027 | How Deeply Are You Reaching Your Audience with Leela Srinivasan of SurveyMonkey | Studio CMO

Podcast by | October 29, 2020 Automation and Lead Flow, Content Marketing, Interviews, Marketing Strategy

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The Episode in 60 Seconds

Understand your buyer’s problems.

You hear us say these words at the end of every episode. Knowing your audience is one of the core tenants of Golden Spiral. How well do you understand who they are, what their heartbeat is, and have insight into the things that are in front of them?

Surveys are a tremendous way to get in your buyer’s mind.

On this episode of Studio CMO, we discuss with Leela Srinivasan:

  • What SurveyMonkey’s own research is showing us about work during the pandemic
  • How surveys can be HIPAA compliant
  • Using surveys to determine your NPS score
  • How to invite senior level executives to participate in surveys
  • How to build better surveys

Our Guest

Leela Srinivasan 964pxLeela Srinivasan is the first-ever CMO of SurveyMonkey who led marketing through their IPO.

Prior, she was the CMO at Lever and also in charge of marketing for OpenTable. She spent longer than four years at LinkedIn leading marketing for their talent solutions division.

She also serves currently as an advisor to Bravado and a board member for UpWork.

Show Notes

50% of employees at agile companies say that they feel extremely or very prepared for economic downturn, and only 10% of those at companies not deemed agile, feel like their companies are well-prepared. — Leela Srinivasan

TripActions and Namely Partner to Help Companies Seize Travel as a Strategic Lever for Culture and Growth | Business Wire

How TripActions and SurveyMonkey worked together before and during the pandemic.

Coronavirus Resources | Tiverton Public Library | 401-625-6796

How Rhode Island Department of Health used surveys to help their citizens survive during the pandemic.

Information about SurveyMonkey’s HIPAA compliance.

SurveyMonkey’s Expert Solutions help Enterprise companies pressure test their new ideas and creative campaigns.

Golden Spiral’s take on NPS Scores and other surveys.

SurveyMonkey’s look at NPS Scores.

More information about SurveyMonkey’s GetFeedback CX tool.

Listen to a great interview about Customer Experience (CX):

GS - Episode 013 - Podcast Card - Blog-100-2

Inviting Senior Level Executives to Participate in Surveys

  1. They are more likely to respond to questions if the answers to those questions would help them benchmark their own work. Offer the results to the survey for participants.
  2. Offer an opportunity to send a donation to a charity in lieu of gift cards or other incentives.

Close to 50% of surveys are taken on mobile devices. This puts quite the onus on you as a survey creator to make sure that your survey is succinct. —Leela Srinivasan

Build Better Surveys

  1. Make sure your survey is mobile-optimized. Preview how your surveys will look on mobile, tablet, desktop, and different browsers.
  2. Consider surveys an extension of your content marketing. Think of surveys as a conversation.
  3. Frame your questions in an engaging way so your participants will dive right in.
  4. Ask questions with empathy so that they know you know their world.

Download the SurveyMonkey Survival Guide here:

SurveyMonkey Survival Guide 2020


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John Farkas (00:00): One of our core tenants at Golden Spiral is knowing your customer. Understanding who they are, understanding what their heartbeat is, and understanding the things that are in front of them that are some of their biggest challenges. Surveys are a tremendous way to get in their minds. They’re also a tremendous way to lead thought in your industry, to show what the trends are, to uncover movements that your customers want to know and want to be on top of. Today, we’re going to dive into the world of surveys and we’re going to do it with one of the authorities in the space. We’re excited to bring it to you here on Studio CMO.

Mark Whitlock (00:58): Welcome to Studio CMO. You are in the place where we have real life conversations with the marketing leaders who are changing the future of B2B tech. And we’ve got an exciting podcast happening today. And John, I’ve got a question for you, A, B, C, D, or E?

John Farkas (01:16): Oh, I’m always going to go with B in that scenario.

Mark Whitlock (01:19): Always going to go with B?

John Farkas (01:19): Yeah, pretty good odds on that one I think.

Mark Whitlock (01:23): Did you take tests that way when you were in high school and college?

John Farkas (01:25): We don’t want to talk about how I took tests when I was in high school, on this podcast. It would be bad.

Mark Whitlock (01:32): Got it. Well, we’ll just leave that there.

John Farkas (01:34): I was a big believer in the four-finger method.

Mark Whitlock (01:36): Oh, okay. We’ll put some… No, we won’t either. Glad to have you on board today. We’re going to be talking about a different type of test. The type of tests that we all take, surveys, and how do they fit into our world now? And how do they empower us when we are marketing? And we are so excited to have the CMO of  Leela Srinivasan with us today. And she has been on board at SurveyMonkey for a couple of years. She’s the first ever CMO for SurveyMonkey. And she joined right before their great IPO that launched them into a whole other sphere. She was the CMO at Lever and also in charge of marketing for Open Table. And Leela, we are so happy to have you on board with Studio CMO today.

Leela Srinivasan (02:22): Thank you, Mark. Nice to see you both, Mark and John.

John Farkas (02:25): Well, we’re glad you’re here, and I’d love to hear what is in front of SurveyMonkey right now?

Leela Srinivasan (02:30): Sure. Well, for those who don’t know us and I never want to presume, as Mark mentioned, it’s a global survey platform. Our mission is to power the curious, by which we mean enabling organizations to turn feedback into action. And 2020 has been an absolute doozy for everyone. But one of the things that we’ve taken out of this is just the mission critical nature of feedback from the audiences that you work with. Whether that is customers, whether it’s employees, whether it’s shareholders, whether it’s residents if you’re the Department of Health in Rhode Island, for example.

Leela Srinivasan (03:05): There are just so many different ways in which we have seen our technology applied in sort of pandemic era. Then you add in all the other compounding situations we’ve had this year around racial justice and wildfires in California, and just the whole debate around the workplace, and how is work changing? What is the future of work? And so, on the front burner for us, as is typical at SurveyMonkey is thinking about how we continue innovating for our customers and thinking through how we can help them solve this new, fresh set of challenges that they’ve been staring down all year.

John Farkas (03:37): There’s no shortage of those challenges. And, I think that what’s true as we look at marketing leaders of business to business technology companies, when I think about change and how we are dealing with change, it is an ever-present reality in trying to understand what the currents are, what the trends are, how people are seeing things, how people are responding, what’s moving, what we should be responding to? I think it’s really important that we do whatever we can to eliminate subjectivity and understand what’s really going on. And some of the best tools we have for that are surveys. Just asking real people well-created questions that get at what is the information that we need to know to be able to move forward in a smart way? And I would love for you to kind of unpack for us how you’ve seen organizations like our listeners, use that type of information, use your tools to get at some of that analysis?

Leela Srinivasan (04:45): So I’ll give you a couple of examples. And when we sort of step back again and just think about the shape of the year, companies are struggling to stay afloat in some situations, and we’ve run the research to better understand what types of organization are geared for survival in these times. And what we learned is that employees at companies that are agile are two times as likely to say that their business is doing better since COVID-19. So, businesses actually coming through this and not only getting through it, but actually doing well. And when you think about agility as a key business trait, if we’ve had to be anything this year it’s absolutely agile. Whether you’re a marketing leader, or anything else, right, the landscape has been shifting. As marketers we’ve had to completely tear up our playbooks around which channels we’re using, what our mix is, what our programs are, even what our language is in the messages that we’re sending out.

Leela Srinivasan (05:38): And so, 50% of employees at agile companies say that they feel extremely or very prepared for economic downturn, and only 10% of those at companies not deemed agile, feel like their companies are well-prepared. And if you want an example of a company that I think has navigated this as well as they possibly could, I would call out one of our customers TripActions. Now, TripActions is corporate travel. They were a hot, hot startup prior to all of this. And then, of all the things to immediately hit the skids in February, March, travel, right?

John Farkas (06:11): Yeah.

Leela Srinivasan (06:12): So this is a company… And I have a ton of respect for Megan Eisenberg who’s the CMO over there, but they had been in dialogue with their customers all along. They rely heavily on customer advisory boards. So the minute all of this hit, they turn to their customer advisory board to just get that quick, qualitative feedback around how they could help their customers in this weird time. How could they add value, basically. Their advisory board had some input, and then what they did was turn around and validate that with a broader set of customers using surveys. Right? Because you don’t want to over-index to a small population, but you want to take inspiration from them.

Leela Srinivasan (06:47): So, they ran a survey to better understand again, how they could add value. And that led to some specific actions that they took within their platform to provide certain information, to provide policy controls so that employees couldn’t accidentally sign up to travel somewhere where there were restrictions, for example. So the company, I think, as you might expect, has had to go through layoffs and do some belt tightening, but they came through this with an add of over 250 new customers, during a global pandemic, as a travel company, which is just crazy. And I think that’s just one story to show how, if you can listen, tap into that feedback from your customers, and then use it to think about where to take your organization, you can pull through.

John Farkas (07:29): So looking at that ability to be agile and the understanding of the importance of not only listening to your customers, but understanding the market in general, what are some other use cases? What are some other ways that you’ve seen companies use surveys to power how they work and how they move forward?

Leela Srinivasan (07:48): I’ll give you a big example and then I’ll give you maybe a marketing specific example, which I think is quite pertinent to the here and now. In terms of bigger examples, I mentioned the Department of Health in Rhode Island. So of all the use cases out there, I think, we’ve seen public health organizations and government entities having to lean into feedback and input from their constituents in all kinds of crazy ways this year. So, if you look at Governor Raimondo in Rhode Island, I think she’s been lauded for overall, for her approach to tackling coronavirus and helping their constituents stay safe. I’m really proud to say that SurveyMonkey actually played a part in that.

Leela Srinivasan (08:25): There’s a critical part of their data system, which is a survey that the state has been sending out to about 6,000 Rhode Islanders a week, and that data helps health officials understand who’s reporting symptoms, what kind of symptoms, how quickly the symptoms are developing, whether their constituents are isolating themselves? And then they’re able to take that information, not only to understand how coronavirus is impacting their constituents, but also take very practical steps of understanding if people are isolated during quarantine and can’t get food, then they can deliver food. They can find ways to keep those folks safe and keep them isolated so that they’re limiting the spread of the virus.

Leela Srinivasan (09:06): So, the way that actually worked, the survey sent out through our SurveyMonkey enterprise, it’s all HIPAA compliant. That data gets fed directly into Salesforce. And that allows the health officials to really monitor the spread of the disease and the people who are opting into the program. So, that’s a use case we could never have projected before 2020 hit, but just really, really fascinating to see surveys being used to get that really important health information to fuel decisions at the government level. So I think that’s pretty cool.

Mark Whitlock (09:37): It is. It’s very cool. And that had to be quite an effort to become HIPAA compliant, protect the data that was coming in.

Leela Srinivasan (09:44): I mean, HIPAA compliance has been something that has been embedded into our enterprise platform for a while now, but it is one of those areas where we’ve seen this heightened interest this year because companies, health organizations are just having to ask the types of questions they never thought they’d have to ask before. And so, it’s become even more front and center, I think. So, that was sort of the bigger example. But for marketers, one of the challenges we’ve been facing this year is, how do you stay relevant? How do you make sure your messaging lands and doesn’t feel off base and inappropriate or even offensive? And if you think back to the kind of the early pandemic days, I remember we probably all went through that phase of going, “Okay, we got to talk about the unprecedented times.” It’s always unprecedented. And then at some point we all went, “Oh, I’m just so… This word feels hackneyed. Let’s find something else.”

Leela Srinivasan (10:35): So we’ve been on that journey together, but I’ve watched organizations tentatively poking their head up and saying, “Okay, is it safe to do marketing now? And if so, I wanted to run this big campaign. Is it still going to resonate? Do I feel like this is going to land well with my audience?” And so, we offer a whole suite of what we call expert solutions that are geared toward helping marketers, principally, to pressure test their campaigns, logos, messaging, video ads, whatever it is that they have; creative concepts, that they can test amongst their target audience and get really, really important feedback on how relevant, how credible, how appealing that messaging is. They can slice and dice that by different demographics. I’ve seen organizations look at that data and fuel decisions on which ad to run on a certain publication versus another. It’s really, really powerful. And I think in this day and age, given the sensitivity around language, it’s become even more important to think about how you’re pressure testing those creative concepts.

John Farkas (11:34): So, let me get this straight. You guys are not just a survey platform. So I’m not just… I’m a marketing guy and I want to find out some information about my audience. And gosh, I’ve never asked questions like this before. I don’t know the right way to ask questions. And I feel kind of like I’m on my own to try and figure out how to get the results I need. Is there anybody out there that can help me?

Leela Srinivasan (12:01): Yeah. So, I have a couple of thoughts for you, John. So the first is, you’re right. We are not just a surveys platform. So I think, we’ve been around for 21 years. We came to prominence as a self-serve, easy to use, online platform. Anyone can pop down a credit card and get started. And over the years we’ve seen use cases shift. We’ve seen market demand shift. We’ve made some acquisitions and where we are today, one of the fastest growing parts of our business is actually our enterprise version of that surveys platform for use cases like the ones I just mentioned. So surveys remains our primary business, but we have two other pillars that are basically there to help organizations lean into feedback.

Leela Srinivasan (12:42): One is market research. So this notion of going out, pressure testing concepts, tapping into audiences or your desired demographics to really understand how the market is thinking, where they’re headed, but also how your campaigns and things like that will resonate or not. The third pillar is customer experience management. So we had long had customer feedback be one of our top use cases for SurveyMonkey technology over the years. Measuring NPS and C-SAT and really understanding your customer experience, which sometimes marketing owns, sometimes customer success or some other part of the building owns. But it’s so important for companies to really think about that customer experience.

Leela Srinivasan (13:23): So we made a couple of acquisitions of companies in the last year or two, and pulled that together into what we call the Get Feedback Customer Experience platform. That’s the third kind of area of our business. So we are much more than surveys, but if you were in the situation of trying to run surveys or do research and you’re new to it, one of the benefits of our platform overall is that 21 years in business has allowed us to aggregate and apply machine learning to 50 billion plus questions answered, and use that to create something we call Genius, which is basically when you are creating your survey in SurveyMonkey, when you think you’re done, and go to the next step, we will score that survey.

Leela Srinivasan (14:04): We will tell you what your expected response rate is. We will tell you how long it will take to complete. And if your survey has some issues that we think are correctable, we’ll point out some things that you can fix to increase that response rate or increase the quality of what’s coming in. So, even if you’re new to surveys, we can totally help you in the platform to put your best foot forward.

John Farkas (14:24): Yeah, it’s so important. And what I know, is that so many of our listeners are in smaller or mid-size organizations, and they don’t have a research staff. Or they have somebody who’s there in customer success, or that is really in the feedback journey, but they are not necessarily trained in how to ask a question. Not necessarily trained in how to form a survey to get optimal response. And it’s intimidating, because you put a survey out, first of all, you don’t want to offend people. You don’t want to make it so it is a mountain that nobody wants to climb. It has to be invitational. It has to draw people in. It has to demonstrate that you’re interested in who they are and care about their response, not just trying to get them to check the boxes in the right way. And so, that is a great assistance to companies. And so I’m interested in, if somebody is interested in getting a survey done, and they know they want this kind of critical feedback, what’s their path with SurveyMonkey?

Leela Srinivasan (15:30): You can get started in our platform in the moment basically. If you have the survey written out in a document, you can upload it, or you can just key it into the system. And it’s never been easier to get feedback. The question is, who are you looking for feedback from? Sometimes it’s from your own customers and you have access to those people and you know how to reach them via email or whichever channel you want to use, and you can easily get to that population.

Leela Srinivasan (15:55): At other times, you’re looking for feedback from people you don’t know who represent your target audience, or are somehow influential in the way that you’re thinking about things. So you want to think about how many people you need and also the type of people you need. And if you don’t have access to the people, we can certainly help you. We actually have a panel called SurveyMonkey Audience, where you can just define who it is that you’re looking to target, and we’ll tell you how much it will cost and then we can get that survey out for you.

Mark Whitlock (16:21): Now, Genius sounds like an amazing tool because one of the things that I’ve struggled with when doing customer feedback and surveys and understanding the audience better, is how do I best write these questions? How do I best figure out a way to get the information that I really need? There’s another side to that coin, and that is interpretation. Data can be interpreted so many different ways and what I’m looking at when I’m looking at those numbers, it can mean something that may be the truth, but I’m interpreting it a different way. What resources do you have or what resources do you recommend for interpreting the data once you’ve got it in?

Leela Srinivasan (16:58): Within the SurveyMonkey platform, we have the area where basically that analysis comes together. And one of the things we’ve added in recent years is the ability to set up what we call cross tabs. So that’s where you can basically filter your audience for different criteria. So if you’re looking to understand how people in a certain age demographic, living in a certain place, responded to a survey, we can quickly and neatly dissect that for you. So you can look at different populations. I think that’s where, to your point, Mark, this is where the arts and science, I suppose sort of come together, because it really is about not only gathering the insights, but then figuring out the so what, from that information and figuring out the action plan that you take from there. That’s really where the magic happens. So, yeah, there’s plenty built into the platform that will not only surface the insights and pretty pie charts and so forth, but also the ability to slice and dice. It kind of sits in the platform.

John Farkas (17:51): The other thing that I’ve seen done really effectively with surveys is… And of course the analyst firms do this all the time. It’s what they do. But for companies like the folks we’re talking to here, who are wanting to give information to their customers, that they want to know that’s going to help them in their business. It’s thought leadership, right?

Leela Srinivasan (18:14): Yes.

John Farkas (18:15): That’s another very valuable use of this. And can you give some examples of organizations that you’ve seen use survey materials as thought leadership to help demonstrate their knowledge of their market?

Leela Srinivasan (18:30): Yeah, definitely. I mean, I could even… This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. I spent some time in content marketing and I think surveying is like the Holy grail, I’d say, yeah.

Mark Whitlock (18:40): It is.

John Farkas (18:40): Super valuable content. That’s right.

Leela Srinivasan (18:43): And to your point, John, your customers are probably are most interested in two types of survey respondents. One is their peers, right? There’s this fascination with, am I doing the right thing? Am I thinking about this right? How is my industry thinking about XYZ? And then, the other is their end customers.

John Farkas (18:58): Yep.

Leela Srinivasan (18:59): So couple of examples. When I was back at LinkedIn, we used to run recruiting trends. I think they actually still have some version of that 10 years later, but these were surveys that we ran in multiple countries to understand how recruiters were getting ready for the next year. What were the areas of investment they were prioritizing? Were budgets going up or down? Which areas were losing? I mean, this was just sort of like, what are the hot trends in the industry that the recruiting community is investing into? That survey data gave us so much mileage that we used across eBooks and webinars and live events and thought leadership blog posts and everything else. Right?

Leela Srinivasan (19:36):

So, that was kind of the insight into how a set of peers was thinking. And then, when I was at Open Table, we started a survey that was called technology and dining out. And the purpose of that, this was back in, I want to say 2015 or so. So at the time, there was a lot of interest in the industry about what role should technology play in the dining experience? Did people really want to have waitstaff? Were they just as happy using an iPad on a table? Did they want to put their name on a waitlist? That sort of thing.

Leela Srinivasan (20:05): So we went out and surveyed diners in multiple markets to understand how diners were thinking about this. Did they want to pay via mobile in a restaurant or not? And we brought that insight back into this kind of meaty report, but again, it got a ton of press pickup actually. But also… I was presenting at restaurant conferences and I’m not a restaurateur. So, it was just super fascinating to help restaurants understand their end consumer and what those consumers wanted. Those I think were both run on SurveyMonkey and to this day we see countless organizations really leverage surveys very, very effectively for valuable content.

John Farkas (20:42): Yeah, I can imagine.

Mark Whitlock (20:43): And it looks like something Open Table’s been doing every year or every couple of years since. Is that right?

Leela Srinivasan (20:49): Yeah. That’s great to hear if they have. I mean, I know they did it for at least two or three years around the time I was there, but it’s that value that you can use at scale in your programs, but also take into your customer meetings and share those insights and spark conversation.

John Farkas (21:03): So, getting the survey formulated and understanding what you get back from it, are two important components, and you guys can help with that. A lot of our customers are trying to get feedback from high-level executives who… Talk about the Holy grail. Getting engagement from that audience on a survey can be tough. I mean, getting them to take the time to actually answer a survey. How have you seen that done effectively?

Leela Srinivasan (21:32): It can be hard to get a senior audience. Again, we can often help you find that, but other things I’ve seen be impactful is even just stepping back to think about what is in it for the survey taker? I’ll give you an example. I recently filled out a SurveyMonkey survey for another organization and they offered two things. They offered the chance for me to review the findings afterwards. So, they were asking questions that I would really like to have benchmarks on, if I’m honest.

Leela Srinivasan (22:00): And so, the opportunity to get that data back and see how my answers sit relative to the rest of the group was really the main reason I did it. I think they also offered an Amazon card. I have found that with senior audiences, sometimes offering to make a charity donation will sit better. So, I think that’s something that you can explore, but again, if there’s value in the content itself, and if you make it clear that they’ll be able to get those findings back at the end, then that’s often enough I think, for an executive to engage.

John Farkas (22:29): Yeah. I hadn’t seen the charity idea put forward. And I think that that’s a terrific idea. And yes, figuring out what information you can use as meaningful content that the people you’re asking could be really interested in the answers from a benchmarking and comparison perspective. I think that’s a huge part of the art, and the ones I’ve seen done most successfully with our clients have been ones where, yeah, they’ve been able to frame the survey in a way that the respondents are particularly interested and they use that as a strong incentive.

John Farkas (23:00): I think that that’s a great way to do it. And, hard. I mean, that can be a hard thing to do. Ideally you’re kind of combining… And this is part of the art of creating the survey, right? Is combining information that is going to be important benchmarking comparisons for your audience, along with information that your target audience that you’re trying to survey is going to want also. And so, you kind of create that combined thing where you’re able to get sort of both of those agendas in the context of what you’re diving at.

Leela Srinivasan (23:31): The other thing, just that everyone should bear in mind, we see close to 50% of surveys taken on mobile devices. So, I think that puts quite the onus on you as a survey creator, to make sure that your survey is succinct. It’s not going to take them three hours to complete. We’ll certainly help you out. Obviously our surveys are mobile-friendly. Well, actually, you can preview how your service will look across a range of devices in SurveyMonkey before you actually hit send. So you’ll have that confidence, but really it comes back to if the survey starts to go on and on and doesn’t… Any survey taker’s probably going to lose interest.

Leela Srinivasan (24:07): So you have to make sure you’re not overburdening your audience. And I also encourage people to just think about it as it’s really an extension of content marketing. You’re having an engaging conversation with a prospect or a customer. So think about it as a conversation. Think about making even the tone and the phrase of the question can really pull somebody in. So I think people sometimes think surveys sound painful, or there’s work to be done, but it turns out people actually really love giving feedback. And if you can frame it in a way that feels engaging, then they’ll dive right in.

John Farkas (24:42): Yeah. Understanding who you’re asking what from and getting that put together in a way that is empathetic, that lets them know that you know their world, because then they feel like they’re participating in a conversation as opposed to being drilled. Right?

Leela Srinivasan (24:56): Exactly.

John Farkas (24:57): And they’re in there with you. That’s a great point and important part of the science for sure. Because if you can show that you know where they’re living, they’re going to feel greater affinity with where you’re bringing them. So, that’s a great point.

Mark Whitlock (25:08): Now, I’m really curious, during your tenure at SurveyMonkey, when you’ve been making marketing decisions, have you run across something where you yourself have said, “You know what we need to do? We need to do a survey.”

Leela Srinivasan (25:23): Oh, Mark. We definitely eat in our own restaurant quite heavily. I’m pleased to say it.

Mark Whitlock (25:29): I like that phrase. I like that. Eat in your own restaurant. I like that phrase.

Leela Srinivasan (25:32): It’s so much better than dog food. Let’s be honest. I mean, never understood why people would want to compare their products to dog food, but anyway. So yes, we use SurveyMonkey quite intensively within marketing and across the organization. And I’ll go back to, we ran a brand campaign about a year and a half ago, in fact. And we were continuing to think through, how do we take our enterprise message to market? How do we help an audience that’s grown up with us kind of self-serve version of SurveyMonkey, understand that SurveyMonkey is enterprise grade, integrations with platforms like Salesforce and Tableau and so forth, is HIPAA compliant, et cetera, et cetera. And so, we had a campaign in mind that really elevated that business profile, but before we took it out there, we actually mocked up what it would look like on the side of a bus or a billboard.

Leela Srinivasan (26:25): And we had different variants of it. Different taglines, different imagery, different colors, even, because for SurveyMonkey, our heritage is green, but as you start to move into enterprise, you ask yourself the question of, “Well, do we need to be blue to be credible as an enterprise company? Or can we get away with green? Are people going to see that green as a credible business color, especially with our brand?” And so forth. So we basically tested that with our audience. We went out and we found the population of the types of people that we want to influence with that message. And we had them look at a series of different options of mocked up buses to say, “Okay, which one is the most credible? Which one is the most appealing? Which one sounds believable coming from SurveyMonkey? Which one would encourage me to learn more about the organization?”

Leela Srinivasan (27:18): And so, we used that to confirm our hypothesis around green being enterprise appropriate and also the line of messaging that we wanted to take. And I like to think that’s why, when we looked at the results of that campaign and places we were able to measure, we saw, for example, over 100% increase in search volume interest with people who’d been exposed to the video ads. So, it showed that it had sparked something. It sparked the right curiosity in our prospect’s mind, basically.

John Farkas (27:51): Yeah, because at the end of the day… So often we feel isolated for one reason or another in our problem set in the world we’re swimming in. And if you can frame, if you can engage with somebody and ask questions that again, show that you understand the space that they’re in, and where you are conveying that you care about what they think, genuinely, that’s a unique opportunity. Because that doesn’t happen enough in our world. And so, when people encounter that from a brand, from an entity, it does build some affinity. It does build some engagement. It gets them thinking in a different way and it has the opportunity to really pull them into your stream. Which I think is an invaluable opportunity when it’s done well and right.

John Farkas (28:40): And I think that that’s the key. So I would love, just make it simple for our listeners here, because I know that there’s some people right now listening to this who are going, “Oh, gosh, I can’t believe I haven’t done this before. It’s so right here in front of me and I didn’t know that I could get this kind of intel and help.” Where do they need to go? What do they need to do?

Leela Srinivasan (29:06): Well, I mean, there’s a whole set of resources that we have online. I mean, surveymonkey.com is basically where it all starts, but if you’re interested in, I think the market research piece of this… So, I’m encouraging marketers everywhere to really embrace their inner market researcher as we ram into 2021, because so much of the way that market research happens is relevant to making sure your marketing resonates and is on the money, et cetera. So we did actually publish a survival guide basically for market research, basically. I think any marketer would probably get value. If you go to surveymonkey.com/market-research, then you’ll see very prominently on that page where you can download that content to just start to get some of that research DNA, almost, flowing into your marketing mix.

Mark Whitlock (29:57): And we’ll also link to that from our show notes at studiocmo.com/027; studiocmo.com/027. We’ll link to the survival guide from SurveyMonkey.

Leela Srinivasan (30:08): Awesome.

Mark Whitlock (30:09): I’m also going to post that survival guide at the show notes. So you come on over to studiocmo.com/027, that’s studiocmo.com/027. And we can link you out to a SurveyMonkey survival guide at that point. Also, Leela brought up NPS scores and some other types of surveys you may want to bring forth from your company to find out more about your customers and about your prospects. We have articles on our website, as well, as I’ve found some articles on SurveyMonkey’s website about those same things that we’ll link from, from the show notes. You can get Golden Spiral’s take and SurveyMonkey’s take on NPS scores and some other issues.

Mark Whitlock (30:48): And while you’re there, would you sound off on our behalf? We’d love for you to subscribe to Studio CMO. At the bottom of any page at studiocmo.com, you can scroll down and find your favorite podcast app and subscribe so that you’ll be the first to know when we have a great guest on, and hopefully someday in the future when Leela comes back and joins us. And Leela Srinivasan, thank you so much for being on Studio CMO today. We were so grateful to have you.

John Farkas (31:12): Absolutely.

Leela Srinivasan (31:13): Mark, John, thank you so much for having me. The time has flown and I’d love to come back sometime.

Mark Whitlock (31:17): Great. Thank you so much. And surveys certainly are a great way to figure out the number one thing we talk about at the end of every podcast, and that is to understand your buyer’s problems and to lead out of that empathetic understanding.

John Farkas (31:32): And as always make your buyer the hero.

Mark Whitlock (31:35): We’ll see you next time on Studio CMO.


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