SAVE THE DATES: Dream Camp April 30-May 3 & Sleep Summit Oct. 8-11, 2024

Time For a Gut Check Around Being “Sleep Experts”

Are we entitled to call ourselves sleep experts?

Do we know what that entails and if so, are we living up to it?

On today’s episode, Kinsley and Quinn discuss an idea from Dream Camp in conjunction with exclusive FAM data on what contributes to a good night’s sleep. They dig deep into why people may not trust an RSA when it comes to which mattress will give them the best night’s sleep and how we shift the conversation and the way the industry is viewed in order to become the ultimate wellness resource.


Mark Kinsley: [00:00:00] Challenging the notion and the idea of sleep experts. Are we truly in a position as an industry to own the idea of helping people get better sleep? The Dos Marcos Show begins right now!

Quinn, as soon as I did that tease, I can see your eyebrows start to raise. Because we’ve talked a lot about health and wellness in the mattress industry, about making the mattress tied to the purpose, which is better sleep.

But I had an epiphany at Dream Camp, and it’s crazy because it’s based on a piece of data that we’ve had for about two years. So we have a big research department at the fam, and we do research projects for ourself, for clients, and then we distribute that all over the place. We have a whole playbook around that.

So it’s really fun to get my hands on data. And one of the pieces of data you might remember from a project we did about two years ago was tied to this idea of [00:01:00] what most contributes to you, the consumer getting a good night’s sleep. And we had eight different options. Everything from stress management to nutrition and fitness, sleep aids.

And so the number one, Item that most contributed to people getting a good night’s sleep that they said personally helped them sleep aids. The last item on the list was what? Mattresses. It was the mattress. Horrible. Horrible. And so during Dream Camp, we started talking about the idea of broadening the convers.

Not just making it the mattress industry, but having the mattress industry be part of a bigger conversation around the sleep economy, whether that’s fitness people and nutrition people and biohackers and quantified self or medical device people or researchers or people in the academic community being a part of this framework, this [00:02:00] lattice work that gets people along these different pathways toward better sleep.

And I started thinking about something, I’m like, Our data tells us. That people don’t believe the mattress most contributes to their good night of sleep. So why would they trust the mattress industry to help them get better sleep? And I heard Mike Magson say something that kind of put it in a good perspective from an an analogy standpoint.

He said, If I go to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get a set of dumbbells or even a big set of weight equipment, do I trust the sales associate at Dick’s Sporting Good. To outline my fitness plan for the next year. Do I trust that person with my fitness holistically? And I started thinking about it. I’m like, Well, we gotta be realistic with where we fall within the consumer conversation.

And right now, according to the data, they don’t trust us for this. So what can we do? You gotta react [00:03:00] that first and we’ll keep going. Hmm. Takes a drink.

Mark Quinn: Well, let me wind myself. Um, what, what, Here we go. Uh, what you said made me think of this. So if you were a fitness facility, right? So you owned a gym where people should go and use the equipment in your gym to get to a result, right?

Would it make sense for you as the gym to go on radio commercials, television commercials, email marketing campaigns, and talk about how great your treadmills are? Would that

Mark Kinsley: make sense to. Wait, if I’m the gym talking about how great my treadmills

Mark Quinn: are, if I’m the gym and I’m advertising to you and my marketing message is, Hey, come on down to Quinn’s gym, and you are not gonna believe the treadmills we have, they’re beautiful, they’re awesome.

They’re better than other people’s treadmills. They have this feature that makes you feel like you’re [00:04:00] going up a mountain. You can watch people and like take hikes and there’s a video monitor. Our treadmills are the best. Is that the best way to connect with your audience and build value in what you offer as a gym?

Mark Kinsley: I would say no. Okay. So personally I would say the better approach would be helping people understand how this helps them achieve their dream. Maybe that dream is their future self. The better looking, the more in shape, the more healthy, the more active, the better parent. Um, I would say that, you know, helping people say, Yeah, these are all tools you can use to get to this better you that you want to be.

Mark Quinn: Right. But the point is, That you don’t like is, is a cool treadmill relevant? Sure. Like, I like to go places that have cool equipment, right? I like to work out at a gym mostly. If you have technology that keeps me engaged, kinda like, you know, the whole thing with, [00:05:00] uh, the Peloton bike, right? Um, but at the end of the day, it’s not why I’m coming.

I’m not getting in my car, dragging my ass to a gym every day. Um, and, and I’m excited because I’m going, because what I wanna do at your gym is to work my body and be disciplined in my approach to liver, but quality of life through fitness. Right? And I know this because a lot of advertising in that category.

Focuses on those things, like there’s so much more money spent on helping people understand the exercise is critical. Critical, critical to equality of life and living better, right? Think about all the money that has been spent saying that versus the money that we’re spending saying, Mattresses, pillows, sheets, temperature regulation is critical, Critical, critical to sleeping better.

We are not spending around that message. Does that make sense? That analogy does that.

Mark Kinsley: I’m trying to connect it, [00:06:00] so, Okay. My, my immediate thought was how are we gonna position ourselves in this sleep conversation as a trusted resource when people don’t trust the mattress to be a significant part of what most delivers quality rest for them.

And I think I’m like, I don’t want to, I don’t wanna be the unconscious and competent that’s trying to shoehorn so. into a space that the consumer doesn’t trust us for. Now, can we be mattress fitting experts? Can we be people that connect the mattress to the sleep conversation? I think so. I think that’s a reasonable connection that we can make.

But right now, I think we’ve had this big push in the industry to educate ourselves on sleep, to have RSAs, you know, position themselves as a consultant whenever it comes to getting a good night’s. I think that, I don’t think it passes the sniff test for the consumer based on the data that we see because you know, in [00:07:00] many cases the RSA is seen as less trustworthy in many cases than a used car sales person in the mattress industry.

I think we’re getting better. I think that, I think that information based on additional research insights I’ve seen would not be the case as it was in the past. But, but my, but I’m just saying like, if, if I get realistic about this and I have to like take a hard look in the mirror. Say to myself, Where do we fit in the sleep conversation?

I don’t know that we fit as the sleep expert. I mean, you got Giron going online, putting up mattress or view sites, you know, going through some sort of, you know, wonky, wacky course and now all of a sudden they’re a certified sleep coach and they can recommend the best mattress to. I don’t think that passes the snip test.

So I think when we bring it down to the retail level, it doesn’t pass the snip test seizure. So I have to ask myself, where are consumers coming into the sleep conversation? Okay, let’s, They’re coming in. They’re not gonna come through this narrow door that [00:08:00] is the mattress industry. They’re probably gonna come at it from other places.

So we almost need to provide these pathways to people that do get into the, the sleep conversation. I don’t think, I don’t think they’re gonna trust us for that. Holy. Maybe they could trust us for how does the mattress that fits your body contribute to better sleep? And can we build value in that? But building value in this broader idea that we are the coach, I don’t know that that’s the direction we go.

Mark Quinn: So let me ask you a question. When you go to a gym, back to that analogy. And you go in and you want to change your life, you wanna change your lifestyle, and you wanna start working out. And let’s say I’m a novice at that and I go in and I don’t really know a lot about it, right? And so when I go in, what am I gonna do?

I’m gonna get paired with what?

Mark Kinsley: Uh, somebody that’s totally yoed like a coach,

Mark Quinn: a trainer. , Right? So at the [00:09:00] gym, they’re gonna pair me with the coach. Now, what gives that coach, that trainer, the right to have a conversation with me about my fitness?

Mark Kinsley: Typically that person would have some sort of certification. They would look the part like, Hey, this person’s more fit than I am.

Mm-hmm. , I mean, that’s a pretty good filter for me. I’m like, if the dude’s less fit than me, I dunno if I’m gonna adjust him to me, get to the place I want to go.

Mark Quinn: No. Right, so, so, but there’s an assumption made that that person standing in front of you has had some education. We don’t ask him for his credentials though.

It’s not like, Hey, show me your certification. Even So what certification would he get? I don’t even know what they would call that. I’m sure there is one. Right. But because their company has invested in the message of, Come here, we can help you. Train. We can help you get in shape. We can help you live right now because of that.

That’s what they stand for. That’s what they represent. When you go there and there’s a trainer that they pair you with, then some [00:10:00] assumptions are made, right? And so I, I look at it through this lens like, If we are retail, say, look at it from the retail perspective, right? So how many hours mark of education do, do doctors, MDs of general medicine, or probably many different disciplines of medicine, how many hours of sleep training do they get?

Do you know?

Mark Kinsley: Two

Mark Quinn: on average? Two, and I’ve heard four even. So let’s go big and say it’s two to four. What if you’re training your people with almost 200 hours? Of sleep training, or let’s say it’s a hundred hours of sleep training, Are they considered in the, the, the grand scheme of things, consumers? We heard that sleep doctor, right during Dream Camp tell us that if they were gonna grade consumers knowledge about sleep, what, what grade did he give us?


Mark Kinsley: was like a low

Mark Quinn: c. No, it was an F. [00:11:00] He told us that consumers got an F score because they don’t know very much at all about their sleep. Right? So what is an expert in our field, right?

Mark Kinsley: An expert back at the ranch. Do you remember the data that we collected? It also asked consumers to grade themselves themselves on their knowledge of.

63% of consumers said they were very or extremely knowledgeable about sleep. And then on the very next question, they said the thing that gives them the best sleep sleep aids. So really they don’t know that much about sleep or they would realize that sleep aids knock you out, but they keep you out of deep REM rests.

So to your point, you have a consumer that is the unconscious incompetent. They have a big blind spot. They think they know a lot about. And they don’t. So if the consumer coming into the marketplace thinks they know a lot about sleep, why are they gonna trust some salesperson to tell them what they, [00:12:00] I already know enough about sleep.

I don’t trust that you’re gonna gimme more information. So how do we overcome that? Whenever it gets consumers coming in thinking they know more, or as much as they need to know, then the person selling them the mattress, the mattress at that point becomes like an object to them that they sleep on. I get my sleep aids.

Then I do my stress management, my nutrition, and yeah, court. I gotta have a mattress cuz I sleep on it. But I don’t think they trust, It’s not like a gym environment where you go in and like, Okay, this is the place I go to get fit. When they go in to get a mattress, they’re not going in thinking, Okay, this is the place I go to get sleep.

Why? because we’ve devalued that message. And there could be all kinds of reasons why, but I’m, I’m trying to deal with the reality of what is Yeah. But

Mark Quinn: what I’m saying is there, but you have to know why in order to get to the reality of not what is, but what could be. Right. And the reason they don’t come into a store that sells mattresses [00:13:00] thinking that they’re going in there to solve a sleep problem is because we don’t talk about what we do that.

What a huge miss. The fitness companies, they talk about that stuff. You know, when I go mountain biking with you, you are an expert on mountain biking. To me, if you were to go play pickleball with me, I would become the expert of pickleball to you. Why? Because we don’t do those two things right. You are the expert because you have a lot of time on the trails.

I’m an expert because I have a lot of time on the court. Would you be considered an expert in the universe of mountain biking or would I be considered an expert in the universe? Applicable, probably. Right, because there’s a lot of people insight, but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t be resident experts or like more knowledgeable and helpful or experts.

If we’ve done our time, we’ve paid the price, we’ve gone through some education, we have like, you know, earned our way. Into some of that conversation, but you have to earn your way in. And [00:14:00] then on top of that, you also have to message that, right? It’s like, Hey, look, you can go anywhere to buy a bed, but if you come here, here’s what we’ve done for you.

We put our people through training. We understand the dynamics of how substrates and how different comfort layers react with your body. We understand temperature regulation, we understand the entire ecosystem. So if you do that, then all of a sudden. You are the expert to that consumer and keep in mind that they’re an F on their score.

So to us, Mark, And they think they’re an A. They think they’re an A. But so with not much heavy lifting, if we make an effort to educate our own people in the category, then holy cow, like how could we serve? Like how much does it take for us to know more than them? And it doesn’t take

Mark Kinsley: long. Well, and I think, I think what you just landed on is a very important.

If people are coming into the market to buy a mattress and they’re thinking about a mattress, and then all of a sudden the message pops up about sleep, they’re gonna be like, Wait a [00:15:00] minute. I like, I know this sounds crazy to mattress people, and I’m, I’m sorry that this sounds crazy, but this is what’s happening, I think.

But you

Mark Quinn: are, but you are crazy. So that’s, it’s, I’m crazy. It’s perfect.

Mark Kinsley: Exactly. I’m very crazy .

Mark Quinn: Very, You are crazy. So it’s totally unbrand. Go

Mark Kinsley: right ahead. It’s totally on brand. So if people come into the, the market looking for a mattress and then somebody’s talking about sleep, um, all of a sudden there, there’s a little bit of a paradigm shift.

So people are going, Wait a minute, I have to think about sleep pound mattress and wait, okay, so this is all connected. So they’re, they’re having to make the connection while they’re in the market for a mattress, which is once every 10 years. And then whenever they start hearing about. Now they have to make the jump that, okay, I can trust this person to, to teach me about sleep.

Is that what I really want? Do I want to know about sleep? Okay, yeah. This, I, I’m shopping for a mattress. Why not? Okay, so, but what has to happen whenever that consumer is finally paying attention and then they start hearing about sleep, and then they accept that sleep can be [00:16:00] part of the mattress conversation.

What has to happen then? Is this what you just described? The rsa, the messaging, the marketing, the retailer, whatever it is they need to show you and prove to you that they can help you sleep a little bit better. They need to have some of that confidence that you get from, from a sense of authority, whether it’s credentialing or whether it’s, um, we invest in people.

By the way, here’s Jim. Jim, what’s your favorite sleep? Oh, you know, if sleep needs are biological, people don’t know that some, you know, Einstein famously needed 10 and a half hour sleep, so we wanna help people understand that sometimes sleeping longer is a good thing for you, but whatever it is, like showing people and proving it, because otherwise it’s just, Oh, we invest in training, we do this, we do that.

Who gives a shit? Nobody cares what you do. They care that there’s evidence of that. Consistently at all touch points while they are on [00:17:00] the market for this mattress, then I think you can win ’em over. And I think, I think being realistic about it too, and just saying, Look, there are four key things we communicate to everybody when they buy a mattress.

Because guess what? If you get this amazing bed home, And you still sleep terribly, you’re gonna blame us. So we’re gonna help you get better sleep. We are, we are not sleep doctors. We are highly educated on sleep. So just framing it up realistically, ya, I’m a salesperson and I’m here to serve you and help you.

And then being able to hand them off if somebody has like legitimately bad sleep issues that need medical attention. I just think there’s a, an element of reality. In all of this that we could present, but like you said, when people are in the market, we’ve gotta be communicating how we can help and connect it to those products.


Mark Quinn: and so let’s just because we’re, we’re, we’re dancing around the edge of this, but let’s talk about a mattress from directly. Right. So one of [00:18:00] the reasons I came here is because there is evidence, right? And so I know during Dream Camp there was some conversation around sleep experts. That’s what we call our, our retail sales associate.

And is that the right thing to do? And you said, is there evidence, right? And so when I looked at mattress or I looked at it, I’m like, Wait, we train our guys with 200 hours of training, right? We have sleep dot. Which was a investment. We’ve made millions of dollars. That does like the primary FO focus of that is to get information and content to consumers to help them understand their sleep better, differently.

We’ve got doctors online, We’ve got people that have invested time and energy and helping people understand that. Then when you go into our store, there’s this whole process of a diagnostic and a whole question line of questioning through our mattress, mattress program. Where we drill down on what are your problems and what are the issues.

So there’s a consultative selling process to that too. Is it perfect? Nope, it’s not. And we’re evolving all the time. But if there’s [00:19:00] evidence and if through unju, your sleep, the campaign, now all of a sudden you’re talking about stuff that isn’t pimping product price and promotion all the time. You’re literally diving into the issue of, Hey, maybe junk sleep is your problem.

Therefore maybe come in and we can help you figure that out. Right. The evidence to your point, needs to be there. And can it evolve? You bet your butt. It can, but like from our perspective, if so, if you wanna go, I, I always remember Mark the, a guy named Tom, oh God rest his soul. He’s passed, I can’t think of his last name at the moment, but Fingers Furniture in Houston, Texas.

When I was first becoming a rep, I walked in there with him and he was the seally. And I walked in and he had his own office at Fingers Furniture. I’m like, How did you get your own office at the retailer you’re calling on? Right? They loved him because he was a consultant to their business, not just on Sealy branded mattresses, but he helped them over grow the pie.

Of the [00:20:00] mattress category, it didn’t matter. He would sit down in their merchandising meetings. He was there to serve them with information and help. Right? When you become, instead of a transactional business, when you shift into experiential, or better yet into transformational, which I could argue is a lot of the good gyms out there, then you’ve reached something unique and different.

So now you’ve earned. You’ve earned the right with the consumer to have a conversation about what’s most important, which is sleep, and the relevance and importance to your happiness.

Mark Kinsley: And I think that’s a key distinction. If you walk into Dick’s Sporting Goods and you’re there to make a transaction, you’re there to get that set of dumbbells and nobody told you ahead of time.

They, they have fitness professionals on staff. Mm-hmm. to help you with a holistic fitness. To go from, you know, couch to 5K or from, you know, flabby to ripped, then you’re not expecting that, nor would you go there [00:21:00] for that type of service. However, you have to tell people who you are and you have to live it out.

And I think that’s one of the key points to hone in on. Maybe as an industry, it’s gonna be a tricky thing to crystallize in into, into something that we all live by. But as a business, like you described for Mattress firm, if you’re making it a priority and you’re communicating it, and there’s evidence of that, and you’re at least letting people know whenever they do come into the shopping phase, this is who we are and what we’re gonna do.

Now you’ve got a different, maybe, maybe that’s it. Maybe you’re playing a different game than everybody else and you’re gonna win because you’re gonna be better at it than them. But I think, you know, ultimately if it’s inauthentic, people are gonna figure that out. Um, and maybe it isn’t something that we can achieve as, as an industry, as a.

But, But I also think that one of the other points here though was as an industry, I can’t overstate this enough. I think we have to open the aperture [00:22:00] on the sleep economy and the sleep conversation. And we need to be making sure and telling people, Look, there are pathways within the sleep world, within the sleep ecosystem, and we.

We are connected to those so we can pass you off to the right people. We are connected to those that can help you on your sleep journey and making it better. Um, I think that’s the more, that’s the more authentic conversation for me because that’s how the consumer comes at it. They come at it thinking like, Oh, I’ve started working out a little bit and now I realize that my sleep.

Is better because I’m working out, Oh my gosh, like how much better can I feel? You know, I’m still having this sleep issue and I got a little bit pain, like my mattress sucks and I’m like drinking these teas at night now. And then I’ve got the diffuser and like temperature’s a big deal for me. And then, you know, it’s like this swirling random conversation of things until they get it narrowed down to like the key components that deliver better sleep.

So I think providing pathways within the sleep e. Is gonna be critical. And [00:23:00] I think that’s some of the conversation that bubbled up at Dream Camp and, and that’s like where this is starting to trend.

Mark Quinn: Yeah. No, and I love that we had that conversation keep in mind, like, I mean, you and I, even on the Better Sleep Council, right?

We both served there and what I can tell you is the industry and, and the problem we had there was we suck as a category in connecting product solutions to the benefit of sleep. That’s it. We don’t do a great job of it. Right. Consumers intuitively understand sleep is. A thing that if you do it right, can give you a better quality of life.

Like that is not negotiable. Everyone knows it. Why? Because the first hand experience, right? They know because they’ve woken up with three hours of sleep cuz they were hungover and they drank too much booze the night before. We all know what that feels like. Not all of us, but a lot of us do and, and maybe some more than others.


Mark Kinsley: yeah. , Why are you looking at me like that? Man? I

Mark Quinn: wanted you to own now I’m kidding.

Mark Kinsley: Um, and so in it’s, it’s funny, I, I just did some research, uh, for [00:24:00] Englander around boutique hotels and it was interesting because why do people go to boutique hotels? The number one reason. There’s, they’re fun and unique and they’re more interesting hotels, so great.

No, no surprise there. But once they were on the property out of 20 different items, what mattered most to them, and we’re talking about like everything from like coffee maker and fitness center and all these different options. I’m gonna give you the top two things that mattered most to people. Number one is the one.

Mark Quinn: One, one is the robe.

Mark Kinsley: Is it the Rob? We didn’t, we didn’t give the robe as an option. How did dude’s,

Mark Quinn: that’s, No, it’s gotta be number one. All right. What are the number, number one and two things boutique hotels

Mark Kinsley: go? So once they’re on property, what matters most? Out of everything, number one? Mm-hmm. , Quality and comfort of the mattress.

Mm-hmm. Number two, Getting a good night’s sleep. Mm-hmm. coffee [00:25:00] maker was like number 16. So it’s no surprise like people are thinking about their sleep, but how they’re thinking about it, how they’re coming to the sleep conversation is very different. So I just want us to all stay open to that and stay connected to this broader sleep economy.

And I want you to also stay connected to something else. Quinn, I’m going to the Dreams for All Foundation Fund. In Pinehurst, North Carolina, our boy Keith Moneymaker and the entire team, I’ve got my give back sweatshirt on now. This is the Dreams for All. Check me.

Mark Quinn: Oh, look

Mark Kinsley: at that. And then I get the Dream Team hat because the, the crew from Sweet Dreams Mattress in furniture just up north, they’re gonna be there.

Matt Man’s gonna gimme a ride from Charlotte. Um, so excited to come support the Dreams for All foundation. They make sure that people in. Aren’t sleeping on the floor. Anytime you have a mattress that needs to be taken away, that’s still in could be used. They’re making sure that they sanitize that to [00:26:00] state standards and they get it to somebody who is sleeping on a couch, sleep on the floor and doesn’t have a mattress at all.

Love the work that they’re doing. So we’re gonna go out and support Keith in the entire team, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Yep.

Mark Quinn: That’s big work. And Keith’s got this massive heart for people and serving the people in his town. And Mark, we wrote about it in our book, Come Back to Bed. Um, that, you know, being in your community and serving them and their interest and, you know, just being part of that.

You know that that fellowship and that you know that, that the family that you’re essentially in, in your cities is such a big deal. And I love that he does it and he does it incredibly well. And, uh, so glad you’re gonna be able to go and represent, uh, the fam.

Mark Kinsley: Yep. He’s part of the fam, you’re part of the fam.

We thank you so much for tuning in today. On this, uh, crisp fall day. At least that’s how it is here in Arkansas. I’m not sure about Houston, man. Is it hot still?

Mark Quinn: No. Houston, it’s a little warmer. Um, I just wanna close with a thought. Like I, I don’t [00:27:00] like, I think being a sleep expert is aspirational. I think we should aim for it.

I think it the more we can educate ourselves about sleep, uh, light temperature, sleep cycles, food, caffeine, any of that stuff is so big. But, you know, kind of to where we got with Dream Camp. The real thing inside the trade, the category is connecting the products we sell to the outcomes of great sleep.

And in if we, just as an industry, Kinsley, got people to understand the importance of sleep, not how to do it, just how important it is to their life. If that’s all we do, it is a massive, massive win for the industry.

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