Crystal Clear Reporting: The Battle of the Butchers

Reading Time: 6 minutes

As far as butchers go, Brandon was in a league of his own.

Born and bred in the great plain lands of Texas, bold, broiled BBQ was baked into his soul.

“To have great BBQ,” Brandon always said, “you have to have great meat.”

From the tender age of 12, Brandon could already flay, cut, trim, cure, and – most importantly – sell meat like no other. 

In those early days, long before the Pepsi Challenge, Brandon would set up tables in town, where he would blindfold locals – with their permission of course – and put two trays in front of them, on which were a sample of his cuts and a sample from another shop in town.

“Which one’s tenderer?” he would ask.

“Oh, this one,” they’d say, “this one for sure.”

And this one was always Brandon’s.

Through this promotional device and others like it, Brandon’s Butchery came to dominate the Texan meat market. Competitors shuttered their blinds, closed up shop, and moved their businesses elsewhere.

“What’s the point,” they would cry in unison. “We are all but doomed!”

For a long time, things were comfortable, and Brandon’s monopoly on backyard BBQ was secure.

But, as fate would have it, his control was not to last.

A Competitor Emerges:

Stirrings of anarchy began to surface. Hushed whispers were in frequent circulation. 

There was a new Butcher in town, and Brandon’s crown, he realized, was in jeopardy.

He would have to resolve the matter quickly, or all would be lost.

“What was this fellow doing differently?”

That was the question, and Brandon was determined to find the answer.

It so happened that a friend of a friend of a close ally of Brandon’s was in the marketing space, and, when Brandon confided to him what was afoot, he volunteered to help Brandon discover the source of this new butcher’s competitive advantage.

“Brandon,” he said, “what did I tell you when I first set you up online a couple years ago?”

“You said, Shaun, that…wait…what were your exact words…oh ya…you said that the digital landscape changes fast and that I should always be prepared to change with it.”

“That’s right – and have you always followed that advice?”


It was true. For many years, operations had been at cruise control. There had been no need to adapt because the system was working.

Shaun had done a lot of work for Brandon – between them, though they were not especially close, there was a lot of mutual good feeling.

The Good Ol’ Days:

Brandon’s Butchery was the best in town, Shaun thought, and so it must have an online presence.

He set Brandon up with a Facebook page and with what was then called a Google My Business listing, and he connected these inputs to Mailchimp, so Brandon could email his customers. 

After Shaun had laid this foundation, it was not long until Brandon’s natural acumen took over, and he was running advertisements on these platforms to generate leads, set meetings, drive sales, and assemble interest in valuable networking events that had come to form the basis of his distribution outside of Texas.

“No other Butchers are doing what I’m doing,” Brandon thought, “so what I’m doing must be enough.”

But lately, despite Brandon’s every effort to stifle the feeling, he had begun to sense that something wasn’t quite right – that he wasn’t doing enough – and the arrival of the new butcher in town, and this fellow’s triumphs to date, only intensified his suspicions.

“Shaun,” he said, “we gotta figure out what this guy’s doing that I’m not doing, and we gotta figure it out fast!”

A few weeks passed without communication between Brandon and Shaun.

The stirrings in the streets were gaining pace; the hushed whispers were growing louder.

These weeks took their toll on Brandon, and when he and Shaun were at last together again, Shaun noticed that there was a different cast to Brandon’s expression, one of mixed anger and melancholy, that was difficult to behold.

The Root of the Problem:

“Brandon,” he said, “you don’t look well – have you been sleeping?”

“I don’t feel well, Shaun. I’m stressed. I don’t like this. I don’t like it one bit.”

“I know, man, and I’m sorry it took me so long – but I’ve figured it out! Hear me out…”

Brandon’s expression brightened, visibly.

“What do you know about iOS 14?” asked Shaun.

“Hmmm…I have heard of it…something to do with the privacy of users online?”

“That’s right, Brandon, pretty much. Have you noticed lately that your Facebook and Google Ads campaigns are not performing as well as they used to?”

Brandon’s expression turned to surprise, then recognition.

“Ah, so that’s what’s been going on…”

“Yes. Users are opting out of data collection all across the internet, which means that businesses – like yours, Brandon – who’ve relied on browser and pixel tracking to optimize their ad campaigns are getting left behind!”

Brandon’s expression switched now to puzzlement, and he asked:

“Why, Shaun, I’m not sure I quite see the whole picture…”

“Think about it, Brandon. These consoles, Facebook and Google, are smart. They are programmed to learn about the people who interact with their brand, and the more they learn the better they get at finding more people like these first people – with a frightening degree of accuracy. Not only that – with data being collected from all over the place online, marketers could draw on all sorts of cookie pools of people who they could show more stuff to…Retargeting, right?…But think about it – what happens when those data sources are cut off? When people don’t want you to know what they’re up to anymore? The data gets muffed, Brandon, and the machine can’t learn as well as it used to…”

Brandon pondered the ramifications.

“So what the hell are we doing then, Shaun, just flushing ad dollars down the drain?”

“In many cases, Brandon, that’s exactly what’s happening…”

“So what the hell do we do about it?”

“We copy what Robin is doing – that’s the new butcher’s name by the way.”

“I don’t care what his name is, Shaun, just tell me what he’s doing!”

“He’s reporting, Brandon – he’s reporting accurately and efficiently.”

Brandon’s expression was now one of curiosity.

“But I’m doing that too, Shaun, am I not?”

The Key Differentiator

“You are, Brandon, but – correct me if I’m wrong – you are using Facebook and Google’s conversion data for your reporting.”


“So – that’s the difference, Brandon. If the browser and pixel data that you’re routing to Facebook and Google isn’t always reliable, how can you expect the data you build your reports on to be reliable? Your competitor, Brandon, is doing things differently.”

Brandon now substituted irritation for curiosity and wished that his friend would just get to the point.

“But what’s he doing, Shaun?”

Shaun, sensing that he had kept Brandon in suspense for too long, hurried to explain.

“Robin is doing some of what you are doing, Brandon, no doubt about it. But where you are running your campaigns in isolation from each other, and passing your leads over to Mailchimp for email marketing, Robin has taken all of his traffic sources and directed them into one platform…where he can not only email them as you can, but he can organize his leads into stages of opportunity and track their progress through his pipeline.”

“Go on…”

“The platform, through integration with Facebook and Google, captures precisely where the lead came from and records the lead’s every action and interaction from source attribution to conversion…”

Brandon’s expression shifted to amazement, as he spoke:

“That means…”

“Yes, Brandon, that means crystal clear reporting. Because everything is happening within one dashboard, Robin is able to calculate his real return on investment – his real cost per click, his real cost per lead, and his real cost per sale…”

Shaun was becoming more animated with each word.

“But the buck doesn’t stop there, Brandon. Through the platform’s integrations with Facebook and Google, while data is entering the platform from these sources, the platform is also sending this data back to these sources. Since this data is more accurate now…”

Brandon interrupted:

“Since this data is more accurate now, ad campaigns will be smarter – the targeting will be more accurate and the acquisition will be cheaper…”

“I know,” said Shaun, “isn’t it wild? I hear, even now, that Robin is developing a sales team to start calling and receiving calls from vendors on his behalf – and he’s going to use this very same platform to do it – and this very same platform is going to tell him the direction of the call, the duration of the call – it’s going to let him listen to the calls, so he can refine help his team refine them…”

Brandon had heard enough. 

It was time, he declared, to go to Robin directly and ask him to reveal at once the name of this mysterious and powerful platform.

Robin was a nice fellow, after all, and he told Brandon and Shaun without hesitation.


Then, in true Texas fashion, he offered his guests a bite to eat.


Changes to user privacy, browser, and pixel tracking have forced marketers to become more conscious of how they collect, analyze, and use data to inform their strategic decisions. HighLevel’s reporting engine, which systematically incorporates robust pipeline features and workflow automations, helps businesses take control of their data and invest their time and money where it matters most.

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