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INTERVIEW: How Does Crowdtap build an Army of Passionate Advocates for their Clients?

Imag­ine if you could com­mand an army of your great­est sup­port­ers, engage them and grow their pas­sion even fur­ther?  Crowd­tap is tak­ing Brand Advo­ca­cy to a new lev­el by con­nect­ing brands and their most pas­sion­ate con­sumers to grow their businesses.

Bran­don Evans sharp­ened his exper­tise in youth mar­ket­ing as one of the Man­ag­ing Part­ners of MRY, an ear­ly social media dri­ven youth agency that was sold to Publicis.

Very quick­ly we were able to see how col­lege stu­dents were able to pen­e­trate their com­mu­ni­ties a lot bet­ter than we could.  They had all the con­nec­tions, they had a way of reach­ing out on Face­book, through and even more than that kind of they had the ideas and knew how to real­ly reach peo­ple with a mes­sage that matters.”

Lis­ten in or read along as Roy Weiss­man talks with Bran­don about what he is doing to uti­lize Social Media as a potent mar­ket­ing tool.

You can lis­ten to the inter­view as well as read it below:


Roy:     My name is Roy Weiss­man from Today we’re speak­ing with Bran­don Evans, the founder and CEO of Crowd­tap.  Crowd­tap is a col­lab­o­ra­tive mar­ket­ing plat­form.  With Crowd­tap brands can learn, ideate, and mar­ket with their con­sumers on demand.

How are you today Brandon?

Bran­don:        Doing well thanks.

Roy:     Well that’s good.  How did you get into this busi­ness?  When did you start Crowd­tap and why Crowdtap?

Bran­don:        Sure, yes.  I’ve been in social mar­ket­ing real­ly before it was called social mar­ket­ing or real­ly since the start.  I was one of the man­ag­ing part­ners and built an agency called Mr. Youth which is now MRY part of Pub­li­cis.  Real­ly ear­ly on in kind of work­ing there back around 2005 we were doing a lot of work in par­tic­u­lar with the youth mar­ket and col­lege stu­dents.  Real­ly start­ed to see how they were lever­ag­ing Face­book before Face­book was pub­lic beyond col­lege and built out a busi­ness around col­lege ambas­sador net­works.  A plat­form called Rep­Na­tion, which is still a big part of what they do.  Just real­ly saw how effec­tive this type of mar­ket­ing was and kind of the client’s demand for it.

Very quick­ly we were able to see how col­lege stu­dents were able to pen­e­trate their com­mu­ni­ties a lot bet­ter than we could.  They had all the con­nec­tions, they had a way of reach­ing out on Face­book, through and even more than that kind of they had the ideas and knew how to real­ly reach peo­ple with a mes­sage that mat­ters.  When we start­ed off we were kind of giv­ing them events to run and things to do and we very quick­ly saw that the best ideas came from those col­lege stu­dents them­selves, on how to reach their mar­ket.  That real­ly led to how do we do this with all oth­er mar­kets?  How do we do this with moms and teens and oth­er demo­graph­ics?  That was real­ly the birth of Crowdtap.

Roy:     Share with us.  Crowd­tap is a social … is a plat­form.  Explain how that works.

Bran­don:   Cor­rect.  We are a social tech­nol­o­gy plat­form.  Basi­cal­ly brands pay us via SAAS mod­el so a month­ly sub­scrip­tion fee and there’s var­i­ous dif­fer­ent types of sub­scrip­tions based on kind of how they want mar­ket with their con­sumers.  Some brands lever­age it more on the research end to real­ly com­mu­ni­cate with con­sumers to under­stand, dri­ve insights, crowd source ideas.  Oth­ers use it to do a lot of that as well as to real­ly man­age their advo­cates and word of mouth strat­e­gy, so to be able to kind of reach out and scale a group of advo­cates to rep­re­sent the brand.  To share con­tent on social chan­nels, to cre­ate con­tent, to do stuff offline to rep­re­sent the brand through events in home or sam­ple prod­ucts.  We real­ly track that through our plat­form and report back all of the results to the brand.

Roy:     How does it … or are con­sumers tied into the plat­form?  Explain … give us an exam­ple of exact­ly how a cam­paign might work.

Bran­don:        When we bring on … a new brand starts to use and lever­ag­ing Crowd­tap kind of the first step is real­ly to recruit their exist­ing advo­cates.  To be able to reach out to their exist­ing chan­nels whether that be CRM, Face­book, Twit­ter, etcetera.  We have tools to help them eas­i­ly recruit those peo­ple in.  Those peo­ple sign up with a Face­book log in on Crowd­tap and from that point on we’re able to track a lot of their behav­iors and how they talk about the brand.  We’re able to tar­get them with spe­cif­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties based on their profiles.

In addi­tion Crowd­tap we have sev­er­al hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple as well that have signed up in the past that we’re able to match to those brands.  That number’s con­tin­u­al­ly grow­ing through our kind of recruit­ment net­work, so that brand’s kind of con­tin­u­al­ly recruit­ing and bring­ing in new peo­ple that are able to par­tic­i­pate with the brand and real­ly scale the lev­el of advo­ca­cy they have.

Roy:     In essence a brand that already had a Face­book page and a Twit­ter, you tie in with LinkedIn also, or just Twit­ter and Face­book, or which social chan­nels do you work with?

Bran­don:     LinkedIn isn’t kind of a big part of it.  We can real­ly lever­age any­thing, but we’re very con­sumer focused so our main focus is real­ly on Face­book and Twit­ter.  We do a lot of stuff as well in help­ing our advo­cates share out via Insta­gram and Pin­ter­est and have done a lot of work on those as well, but we’re most inte­grat­ed with Face­book and Twit­ter.  Those are kind of where brands have the major­i­ty of their com­mu­ni­ty already, so we kind of lever­age a lot of that and then help then dri­ve a lot more activ­i­ty on those chan­nels, so peo­ple actu­al­ly engage in talk­ing about their brands.

Roy:     What kind of activ­i­ties oth­er than obvi­ous­ly you prob­a­bly do some con­tests, what are the kinds of things you use to lead a campaign?

Bran­don:    We have actions across the entire mar­ket­ing life­cy­cle every­thing from research to the abil­i­ty to poll, gain quick feed­back, real­ly in sec­onds.  You can have feed­back from con­sumers.  We have brands that use it with­in a meet­ing to get feed­back for their CEO in the meet­ings they’re hav­ing.  Real­ly in an instant you can get a lot of great feedback.

We have actions that allow you to crowd source ideas.  To have online dis­cus­sions, vote up ideas with actu­al con­sumers.  The abil­i­ty to share out con­tent, to real­ly amply the exist­ing con­tent that you have, that you may want your advo­cates to have either kind of get exposed to first or just help ampli­fy.  You can kind of seed that con­tent with them and have them share that out.  That can be any­thing from videos to apps to spe­cial offers.

Then we do a lot of stuff around con­tent cre­ation so we have an action called chal­lenges so we do pho­to chal­lenges and text chal­lenges and real­ly the abil­i­ty to kind of catch every­thing in a pho­to or video or text.  It can be any­thing from go to Wal-Mart and take a pic­ture in front of our lat­est dis­play or style your favorite out­fit for Old Navy who’s a client.  It could be real­ly any­thing that can dri­ve content.

Last­ly we do a lot of stuff in actu­al­ly acti­vat­ing these advo­cates, not just online, but offline as well.  We have some­thing called sam­ple and share which is the abil­i­ty for advo­cates to sam­ple prod­ucts to actu­al­ly sam­ple phys­i­cal prod­ucts to their friends.  They report back all the activ­i­ties as well as kind of share a lot of con­tent online, often­times writ­ing blogs, videos as well.  Then actu­al­ly throw brand­ed events in their homes.

They can actu­al­ly throw par­ties direct to the client.  They’ve lever­aged a lot of these brand­ed events, actu­al­ly pas­sion par­ties.  Their tar­get is real­ly actu­al­ly monog­a­mous cou­ples, so they have par­ties where they show­case a lot of dif­fer­ent sex­u­al enhance­ments and dif­fer­ent prod­ucts that, through this net­work they’re able to real­ly get out through those channels.

Roy:     Do you have an exam­ple of a case study or some­thing you did that had some great results you could share with us?

Bran­don:        We have many of them and we work with many, most CPG com­pa­nies.  We also work a lot in retail.  We have a lot of bank­ing clients, enter­tain­ment clients; just it’s real­ly across the board.  I just men­tioned Old Navy.  They have been a client for well over two years now.  They were one of our beta clients.  They’ve lever­aged the plat­form real­ly for everything.

They kind of ini­tial­ly came on with a real inter­est of dri­ving advo­ca­cy and they knew that peo­ple love their brand but they real­ly weren’t see­ing a lot of that in social chan­nels.  They real­ly want­ed to kind of build that out that com­mu­ni­ty, and build out peo­ple that were talk­ing about their brand and have a direct con­nec­tion with them so they were send­ing out the right mes­sages and real­ly under­stood kind of the dif­fer­ent things that Old Navy was up to.

They’ve done a lot of stuff around sam­pling every month they have a new prod­uct that they’re fea­tur­ing in stores and they sam­ple that to a select num­ber of their advo­cates.  Their advo­cates go in the store with friends and are able to get the prod­uct for free, cat­a­log their shop­ping expe­ri­ences, share that through all kinds of social chan­nels and blogs.

They do a ton of work with chal­lenges.  I men­tioned stuff around sam­pling your favorite out­fit or tak­ing a pic that was of your favorite fash­ion acces­so­ry.  They do a lot of stuff that gen­er­ates con­tent that way.  Then they’ve also real­ly found a lot of val­ue in the inside type stuff as well.  They’ve been able to do things like fig­ure out very quick­ly they should charge for a pair of flip flops or whether they should have large or small pol­ka dots on their spring dress­es and real­ly offer … enable the con­sumer voice to have a place at the table as they’re mak­ing a lot of these decisions.

Typ­i­cal­ly they wouldn’t have enough time to do for­mal research around … things are obvi­ous­ly mov­ing much quick­er than they have in the past.  You can’t run a research cam­paign to deter­mine what you Tweet out or post on your Face­book page or what every sin­gle prod­uct you sell and cre­ative.  Real­ly I think a lot of brands are now look­ing, now that there’s these ways to con­nect direct­ly with con­sumers and ways that they can have a much clos­er rela­tion­ship to those con­sumers so that those peo­ple can be involved in a lot of these deci­sions.  Those peo­ple are the first to know about the excit­ing things that are hap­pen­ing with the brand and those peo­ple can real­ly rep­re­sent the brand and car­ry out the brand’s messaging.

Roy:     Do you find that most clients are using you just pri­mar­i­ly to build a rela­tion­ship to increase the adver­tis­ing expo­sure and impres­sions or are peo­ple actu­al­ly using met­rics to mea­sure increased sales or met­rics that are more finan­cial­ly driven?

Bran­don:        Obvi­ous­ly sales is always the bot­tom line.  I think a lot of times that’s kind of dif­fi­cult to track direct­ly through a pro­gram like this and to real­ly, all of, a lot social and dig­i­tal and a lot of most mar­ket­ing.  I think we have a lot of key mea­sures that we pro­vide them that real­ly kind of help them under­stand how it’s affect­ing their busi­ness.  We pro­vide met­rics like engage­ments, impres­sions which are all deliv­ered kind of peer to peer.  We have a list show­ing in great detail where those impres­sions are deliv­ered.  We have Face­book, we have Twit­ter and show kind of all the dif­fer­ent engage­ments that hap­pen, show all the dif­fer­ent social posts, blog posts, etcetera.

We also do a lot of brand equi­ty research.  I work close­ly with Joan­na Sed­don who’s the for­mer CEO of Mill­ward Brown Con­sult­ing Prac­tice.  Devel­oped a lot of our kind research method­ol­o­gy and mea­sure­ment method­ol­o­gy ear­ly on.  We do a lot of stuff with brands, mea­sur­ing pre and post lists.  In par­tic­u­lar we do a lot of stuff around net pro­mot­er score giv­en that we’re very focused on advo­ca­cy, pur­chase intents and can show brands lists and how that’s affect­ing their brand.

Roy:     It seems like this space, obvi­ous­ly com­mu­ni­ty, social, since the start of the inter­net they’ve been talk­ing about com­mu­ni­ties.  Com­mu­ni­ties involved into social and we have com­mu­ni­ties on Face­book, Twit­ter wher­ev­er and it seems like the num­ber of com­pa­nies out there, and maybe you could tell me.  It’s like, I know there’s a com­pa­ny called Social Core and they have a plat­form.  What do they do and what are you doing dif­fer­ent from them, bet­ter, how do you com­pare your­self to them.

Then there’s anoth­er com­pa­ny Buzz Agent, that’s been around for ages, but again going into the mar­ket for brands to test their … to talk to com­mu­ni­ties and build aware­ness and sim­i­lar kinds of objec­tives that you’re talk­ing about.  Com­pare your­self to these com­pa­nies and any­body else you think is relevant.

Bran­don:        We have a pret­ty dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed offer­ing on the mar­ket.  I think most of the com­peti­tors tend to either be kind of a sin­gle solu­tion provider as we call them.  That kind of is sim­i­lar to Buzz Agent which real­ly focus­es on sam­pling of prod­ucts.  Often­times that can be a great solu­tion around prod­uct launch­es and things like that, but you lose touch with those peo­ple kind of right after.  You’re real­ly buy­ing an audi­ence and then if you ever want to do any­thing again you’re kind of restart­ing from scratch basically.

A lot of our plat­form is real­ly built on how do you under­stand who these peo­ple are over time, engage them over time and real­ly have a close con­nec­tion to them.  That’s kind of one big dif­fer­ence between kind of those types of com­peti­tors.  With the Social Cho­rus and some oth­er guys, the oth­er plat­forms, those types of plat­forms.  Those did more white label focused so they’re focused on kind of cre­at­ing, kind of a sep­a­rate com­mu­ni­ty for a par­tic­u­lar brand.  In my expe­ri­ence in build­ing out pre­vi­ous plat­forms, that’s very dif­fi­cult to do and near impos­si­ble for most brands; because no brand has enough engage­ment activ­i­ty, rewards, sam­ples, things going on at any giv­en time to kind of keep peo­ple engaged over time.

A key part of our plat­form is that peo­ple can engage with mul­ti­ple brands in ways that inter­est them so that peo­ple stay high­ly engaged over time and then we’re also able to build in kind of scor­ing with­in the sys­tem so we know who’s fol­low­ing through.  If they’re giv­en a sam­ple are they fol­low­ing through?  Are they par­tic­i­pat­ing and real­ly able to moti­vate peo­ple and real­ly build a kind of a cen­tral­ized gam­i­fi­ca­tion.  That’s real­ly allowed us to have extreme­ly high qual­i­ty and quan­ti­ty of respons­es for brands.

The brands that have worked with us, very often, very ear­ly in the pro­grams notice the lev­el of engage­ment, the qual­i­ty of engage­ment and that’s real­ly what gets them to renew and con­tin­ue to build on their crowd.

Roy:     Do you think with all the engage­ment, social, it’s like prob­a­bly the num­ber one mar­ket­ing effort today.  Everybody’s out being social on all these, on the key plat­forms.  Do you think that maybe the con­sumers are going to get burned out and social will turn into a fad or will it evolve to some­thing dif­fer­ent, or do you envi­sion five years from today we’ll still be in the same kind of envi­ron­ment using social media the way we are?

Bran­don:        I def­i­nite­ly don’t think social’s a fad.  I think social is, now that we’ve opened up those lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tions for con­sumers, whether they be with their friends, their fam­i­ly , with brands, with celebri­ties; it’s clear that they have an inter­est and spend a good per­cent­age of their time there.  I think social’s as a sep­a­rate thing is def­i­nite­ly going away.

I think social is real­ly about tech­nol­o­gy that enables … I refer to it usu­al­ly as social tech­nol­o­gy ver­sus social media.  It’s real­ly social tech­nol­o­gy that’s enabled, all these busi­ness­es, busi­ness­es like ours and real­ly every­thing.  The news I read all the dif­fer­ent apps I have they’re all tied into my social feeds and my inter­ests and it’s what I lis­ten to and what I read.  Spo­ti­fy has all my friends and they’re lis­ten­ing to and that’s how I dis­cov­er music.

Social is with­in every­thing and I think we have some stats that state basi­cal­ly that 80% of con­tent online is now con­sumer gen­er­at­ed.  That 85% of people’s pur­chas­ing deci­sions are made … the num­ber one influ­enc­ing fac­tor is a friend or peer.  Those are pret­ty pow­er­ful num­bers.  Now that peo­ple have those con­nec­tions and the abil­i­ty to kind of hear about brands and hear about things from their friends and com­mu­ni­cate those things in a much eas­i­er way it’s def­i­nite­ly a pow­er­ful force.

I will say that I think this … one of the prob­lems I think with brands in social is when you men­tion the word com­mu­ni­ty we don’t refer to our­selves as com­mu­ni­ty.  We’re not try­ing to kind of cre­ate anoth­er place where peo­ple can hang out and meet peo­ple and talk to peo­ple.  I think that’s kind of where a lot of brands failed in kind of the ear­ly days.  Peo­ple don’t want to a com­mu­ni­ty around a brand per se.  They don’t want to … the broad­er com­mu­ni­ty at least.  Doesn’t want to kind of go log in and … you’re not going to get mil­lions and mil­lions of peo­ple to log in every day and talk about your brand and engage with your brand.  They have a lot of oth­er destinations.

We’re real­ly focused on kind of those peo­ple that are most inter­est­ed in those brands and hav­ing … every brand has 10,000, 100,000 peo­ple that they can com­mu­ni­cate close­ly with that under­stand their brand mes­sage and can then com­mu­ni­cate that out to everyone.

We’re not try­ing to focus that around all con­sumers and expect to have mil­lions and mil­lions of peo­ple but real­ly how do you … every brand real­ly needs a rela­tion­ship with the peo­ple using their prod­ucts that want to talk about their prod­ucts, or want to engage the brand fur­ther and help them open those lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.  That’s real­ly where we’ve been focused.

Roy:     So in essence Crowd­tap is enhanc­ing the exist­ing social chan­nels that a com­pa­ny might be using to basi­cal­ly get a high­er return for them out of their exist­ing chan­nels.  Would that be an accu­rate assessment?

Bran­don:        Exact­ly.  It’s 1% of peo­ple that cre­ate, I’m for­get­ting the exact stat, I think it’s 80% or 90% of brand­ed con­tent.  It’s how do you engage with that 1% rather than try­ing to get every­one inter­est­ed and hav­ing con­ver­sa­tion with your brand.  How do you engage those peo­ple?  I think marketing’s real­ly mov­ing from this top down, it’s been top down for ages.

Mass media made it very easy to have kind of this big top down strat­e­gy, blast mes­sages out and even­tu­al­ly it’d trick­le down.  Because of all the dif­fer­ent ways that peo­ple get infor­ma­tion now, all the dif­fer­ent media chan­nels, all the dif­fer­ent ways peo­ple inter­act and con­sume, I think it’s more and more impor­tant to employ top off strat­e­gy as well.

Real­ly look for those peo­ple that are atten­tive, that do want to hear more about your brand, build and keep rela­tion­ships with those peo­ple and then enable those peo­ple to tell their friends and oth­ers and bring oth­er peo­ple into the fold and hear about your prod­ucts.  We’re real­ly focused on kind of that bot­tom up strategy.

Roy:     This is pret­ty much your fourth year almost or third and a half year of operation?

Bran­don:        We’re still work­ing on 2009, at the end of 2009 we launched in beta in 2010.  Real­ly have been kind of sell­ing now for 2½ years, 2011, 2012 and now.  It’s been a great expe­ri­ence.  I think we’ve learned a lot of things.  We’ve changed our mod­el up from 2011 to 2012 and real­ly seen things real­ly rapid­ly grow­ing over the last 18 months.

Roy:     Do you see your­self just tar­get­ing the largest con­sumer prod­ucts companies?

Bran­don:        That’s our core focus right now, just because that’s where we’ve had a lot of suc­cess.  It’s eas­i­est for us to scale right now.  We get into some of these big com­pa­nies and they have mul­ti­ple brands and after they see suc­cess on our plat­form where we look to see if it kind of builds through­out those busi­ness­es.  I think down the road there’s cer­tain­ly oppor­tu­ni­ties to work with oth­er brands but our focus and our strat­e­gy has real­ly been in the top … work­ing with the top marketers.

Roy:     What per­cent­age of that mar­ket would you say you guys have con­quered so far?

Bran­don:        That’s pret­ty hard to scope.  It real­ly depends on how you frame that.  Is that all of social bud­gets, all of adver­tis­ing bud­gets, all of promotions…

Roy:     Just look­ing at it from just the pen­e­tra­tion of com­pa­nies.  If you’re doing busi­ness with a com­pa­ny, what­ev­er that busi­ness is, what per­cent­age of com­pa­nies would you say you’ve man­aged to do busi­ness with?

Bran­don:        We’re work­ing with about 50 For­tune 500, 1,000 brands right now.  That’s kind of where we’re at right now.  Cer­tain­ly there’s a lot more brands out there.  I don’t the exact num­bers in front of me but …

Roy:     Can you share with us some of your clients that have had suc­cess with you?  The names?

Bran­don:        I men­tioned Durex; I’m work­ing with a bunch of Reckitt brands.  We start­ed work­ing there with Woo­lite and Durex and Veets just had a lot of suc­cess, work­ing with them.  Old Navy’s anoth­er I men­tioned that’s been work­ing with us for a long time.  Then we’re work­ing with brands from Nes­tle, Clorox, P&G, Pep­si.  Those are just some of the ones.  Sony and movies, we’ve done a lot of work with.

Then we work with a lot of agen­cies.  Some­times we’re work­ing kind of … our clients will buy kind of direct from the client.  A lot of oth­er times we work with a lot of media buy­ers and PR agen­cies and social agen­cies and indi­vid­ual agen­cies.  It real­ly just depends on kind of how the client’s set up.  We usu­al­ly part­ner close­ly with agencies.

Roy:     Do you see the social tech­nol­o­gy … you con­sid­er your­self I guess in the social tech­nol­o­gy mar­ket, is that correct?

Bran­don:        That’s how I would describe it.  I’ve nev­er liked kind of social media because it’s … what we’re try­ing to … it’s real­ly not media.  What we do is we’re not … peo­ple aren’t buy­ing media.  We’re help­ing peo­ple bet­ter com­mu­ni­cate via social which is real­ly because of the tech­nol­o­gy.  It’s also I don’t think, sep­a­rate des­ti­na­tions.  The New York Times is social.  Every­thing has social built into it for the most part at this point.  I pre­fer to call it social technology.

Roy:     Do you think of your­selves more as a tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny or a mar­ket­ing company?

Bran­don:        We’re def­i­nite­ly a tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny.  The busi­ness ori­ent is ad pac and mar­ket­ing but we’re … our prod­uct is pure tech­nol­o­gy.  We have a large prod­uct team, tech team.  That’s kind of the focus of the busi­ness.  We kind of con­tin­u­ing to build the plat­form out.  That’s what our clients are pay­ing us for.

Roy:     How many employ­ees do you guys have now?

Bran­don:        There’s 37 full time I believe.  Prob­a­bly about nine interns this summer.

Roy:     That’s fan­tas­tic.  Now did you guys raise mon­ey ini­tial­ly to get the busi­ness going?

Bran­don:        Yeah, we ini­tial­ly fund­ed it with the key agency, of course spin­ning it off and then we raised a half a mil­lion dol­lars Series A round led by Foundry Groups in 2011, then that real­ly spun every­thing off, com­plete­ly sep­a­rate­ly.  Then we sold Mr. Youth right after that as well.

Roy:     You sold, I’m sorry?

Bran­don:        Short­ly after that we sold Mr. Youth to Pub­li­cis.  We resold the agency, To Pub­li­cis and they’re real­ly sep­a­rate enti­ties now.

Roy:     Have you guys obtained prof­itabil­i­ty yet?

Bran­don:        We’re close.  We’re … right now we’re real­ly focused on just kind of build­ing the busi­ness.  We’re real­ly focused on kind of dri­ving rev­enue and kind of build­ing out a great prod­uct that our clients love, so it hasn’t been kind of a core goal to nec­es­sar­i­ly move to prof­itabil­i­ty yet.  We’ve had a pret­ty steep growth curve so we’re pret­ty focused on just kind of max­i­miz­ing the busi­ness, but cer­tain­ly with­in reach if you want to go that direction.

Roy:     That sounds fan­tas­tic.  Is there any­thing I didn’t ask you that you want to share with us that you think is extreme­ly impor­tant about what you guys are up to?

Bran­don:        No, not … I think one thing; peo­ple are inter­est­ed in we call it kind of col­lab­o­ra­tive mar­ket­ing.  Peo­ple are inter­est­ed in kind of col­lab­o­ra­tive mar­ket­ing space, real­ly mar­ket­ing with con­sumers.  We recent­ly released a white paper kind of web­site.  Our client web­site is and the whitepaper’s on the web­site.  It real­ly gives a lot more detail and king of what col­lab­o­ra­tive mar­ket­ing is.  Kind of what we do.  Where we see the future of mar­ket­ing real­ly head­ed.  I think that would be a great piece and any­one lis­ten­ing who’s inter­est­ed in learn­ing more could go pick that up there.

Roy:     That sounds fan­tas­tic.  I think that you’re def­i­nite­ly lead­ing in an indus­try that needs all the tech­nol­o­gy it can get.  I think that as … the inter­est­ing thing is you see, do you see some­one else tak­ing over for Face­book or some­one else becom­ing, anoth­er com­pa­ny becom­ing a seri­ous com­peti­tor to Face­book with respect to the com­mu­ni­ty they’ve got?

Bran­don:        I think Face­book is obvi­ous­ly has a huge num­ber of users and very smart peo­ple work­ing there.  I think that there’s a lot that they are fig­ur­ing out and are going to fig­ure out and remain a very rel­e­vant play­er.  I think you do see more spe­cial­ty sites, things that are more focused on par­tic­u­lar needs like Insta­gram and pho­tos and Pin­ter­est and sav­ing shop­ping images.  I think there’s a vari­ety of things hap­pen­ing around that space.  I think there will be room for peo­ple to engage, but real­ly more than tech­nol­o­gy, as I men­tioned, I think social’s being built into pret­ty much everything.

I think Face­book has a great posi­tion in the mar­ket with the num­ber of users they have the amount of data they have.  A lot of it will go to how you exe­cute and remain rel­e­vant and how they … what oth­er peo­ple they acquire and how they kind of kind of stream in Insta­gram all the oth­er play­ers togeth­er.  I think it will be … it’s def­i­nite­ly an inter­est­ing time.  I think mar­ket­ing in gen­er­al is I think real­ly mov­ing towards being about tech­nol­o­gy and data.

It used to all be about cre­ativ­i­ty and mes­sag­ing and I think real­ly the mar­keters who best under­stand tech­nol­o­gy and data are the ones that are going to win in the future, so I think we’re see­ing a mas­sive shift towards that and there’s … that’s why you see so many dif­fer­ent play­ers and so many, not just dif­fer­ent social net­works but so many data and ana­lyt­ics and vari­ety of dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies in the space.  I think bud­gets will very rapid­ly con­tin­ue to shift through to stuff that’s mea­sured and ana­lyzed and lever­aged through those technologies.

Roy:     What do you think the effect of mobile is going to have on all the things you’re … Crowd­tap as well as the whole environment?

Bran­don:        We have … 26% of our users are already lever­ag­ing Crowd­tap on mobile.  We haven’t … we’ve start­ed work there but we real­ly haven’t kind of built out our whole pres­ence.  That’s some­thing that is cer­tain­ly impor­tant.  I think people’s time is shift­ing.  What mobile is, is … the tablets are kind of in between and you have dif­fer­ent size mobile devices but it’s clear that peo­ple are spend­ing more and more time lever­ag­ing those devices ver­sus log­ging onto their com­put­ers.  Often­times they’re doing so at times they’re more like­ly to purchase.

I think that’s obvi­ous­ly where Face­book and a lot of these com­pa­nies see growth.  That can con­tin­ue to be a big role.  I don’t think it nec­es­sar­i­ly changes every­thing.  I think a lot of what you’re try­ing to do is sim­i­lar.  I think you just have to think about dif­fer­ent behav­ioral state and dif­fer­ent screen space and things like that.  A lot of the same things that peo­ple are try­ing to do can work in both places.  You just have to real­ly be cog­nizant of it and real­ly make sure that you’re think­ing about the mobile experience.

Roy:     Well Bran­don, we appre­ci­ate you tak­ing the time to share some infor­ma­tion about Crowd­tap.  I think that yet anoth­er orga­ni­za­tion that is in a way, obvi­ous­ly to the major com­pa­nies you’re work­ing with they know who you are, but to a lot of oth­ers here’s a com­pa­ny qui­et­ly build­ing a huge busi­ness that will prob­a­bly be a very big busi­ness one of these days.

As Face­book builds, as more engage­ment builds and of course as you evolve as the world, the tech­nol­o­gy, the envi­ron­ment changes … but let me ask you one oth­er thing while I’m think­ing of it.

What per­cent­age of your audi­ence is inter­na­tion­al?  Out­side the U.S.

Bran­don:        Right now we’re 100% U.S. based.  We’re all U.S. based right now.

Roy:     There’s a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty once you estab­lish your­self in the U.S.  Do you envi­sion doing more inter­na­tion­al things soon, lat­er, a year, two years?  What do you think?

Bran­don:        I try not to look any more than six months to a year out because things change so rapid­ly.  I think we have plen­ty of work to do in the U.S. kind of in that time.  I think we’re now, prob­a­bly for the next year we’re pret­ty hands down focused on the U.S.  We’ve had great response from the mar­keters we’re work­ing with here.  There’s still a lot of mar­keters we’re not work­ing with who are rela­tion­ships we can expand and build upon.  That’s real­ly our focus right now, but cer­tain­ly there’ll be oppor­tu­ni­ty inter­na­tion­al­ly was well.

Roy:     Def­i­nite­ly you’ve bare­ly have scratched the sur­face.  There’s a lot more room to go.

Bran­don:        Absolutely.

Roy:     We appre­ci­ate you tak­ing the time to share some of infor­ma­tion today and thank you for the time.

Bran­don:        Thanks Roy, I appre­ci­ate it.  It was great speak­ing with you.

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