. It's been a wonderful surprise. And I think the big one is just what you said, which is, you know, I really wrote this in the crucible of startups. We're figuring these things out our life and death, but these lessons seem to apply broadly. I got an email from a woman yesterday and she's like, I'm a director of strategy at Caterpillar.

You know, we're an American company and we make giant tractors and you know, every, and everything in your book makes perfect sense for our business too. And, um, so I feel like this may be much bigger than I ever realized. And, uh, it's, uh, it's fascinating hearing about these stories and how people are applying these lessons. There's a great sense of satisfaction that comes from it. 

Paul - Well, congratulations. I think it's great. And I think there's one thing that everyone should take away from this podcast is just pick up the phone. Every single time you've got an opportunity to speak to a customer, do speak to them, even if you haven't got the skills to interrogate them to exactly get the why, just starting those conversations, any conversation is better than no conversation. As I said, 99% of brands I've worked with are not having those conversations with real humans. We as marketers feel that we can only do this one to many thing. It must be a… Oh, I've got only sent out to 100,000 people through my email, I can only put it out through my social media. But actually, you miss out so much by having that one to one dialogue, because that's how you learn what 100,000 people want to hear, not just what you think they want to hear. So if anyone wants to learn more about you or get in touch or anything like that, what how can they find you? 

Matt - My website is that's s y s t you can download the first two chapters of my book for free. You can subscribe to my email newsletter, anything else you want. 

Paul - Well, Matt Lerner, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for coming on board. 

Matt - Thanks for having me, Paul. It was great chatting with you.