Read on for the full episode transcription of episode #8 of Talk Experiential: Lead Generation and Engagement.
#8 Lead Generation and Engagement (Show Notes)
JOEY: All right guys, welcome back to Talk Experiential Podcast. I’m really pumped about this episode, had an awesome discussion regarding lead generation engagement, which is changing its way, a company called Swurveys, founder Zachary Rozga, out of Seattle, Washington. He’s created a new technology that will change the way you can better get customer engagement and get better ROI. Hope you guys enjoy.
All right, welcome back to Talk Experiential podcast. We have Zach Rozga from Seattle, Washington. Thanks for joining us.
ZACH: Hey, thanks for having me, Joey.
JOEY: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think the topic we have today is really talking about that consumer engagement onsite, really making sure that these brands can get that ROI, and obviously this is why I have Zach on the podcast today. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your background?
ZACH: Sure. So, thanks again for having me on the podcast, I really enjoy talk experiential. And as someone who is admittedly a bit of a novice to the experiential marketing space, it’s been really great to learn from your podcasts and some of your other guests.
JOEY: Thank you.
ZACH: So, my background is actually in management consulting, then I spent a bit of time working overseas, internationally. I’ve been an entrepreneur for the last 13 years, so I haven’t had a paycheck from somebody who wasn’t generating revenue outside of myself for about that long a time. And, Swurveys, I feel, is a culmination of all the experiences that I’ve had in the past, up until this point.
JOEY: Awesome. So, tell me a little more. How did you start this company? And I know you started it a couple years ago. What made you start this path?
ZACH: Yeah, so as I said, I was in management consulting and I had a company that was with a couple of other people here. We were doing some organizational development work and we had two customers at the exact same time — this was about the summer of 2015 — that had college students as their primary audience. And we, as a consulting company, have to collect a lot of data, we’ve got to analyze that data, and particularly with this project, we were coming towards the end and were not even cracking one percent, which meant we really couldn’t draw any very good conclusions, because that’s not a representative sample size.
And I had an employee who worked for me that was 24 years old at the time, a gentleman named Boji Miggayo (ph) and I basically put the squeeze on him and said, “Look man, these are your people. They’re your age. You’ve got to figure out how to get them to give us answers,” and he just shot back at me and said, “Zach, Millennials, my people, my age, we don’t do surveys. We don’t do buttons and boxes. We only are on our mobile phone,” and then he said, “But, you know what we do? We do Tinder.” And I was kind of like, “Well, I kind of know what Tinder is. It’s like that dating thing, right?” and he’s like, “Yeah, but it’s also a survey. It’s true/false, yes/no.” He said, “Why can’t we just use that to go out and collect information?” and I immediately jumped at that idea and said, “That’s brilliant,” because I was so frustrated with every other survey tool that was out there, because they really weren’t built for the person who was taking the survey. And so really, we sort of — That’s where we started and we really built this philosophy at Swurveys that is our underlying principle, that the most important person in any sort of data collection or engagement experience is not the company, it’s not the non-profit, it’s not the public sector, it’s the person taking and giving you willingly information. They are the most important person in that data transaction. And I feel that philosophy is something that we’ve adopted and can’t be copied.
JOEY: Right, exactly. Well, and I think that’s the major thing in an event or having — just getting that data from these folks in a fun, exciting way. So, you and I have partnered on a couple projects here recently at Talk Experiential, we had a launch party in Santa Monica. We had you talking to the consumers, we had our brand ambassadors with iPads — Tell me a little bit about that experience and how that went.
ZACH: Yeah, so one of the things that we do for our makers, because we believe that this is something that benefits the takers — anybody who makes a Swurvey, we call a maker, and then the audience that they’re trying to get data from, we call takers — But, one of the things we do for makers is every Swurvey is unique. And what I mean by that is the look and feel, they’re white label. So, you now engage, interact, collect data from your audience the way that you want to look, celebrating your brand. These brands out there today spend so much money, so much energy, so much effort in promoting, building, maintaining their brand, and yet when they go out and ask market research data, they’re using Arial font, buttons, and boxes on white background. So, that’s another sort of thing that we’ve realized with Swurveys is that if you’re going to engage people, get information from them, you need to be brand aligned and inside of an experience. And so, rolling that forward to your question, which is, “What did we do with Talk Experiential,” well, I know that you guys are this new podcast and you’re looking for information from your core audience, which are people in the experiential marketing industry. So, we work together on a Talk Experiential branded Swurvey, put it onto iPads, also put it into an SMS retrieval, so that there are multiple ways that people who attended the event could engage and get the Swurvey sent to them.
We put in — Half of the questions were really about your podcast behavior. “When do you listen to podcasts? Why do you download podcasts? Where do you find podcasts?” Sort of the why of people’s engagement towards a podcast, which is what Talk Experiential wanted, and then the other half of the questions were about experiential marketing activities and what type of experiential marketing activities the people that were in this audience actually engaged in, which was useful for Swurveys. That was really interesting data for us and I think very interesting data for Air Fresh, as well. And the objective was really just to — not only learn more about people in the audience, but also give them something that they could be a part of, and so we were sharing the data back to them with the real-time billboard. And we also incentivized the whole thing by giving away a drum, which was a pretty sweet prize, so thank you for putting that price in there.
JOEY: Yeah. No, and just from that feedback — And that was one of our first times working together and now we’re working on another campaign that’s an eight market. The one thing — me running Air Fresh Marketing, our biggest goal with it is giving value to our client. So, we had an agency come to us that wanted to promote an event in eight markets, and when I do get approached by this, I ask questions. I’m like, “So, what are you trying to do? What’s the goals of everything and how are you going to engage consumers?” All they had was a piece of paper — a flier with a website on it. I couldn’t believe it, first off, that they’re thinking that you hand out a flier on a street and someone will go to a website just because they want to go to this concert. Unfortunately they’re going to get really bad ROI and when we work with clients, we don’t like to waste money. So, this is why I’m really excited about our partnership, because instead of just handing out fliers, what we’re going to be doing is using Swurveys with our brand ambassadors in [00:08:15] different markets. They’ll have an iPad, iPhone, they’re going to be actually asking questions.
So, instead of handing out a flier, we’re going to be like, “Do you want free VIP tickets?” And the great thing about that is, we’re going to be getting contact information that we wouldn’t have gotten before, and then two, with — I’ll let you talk more about during the after — you guys can collect more of that consumer data and then also have 3, 4, or 5 times you can follow up with them in different platforms. I think that’s one of the most exciting parts of what we do. Because, Marketing 101, you can’t hand out a flier and expect someone to trust your brand. You have to build up that trust. It takes four or five, six, seven times for someone to actually think about it and trust you before they’ll even engage with you. Why don’t you tell me a little more about how your software is helping our clients?
ZACH: Yeah, I think the riff on what you said about the Marketing 101 and the age that we live in today, they call this the — what is this — the communication age or the information age or we’re past information. Anyway, there’s all these clichés that are out there about, “Data is the new oil,” but even though that’s being said, there is this growth in experiential marketing and brands are spending more and more money on deploying street teams, such as with people like Air Fresh Marketing, because our consumers, particularly the most savvy and the youngest ones, are actually deflecting any sort of digital blatant advertising that’s coming to them and trying to avoid it at all costs. And so, there is now a greater emphasis on experiential marketing. And I think what’s really cool about Swurveys is that for the experiential marketer, whether you’re a brand or you’re an agency, you need to think of Swurveys as a lead gen tool, disguised as a swipable survey. And so, what I mean by that is that we use questions and answers in a branded format, in a very short, mobile experience, where we get to understand the person who is taking the Swurvey a little bit more, and we can offer them, at the end, the ability to stay in touch.
So, like you said, with this project we’re working on, it’s an event, events always have VIP treatment, and people always aspire to be VIP. So, it’s a great way to get people to offer their email address to you — their name and their email address. And what’s great about the idea of upgrade to a VIP package is, in order to be eligible for that VIP package, you need to purchase regular tickets. And so, as another part of the experience, not only can we offer you to give us email address, but in a different part of the experience, we also give you the opportunity to buy now. And so, what you’re doing is you’re taking — like what you said — which is traditionally a street team member brand ambassador who has a flier, and that flier has no way to track that this person that picked it up actually engaged at all with the brand, and now what you have is this tool that A, gives you a profile of the types of customers that you’re talking to, B, collects email addresses, C, offers the ability for people to do a direct conversion onsite, and then D, actually allows you to marry that data that you’ve collected with that email address. Because the reality is, even if you do a great level of targeting for your event and where you might think that there’s going to be an overlap.
So, you’re doing an EDM concert, so you’re going to canvas the university, right? Well there’s a lot of people at the university that aren’t into EDM, and so the first question you ask — and we always do this when we’re working with events — we always ask as the very question in a Swurvey, “Are you available on June 7th?” We don’t say, “The event is on June 7th,” and the reason we don’t do that is because if I tell you that the event is on June 7th, I don’t trigger any cognitive thinking. I don’t trigger any sort of [00:12:42] assessments. But if I ask you if you’re available, all of us immediately go into this, “Well, when is June 7th? Is that the Tuesday — oh yeah, it’s a Tuesday. Oh, I can’t do anything on Tuesdays. No, I’m not available.” So, the people that are not available, those are not warm leads, right? And we also say, “Yes, no, and maybe,” because the people that we want to connect with — The yeses are like, “Hey, let’s hit them now,” and the maybes are the ones that we want to cultivate. And then the very next question we usually ask is something related to affinity of the event. So, if it’s a tech conference, we ask, “What are you coming to look for? Other tech companies, networking, investors, etcetera,” and we want to make sure that there’s an alignment with the event, the affinity, and the person there. So, I think what’s really powerful about it, Joey, is that it’s the ability to get that why around the person and connect it directly to them, so that you can start to segment this population that previously was getting a piece of paper, like you said, and a Web link on it that you do not know or have no idea whether or not they went to it.
JOEY: Right, exactly. And I know we talked offline a little bit about — I know a lot of agencies and brands out there wanting to know what people do, but you were mentioning how Swurveys helps find our why people do, you want to expand on that?
ZACH: Yeah, so this is — like I said a little bit earlier, this is somewhat of a new space, so I’ve spent a lot of time reading around because I want to know what industry we’re working in and what we’re getting into. And it just seems like there are hundreds of different ways today to learn about the behaviors of groups of people, or to track somebody’s online behavior, but really what that gives you is a lot of what, it doesn’t actually get you to the why. It’s “What do you buy, when do you buy, and how much do you buy, and can we get you to trigger to buy again?” But it doesn’t really say, “Why did you buy? Why did you buy red instead of purple? Did you buy purple because your son is an alumni of the University of Washington?” There’s no additional layering that gets into that, and I think part of that is that surveys just don’t work anymore, and so what has been replaced in the customer satisfaction world, is this thing called NPS, which is — And we’ve all taken it, because every company now has turned into it, which is, “On a scale of 1-10, would you recommend our product or service to your friends and family?” and that’s kind of as deep as they’re getting into, “Why did you buy this from us,” or, “Why do you shop with us?” or, “Why do you shop with us?” So, because we’ve made this experience fun for the taker, you actually can get that additional layer or that additional color of what are some of the things that are driving people to do these.
JOEY: Right, got you. I’d love to learn a little more — obviously, I know a lot but I’d like to talk about how Swurveys — how easy it is to get going, how easy to start using a product like this, especially when — whether you’re doing an event or just trying to get some user data.
ZACH: Yeah, so we have a self-service model, and the self-service model is really about the data. If you’re not looking for conversions, and you’re just looking to get some feedback, you can go onto swurveys.com right now, you can create an account, and you can start getting your Swurveys on. That’s what we call it when you make a Swurvey. And if you want to do the white label branded, at the moment you need to go through us or one of our agency partners, who can help you build your white label Swurvey. And also if you want to turn on the lead gen features, you need to take one of our subscription packages. Also, if you want to turn on the lead gen features, you need to take one of our subscription packages. So, we kind of built our business model such that the features that are really important to brands, are what you need to enter into a longer term relationship with us, but if you’re just wanting to use Swurveys to get some immediate, rapid feedback around your event, we’ve made it so that it’s readily available for anyone.
JOEY: Got you, and you just recently did an event up in — I believe it was in Canada, and you were able to help get people to this event. Why don’t you speak a little bit on that, as well?
ZACH: Yeah, so we were brought in to help with ticket sales for a tech conference and it was up in Canada, and specifically they were looking to bring people from the Pacific Northwest, south of the Canadian border. So, Oregon and Washington to their event. So yeah, we built a Swurvey using all the principles that I talked about and leveraged a number of slack groups that we were connected to that were in the startup community and were able to get — I would say — a significant number of new signups that knew nothing about the organization, to make the trek up to Canada for the event. And, really that was one of our first projects where we really started thinking about what are the trigger questions that you would ask somebody that would make them think about, “Can I go? Should I go? Is this for me?” So, that was a really exciting project.
JOEY: That’s great. No, it’s a need out there that I’m excited that we’ve worked together and we’re starting to do some more projects together, but I think the most important thing is that there’s finally a product out there that can help in a lot of different ways, not just on an experiential level, but just on a brand level, really learning the consumer, right? I think even this —
ZACH: Well, and I’d like to add, what’s funny is some of our biggest customers that we’re working with, some of the really large enterprises, have actually realized that they don’t know much about their employees, either.
JOEY: Right, that’s another —
ZACH: So, we’ve actually had two of our very large customers — and I don’t know that they would necessarily want me to share this, so I’m not going to name the names — But yeah, they started working with us on their experiential activities, and recently we’ve been working with them to do employee engagement around their remote teams, so making sure that remote teams feel like they’re a part of the team, which is not anything that we necessarily built this for. It just kind of shows the power of if you build something that is consumer-oriented, and you really, really deploy design thinking around, “How does this make this experience that much better for the person who is the intended audience?” the other uses and opportunities sort of arise.
JOEY: Right, I didn’t even think about that. Anywhere there’s a human being, it doesn’t have to be just on an experiential level, like I was saying, it was even just internal folks, especially when you get to be a very large company and you’re trying to figure out how to engage with people in the culture. That’s really key. I really appreciate you coming on. Anything else you want to add before we —
ZACH: Yeah, I think the last thing I would want to add is that we are excited to be a tool that is in the toolkit of agencies and the support brands, and where I think I would love to have conversations with your listeners, is “How do we make your tradeshow booth ROI go up, how do we make your event — if you’re a brand and you sponsor events, how do we make your sponsor’s fulfillment that much better with the audience, and also, with deploying street teams and making sure that your street teams are generating a return for the investment.” Those are, I think, really excellent — all of them are excellent use cases with Swurveys in the experiential marketing space and thank you, again, for having me on.
JOEY: Awesome. Well, thanks Zach, I really appreciate it. We’ll be doing this again. We’ll get you on another podcast soon.
ZACH: Yeah, and hopefully we’ll have a lot more stories to tell between Air Fresh Marketing and Swurveys.
JOEY: Absolutely. Thanks a lot.
ZACH: All right, thanks.
JOEY: All right.
Listen to the full episode here.