The Business of Perception: Bridging the Client-Customer Gap with The UPS Store’s Michelle Van Slyke

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“I’m better when things are broken… if you’re looking for somebody to come in that’s status quo, I’m not your person… don’t even consider me.”

Key Insights

Bring the Data 

When dealing with big egos – and even bigger revenue streams – it can be really hard to make changes. Sometimes, data is what’s needed to get a behemoth to listen. 

“I had to again go to the facts and data and show – here’s what the perception is in the marketplace. It doesn’t matter what the brand is. Here’s the data.”

Push Through Opposition

Not everyone is going to like change. In fact, some people are going to hate it. But if you want to change, it’s important to be willing to get uncomfortable.  

“You’ve got to have some level of conviction going into to it – not that you’re always right… but if the data is showing something and you believe you can solve it, then you’ve got to have that tenaciousness and that perseverance to continue even though you’ve got some big dissenters.”

 Listening Will Change Things

Customers have feedback – but it takes a special kind of person to listen and distill that feedback into actionable change. 

“I went on tour to get feedback and came back pretty bruised. But there was a big bucket of dissatisfaction… I had to really use my ears, for sure. I had to be a good listener.”

About the Guest:

Michelle joined The UPS Store, Inc., in November 2010 as vice president of marketing. After joining the company, Michelle led a brand repositioning to focus on better serving the core customer of The UPS Store, small business owners. Most recently, she spearheaded the transformation of The UPS Store retail environment with the launch of a new and modern store design, an effort that included the most consumer insight and retail owner input of any design over the last 40 years.

Prior to joining The UPS Store, Michelle held various leadership roles for Ford Motor Company, including in customer service, product development, strategy, sales, marketing and advertising. She served as a vice president for Jaguar North America, Mercedes-Benz USA and Hyundai Motor America.

She also held senior leadership positions at Jacuzzi Group Worldwide and Raley’s Supermarkets. Michelle completed executive education programs at Duke Fuqua School of Business and Emory Goizueta Business School, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California as well as an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

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Episode 299