Welcome to the 2019 IIEX North America Conference Series. Recorded live in Austin, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Casey Bernard, Marketing Research Consultant and Podcast Producer at Nimble Modern Radio.

Contact Casey Online:

LinkedIn

Nimble Modern Radio


[00:00]

This guest, Casey Bernard, Nimble Modern Radio, is one of the top conversations I’ve had.   I think, obviously, that podcasting has a very relevant place inside of market research, specifically around storytelling at scale.  Actually, producing and then distributing your content so that it can be consumed by your constituents inside of your organization when and where they want is really, really important.  It helps educate your audience and your constituents prior to coming together as a group and can actually create a major shortcut with getting everybody on the same page and then moving the business forward, empowering the insights.  I hope you find a lot of value in this particular interview. Please look her up. She has an amazing business that is flourishing, and anything that we can do to help this particular company as an Insights Nation would be greatly appreciated.  Enjoy.

[01:03]  

Nimble Modern Radio, Breaking Research is the name of the podcast; Casey is the name of the founder and host.  It is an honor to have another podcaster on my show. So thanks so much.

[01:17]  

Sure, thanks for having me.  

[01:18]  

We are live at IIEX here in Austin.  Have you been to the show before?

[01:23]  

I have not.   

[01:24]

What do you think?

[01:24]

It’s great.  It’s my hometown.  So it was really convenient.  

[01:27]   

You’re actually based in Austin?

[01:28]

Yeah.  

[01:29]  

Well, this is super easy for you.

[01:29]

Yeah.       

[01:30]

OK, got it.  When did you start the business?          

[01:33]

Well, I was Nimble Market Research for a while.  I’ve been on my own since about 2009 as a qualitative moderator.  And last year, I started thinking about podcasting because I have been moonlighting for a couple of years doing a podcast with a friend of mine, who has a YouTube channel and we talk about knitting.  So, that podcast has been successful, and I thought how can I incorporate my two jobs, basically. So I started thinking… exploring podcasts for marketing research. And so, last year, I decided to transfer into a podcast production company, I guess we’d say.    

[02:12]

I mean it’s a big leap.  Podcaster jumping… They’re growing right now but, honestly, in this space, there’s not a lot of appreciation for the value that they create.  

[02:23]

Right.

[02:24]  

The connection that can be made with a listener is remarkable in this format versus, honestly, any other format:  YouTube, social media. It’s just a totally unique opportunity to connect. My theory – and I’m interested in your perspective on this – is that it’s because we help occupy the brain during times of monotony.  It’s like: tune in, I’m mowing the lawn (It’s like my go-to example), do my honey-does, or it’s my 51 minutes a day that I commute, whatever it is. There’s like that voice is in my ear and I kind of look forward to it.   

[03:00]

Yeah, you feel like friends.  

[03:03]

Yeah, exactly, exactly.

[03:04]

Yeah, well, I’m taking it from kind of a different angle because, for research purposes, so many people are asking for “Just give me like the 5-minute download” or “I don’t have time to read…”  or “I don’t want to ready another 100-page PowerPoint slide.” Like you’re hearing that more and more at conferences. So, it was like how can we give that 5-minute download, but maybe you’re on a plane, traveling for work, or you’re commuting into work that day.  You don’t want to look at the PowerPoint deck. You can listen to the insights and then you can also hear the voices of the people that we interviewed and the real voice of the consumer in your ear. So it’s allowing you to connect to those consumers that you’re trying to understand.  So…   

[03:43]

That’s interesting.  So, you’re taking consumer interviews and consolidating it and then feeding that in the format of a podcast to the customer.

[03:52]

To the client.  So the end-client gets, instead of a top line report, or along with your PowerPoint deck, you’re getting a top line podcast.  Or I just recently did a project where we did personas. And so, each persona… We did a profile podcast episode for each of those personas.  And so, it was the story of those people that we talked to with their actual voices.  

[04:11]

Is it like an NPResque, journalistic deliverable or is it just a collage of the…?

[04:21]      

The voices.  It’s narrated.  So, it’s like, “Here’s what we did and here’s who we talked to and here’s what they liked” and then quotes from the people; “Here’s what they didn’t like,” quotes from the people and other key findings.  And so, it’s narrated, yeah.

[04:36]

Tell me about your favorite project.

[04:37]

This one that I just did with this persona project was really fun because it kind of took a little pushing to get the client to do this and then we delivered it, instead of on a PowerPoint, we created a website with password protected.  And so, they were able to have kind of a living, breathing place for the podcast to live; we added like a media gallery; and so, there’s downloads so they can put up there. It just really came to life. And what has been exciting is to see the client go out and present it to the teams internally.  And they’ve come up with some creative ways of presenting it: so, they’re going out and doing the roadshow to introduce the personas to people, and they then have a banner with the picture of the persona with a QR code, and you can click on that and download the podcast. So then you’re getting to know the persona through the podcast.       

[05:24]

So tell me a little bit about what your terms of trade look like for that kind of deliverable.

[05:30]

What do you mean by terms of trade?

[05:32]

How much does it cost?

[05:33]

Oh.  Well, it really depends.  It’s about the same as your report costs because, instead of doing a PowerPoint deck and doing all the graphics and stuff like that, we’re just doing the editing services.  So it depends on how much of that we have to do, if we’re doing it from scratch, or if we’re doing it as part of a full project.

[05:50]  

I heard an interview with [Werner] Volges, the CTO of Amazon, recently, and in that interview, he was talking about how Amazon, at the executive level, has boycotted or has an embargo on any PowerPoint presentations or any presentations at all.  And this has been from the early, early days, right? It’s like a sneak peek under the hood. Instead what they’ve done is they’ve replaced it with a six-page paper. And so, what they’ll do is that they’ll spend the first 20 to 25 minutes of the meeting in total silence reading the paper; everybody gets on, like educated and onboard with what the thesis is and the rationale.  And then they have a productive conversation. And the reason that they do it that way is because in a PowerPoint presentation, it feels interactive. And so, the executive… but yet the audience is uninformed. You couldn’t be answering that question in three slides, but now you got to answer it. You see what I mean?

[06:45]  

Yeah.

[06:45]

So they found it very disruptive and much more productive in just being quiet for 25 minutes, processing a piece of information, taking notes, and then having a discussion.  If feels like podcasts could start facilitating that conversation.

[06:58]  

Exactly, and that’s what one of the first podcasts I did for another researcher took that same concept because they were going to a workshop.  And so, they did the research; we created podcasts for them to listen to before the workshop; so, you come in informed. And you got to get a sense of the interviews and a sense of what we already talked about, but we’re going to go workshop it after this.  

[07:20]

So, Casey, when was your “Aha” moment with respect to the power of podcasts?  

[07:25]

Like for me personally or…?  Oh, gosh, I’ve been listening for years to This American Life.  And then, I started saying like… One of things that you brought up in your presentation that I did in a presentation as well is like I remember stuff from podcasts so much better than if I read the article.  It’s partly because your brain’s forced to kind of create a picture in your mind. So that was an “Aha” moment but then when I was at QRCA two years ago, a friend of mine was like, “You should do this for research.”  So then I spent that week, thinking about all the different ways we can use it. And there’s more than just deliverables. You know I was saying you can use it for your secondary research. There’s so many niche podcasts out there.  There’s a podcast for like every disease condition. And I had an “Aha” moment about that because there’s a guy here in Austin who’s doing a show on Friends with Deficits.  It’s friends with rare diseases.  I thought if I was doing research on this rare condition, it would be really hard to find those people.  Well, here’s this guy sharing a story on a podcast. So, exploring podcasts for your secondary research is a huge opportunity as well.          

[08:33]   

If you think about your business model, it’s very interesting.  Is every project custom or is there some like scalable product or productization opportunity?

[08:44]

That’s where I’m kind of trying to figure that out right now since I’ve only been doing it for a few months.  Right now, it’s been very custom, but I’m trying to scale it and see if it can be a packaged kind of thing.

[08:54]  

Insights Nation, if you have an idea on this subject, I know that Casey at Nimble MR would love the opportunity to interact with you, to have at least a conversation.

[09:04]

Yep.

[09:05]

You know I keep coming back to probably the best thing to do is just start as opposed to try to figure it all out.  So, if I’m an internal brand person or if I’m an agency person and I have a deliverable to a customer, tacking on a few thousand dollars for a professionally produced podcast is relatively low risk, and it might actually be something that differentiates you for the next year to two years until the rest of the market figures it out ‘cause I promise you…  In a lot of ways, I invented online surveys. It sounds audacious to say that but it’s the f****** truth. I can’t help it. I’m not like bragging about it; it’s just the truth. And I recognized that in 1996. And the same way with mobile surveys: Kristin Luck, Jayme Plunkett, myself brought that to life in 2006. We’ve been ahead of the curve on a number of different fronts.  And I can tell you the truth that podcasts from a consumption, of insights-consumption perspective is absolutely the future. It’s just a question of if you’re going to be a laggard on the adoption side or if you’re going to start experimenting now to be one of the early adopters and ultimately partake in what will be the mass consumption of insights in that format. So my encouragement to you, Insights Nation, at least have a conversation.  (She’s nodding vigorously.) Casey would love to talk to you about it. Again, I kind of like forward look, and my cast there is you’re probably looking at five different products that are, so to speak, off the shelf with a high level of service associated with each one of them ‘cause telling a story is actually… So, there’s two big needs that I hear from every brand interview that I’ve ever done. One of those big needs is storytelling consistently.  If you listen to NPR regardless of your political stance, they do a hell of a good job of collapsing information in a consumable way that moves you to thought or moves you to action. And by you applying those journalistic principles to your insights, you now increase the size of your lever to move the organization based on those findings, which has an exponential impact on those dollars spent for the brand on that particular answer or the sets of answers.  I know that’s a hard pitch, guys, but I’m just telling you the truth. I mean you don’t have to do it. I tell people this all the time; I’m like, “Do you want to be on the podcast?” And sometimes they’ll look at me like, “Oh, I’m scared,” or whatever. And I’m like, “My question really is ‘Do you want more customers?’” I mean that’s the question that I’m asking them, and I tell them that. And if they say, “No” or they’re too afraid, I’m like, “That’s fine.”  You know, I move on. But the reality is this is a hell of a good platform for people to be able to engage with their audience and engage with insights. I really hope that people take advantage of it.

[11:52]

Yeah, well, thanks.  You’re seeing it what I said ‘cause NPR even shows that you can do it not just qualitative/quantitative.  There are so many stories there that are based on data. Every story about a poll or any kind of science research has data in it.  So, you can make it and you can make it shareable and interview your scientists and your researchers and make it more interesting than a PowerPoint deck.  

[12:15]

TD Waterhouse, I was talking to her about it, and she’s like, “Oh, that’s so interesting you doing a podcast.  My CEO consumes about an hour a day of podcast while he goes on a walk. And I asked, “How much time to you get with the CEO?”  “Not very much, not very much at all.” But now you could be in his ear for ten minutes a week. What’s the value of that?

[12:37]

Oh, yeah.

[12:39]  

That’s a big deal.

[12:42]

And if he sends that to your team and the whole sales team has to listen to your thing.  The sales team is not going to read your 100-page PowerPoint deck.

[12:48]

Even the one-page PowerPoint.

[12:50]

Even the email.

[12:51]

They’re not going to open the email.  Exactly. I had a friend of mine; she’s the CHRO for a very large hospital chain.  And she was trying to figure out how to activate insights and really kind of like put insights in the front of the organization.  This is like big: thousands and thousands of employees; I forget how many, but massive. And she wound up doing a 60-second video that was sent through email.  That was an improvement, but it was still not all the way there. And, again, I think, such another great example of an opportunity to be able to just disseminate information at scale.  

Anyway, alright.  Casey, how do people get in contact with you?   

[13:27]

My website is NimbleMR.com.

[13:30]

Thanks for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.

[13:33]

Thanks.