IIeX North America 2019 Podcast Series

IIeX NA 2019 Conference Series – Forrest Sallee – Invoke

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 Forrest Sallee, Sales Director at Invoke

Contact Forrest Online:




Forrest with Invoke.  Invoke has built a unique, consumer-driven, decision-making platform.  I actually have never come across anything exactly like this before. It’s worth taking a look at their website.  You can find that information in the show notes. Forrest is a fantastic guest. We had some interesting back-and-forth regarding the new venue with IIEX and their U.S. location in Austin.  Hope you find this to be a fun, entertaining, and also educational episode.


So, my guest today is Forrest, big qual decisions.  Invoke is the name of the company. Thank you so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.  


Thank you so much for having me.


So, tell me a little bit about your experience at IIEX in Austin this year.  


I love IIEX.  This is actually my second year.  I was here two years ago back in Atlanta, and so far it’s going great this year as well:  having some great conversations. I love the energy of this show in particular. I enjoy conferences in general but sort of the forward-looking, innovation aspect of IIEX is, I think, is really special, and you just got a lot of time to really have in-depth conversations with a lot of folks.  


Yeah.  Are you guys exhibiting?


We are.


Where are you?


Over in the south gallery.  We are right by the coffee.


Be honest.  What do you think about the new show floor, the exhibit floor?


I like it just fine.       


Yeah, good.


Yeah, yeah.  I only have one other show to compare it to in terms of IIEX, but I think it’s great.  I’m enjoying it. You have different levels and breakout rooms. It’s working for me.  


I actually really like it too.  So, I’ll tell you: it’s probably 50-50.  It feels like Coke versus Pepsi, right? Some of the complaints, I think, have been happening on the show floor with the narrowness of hallway, which kind of creates a little bit more of a cramped environment.  But what I really like about it is it has so much energy when you’re on that floor. Even when you’re in the halls, it’s just like a ton of activity. And I thought they were really smart about being tactical with coffee placement.  So, you got to go in those halls if you want caffeine or yummies or whatever, right?




Throw-out question:  You’ve walked the floor?

What’s the best tchotchke you’ve seen?  


Oh, boy.  That’s a good question.  You know I’m just going to – not to give a shameless plug – but we’re giving out these wall chargers, and then I noticed that somebody else was giving away USB; so, I felt like we had a special connection between our two booths because if your phone’s dead that you can stop by our booth.  


I’m totally going to stop by.


Stop by.


I forgot my wall charger.  


Stop by.  We got a ton of them.


Oh, that’s great.     


You can have two or three.


OK, cool.  Gosh, that’s great.  Thank you. So, tell me a little bit about your company.  What are you guys doing?


So, we are Invoke.  We do live shared-experience concept testing.  And let’s apply the term “concept” broadly. So not just a product concept although we could certainly handle that, but packaging concepts, names, message testing.  Really anything that you could share electronically, we can test it. And then what makes Invoke really special is that we’ll pre-recruit and we’ll develop the discussion guide ahead of time.  But then we go on-site with our clients in the same physical conference room at the same physical conference table. And then we deploy those text-based questions one at a time and we see quantitative data coming in and then qualitative data to back it up.  And we have the filtering and the sentiment analysis and the video response and everything else. So we can actually make sense of a 100 verbatims coming back. Boom! and drill down: “What are the themes here and why?” And then deploy the next question. Ninety minutes later you’ve got cross-tabs; and you’ve got raw data; and you’ve got all your verbatims and kind of have already a directional place to go and you had that experience with your marketing stakeholders and possibly product and maybe somebody with …


I love that.  So, how to you get your respondents?


Yeah, so we work with a number of different major panel providers out there and some niche ones so…


Got it.  That makes a lot of sense.  So, it almost sounds like it’s qualitative at scale as opposed to more of a survey-quant-type framework.  Is that a good way of thinking about it?


I think that is.  We deploy both closed and open-end questions.


How long is the session with the respondent?  


So, the session will be 90 minutes usually, sometimes 60.  And we can also asynchronously for different markets or other reasons.  


It is primarily synchronous?  


Primarily, yeah.


It would definitely fit in that qual framework, right?


And it’s the big qual that makes it really special because you can analyze a closed-end question pretty fast in real time, but it’s a little harder to do qual that way.  And that’s what sets us apart, that we have these capabilities.


I know you don’t want to answer this question, but I’m going to ask it anyway.  You don’t have to. I’m serious. Who’s doing a good job of fulfilling qualitative completes in our space?


Gosh, ahh…


I mean you guys are sitting in this unique spot where you got to engage a respondent for 90 minutes, which is hard.  I mean there is a certain type of respondent that you want to hit. It’s like a high-quality person. So you’re probably talking about a big incentive.  Is that right?


It’s actually…  It’s not… The fact that they know it’s live and the fact that they know there’s another human being on the other end of these.  Even though it’s text-based questions, we have a really high engagement rate and, actually, a very low dropout rate. If you asked somebody to do a 90-minute survey… Come on! and even sometimes a group.  But being able to be in their own environment and at their desk whether they’re at home or at work or wherever they do these things… And they know that it’s a live session and there’s an interaction going on somewhere with these people making decisions based on what they say makes it a little different, yeah.   


So, who is your ideal customer?


So our ideal customer…  We can customize to fit industries, verticals.  Let’s talk about technology; let’s talk about consumer-packaged goods; let’s talk about consumer electronics.  Not to mentioned, we’re always interested in finding channel partners as well. So agencies that interested in on-boarding a new tool.  There’s a little bit of a learning curve associated with what we offer but once you get up and running, very powerful.


Got it.  And if somebody wants to get in contact with you, how would they do that?


Check our website; call me; email; find me on LinkedIn.  I’m all over social media; so, there’s a lot of different ways.  360-510-1788.


There it is and one more time.  That’s 360-510-1788. The information for Forrest and Invoke will be in the show notes.  Forrest, thank you for joining me on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Thank you so much for having me, Jamin.


It’s an honor.


Thank you.