Ep. 213 – MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series – Brian Lamar – EMI Research Solutions

Welcome to the MRMW NA 2019 Conference Series. Recorded live in Cincinnati, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Brain Lamar, VP of Insights at EMI Research Solutions.

Contact Brian Online:

LinkedIn

EMI Research Solutions


[00:00]

Live at MRMW in Cincinnati, I did a series of interviews on the show floor with both exhibitors and speakers.  Brian Lamar happened to be by. He’s a fellow podcaster as well as EMI Research Solutions. Tell you what… For me, it was a lot of fun having an opportunity to just riff with him the state of pcs, where the white space is for our industry, and utilizing podcasts as well as the viral video that PureSpectrum put out fairly recently, featuring David Butler’s first foray into the entertainment industry.  Hope you enjoy our banter.     

[00:42]  

Brian Lamar, EMI Research Solutions, I really enjoy…  In fact, I wrote a blog post where I talked about your podcast.

[00:52]  

Did you?

[00:53]  

I did, I did.

[00:54]  

I got to find that.

[00:55]

I’ll obviously send it to you.  You, Adam have been doing the podcast for quite a while.  Adam, of course, was on the show earlier. Maybe tell the listeners exactly how they can find the podcast.  

[01:08]

Yeah, it’s called Intellicast, and we wouldn’t do it without a marketing team.  If it was just Adam and I, it would never happen. So, we had the idea probably a year and a half ago.  It’s mostly market research, but we goof off a ton; so, I like to call it half market research news and discussion and then half like morning radio show.  It’s a little bit different than yours; you’re a very professional interviewer and good at your job. We’re not as good at that; we’re more… We’re probably better at the fun stuff.  [laughter] Cause we get boring, alright?

[01:35]   

Well, I get boring.  That’s for sure. What is one of the moments where you’re like “Gosh, I really can’t wait to edit that piece out of the podcast”?    

[01:43]

A lot of it is we goof off so much, and we don’t know what direction we’re going.  So, we don’t have nearly the guests that you have. We just talk sometimes. Like we had David Butler, a coworker of yours, on yesterday. And we just talked about college basketball; we talked about news; we talked about PureSpectrum a little bit.  And sometimes we just go off on these tangents. The embarrassing thing for me is that people feel like they really know me because I…

[02:10]  

Because they do.  There’s a bunch of data – and I mean this.  There’s volumes of data that has been produced.  Podcast.net actually releases it at scale. If you’re not tuning in to that podcast, it’s a two-minute daily briefing on industry happenings in the podcasting world.  But there is an emotional connection that the audience makes because they hear your voice in their ear. I know this sounds silly to make those obvious connections. But you think about the context of when a podcast is consumed and it’s usually when you’re doing…  It’s always multi-tasking. So, you never go home, sit down, listen to a podcast, right? So that means that the times that you’re involved in that person’s life is when… usually the points of drudgery or boredom. But they still have to focus: so, driving, commuting, mowing the lawn, basic household chores, honey-does, whatever.  You’re actually occupying their mind as their hands go or their bodies go through some routine. And so, there’s an emotional connection that is actually very deep that you make with the audience that, I think that we are just starting to appreciate that power. And so, you’re right: You can meet somebody that you’ve never met before, and they will feel like they know you.  And you know why? They kind of do.

[03:28]

To me, that’s the greatest part of this.  I’m kind of an introvert. That’s the greatest advantage of doing a podcast.  It’s also kind of a disadvantage. And something that is really embarrassing for me is that people come up to me.  It’s awesome for me because we have an icebreaker, right? “Oh, I heard you on the podcast and I know that you’re a Kentucky basketball fan.  And I know that you like to eat pie,” for example. It’s just easier for conversation, but also, I feel like I’m out there a lot. So it’s a little uncomfortable and awkward.  So that’s probably my most embarrassing moment. It’s probably not on the air, is that people knowing a little bit, getting inside a little bit too much. Do you experience that?     

[04:02]

So, there’s two benefits of running a podcast.  For me, personally, I’m innately an introvert. When Jayme Plunkett and myself started Decipher back in 2000 and Kristin Luck left OTX in 2007, a company she had founded with Shelley Zalis, we recognized straight away there was a big opportunity to partner with her.  And so, we acquired her company, and then the three of us drove to successful outcomes through Decipher. But the whole thesis of that acquisition was Jayme and I hated… We’ll solve your problem, but we’re not going to go to cocktail hour. Like that for me is terrifying.           

[04:39]

That’s me.  Yeah.

[04:40]

Like I’ll start sweating.  I’m that guy, right? And so, what’s been really nice is, all of a sudden…  It’s almost selfish because I get more out of the podcast than anybody else because it’s enabled me to work on that introvert and develop a level of confidence where I can go sit down at a table and have a conversation with people.  And this is why, is because I’ve realized the power of a question, which is so stupid over two decades in market research. But all I have to do is say, “Hey, I’m, Jamin. What’s your name? Where are you from?” And then I can literally go down the routine of “How did you get into market research?  What do you see as the three characteristics of an All-Star Employee?” I can occupy a conversation, fill about 20% of it, and the person will have an engaged experience.

[05:29]

Right. [Jamin laughs.]  That’s amazing. I feel like we have a lot of similar qualities.  I’m the same way. It just helps with that, in the introvert in me as well.  

[05:36]  

Yeah, for sure.  Maybe the real hack here is if you’re introverted, want to be extroverted?  Start a podcast.

[05:42]

Well, it’s probably easier for me because I have a co-host, who’s not an introvert.  

[05:46]

Adam is the opposite.

[05:50]

Yeah, so he’s the one that goes to the cocktail hour, and he’s the one that kind of leads the show.  And sometimes I can just pepper in conversations, and I can think about it. I tend to try to take more time to think about things.  That’s where I get into trouble. If I shout out whatever I’m thinking, then that wouldn’t be a very good podcast.

[06:04]

So, I spoke with Adam and Sima Vasa, who has Data Gurus, other podcast I recommended in the market research space, about the possibility of monetizing podcasts in the form of advertisements.  I have had a hell of a time getting sponsors for the podcast. We have three or four, which I am… Attest, Schlesinger, right, two great partners for us. But, broadly speaking, you can’t make a living as a podcaster.  

[06:35]

No, not in our industry probably.  We would have to expand a little bit.

[06:39]

But like, conversely, and I’m not going to ask you unless you’re willing to, which I’d love you to share.  On an episode for us, (and we’re grinding all the time; we’ve just released at least over a hundred episodes.)

[06:50]   

Yeah, that’s crazy.

[06:51]

Starting in June.  8/8 was our first episode drop, but we actually started the episodes in June.  We’re about between 400 and sometimes we’ll hit 500 downloads per episode within about a month period of time.  And I don’t feel like that’s very much to be honest with you. I’m like, “Why it is not a lot more?”

[07:09]      

Agree.  Our numbers are somewhat similar to that.  I think we’ve been around a little bit longer than you have, but you have a much bigger brand name than we did probably.  I mean most people know who you are. Yet it seems small to me. A lot of it is the challenge of – maybe you have mastered this or figured it out – is that it’s really hard to aggregate all of the numbers that cross Soundcloud and iTunes and all the different, various forms.       

[07:31]

What do you host with?

[07:33]

Whatever you do?

[07:34]

Libsyn?

[07:35]

Oh, I don’t even know.

[07:36]

Blubrry, blubrry.  I just converted last week from Libsyn to Blubrry.  Next week we’ll launch our new website. So, I’m super excited about that.  I mean that’s an interesting point that you’re making, and that is there’s not a good data…  We don’t have a lot of data on the audience. So, we don’t know the number of new subscribers. We can’t track attrition.  We can’t track number of downloads by user.

[07:59]

I don’t even know if people listen to the end of the episode.  We make jokes throughout. If you’re listening, let me know.

[08:06]  

Yeah, totally.  … podcasts. I’ve been consuming them for years.  That’s one of the things we could do a better job of, personally, is create some Easter egg at the end… free giveaway, right?  [laughter]

[08:19]  

Back to your original question about sponsors.  We don’t have any sponsors. My joke is that we’re going to eventually secede from EMI, and Intellicast will be its own brand, similar to how you’ve kind of done it, is that Intellicast will secede from EMI and make billions of dollars with our – I call it – dozens of listeners.  

[08:34]

[laughter] Dozens of listeners, I love it.  I mean, gosh, that’s so funny. But this is what’s interesting, is like the connection that the guests can make to the consumer, the listener, the audience is, I believe, much deeper that you get in a webinar.  I don’t know if you’ve participated in many webinars.

[08:51]  

Yes, I have.

[08:51]

OK, so what percentage of your time is multi-tasking in a webinar.  Like when you’re participating… What I mean by “participate” is like as an observer not as a… doing the webinar.  

[09:02]

50%.

[09:03]   

At least.  As soon as you get an email, you’re responding to it.  100% of the time.

[09:08]

Checking my phone, having a personal conversation.  

[09:11]  

Exactly.  Get up, go away, come back, right?  The problem with the webinar is that it does require… It usually requires a video element.  So now you’ve got this multi-modal engagement and also, it’s synchronous. So, it happens in context of time.  So now you’ve got three elements that are really important for it to be a maximized return of time. This is my point, right?  And you look at the audience sizes of like IIEX’s, you pick on the brand that’s doing the webinars, they’re ten grand. It’s ten grand to do an episode.  I’m not saying it’s not a good value. I’m just saying that… (And this is what I think what your point about making billions of dollars on the is really funny but it also…)  I didn’t really think this was true that smart brands in our space are going to start picking it up. I’ve had… (And this is not an exaggeration.) I’ve had eight, like eight, like inbounds from LinkedIn who have told me, “Thank you so much for the podcast.”  These are big companies. “We use it to curate new, perspective vendors.”

[10:17]

That’s awesome.  That’s great.

[10:20]

I’m thinking why the f***, if I have brand, you know what I would do?  When my new company launches, this is the truth of it, you and Sima and a few others are my first calls for “How much does it cost to be on the pc?”  100%.

[10:35]

I don’t get it either.  [laughter] No idea why people don’t do that because I know that …  People tell me and I know that entire offices listen to our podcast. Why wouldn’t you want get your name out?

[10:47]

There’s a CEO that reached out to me in our industry of a good sized company and they’ve growing rapidly.  He reached out to me and many of his staff, they do a monthly book club where they consume the podcast and then they meet as a group and they talk about, they pull out what they thought was the best part of it and how they can apply…  So, you know…

[11:06]

Oh, wow!

[11:07]  

Yeah, right.  And that’s where he gets like the real intentionality of a podcast is you as a host you can actually draw in value for the listener.  And so, you ask strategic questions like “What is the one problem you wish market researchers would solve for you today?” And now, all of a sudden, you’re at EMI, you’re thinking, “Holy Moly!  I can solve that problem. Here I am.”

[11:29]

What a sales vehicle!  I don’t really think like that.  Like when I’m on the podcast, I’m interviewing somebody.  I want to get to know them. I’m just curious. I want to help promote them because, for me, I kind of feel like I’m doing them a favor.    

[11:41]

Absolutely, and you are.  And they’re not paying you.

[11:43]

Right, exactly.  So, that’s how I think about it.  Hopefully, Michael Holmes is not listening to this.  But I should think about it, how we could better leverage it from like a sales perspective, lead generation.  But I don’t know, maybe, that’s…

[11:55]

It’s all tactical.  And you got to think, at the end of the day, you got to do two things:  You got to add value and you got to be where people are. And that’s where I see we’re all very fortunate that we’ve been earlier into the game of podcasting in the market research space.  I love tuning in to you guys; you’re a regular part of my commute.

[12:12]

Oh, thank you.

[12:13]

I can’t wait to hear the David Butler drop.  

[12:15]

Oh, yeah.  David Butler spent a good 30 minutes with us yesterday.

[12:19]

That’s a long time on your show.

[12:20]

Yeah, that is.  It was great to have him in-studio.  (Well, I call it in-studio. We have a little bitty conference room that we do it in.)  It was great to have him. We do an interview just completely separate, somewhat similar to how you do your interviews.  And we goof off before and after. But he got to goof off with us a little bit. So that was actually more fun because you know how witty and smart he is.  

[12:40]

He’s probably one of the smartest and funniest people that I’ve…

[12:43]

Absolutely. Well, we talked about the Mars.  I did my top four favorite things about the Mars video.

[12:49]

Oh, I bet he loved that.

[12:50]

Hopefully, he did.  He was not one of the top four things although he wrote most of it.

[12:55]

[laughter]  Actually, he did.  That was quite literally the David Butler.  I thought it was one of the top… Actually, I’m going to pull back.  I’m going to say that I can’t think of another video that’s ever been produced in our space that’s funnier.  

[13:08]

I got so lucky that this came out on April 1st.  I saw Michael McCrary on April 2nd at Quirks in Chicago.  And I got fortunate to spend 20 minutes with him lost on Navy Pier in Chicago, trying to find the Quirks conference.  He was kind of stuck with me. I was asking him questions, and I was telling about the video. Like I watched it three times.  So, hopefully, he was proud about that.

[13:29]

You’ll love this.  This is a little bit further inside baseball.  So, we’re having a meeting and talking to the director of the…  They did a great job of the production.

[13:40]

Amazing!  

[13:41]

Anyway, I’ll actually in this show, I’ll drop their information in the show notes in case other people want to use them.  But anyway, so, and David Butler started the meeting with, “You know what I’d like to do? Let’s just take a minute and talk about our favorite parts of the script that I wrote.”  [laughter] I swear to God! Holy sh** this is really happening right now. Anyways, so it was like…

[14:03]

Here’s how much I love David Butler.  Who loves David Butler’s writing more than the next person?  

[14:09]

Right, that’s right.  And that’s going to be…  [laughter]

[14:14]

Right.  It was well-written.

[14:14]

It was super well-written.  And that’s why I got to make fun of him just because I’m jealous of his mad skills.    

[14:21]

Well, hopefully, this is a continuing thing for you guys.  You’ll do another video. Now, you’ve set the bar high.

[14:26]

Hey, listen.  I’m not kidding when I say it was 100% him.  I was literally blown away… the quality. And you know what’s funny too?  He doesn’t actually like The Office or watch it.  

[14:39]

Oh, my God.  What?

[14:39]

How did that not even come up?  Like literally he will not watch The Office.  

[14:43]

How is that possible?

[14:44]

Maybe, he’s seen a part of an episode.  

[14:48]

That had so many like…  Oh, clearly, this is someone inspired by The Office.

[14:51]

Not even once, not even a little bit.  He hates The Office.

[14:53]

Well, one of my favorite four moments was when Michael McCrary was going up and down with his desk.  He says it’s just right and blah, blah, blah because that’s what I do at work. We’re fortunate to have those desks that go up and down.  And so, I totally empathize with that. So it hit the spot with me.

[15:08]

So many funny jokes I want to make right now, but I’m not going to in the interest of cleanliness.  [laughter] EMI Research Solutions, you guys have a base here at…

[15:18]

We do not.  We’re just kind of wandering around and taking in the content.  

[15:19]

Alright, good.  What do you think?  Is this your first year?  

[15:21]

My first time.  Well, first of all, it’s my first time to going to a conference that’s in my hometown.  So, it’s kind of great to be able to sleep in my own bed tonight for once, but also, it’s kind of weird.  But the conference is great. Great speakers.

[15:32]

Do you have an extra room?

[15:33]

Do I have an extra room?  No extra room ‘cause I have a bulldog, and a wife, and a 17-year-old.

[15:39]

Yeah, I see what’s happening here.  OK, go ahead.

[15:41]

I’m enjoying the conference.  My first time here. I’m glad it’s in Cincinnati, and I love the speakers.  Gayle Fuguitt is amazing and just looking forward to the rest of the content.       

[15:51]

Yeah, there’s two things I like about the show.  And I think it’s a big improvement over last year’s although this is my first year.  I’m just going on hearsay last year. And that is that the exhibit hall is in the middle of traffic.  So, in order to enter into the event, you have to go through the exhibit hall. And the exhibit hall is a nice, tight structure.  You know what I mean? You can’t get lost. There’s not a bad spot per se, maybe that one way over there, but other than that…  But even that’s not bad because you’re going to have the food.  You know what I mean? So there’s not really a bad spot on the floor.  Do you think you’ll exhibit next year?

[16:21]

We may.  We finally have a marketing person who produces our podcasts.  We probably will have a booth at some point. This would be a good spot to have it.  This reminds me of a little bit of Quirk’s. Have you been to a Quirk’s?

[16:30]

Oh, yeah.  

[16:30]

And so, I love how they have the vendor hall; it’s the center of the…  That’s how they keep the prices down, is to have a lot of vendors, right?  So, I loved Quirk’s because it had so many different booths; so, you had to wander through and that’s where the center of attention was.  Similar here: you have to walk through here. I want to talk to the people that are exhibiting in the booths, and, I think, hopefully everybody does.  

[16:49]

No, I totally agree.  Thank you to the exhibitors for doing it.  MRMW: the quality of the speakers. We just heard from Gayle at Four Square.  So much value. And then was it the Chief Insights and Data Officer at Proctor & Gamble.  So, that’s a big deal. His was great as well. I wish it was a little bit longer. I wish I had the opportunity to…  Hopefully, can interview him actually. But, anyway, so yeah, it was just a great opening for Day 1.

[17:20]

Well, thank you for having me.  I appreciate it.

[17:22]

Thank you, sir.

[17:22]

Thanks.