Grey Vick has hustle in his veins. Coming from the world of real estate, Grey's unique approach to growing GREY Outdoor has helped him to become the fastest growing independent Outdoor Operator's in North Carolina.
Learn about how Grey got introduced to the billboard business, find out how he sees billboards working for clients and hear some of those billboard campaign results.
Here's that video about Brex we talked about...
Learn more about GREY Outdoor here...
And connect with Grey on LinkedIn at...
Looking for your next job in OOH? Start here: www.oohired.com
Welcome everybody to the out-of-home insider show, a podcast like no other hosted by the one and only Tim Rowe.
You ready to have some knowledge dropped on. You went to be entertained because nothing is more valuable than food for your brain. So sit back, relax. We're about to dive in as the best industry podcast is the bathroom.
I just read them off as man. I.
She's like, you need a legitimate desk. You haven't like you have a legitimate business and you have like the worst possible office set up. It was like, it literally was like this, this old table that would literally give it to us. And I was working on that and then another table is my wife's grandma's table.
And, you know, I just kind of, I mean, I just, that's just the way I'm always kind of, Dan is. And I was like, I'm just, don't buy a lot of stuff. You know, I just kinda just live like, you know, kind of meager, like frugally, you know? And, uh, it sounds like working on his desk, my wife's like, you needed like a legitimate desk.
This is ridiculous. You are working on like hammy down tables and you have all this really important stuff going on. What are you doing? And I'm like, please just help me. I need help. You know? It's a story like of all of everything that we've done in business. And as one thing I've learned with, um, the, one of my, the guy that, um, he helps me doing some sales and real estate and he's one of my employees, but he's like, man, he's he had like counted this letter.
It's like cam more like, you know, we just need like some help, you know, we need you to help us. And it's not like a. Go bang. Everybody's doors were ruin everything. We're we're the top dogs and we're going to get this. It's like, no, we're like little guys. Please help us. And people respond to that stuff, man.
They would never get anywhere without having people help. And do you know what I mean? End of the day, really? That's what we're doing, right? Like, Hey, we're going to help you promote the thing you want to promote. If it's a, cause if it's a business, if it's a birthday, whatever it is, we're going to help you.
You help me help you. Yeah. And I was telling somebody that yesterday, I said the best thing I ever liked about the billboard business was it was always just a win-win like everybody was winning, you know, there was not a single person in the deal. And I was doing real estate before I started doing billboards.
And it was, it was like we were buying properties, but you had to get the, to be able to get the equity. Somebody else had to lose the equity. It wasn't like you just created the equity. When we bought this property, it was because we bought it at a discount and then somebody lost the equity that they had in it.
And you gained it. So it was you or somebody was, you were taking it basically from somebody at a certain point. Now you were in the right place at the right time, but it was, you had to, somebody had to kind of lose a little bit for you to win. The billboard business was just like, perfect. I was like, this is awesome.
Everybody wins. You create the equity out of nothing. Just pure value creation. Yeah. And everybody wins the landowners, the, um, the advertisers and the sauna, or you win because everybody else wins. That's that was the thing that attracted me to it. I was like, I like this better than anything. Then I, I mean, we were good at buying properties environment at discount, and I figured out ways you could share the equity and things like that with these property owners and they were gonna lose their home.
And so I took a lot of what I had now. You know, he used it in the billboard business. So me personally, just what I learned in that it was valuable to move forward with the new business. But, um, I just, like everybody went in, they have like, it's nothing beat that, you know, and everybody wins. They get, everybody gets there.
They're part of it. There's enough to go around. Right. Nobody. Yeah. Nobody's hurting anybody. So that's interesting. Like it makes sense, right. To go from real estate to, to outdoor. But like, how did you get introduced to like, what gets you into billboards? Well, uh, my partner originally when I started and his dad was in the business and we were down on the beach, I mean, I think I was like, this was like 2007.
I was living on the beach and he was my neighbor at the beach and I was buying and properties and I was like, you know, I was kind of just hustle and grind and do whatever. I couldn't have anything to start. And it was just. Whatever you can do, you know? Um, and we're always buying property subject to, so you didn't have to have all the money to buy the property.
It was like the wild west of mortgages and stuff. We'll see what things are moving up quick, you know, and this, I started doing that. Uh, five or six, and I left my job as an accountant. I was working for a CPA firm and, and, um, I just wasn't cut out for that. I just didn't like sitting in the office, man. I, I don't, I don't mind sitting in the office, but I just felt cooped up and I couldn't be here.
I wanted, you know, I couldn't use my personality. Stuck at a desk and crunching numbers all day. Well, it's hard because you just like, it's just a BC and zero to one. It's like these, the rules and things that you deal with and the county, they don't, you don't have any like leeway, you can't like kind of work around it.
It's like a set in stone is kinda most of what it is. And sales is like the complete opposite, you know? And, um, so, but yeah, so yeah, I met this guy and, uh, He knew a little bit about it. And I knew a little, you know, how to experience, you know, I had, you know, the degrees and had experience and buying and selling property.
So I kind of knew enough and I knew a lot about contracts and doing, you know, uh, agreements. And I had done all that. So I had done a ton of real estate training. Like I was all about getting and learning more information that it was just constantly like when we learn as much as I can every day. Every night and most everybody else was just out drinking and partying.
And I was like, I'm going to forget a learn. Like I'm closing my door. And I was going to get all these books now that books and tapes, of course, on eBay and every actor winning and, um, you know, about buying and selling real estate, you know, so it was a perfect segue because I had that experience. And it was perfect to do those words.
And when he said I'll do billboards, I was like, what is that man? Like, I need to learn when he's like, oh, it's just something you kind of get born into, you know, kind of like, no, I'm not going to tell you anything until you're like, you know, I'm going to make sure I'm ready to say it. He's like, you don't want to get my cut.
And I'm like, okay, that's fine. You get your cut and just showed me a little bit and I'll make sure. You're going to be good too. We're all going to come up together. And, um, you know, that's kinda, that's pretty much what happened is, um, you know, we just built up, we started building signs and there was hard times, man.
Like this was 2008 and we first built the first two signs. It was still like, the economy was still doing good. And I remember in the signs and it was like instantly we're making money. And I was like, oh, this is just a no brainer. I can keep it. Yeah. It's easy. Yeah. And then it was like, get kicked in the mouth, like 12 times on the next 12 locations.
I'm like, I'm going to build, these are my key building. This is easy. And we spent a lot of money and they kind of get kicked in the mouth a few times and you're like, dang, like, I don't know if we can make the payments on this stuff, you know? And, um, so, you know, the experiences I had up to that point was like, Let me go talk to them.
Let me talk to my lenders because I can work this out. You know, they, these guys are just like us. They understand what the assets are and they want us to succeed more than they want to take back in the asset. So, you know, we just didn't, I didn't have anything at the beginning. So it was kinda like all, you know, uh, I don't know what to do with this.
I don't really know how to sell out doors. I didn't and there was just, nobody was buying anything either. Then we went to the 2009 and, uh, the 2010, it was in 2009. And once we, it wasn't like a lot of money, but we didn't spend a lot of money. We just spent enough to where it was. You know, you didn't really know how much to pay her rent.
You didn't know how much, you know, That service was going to cost you, or you knew how much it was going to cost you, you did. You thought you were going to rent these signs for 700 a phase. And then during 2009, it was like, you'd be lucky to get 300 for that face. Wow. You know? It was, it was one of those things where it's like, if you take it now, you're not going to, it's not going to, you're not going to even get your money back.
So you might as well work with us. We're smart. We can do this. We know we're doing, we can be scrappy as, as we can be super scrappy with this. Like we, we call me and I was terrified. I wouldn't even climb outside. Like I wouldn't go near that. The first time would sound we built was it was like, Eight feet off the ground.
I remember I was like, I ain't going up there. I was like, yeah. I was like, I'm always the guy handing out stuff. And, and uh, you know, we kinda, we just had to do, I had to, and then by the end, you know, I was coming up like 25, 30 feet. And have been screwed on boards. I was still scared and I was not good at it.
I was not good at it, but that's what we had to do to make it, you know, it was just, we, you know, got an interest only on my loans and that saved us two grand a month. And then I'll go to the, I will find the locations. It doesn't cost anything to get locations. I would get the locations and we will freaking go get poles from the power company they're sitting on the ground.
They're just trying to. Yeah. So that's, that's, I mean, that's scrappy, that's some hustle and grind man. Like, and not in my mindset, sometimes it always stays in that kind of mode where it's healthy. Like I'm like, oh, let's, let's go. We'll like, just put like two digitals up. I'm like, oh, like, let me just hold out for a minute.
Let me just hold off on, like, you know, I've kinda got more digitals to go, but it's like, you know, 60, 75 grand, 80 grand, every time you do one, you know, And a plus plus, you know, structures I'm, I'm always kind of like, let's just, let's just take our time here, you know, let's maybe, uh, Yeah. Maybe just start with a static sign, fill out the location, then go digital, you know?
Sure, sure. Yeah. See, yeah. There's, there's a lot to learn along the way. Right? It's not just kids just pull up on the side of the road with the post hole Digger and stick a stick in the ground. And there you got a billboard business, right? There's there's a lot of moving components and, and like you said, you were staying up late and research in this stuff.
So it's not a, is not for the faint of heart, but you went from two to how many structures do you have. Gotcha. That's a good question. There's two, we've got about a little over 500 static phase 14 digital. So that's awesome. And was, did you acquire stuff along the way? Did you build all of that? Like. Yeah, it's, it's, it's a pretty good mix.
Um, it's probably, we build a lot of signs. I bought quite a few signs. I mean, it's probably, it's probably like 60, 70%, 60, 70% we built. And then the other percentage we bought, just because we it's it's sometimes it just gives expensive ability. I mean, most of the stuff that it gets expensive buying, um, you know, buying stuff on multiple.
So we always do just buy one or two. Yeah, a few, just a handful of signs when you combine them super cheap. And the ones that just did the ones that just got neglected or the ones that I bought, you know, they were kind of like real estate, right? The worst house on the best block and go buy it, fix it is exactly the same concept as buying and selling properties.
I mean, it was in the way I run the business. Most people are like, dude, how. How have you run so many signs with just a skeleton crew, like kind of like one person and manage the operations of the sales and the real estate. And I'm now just actually hired two sales guys to help me try to ramp up the occupancy.
Cause I can stay at 80% all day long, but then the other 20%, it doesn't just sell itself. You know, Brian that that's paid her right there. Cause I gotta get the ramp it up. But, but it was always just the idea of marketing, you know, for me it was like, I always am thinking, how can I get people to call me and how do I get other people to come to me that want this product?
Instead of let me just go chase it people and try to chase them and chase and chase them. How do I get them to come to me? And, uh, and, um, that was the same concept that we had in real estate when we were trying to buy a property. So it was always. You marketed to get people to contact you. And you're always in the driver's seat more when people are contacting you, versus you calling them you're in the driver's seat a little bit more, more or less now, I guess there's, there's something to be said about sales and being.
You can control the process sometimes when you're. Actively calling them. You have a good idea. You have, um, you, you have something to present to them that says here's why versus just being an order taker, which is probably more of what I've done, but, but it's the push versus pull. And if you can get folks to call you and run on a skeleton crew and run at 80% occupancy, I think there's, there's plenty of people who would love to do that.
And, uh, you know, maybe a few folks listen to the show that that would love to do that too, without giving away the secret. How do you get them to call you cash? I mean, I think it's just being everywhere, man. You have to be everywhere. I mean, there's just so many, I mean the old school stuff too, like everything old school, I think still it's just so pertinent.
I mean, everybody wants to be the internet and the internet is great. And I do like to be. You know, my, my SEO, I want to have solid SEO for the areas I'm operating in. So people can find me that I'm, I'm find-able online, but, um, we get a small percentage and then we use, I mean, we use our assets for sure.
The assets that we have, we use them all day long. If it's.
I mean, if it's going to be available, we have a little bit higher conversion off of the leads we get from the signs, but then you get allowed that you did have a lot of tire kickers, no matter where you're advertising. And I mean, I believe in email and I believe in direct mail. I mean, a lot of the old school stuff, I still believe in that we don't really do TV, but people overlook that stuff, man, like, You know, it's just to have people ever look it.
And it's like, that's what works. It's like the good old, I even to tell people, don't, don't advertise on a billboard. If you're just going to put up one billboard and it just say, uh, it's gonna really work for me. It's like none. No, the billboard only works when you're hustling and you're grinding it.
You're like going door to door, the, the billboards right there. And then you're going door to door right along that road. And then, or right in that neighborhood behind and saying, Hey, uh, we're right here. And they're like, okay, cool. We know, we know you. We seen that brand every single day and we know you and now we, you know, we'll do, this is what you, because for one, we know your brand and we trust you, you know, it's such a great point.
Are you familiar with the story of Brex? The metal about it, but I don't know the story. Yeah. So there's a great video. I'll have to link out to it. In, in the show notes, the description below the CEO talked about how they had a $400,000 budget starting out the, uh, due credit for like, uh, for, I think it was for FinTech startups, like really specific, really nice.
So they, they took out a billboard campaign in San Francisco near all the startups is a couple of years back, 2017, 2018. Uh, in his words, $400,000 worth of billboards were cheap. He was surprised by how cheap they were. Right. There's this always this misconception that they must be so much, but they must be so expensive.
And what he said was all of the out outbound that we were doing all of the cold calling all of the email, all converted higher and everyone was, oh, Hey. Yeah, yeah. I know of you. I know of you, right. It made all the. Stuffs work better. It's an amplifier. It's an amplifier. You got to do the other stuff though, to get, just put up a billboard and back up the Brinks truck and hope everybody's getting run and give him, I was just, I put it up and I'm just like waiting.
I'm like, where's my calls. You know, like, It's just not the right thing for somebody who does that, you know, and I do. And sometimes my people to say, well, you don't really necessarily believe in it that much. It's like, no, it's not about believing it. The people that have done the best with the billboards or the being, the people that stuck with it for 10 years.
And everybody knows them. They may know they were for the one, they stuck with it, but then they hit, you know, they constantly had every market area kind of covered and they stuck with it and everybody knows them. They are just the prominent players. And they're all slammed and they've grown. I mean, I, I wish I would spend a little bit more time getting those numbers of like what they've grown.
Some of these businesses that we've averaged, that have advertised with me for 10 plus years, you know, how much they've grown and how much really attributes to the, the billboards that makes that brand. So famous to makes their brand just famous. It makes them famous. Right. And, and when, and when you think about how fractured all media is right now, we've got the, we've got the dog making an appearance here.
That's Yankee there, he's a, he's a blind border collies about three and a half years. Oh, is that your name? Is this good boy. Um, right. If you think about like how fractured media is and how hard it can be to buy, right. It's, what's the best way to reach my customers to TV? Is it radio? Well, I bet most of them have to drive to the grocery store once in a while.
I bet most of them have to drop the kids off at soccer practice. Uh, there's one thing in common, most places they got to drive. So. No really better way than, than outdoor to reach them. Are you seeing since COVID, um, have you seen the portfolio shifted all in terms of category? Are you seeing different advertisers that maybe you historically, uh, hadn't pulled from that category or, or, or maybe some folks doubling down?
W how you, I mean, obviously, like we've always, I mean, real estate businesses, like have always been real estate construction industry has always been a big. Buyer for us. And they I've really amplified it because this thing has just been going. I mean, where I live here, you know, in the coast, um, Eastern North Carolina, it's like everybody started, maybe people just started moving here and.
And that's just bumped it up even more. I mean, some of this, some of these areas have seen just insane appreciation rates, like two years, you know, 50% and where whereabouts I was stationed Jacksonville, actually. I mean, yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah. I remember you telling me that before we call it, like what areas of coastal Carolina?
I really blown up in terms of, I live in Wilmington and Wilmington. They said something like number one place people were moving to and things like that, but we covered pretty much all the coast and then most, most all of Eastern North Carolina and, and, uh, Eastern South Carolina. And, uh, at, up on the website too, what's the website in case cause one, I think greatest an exceptional job from a content standpoint.
The website everything's tight, everything is tight. And especially for an independent, like you don't have a big team behind you to make all this tight. Where can folks go to, to see just outside of. What's it's gray, outdoor.com, G R E Y outdoor.com. And that's got, you know, it's just showed like locations and stuff like that on there too, where, where we are.
And, um, you know, um, he, I guess got some information, China kind of like get people. You know, the information might, we're talking about like what kind of results you're going to have when you get the sign? You know, because I want them to, it's nice when they call and they're like a little bit educated, you know?
Cause I, I, sometimes I feel myself being like, they call you like, Hey. Um, how's this work, you know, like try to get, like, can you just go to the site and my dream, the first page, you know? Cause I'm on the first page, like kind of explain how it works, you know, just a little bit, but, uh, but yeah, so I mean, we try to stay on top of the, um, Oh the web world.
I mean, I mean now it's, I mean, it's no brainer like w the Google is the phonebook man. Like people would get the phone book. And now as Google is the phone book, and people go to that for finding information. I mean, that's where your calls are gonna come from. I mean, the majority of your calls are gonna come from that.
It's, it's, it's kind of what I tell them. I say the calls are going to come from Google, but the thing is with Google is that there's like, 10 other guys in your space. And there's 12 people fighting for that, like top rank and then all fighting for the ad words. And they're spending more and more and more money.
And that's where we come in as we can make it when you're spending that money. But you might not have to spend as much money as you're spending, trying to chase those leads and getting all the tire-kickers calling you. You know, these, your branding that you do with us is going to get you. It's going to get you noticed in that 10 lists, that list of 10, they go with the ones they know the best.
It's funny. I'll tell you, sorry. We just ran this test campaign at one screen, we ran a self promo campaign on a network, 16 digital billboards, uh, which ran through blip. It was super easy, right? So we ran that and then I call it billboard insurance. We also ran paid search in the two counties where the billboards were for the keywords that were on the billboards, or like a combination that someone was likely to search and looking at it.
And the test is still running. We just turn off the billboard, but left the paid search running. And this is interesting when we increased billboard impressions by a hundred and forty, forty five hundred. It drove 331% more Google search for those search terms. Right? We always talk about the one plus one equals three.
Well, there it is in Google analytics and that's an exciting story to tell what makes it especially exciting is now we've turned the billboard campaign. Great. Would you like to guess what has happened to the fricking cliff off a cliff? The search, the search volume went off a cliff. So there we have the story, like clearly these billboards were causing this results right now we have some data to show it.
So we're working on a lot of stories like that because
I've seen it, I've seen it, but it's like hard. It's just so hard to quantify so much of the stuff that we deal with. And it kills me sometimes because then people sometimes like when you get somebody to cancel and they say, man, the billboard wasn't really working for me. And I'm like, how was it not working for you?
I want to know how it was not working for you. Cause I need to figure out the how and the why, you know, sometimes it might just be, you know, the, a budget thing or sure. You know, they just maybe didn't believe in. But I know that that built word was working. It, I know it works, right. It took no days off. It was up every single day of the month, Saturday or Sunday, it worked, it worked.
It's just, was it like, was it used in a way or were you expecting a result that was different than what your results actually are from it? You know, They is, it's so hard to quantify. I know everybody wants to quantify it. I don't want to quantify it, but doing what you're doing, that's awesome that you guys are doing that because I mean that, it really proves so much of what we always say, but then being able to show the actual results from something.
Right. That's it. But I, I was saw you guys were posting about it, the one screen, but I don't know anything about it. Well, what is it? Yeah. So one screen. Once upon a time. Um, the two of the founders, Greg and Sam hit me up and they were like, Hey, we're building this platform to make out a home, more like Facebook ads where you can optimize towards a result.
And I was like, that sounds awesome. Amen. Um, so that's, that's what we're building is an interface so that we can sit down with a brand or an advertiser platform like Facebook ads and say, okay, Ms. Mr. Mrs. Advertiser, like how well established is your. Uh, we're brand new or we're Nike, everyone knows us, right?
Like where, where do you fall? Do people know you? And then that relative to, um, you know, what is the thing that you sell? Are you, are you, Chick-fil-A asking people to turn off the next exit to get some waffle fries or are you Lexus trying to get somebody to buy a car? Right. That's a major purchase. It's not something I'm in the market for right now might be in three years.
Right. So how well established are you relative to what you sell? What are the moments. That you could potentially interact with or engage your key audience. Right. And where, where are they in the world when you could do that? Is it in a coffee shop it's just driving to work? Is it parking their car? Where does, where do you have the best opportunity to engage that audience in the moment you care most about engaging them with.
And then allowing the advertiser to execute that campaign in a measurable fashion. And we don't think that measurement has to be like, Hey, someone saw this billboard and then bought a thing. We think that it , that it should be, Hey, I drove more traffic. And that led to more Google conversion goals. Like my website traffic was, uh, but my time on site went up and my bounce rate went down and my quality score went up on Google paid search.
So now I'm paying less. Per click for my SEM, right? Like we know out of homeworks and I don't think that we need to take responsibility for like that bottom of the funnel last touch attribution. We can, we can add value to the entire customer journey. So that's what we're setting out to build at one screen and, and partner with a lot of great folks around the country.
Um, you'll right. Focus right now on different types of digital formats. So it's, it's pretty exciting. And, and. It's a net, it's a net, another net gain for the industry because the folks that we're talking to have never done that at home before, right? They're mostly digital marketers who are, you know, experiencing more programmatic audio.
Audio is more programmatic eventually, right. Eventually, or at least selling, selling, selling out of home as like, Hey, these are like banner ads, but really, really big. Right. And like, there's, there's other ways to measure it too. Like, you don't have to be so rigid. Like let's, let's just get back to being good marketers.
Right? Where, who do I want to talk to? What do I want to say to them? And how do I want to do it? Yeah, it hit him, hit him like multiple places. Sometimes you can hit them in one spot, but if you don't hit them at three, like it's the second, third, fourth, Tommy touch him. And it's not from the, just the one thing he touched them with.
It's what you hit them at. That's why, when you said what's the secret sauce? I'm like, well, there's like seven different things that I'm, you know, it's not one it's like just six or seven different things that you do. And the third time that they see it or they talk to you or they've heard something and that's when you get them, that's where you convert them.
That, that other thing, you know, and, but that was, I was, we did like, um, we did, uh, some surveys. For the association of North Carolina association that, um, I'm a boarder, I'm a board member of the North Carolina association. And quick, quick, I heard that that is the most fun association in the entire industry.
Surely I heard that like two weeks ago. Yeah, well, yeah. I mean, everybody's super cool. It is the smallest, it's a small crew, you know, and, uh, it's, it's about half Lamar and, uh, it's, you know, just like the north. It's 50% a Lamar. Um, and they're all really nice people. I mean, everybody that I've ever come across, they're just nice people, you know, and it all accompanies.
And then we have a lot of, um, you know, Adams is pretty big to north and South Carolina and, um, but yeah, and out front, you know, so you have those three and then there was a couple smaller independency that we have. But, um, in that survey we did like, we, you know, we surveyed and just ask a lot of questions and, you know, I was thinking one of the questions was like, Uh, brand and, and you, you just, it's almost just like, just knowing that name, you know, like after, let's say that the only result you had was if you survey them after a week of they, you knew they drove that road, that route before they would not know this name.
And then, you know, you survey them before, do they know this name? And then a week later, do you know who this is? And I can't, I, you know, I've seen that, you know, and they might even just bring up that question. That that business, like, what is that, you know, it's all about just generating that interest. But, um, but yeah, man, like the programmatic thing is just, it's just, it's awesome.
I mean, the idea that we could be selling like Facebook ads at some point, it's just, I mean, to me, that's, I'm bullish on that idea because it's something that I don't know that much about technology, but I know that. Possible. And like, I want to just not website to BI that where, why would all my own image where I should be able to, I should be selling that, like how many businesses, like Lowe's business, you can buy their product online, you know?
You know what I mean? It's like most 97% probably you can buy their products online. And then when you look at outdoors, like it's not that confusing. I don't think, you know, I don't, I don't think it's that hard or that, um, it's just, it's just changing, you know, the idea of. Let me send you a proposal and then, then tell me what you like.
And then I'll send you the contract. It's like, why don't I just send you the proposal? And you just clicked by right there. You know, why not? Why not just have it listed on the site? And then they just click buy right there. If it's available, it ties your inventory. Why don't you just hit buy? You know? Um, to me, it, it just is.
It's going to be, you know, whether or not it's going to be a huge, big exchange, or if it's one just gray, outdoor webs, you know what I mean? Like you said, there'd be like my website at least to be able to sell my items very mouse. So anybody else's in the door while or not be there, you know? Sure. And if you think about like automotive dealerships are a perfect analog, if.
Um, 10 years ago, uh, Hey, why sell cars online? You probably make a bunch of money doing it. Right? So, so for, for perspective, eBay motors started selling cars online 2005, right? So like selling cars online, isn't a new idea. But if you asked any franchise automotive dealer, Hey, you want to sell a car in line, be like, absolutely not.
Right. And then what happens? COVID forces their hand and they have to install some, you know, digital retailing tools. Meanwhile, you know, Carvana's kicking their teeth in selling cars online for, you know, it, it. People want to do things on their terms and have control. And, you know, I don't think someone's going to buy a house online, but if I can, if I can get a pre-approved for a mortgage, and if I can find the realtor I want and make a short list of homes that I want to buy, well, that's pretty close.
And if I just say, Hey gray, I looked at these three homes and I'm already pre-approved for this amount of money. Let's rock and roll. Hey, that's, that's pretty good. And we can do the same thing with billboards. They're doing that to me. I know some people, we talked to them. They, uh, they would do like a virtual tour and they were making offers on homes.
I mean, especially during COVID cause then people just didn't want to go out. I didn't want to go to meet people. And then it was like, they're just buying literally buying homes and it just, everything just convenience. I mean, you can see it now. It's just different. I mean, you know, when I started in 2007, 2008, it was not the same market as it is now.
It's totally different people. Um, way less likely to go ride a market. They're more likely to actually say. Then click, click, click down the road on Google maps, told them, I mean, is that grace on? You know, it's fine. So I installed a, uh, I installed a dash cam at the beginning of last year because I was thinking about doing virtual market rides for agencies.
Like COVID. Furloughed and, you know, position was eliminated. Unfortunately, I'm like, I'm still long on that. Why can't we, why can't we just drive around with dash cams? You know, Hey, I'm gonna plot, here's the campaign that I'm proposing. I'm going to plot these into my, you know, into my app. There's a great app road warrior that lets you do something like that.
Trip chains or the whole thing. Drive around drive past it all stitched together, sensitive, quiet, like, yeah. I five, it was like doing a market ride. Maybe I'll put some fun music to it. I always thought that was even when, when I started, I was starting to think in that terms of like, Instead of just like one photo.
Why wouldn't I have, um, like I can start like a YouTube channel and just, and ride the, you can see the read, you just the cell phone camera from the ride, but, but, but driving through it and like a short video and I'll have to be, you know, the 20, 30 seconds. And that always felt like that was so the inventory better than it would just one photo.
And I think that that's where it's going to probably go more and more. Um, it's doing work, you know, more videos of it just a little bit more, a little bit more than just one fighter, because it's always, it's hard to get it from one photo, you know? Right. You don't know that there's like, there's a, there's an on-ramp over here that you can't see.
Right, right, right. Oh, it was perfect. But like the angle is just like a little bit to the side and it's like, you can't really see exactly what. Front of it, you know? And, uh, you know, I think that would help. I think the more that we did that as an industry and I'll always have, have always ideas, whether or not we execute on them is one thing.
But, uh, you know, th those are things that I think if you, if you did a little bit more of that, it might be easier to sell, you know, more, more programmatically and. We'll be able to just make an easy, just make it easier for people. I want to just be easy to buy. You know, sometimes even people say that because, you know, deal when they deal with the owner and they call and I can make a decision quickly about what we're doing.
And I can send them the contract. I can, they, you know, there's not going to be as much red tape in the way of us doing the deal. You know, if you want to rent the sign, I can get it for you and I can get it done today and we'll get it in process. There's not going to be like, let me go back and forth when we send this approval.
And, um, people, I think I've liked that over the years, I've noticed people that was really easy. You know, it was really easy to, to buy, you know, Uh, I want it to be easier to buy Google for like there's so much to learn. And that's one of the things I want to get better at is making it easier for people to buy lots of billion dollar companies that all they do is just make it easy.
Right. That's what Amazon did. That's all they did just to say, Hey, in most cases, seven, that stuff's more, it was literally the same stuff that. It's never has been. So for years, this exact same products, all he did was put it online and they get super easy to click one freaking button and you can get it to your door and it was simple.
And then they've just made billions off of that. So it's just a no brainer. And, um, and I think one of the things we implemented was, was, um, is, is, uh, uh, add quick and add quick, helped me a lot and re I really liked our proposal system. And, um, I've been able to just send out lots more proposals. I'm still working out some kinks on it.
It's still really new. And I think there's newer style still kind of working through the kinks and stuff, but, um, it just made me so much more effective when we scaled up the amount of locations and faces that we've had to. So. It's organized as so much. I'm really grateful for them and adequate and what they've done there.
And I think they're, they're going on that path or they're going in that direction. And, uh, I like going in that direction and that's where I'll want to go to, you know, absolutely. In fact, uh, let's stick around after, after the, the, the episode here. Cause I might have something for you. You just, you just jogged something.
Great. What do you, what are you most excited about in 2021? Yeah. I mean, gosh, well, for one, just getting rid of COVID man. Like we needed to get this thing outta here, so I'll be excited to just like, get back to normal and like hang out with people just normally, you know, like hugs and handshakes and everything.
Hopefully by like summer when I saw the guys that billboard insider, which they're, they're awesome too. And they've done a lot. I think they're doing. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And that's such a higher level every day. Excellent. They got, they just are really, really smart guys. And I've done some business with them in the past that were actually one of my lenders when I started.
Yeah. So I really like what they're doing. They've got some good insights into the industry and I really like what you're doing too, because. It's a different, you you're taking like a different approach. I haven't, I want to, I got to go through, man. I saw all the podcasts on and I'm like, I got to get through some of these because you'd have some of the most interesting people that have diverse backgrounds.
They're not just like re like regular billboard developer guys like me. You know, they just have so much diversity and you're the first, you're the first, you're the first developer media owner, like independent. Yeah, you're the first. And I always knew it had to be you because the only person I seen doing bill, like videos of billboards being put in the ground, like that's cool.
And that's always liked. I always liked that idea of showing that. And some people might say, it's like, oh, it's kind of being boastful. Like, you're just kind of being like, Hey, I'm doing this. And, but most of the time you don't really see, you see that like the glory moment. And that's why I liked that glory moment because it was like, it seemed like it was just so easy just to pull going on the ground and the head getting lifted up.
And it just all looks like it just, it's just so easy. And, but you didn't see like the five years before that, that I was in like 12 meetings trying to get the sign approved and yeah. And, you know, and all the anguish and the anxiety you had worried about this, you know, then I get the survey, right. Did I get my set?
Did I get everything? And all the anxiety and the things that I'm sure. Yeah. You just wake up like, oh my God, what about the hat? I forgot about this. I forgot about the pad next to the nightstand scribbling. You don't see any of that, but. It is it, is there, you know, like you said, at the beginning, there's just so many things that go into this sign, you know, just getting a sign built.
There's so many things and it is very simple business, but so many things that go into it, I just don't think about, you know, and, um, but I always like that, that gory moment of like, this is getting done and we're doing it, you know? And, um, I think I would cram the, my advertising. Like photos of my billboards or the advertisers on it ever, not ever, not ever, but I don't know if it has the same impact as like, like a video of like in the, in just the grinding moments, you know, we need, we need more videos and I'm gonna probably do something where it's like out like, Just in the meetings and in the trench, please do it.
There's such a cool opportunity to tell that story. And, and, uh, yeah, I w I would love to do some ride alongs with grey as, uh, we're going to see some stuff and doing some things I'm in, I'm your first subscriber do it. Yeah, no, I know it's the two men, 2021. It's just, it's going to be a good year. I mean, I'm, I'm just optimistic in general about everything, about the industry.
And about, um, you know, where we're going. I mean, I just, there's so many good people that are going and really working on a lot of things that, and there's really smart people in this industry there. So there's just so much opportunity to just keep growing. You know, and it is getting harder and it's definitely getting harder, but it, to me, when it gets harder, you just have to be more creative and you have to be more, um, uh, you have to be like believing in something that.
Maybe nobody else has ever believed in. I mean, yeah. You just have to believe that things are possible that most people don't think is possible. It's like, it's possible. Just don't think it's not possible. If you think it's not possible, you're definitely not getting it done. Right. It just hasn't been done yet.
You're going to be the one to figure out a way to do it. There's a fun, a fun law of physics is that. Uh, if something happens, right? If some, if we experience a phenomena right. In, in the physical world, then physics, doesn't try to disprove it. There must be a law that allows that to happen in exist. Right?
So if we adopt that, the mindset of physics here and say, Hey, you know what? Like if, if I think that that could happen, then there must be a, a law within the universe. That means that could happen. That's it that's it along the way. I think that was one of the first, um, it was like one of the first books. I mean, I w I was always, I've always been on that Hartford, you know, just really cool things to learn.
And I just like, learned it. I mean, I'll be learning until the day I croak, you know, and, uh, but the, the secret was like, it was thinking grow rich was one of the first books I read by Napoleon hill. Uh, yeah, I mean, and that one of my, my friend Ross, he gave me that, that book and he was like, dude, you need to read this think and grow rich, man.
I was like, okay. Yeah, I'll read it. I was like, what's, what's the deal with it. And then it was just all about that mindset. It was all about like believing and thinking and believing and, and. You know, using that. And then the secret, when that secret came out, I was like, oh, this is awesome. I was like, I can, I can apply the secret to my life, you know?
And it works against you like really bad, uh, too, it'll work for you, but it'll work against you the same way. And it really is so true. I mean, somebody asked me the day, like, how do you, how do you think you'd be able to do? And I was like, well, I'm just been praying to the right guy. Um, you know, I'm grateful for everything that I have.
I'm grateful for my love of my life and exactly where I'm at right now. And, um, I always, you know, I pray that all of the things that, you know, the place that God wants me to go, or the places that I go and the things that that are meant to be, and, and, and what my path is already laid out. It's like, I'm just here to fulfill.
I'm here to fulfill my destiny and the world. And, uh, I have all these ideas and for years I want to stronghold my ideas. Like I'm going to do this cause I can do it. And it's like, just let it go. Let go of the idea of me wanting to do this and me going, and I'm going to do this for me and me and me and.
Then just the things just start falling into place and you're like, why are they fall into place? Like, you know, cause you just kind of, when you G when you turn over control, It's just, it's just near the good things. Just continue to happen. And we have to be, they just have to have faith and, and, um, you know, that belief system, I think, and, and life is, it's just so important just to, just to believe in yourself, but in just something greater than you, whether it's a God or.
Whatever you're praying to. And, and the universe is, um, you know, and I'm trying to teach my little boy that now, too. Cause it's, it's, you know, I'm sitting here with him, I'm like, buddy, like you can just accomplish anything in the world. You can just really, you can accomplish anything. If you put your mind to it, you believe, and you have faith and you just believe in it that you see if you can visualize things and how you want them to go.
And, and it's kind of contradictory to the idea of like praying and then like, hoping things are gonna happen, like the way you want them to, but it's, you do have to kind of will things into existence. And if you're praying, you want to pray specifically of the things that you're, you're wanting along with the idea of like, just send me on the path I'm supposed to go.
If that's not what's meant for me, then it's not meant for me. Like the things that set you back, those were the things that helped you freaking accelerate. Like the ones where you just were just anguish and like, God, this, this was meant to be for me. And I was supposed to do that. And this it's like, nah, you were, it was supposed to accelerate.
You pass that by the next thing you can just go bigger and better. And uh, it's just, there's just so much more to. To learn, but the, the secret and that the think and grow rich was awesome. The first book I read was rich dad, poor dad. Have you ever had that Robert Kiyosaki? I got it. That's just, it was, and that's so much pertinent to the billboard business and that's one of things probably led me into it's like you buy assets, they provide income.
It has not you survive. You know, I, when I first did it, I was like, this is how I'm going to buy properties and buy houses and do it that way. And just every, every year buy one and pay it off and then buy another one and try to get it paid off. And, um, you know, it was just, but, uh, but yeah, go back to this year.
Is this going to be a good year? I mean, it, things are starting to it last year. It was just, well, I don't even know where it went, man. It just didn't go by quick at the time. It didn't seem like it was, but they go by quick. And it just disappeared. This is going to be, you know, this is going to be a breakout year.
I think for a lot of people, I mean, things are a little volatile. What's kind of worries me because I feel like some things are just overinflated. You know, some markets are just over hyped and over inflated and they've been. Going to hit a snag, you know, it's not going to stay, just go and up for forever.
Most likely it's going to take the turns like it's all always has. And, uh, I think just to keep that in mind, keep that in mind of, you know, not to go crazy. Like it's always been the mantra for what I've done is like, don't go crazy. Just take your time. Take a deep. You only need to build 50 digitals in a freaking month, you know, just relax, you know, two months, maybe two months, you'll get them up over the next three years.
It's take the, take the marathon approach, not the freaking sprint, you know, and I always want to spray, you know, it's the, how, how do you eat an elephant one bite at a time? Well, great. I can't think of a, can't think of a better place to, uh, to put a bookend to it. And if folks want to connect with you, you're on LinkedIn.
Make sure that to connect with, uh, the, with the man himself gray Vick. Great. It's been an absolute pleasure. And if you found this to be valuable, Please share it with somebody else who could benefit. We're definitely gonna do it again. Uh, I think we need more time with gray, for sure. If you found it to be helpful, please share it as always make sure to smash that subscribe button down below there in the corner.