Ep. 147 – David Paull – Dialsmith – How To Engage A Market Research Audience Through Podcasting

My guest today is David Paull, CEO of Engagious & Dialsmith.  Engagious and Dialsmith is a consultancy that leverages a proprietary technology solution to help companies craft and refine high-stakes messages and content.   Additionally, David started the Engagious Podcast where he connects many disciplines like Comedy and Astrophysics to help create a more complete set of skills for Insights Professionals.

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[00:30]

Over the last decade the market research industry has been disrupted.  Our largest agencies are struggling to keep up as their customers turn to newer, faster and cheaper data sources. Now we are on the edge of yet another major market shift. Now is the time for us to reassert ourselves as the rudder of the brands we love. Thank you for tuning in to the Happy Market Research Podcast where we are charting the path for the future of market researchers and businesses. Hi, I’m Jamin Brazil, and you’re listening to the Happy Market Research Podcast.  Today my guest today is David Paull, CEO of Engagious and Dialsmith. Engagious and Dialsmith is a consultancy that leverages a proprietary technology solution to help companies craft and refine high-stakes messages and content. Additionally, David started the Engagious podcast where he connects with many disciplines like comedy and astrophysics to help create a more complete skill set for us insights professionals.

David, thanks very much for being on the Happy Market Research podcast.   

[01:35]

Jamin, thanks so much for having me.  

[01:38]

So it’s an honor to…  I think you may have one of the original podcasts centric to market research, at least from my recollection.  Is that consistent with yours?

[01:48]

Yeah, I think we kicked off pretty early when we launched ours in 2018.  I believe the Insights Association was doing their Audible Insights podcast; I believe it started shortly before then.  Might have been around that time. And certainly apologize to anyone who has been doing it longer, but certainly in the early days of it when we started early 2018.  

[02:15]

Well, if people listen to this and have been doing it longer know of shows that have been doing it longer, we would love to connect with them, both David and myself; so, please put them on our radar.  We will humbly submit our error and also love to have the conversation and learn from the godfathers in the space.

[02:33]

Absolutely.

[02:34]   

So, listen, man, I wanted to talk a little bit about your background before we jump into some other topics.  You have a strong background in technology and, interestingly enough, also sales. And then you founded Dialsmith in 2009.  That was an interesting point, right? Economically speaking, the U.S. was, I would say, in turmoil still from the Great Recession.  What gave you the confidence and inspiration to step out and start your own company?

[03:04]

That’s a good question.  It was really a matter of necessity more than anything.  My background is technology and sales. I didn’t start out in the market research space though I’ve been in it now for going on 20 years.  On the Dialsmith side of our business, our core technology are the perception analyzer dials that everyone in research knows from dial testing of TV pilots, presidential debates, and things like that.  Back in the 2000s, we were a division of Market Strategies, a large market research firm. It was during that time of the recession in 2009 when there were a number of smaller divisions of that company and really of others that didn’t really fit within those organizations anymore especially during that time.  So it became an opportunity for us to spin off what’s now called Dialsmith, a stand-alone business. The timing worked out really well for us because we were a small company, but as soon we got out from under a larger corporation, we were able to function is a very healthy, very profitable way as a pretty small business at the time.  We’ve certainly grown since. But we’ve had the good fortune of being profitable since the day we started, December 1, 2009: fully self-funded all along the way and have grown organically and bootstrapped all along the way. All in all, it worked out for us, but it was definitely a bit of a sketchy time.

[04:48]

Yeah, no kidding.  When you think about some of the challenges centric to operating a division of much larger organization like you did, for you to be able to step out and then be captain of your ship or master of your destiny or whatever you want to say, that had to be remarkably freeing.  

[05:06]

It was freeing and it was, of course, terrifying as well.  You’ve been in the exact same boat of starting and running your own company really from the ground up.  For me, anytime I tell this story I call it the perfect start-up because Market Strategies was a great place for us to be, and they were also an incredible partner for me when spinning off Dialsmith.  They helped me get on my feet and get the business started. We started Dialsmith with a pre-existing customer base, a pre-existing product line, and employees. So one day we switched off the light and went home, and the next morning we turned on the lights as Dialsmith, and it was business as usual.  Then we set our path for growth over the years. We had a really good, early footing. We have a great staff, many of whom are still with us today, and they were with me for the 10, even 15, years prior. Really it all comes down to the people regardless of the economic climate.

[06:18]

What was the impetus for the spin-off?  Was it is driven by the executive team? Or were guys pushing it up?  I don’t want to say a skunk works. Were you guys kind of driving that idea up to the executive team?

[06:34]

No, it came down from the executive team.  It was during the recession. I think it was really just a function of how they wanted to structure the company, going forward.  And we were a bit of a skunk works division: much smaller, kind of off to the side. I think strategically for them it was just the right time to jettison a business like that.  As you know from bigger companies, we were a relatively small division, operating in a large organization with larger corporate allocation and higher overhead, which made it challenging for us financially as a division.  As soon as we got off on our own and we were able to be structured as a pretty small team with much lower rent and weren’t carrying the allocation that goes along with a bigger company (‘cause that’s what bigger companies need to function)… We had to pull our weight.  As soon as we got out from under that, then the economics of the business instantly started to make sense. I think that Market Strategies knew that was going to happen, which is why they encouraged me and supported me through that whole transition.

[07:43]

How was the customer view going through that?  Moving out of the large and then into the smaller boutique in 2009?  Was there a concern among the customers that you were servicing around overall ability to consistently deliver quality?  And the second part of it is, from a sales and marketing view, how did the market see that?

[08:07]  

That’s a good question.  We really didn’t experience any customer push-back.  We were really diligent about the way we explained and positioned what we were doing.  As I mentioned, because we took the product line with us (we acquired all the IP – that came with us) and almost all of the staff came along, we were able to very accurately assure our customers that it’s business as usual…  you’re dealing with the same people and your getting same products and same service… You’re getting it under a new company name (really more or less was the only change to them). If anything, we picked up a little bit of positive press around that, but there was no negativity, no push-back; we didn’t lose any customers from it.  So the whole experience was positive.

[09:04]

Yeah, you’re right.  That’s like the absolute best.  That’s like a start-up in a box, right?  

[09:12]

Yeah, well, that’s the style of entrepreneur I am.  I’m not a major risk taker. I’ve known since I was a teenager that I wanted to own and run my own business.  I remember being a teenager sitting… I was younger than a teenager; I was pre-teen, sitting at the dining room table; and my father, who was also in business his whole career…  I remember he had his paper spreadsheet book – his spiral-bound, paper spreadsheet book (pre-computers, pre-Excel) – and he was using a very sharpened pencil to write all of his numbers into all of the cells on this spreadsheet.  That’s my first memory of business, and I remember just becoming fascinated with it. All through high school and college and everything was all different types of sales for me, sales and marketing. So I’ve always known that that’s the direction I was going to go in.  But I’m not a major risk taker; I’m not a grind-it-out-and-hustle kind of guy. I’m more succumbed to the feeling that businesses can be run in a healthy, productive way where everybody comes to work, does good work, but then also gets to enjoy going home and being with their families and enjoying their free time.  

So, this is the kind of business where we didn’t have to start it out under ridiculous pressure.  Because we had a good staff and a good products and great customers, we were able to just keep steady.  And it’s really been steady as she goes in the nine years since we started.

[10:46]

Yeah, well, congratulations on your success.  I love that story. I also liked the… I had forgotten this, but you resurrected the memory for me.  My grandfather used to trade stocks, right? So Sunday we’d get the paper, which would have the report on how the stocks were performing.  He’d then take that… I forget how many stocks he was monitoring, but it was a lot. I would say around 25 to 30 stocks. He would enter by hand each one of their prices into a ledger and then graph them on graph paper.  Then, after he had an adequate sample size, he would start making decisions on where he wanted to place his bets. It was completely different: I mean, talk about an analogue, an analogue world compared to how I’m tracking stocks now.  It’s been a fun transition. But I’ll tell you this: there was a connection you had with the data doing it that way that I think in a lot of ways can get overlooked, given how easy everything is nowadays.

[11:46]

Yeah, really, it’s funny ‘cause I don’t have that many memories from back in those days at all, but there’s something indelible about that one moment:  walking over to him and sitting down next to him and having never seen that giant spreadsheet before, I remember him explaining to me what it is, and how he was setting it up; he had his calculator out, doing all the math.  It wasn’t that long ago. Yeah, that was all data-based work and how he was managing the companies that he was running at the time.

[12:19]

So, let’s shift gears.  Let’s talk about podcasting.  Obviously, I’m highly passionate about this particular subject.  How long have you been listening to podcasts?

[12:29]

I’ve been listening for a pretty long time.  I’d have to say maybe five years or so. Got into them as really as something that I could do at the gym, something that I could listen to that was just more interesting than the same old music all the time.  Fortunately, I never had to drive a ton; so, I don’t listen a lot in the car. But I download them for flights, and I listen to them at the gym. It’s probably been going on about five years or so.

[13:00]   

Do you have any podcast that were that were inspirational for you in starting the Engagious podcast?

[13:07]

Maybe it’s a little cliché to say but you know what…  Ahh, ahh… Tim, ahh… His name has escaped me. Four-hour work week.  Tim.

[13:21]

Oh, ahh…  Oh, my gosh, really, come on.  All I can think of is Tim Allen.  Alright, hold on. I don’t know. It is pretty funny that I can’t…  Ferriss, Tim Ferriss. How did we not think of that?

[13:37]

Oh, my goodness!  I feel so silly. Of course!  It may be cliché to say ‘cause he’s clearly one of the largest out there, but what he’s been able to put together between a combination of long-form interviews that he then, of course, cuts down into shorter form discussions…  but then also stand-alone episodes where he picks a topic and talks about it himself, which we haven’t gotten into too much on our podcast yet. But that also has interested me. I just want to be sure that I’m covering topics where I have the authority to be of value to people as opposed to purely the value of our guests, who, I think, are far more impressive than me, which is why doing everything so far for us…  Interview-based and guest-based is what we’ve done. But I kind of look to Tim as one of the guiding lights of how to do and build an effective podcast.

Another big name one is Gary Vaynerchuk.  Gary Vaynerchuk does really with all of his media but especially what he does with his podcasts where a lot of them are done as video-recorded interviews.  So he’ll set up a camera across the table and they’ll do it as video and audio. But more and more they’re also doing audio. What he taught me – and it’s one of the things that I try to do with ours – is he taught me to look outside the bubble and to not just talk to people within our industry, but to look outside our industry to see what we can learn from others that we can then apply to what we do.  So, in the intro you mentioned I’ve interviewed comedians, and I’ve interviewed astrophysicists. That was really all by design. The main focus of our podcast is how to engage an audience. And when you think of a comedian, who has to get up on stage and make people laugh on command for seven minutes, is a pretty daunting thing to have to do, but you have to know how to control and engage an audience. We’ve tried to look far and wide for just different disciplines that we can learn from.

[15:56]

I really like how you structure your podcasts.  What evolution have you gone through? What key learnings have you applied over the ten episodes that you’ve done this year?

[16:08]

Well, I like to think I’ve gotten better.  When I go back and listen to the first few, I personally cringe.  I know all of the things that I didn’t know then that I know now. We try to make them – this probably sounds silly – we try to make them very listenable.  What we started doing after the first few episodes when we released them is we started putting a teaser at the front where we take a more compelling clip and put that right at the front before any intro or any music or anything because that’s like the subject line of an email; that’s the hook that’s hopefully going to get people to want to listen.  We try to keep the intro really brief and just get right into the meat of the discussion. We’ve been playing with different lengths as well. We talk about Tim Ferriss before, and his interviews will often run to 90 minutes to 2 hours. I’ve never done anything anywhere near that. We started out a little bit longer at about 45-50 minutes. I think we had trouble keeping listeners that long; so, we started shortening them down.  Now I shoot for around 30 minutes; some of them I deliberately structure closer to 20 minutes. So, those are really the things I’ve learned is how to structure them, how to get people hooked early, and then how to give them just the right amount of time where they’ll want to listen to the whole thing and we won’t lose their attention.

[17:35]

It’s really tricky trying to find this balance.  I think one of things I’ve noticed is if you go to a professionally structured piece of content like serial, for example, they’re very good in that they always feel the same:  length-wise, structure-, content-wise, etc. But then if you look at like a Gary V. or Gary Vaynerchuk structure, sometimes, to your point, he’s pulling just a highlight reel from the last whatever two months worth of content; other times it could be a keynote; and then other times it could be just a staff meeting that might last only ten minutes.  So you have this massive variability. I have found that one of my biggest frustration points is that I cannot track when listener drop-off occurs, right?

I tell you what, man, if this whole market research thing doesn’t work out, somebody’s got to solve that problem of content management on podcasts so that we can just get that somehow close the loop on things like new listeners, attrition, repeat, etc.  

[18:42]

Yeah, we’ve had that exact same conversation here, and it’s the one thing that makes us pull our hair out.  We know how many “downloads” we get, but we have no way to know how much people are listening. You know in our world of research, especially the work that we do where we’re tracking feedback to TV pilots and advertisements, and radio content second-by-second, that’s the world that I live in.  I want to know if there’s a trend of where I’m losing people in a podcast. And is there something about the way I’ve structured it that forces people to tune out or that’s keeping them to the end or they’re bouncing where they’re listening to the first thirty seconds and then they’re out. If there’s something out there that I’m not aware of, I’d love to know what it is, but I agree with you that’s a big thing that we’re missing as well.

[19:36]

This is probably boring the rest of the audience but a little bit more inside baseball.  I was meeting recently with the senior director of Audience Insights of NPR. He oversees podcast data as well, and you know that they have their own app and player.  So they can track all the things that you and I wish we could track. So I was talking to him about trying to get a sense of where the drop-off… and then wondering if they had found a surrogate for things like new listeners.  All the data research they had done trying to extrapolate on their own app to their broader iTunes, iHeartRadio, whatever, GooglePlay. They say it just falls apart; so, there just isn’t currently a solution that they’ve found.  I think that they’ve probably got the pockets for it, right to figure it out… that can track that piece but somebody’s going to be a billionaire when they can solve that problem.

[20:39]

That’s the next start-up idea then.  And if someone else doesn’t do it and we get frustrated enough, we just might do it ourselves.

[20:47]

There you go.  That’s awesome.  So, I think it was December 3rd you started of 2018. Talk to me about the role of personal brand and how that’s helped or maybe even gotten in the way of your business.

[21:06]

You know for us we haven’t focused too tremendously on personal brands in either division of our company, Dialsmith or Engagious.  We really try to make sure that it’s the companies that shine through and that we don’t tie the businesses to any one person or any couple of people.  So, I do host the podcast, and I’m doing more speaking now as well as my business partner, who heads up the research side of business more on the consulting side, and he’s an excellent speaker as well.  But we really try to focus more on the brand of the business, and managing two different brands is tricky. That’s been another bit of our challenge for the last year. We’re having fun doing it, but definitely some sticky moments in how to do that effectively.  So, really what I want to do is I want to establish trust; I want people to know that when they hear my name, that they can rely on what they’re going to hear; it’s going to be valuable to them. I’m obsessed with feeling like I’m delivering value and not wasting people’s time.  I think that’s the greatest disservice is if somebody was nice enough to give me a little bit of their time and listen to or either what I have to say or what I bring to them through a podcast or something, and then they feel like it wasn’t worth their time. That’s just tragic. You know really it’s trust and reliability that’s most important to me from just a personal reputation standpoint, but we focus a lot more on the company brands than we do on any individuals.

[22:48]

Do you think there’s going to be – for podcasts at least spawned this year in the market research industry, which is a pretty small industry, in general – do you think there’s going to be more podcasts that come up going into 2019 and looking forward to 2020?

[23:05]

My gut tells me that there probably will be.  The beauty of podcasting is that there’s a low barrier to entry even if you want to make sure that you do it well.  You know a good quality microphone is not that expensive and using online tools like you and I both do to record that are anywhere from free to a few bucks.  It really comes down to, “Do you have an editorial point of view?” and “Can you drive a discussion in a way that’s going to make people interested to listen?”  But the barrier to entry is very low. You don’t have to be setting up a video rig with a lot of lights; you don’t have to be uncomfortable being in front of a video camera; you don’t have to do anything on the street like man-on-the-street kind of stuff.  So I do think we’re going to see more and more of it.

The biggest trick really is diligence.  Getting started, doing a couple of episodes – that’s the easy part.  Then you realize that, if you really want to build an audience, you have to be consistent; you have to put out content regularly, and it has to measure up – it has to be valuable enough.  We’re in a cadence right now where we put out an episode every two weeks. We have enough content; we could do weekly – we just want to give ourselves enough time to let each episode breathe out in the market and be able to promote it enough so that we don’t step on one episode after another.  Our consistency right now is where we’re on every two-week-cadence. We’ll see if going into 2019 if we decide to alter that at all. I’m not sure. How often do you guys put out episodes?

[24:38]

My focus this year was figuring out how the hell to podcast.  So, the best way for me to do that was to just create as many episodes as I could.  So that was the whole meta for 2018. Kind of like your journey, when I started out, it was catastrophic.  And, fortunately, you learn through failure and you learn through success as well. We’ve gotten better and better.  We’re moving from a twice weekly to every two- week structure in 2019. My gut is telling… We’re going to do different like on-site (and this is something that you’ve done as well very effectively, I might add.) on-site interviews – that sort of thing.  I don’t know… it’s interesting ‘cause… It takes a lot of time; that’s the big problem, right? It isn’t the hardware or the software investment: it’s the focus investment. So that’s the piece that, I think, companies need to think about when they’re considering the trade-off of “Should I do it? Should I not?”  It’s very much like a trade show. The trade show itself takes time, but the prep and the trade show creative, etc. And then the post- is also… You’ve got to be committed to all three aspects of it and not just having salespeople show up and stay at a nice place. For us the big piece of learning is that (at least, we think) what the audience wants is deeper, more context, deeper conversations, more context, a few more segments.  So we’re going to move into… Next year we’ll have two different additional segments: one’s going to be HR tips and tricks for increasing overall engagement or managing up or whatever. And then we’re also going to have some technology and research tips and tricks and trends segments. So we’re breaking it up a little bit, probably going to a longer show format. Right now we’re about 20 to 30 minutes. I think we’ll probably be around 35-ish minutes with the additional segments and then adding a couple more voices in there.  I think it’d be interesting too. What do you think about… What do you think about the role of webinars and podcasts? Do you think there’s some tension that’s developing there?

[27:00]

I haven’t seen tension.  I find webinars tend to be more informative and instructive, and podcasts tend to be more informational and conversational.  We still do both, but we have a pretty natural delineation between when we want to educate versus when we want to inform. And that’s where we tend to lean more toward webinars when we want to educate.  Clearly, if you want to demonstrate something, drive an important point home, and then for podcasts we come up with our content calendar for what we think will be interesting, or things that will group well together.  We try to be informative but also make sure that there are some key take-aways. My hope is that after every episode, someone can go to work tomorrow and apply something that they got directly out of that episode and then over time I hope that it continues to unfold for them.  And they can continue to apply things as time goes by.

[28:06]

So really quick, put you on the spot:  What is one of the favorite things that you’ve taken away from your podcast

[28:11]

For me personally, it’s made me better at conversations.  It’s funny because as much as I’ve been in sales my whole career, I’m still pretty introverted.  I’m the person when I go to a conference, I’m not comfortable walking up to a group of people and just inserting myself and starting to talk.  Even though sales is my background, that’s just not the way I operate. It’s made me more comfortable having conversations on the fly because while I do script out the interviews a little bit with topics I want to cover, I try to let the conversations flow organically.  For me, that’s spilled over beyond the podcast just into how I communicate with people in general.

[29:00]

Shifting gears, a few of our guests…  (We’ve done this game, and I’m really starting to like it.)  This isn’t going to be a mainstay, but it’ll probably close out 2018, and then we’ll revisit it here in a couple of years.  I originally started it with one of our guests, Stacey Walker, the head of Insights at Adobe. It’s just sort of caught on, I guess, since there.  So here we go. If you are a VC who is investing in future technologies for market research… Let’s say that you have 10 David bucks. (It’s like the new virtual coin, right?  Everybody’s using it; it’s very popular.) So you have eight different options on where you can invest. You can distribute your 10 David bucks however you want across these options. The first one is virtual reality; the second one is augmented reality; then we have qualitative at scale, and that can be any sort of  qualitative at scale video, an LP whatever; Voice – so think about like Alex, Google Home; big data; traditional trackers; blockchain; and, I’m going to call it human intelligence or consulting. How would you distribute your 10 David bucks for a maximum ROI in five years?

[30:20]

Alright, that’s an interesting game to play.  Let’s see… The ones that jump out at me the most…  We can boil it down a little bit more from there.

VR, certainly – it is a little bit slower to ramp up than maybe some people thought it would, but it’s a huge culture shift for people who have to consume content, at least currently, inside of goggles.  But the potential there is off the charts. If we’re speaking especially about market research, specifically there are things you can do in VR that would have been impossible or incredibly expensive to do otherwise.  So we’d definitely put some there.

I think AR has tremendous possibilities as well when you can put people in these environments or put things in front of people that would be virtually impossible to do otherwise.  VR, AR – I would absolutely invest in.

I think Voice…  Voice is huge. Speaking specifically about market research, maybe not as much about just in the industry in general as you look at what Alexa and Google Home are doing.  So, specifically for market research, I might not put too much in voice, but I do think in general Voice is huge.

Qual at scale, especially since you mention video – absolutely, without a doubt, especially you look at what the likes of Voxpopme and others are doing.  I think that’s a big one. So, VR, AR, Qual at scale.

Then I would put the rest into number 8, human intelligence.  I just don’t think that we can afford to take the human element out of everything that we need to do.  Machines are great at telling you what people think; there’s not so great at telling you “why.” And you didn’t have AI on your list.  AI probably belongs in this conversation as well. That will certainly begin to help us automatically understand the “why,” but I don’t think you can beat the human intelligence when it comes to converting “what” into “why.”  And ultimately, “why” is what matters.

[32:35]

Yeah, my very first brand interview was with Rogier Verhuls at LinkedIn.  And he had this great quote that I’ve referenced a lot: “Research has to be about the ‘So what’ and ‘Now what,’ ”  It’s really kind of tethering it back to this concept of ROI and then contextualizing the data or the insights so that the executive knows what in the heck it means relative to the decision.  

[33:01]

Yeah, absolutely.  In the end, that’s all that matters, and that’s where human intelligence always comes into play for me.  

[33:09]

I’m a big believer in Voice having a material impact on our industry especially as it impacts our customers.  My thesis is that… (Like you, I think we’re similar in age; we remember the pre-internet days, right?) My thesis is that if you can remember the 90s where this internet was a sort of thing.  You really didn’t have a… didn’t know what to do with it. And then it evolved to be, obviously, one of the backbones, actually probably the backbone of information… is the backbone of information.  Today it’s actually replaced the father-child relationship in many ways to find out how to get something done. Then you think about the iPod and then later the iPhone. The initial use case for the iPhone was music, and you could do talking stuff.  And that was kind of the initial phases in 2006 and 2007. Voice right now is functioning a lot in the same sort of narrative. My hunch is that Voice, because it is passive in the way that we interact with it (We can do other stuff like drive or work out at the gym as you said)…  It starts getting really interesting because the opportunity for us as researchers to intercept and get feedback – whether it’s a post-utilization of a skill or app – gets really powerful ‘cause you can get that feedback in real time. Along with it comes things like sentiment, obviously natural language processing, etc.  But I haven’t seen market research, and I know again this is early days. I just think that once it hits, it’s going to be at scale quick and too late for brands to start paying attention or adjusting their strategies around it.

[35:06]

It’s a lot like what has happened with video.  I think video has really started to take root especially with regards to gathering feedback.  Voice is actually trailing a bit because with video you can see people’s expressions and you can read their faces and learn so much more than just voice, but like we were talking about with podcasts earlier, voice is so much more ubiquitous.  And you can do it anywhere, and you don’t worry about what do you look like or “Where am I?” or “What’s around me?” I think it’s interesting to see what’ll be to come.

[35:44]

Yeah, for sure, because voice has this – to your point – has this uniqueness of getting as close as you can, before we can do mind reading, to giving feedback to the experience because it’s passive.  You can keep both hands on your shopping cart while you’re pushing your kids and looking for groceries at Walmart and then still give feedback. There’s not another way to be able to garner that feedback other than voice.  Who knows how the big boys are going to…? I know that Neilson has recently started adding it into their reports, their quarterly reports, and there are a few other companies that are rattling sabers about it. But it’ll be interesting to see how 2019 shakes out and if voice becomes a centerpiece for the new tech companies that evolve or existing large companies that create units around it or product solutions around it.

[36:42]

Yeah, absolutely, I agree.

[36:44]

I am curious about the two-brand strategy:  Engagious and Dialsmith. Is there a rationale to try and combine those?  Or is it Google and Yahoo? Or, I’m sorry… Or is it Google and YouTube, is what I meant, sorry.

[37:00]

In some cases, we serve two different kinds of clients, and in other cases, we overlap.  So, Dialsmith was the original business, and we’re often hired by other research firms or large research divisions within large companies.  Then, Engagious being more of a consultancy, we are not generally competing against Dialsmith clients. We were pretty deliberate about not wanting to do that.  Because Engagious is so kind of laser-focused on communications, messaging, storytelling, we don’t find that we compete very often, which is important to us. But we do want the market to know that Dialsmith does what does with regard to dial testing tools in person, online, mobile, and then Engagious is all about engaging audiences with content and messages and stories.  So we deliberately kept the brands pretty separate so far in the market, and, while we do cross-pollinate a little bit and we don’t make any secrets about it (I’m talking about it openly right now.), we just find through our marketing activities it’s cleaner to keep the two separate because we do tend to serve different areas of the market.

[38:29]

I like that a lot.  I think that the clarity around brand creates this opportunity to punch through on what the products are as opposed to potentially getting enveloped in a larger brand, creating some confusion around what the product or solutions are that you’re bringing to market and how customers are relate to you.

[38:50]

Yeah, it can get really muddy.  I just imagine if we tried to set up a combined Engagious & Dialsmith website.  I think the task would drive me crazy. Dialsmith could certainly be thought of as a technology division of Engagious as a consultancy, but they’re both really niche and on the smaller side generally speaking.  Having them each stand alone on their on two feet with their own brands and their own messaging seems to be the right strategy for now, and we’ll see what the future holds.

[39:26]

So, David, tell us a little bit about what it is your company is offering now and what’s finding purchase in the marketplace.

[39:37]

What we’re offering now is we’ve definitely capitalized on the storytelling trend and especially storytelling related to market research, whether it’s telling stories with data or through data visualization or using narrative as a way to communicate as opposed to just bullet points or taking people some kind of an outline or an overview. So a lot of what we’re building through Engagious are these frameworks that can be used to take all kinds of communications and put those into more of a storytelling-type of narrative so that you can take people on a journey; you can pull those emotional levers when necessary in order to communicate a story and in order to try to influence, you know, and move a market in one direction or another.  At least on the Engagious side of the business, that’s been our big focus for this year. I think a lot of that’ll continue going into next year as well.

[40:44]

My guest today has been David Paull, CEO of Engagious and Dialsmith.  David, thanks very much for joining me today on the Happy Market Research podcast.   

[40:51]

Jamin, it’s been my pleasure.  Thanks so much for having me.

[40:53]

And thank you everyone who’s been tuning in.  As always you can subscribe on the platform of your choice.  I particularly listen to iTunes reviews. Love them, share them, take the time.  It is how we spread the word about and get fantastic guests like David Paull. Thanks very much and have a great rest of your day.