SaaS Breakthrough – Featuring Thomas Paris

demio saas breakthrough featuring thomas parisAbout Thomas Paris:

Thomas Paris is the Director of Marketing at Hoppier – the best way to provide physical experiences to virtual attendees: fresh morning coffee, virtual lunches, happy-hour drinks, personalized gifts, and so much more!

Previously, he co-founded and sold two companies, a SaaS and a Growth Agency.

Thomas believes that when it comes to business growth, execution eats strategy for breakfast. It involves people with a doer mindset combining marketing-data-IT-design skills, and applying a customer-centric, data-driven, and agile methodology.


Isn't it time to level up your scrappy marketing team with a weekly dose of high-octane content?!? ?

Show Notes:
Driving Virtual Audience Engagement via Custom-Branded Virtual Credit Cards for Attendees
Running the "Let's Get Phygital" Event Series
Leveraging an Event Series To Create Brand Heroes Inside Large Companies
Hosting a Meta Virtual Event Where You Show How Your Product Is Best Used
How To Find the Best Complementary Event Partners
How To Get a 70% Attendance Rate
Lightning Questions

AL (02:04):
Welcome to the SaaS breakthrough podcast. Thank you so much for joining me. Are you excited? Are you ready to jump in?

TP (02:10):
I am super excited actually. Thank you for having me. This is going to be great.

AL (02:15):
I can't wait. All right, let's kick it off. Tell me about Hoppier. How would you describe Hoppier in two sentences?

TP (02:23):
So Hoppier helps event planners to drive virtual audience engagement through custom branded virtual credit cards for attendees to use on lunch, drinks and gifts. So unlike traditional gift cards, Hoppier cards can be used worldwide on any vendor that accepts Visa offering global attendees a more personalized and inclusive experience.

AL (02:51):
Love that. And you mentioned the word engagement, which is Demio forte as well. So that brings me to my next question. You are running this really cool event series called Let's Get Phygital and I want to know all about it. Tell me why you decided to run this. What was the main goal you're driving toward with this initiative?

TP (03:13):
Yes. I love it too, to be honest. And I'm going to explain why. So long story short, the main goal was to acquire new large accounts using our partners networks or how we call it other people's networks. And, you know, in marketing, we love to use slang and you could call that new ABM - account based marketing initiative using OPN - other people's network. So first of all, it's an ABM because it's a way to attract or to talk with those people working at this very large companies using a very personalized one-on-one approach. And instead OPN, because the goal was to partner up with two other companies that have a similar audience and a complimentary offering. And so we launched this new initiative of Let's Get Phygital because we are in the space of virtual events and more and more even planners running those online experiences wanted to bring physical elements to those virtual experiences.

TP (04:34):
And so we have three complimentary products that can actually help to bring physical experiences in an online environment. That's why we call it, Let's Get Phygital that's mixed between digital and physical. So we partnered up with two other companies. One is BrandVia, event swag. And the other one is Yaymaker, which hosts a series of amazing virtual games. And so it's actually a super fun 30 minute event where each of us invites our 15 top customers. And of course during this event, we talk about a product at some point, but we make it super fun. So the way it works is all these attendees jump on the call and we start one up with one fun game hosted by Yaymaker. Then we explain what Hoppier does and there was another game. And then Yaymaker explains what they do, but we do more than that because we also offer this awesome virtual branded digital cards so that people can buy lunch and drinks before the event.

TP (05:52):
So during the event they well we share some nice food or we have some drinks together and BrandVia, also offers free swag that is shipped before the event. So they all come with really fun and branded swag before the event. So we make it one, we make it one-on-one personalized for an experience for everyone. And I just love this series because first of all, these partners are in the same space and, but they have very complimentary offerings. So, and like, if you want to, if you want to host a super fun virtual event, and you want to increase engagement before, during, and after these virtual events, we don't have to choose. So that's where we also have worked on a, on a combined offer for these attendees, where of course, like if you only want to use BrandVia for event swag, or if you only want to use Hoppier to offer lunch to virtual attendees, feel free to do so. But if you want to take your virtual event to the next level and really come up with an amazing offering that brings in those physical elements to those virtual experiences, we have this combined offer where you don't have to go three times through a sales process to work with all three companies. So we've run this event every six weeks. And that has been one of the most successful marketing actions that we have been running so far.

AL (07:33):
Tell me what kind of results you're seeing from that?

TP (07:36):
That's the thing about ABM or having this kind of one-on-one marketing approach. It's really not about volume in terms of the leads in this case. It's more of a strategy of convincing one person inside this very large whale as we call them. And once you'll have this brand hero, right, you need to have a really strong customer expansion strategy. So my work, where I'm in full in the process, like it's not only about lead generation. I want to, I want to use this event Let's Get Phygital to create new brand heroes. And then I'm involved with our sales team or customer success team to run new educational events that will explain, that will train these brand heroes. And that will also involve not only these brand heroes but these brand heroes colleagues and explain them what we can do for them.

TP (08:43):
And so I can't exactly tell you a number in terms of sales, but we have brought from what I remember, we brought four to five huge whales, and these are the largest companies in the world. So right now I would say 80% of our sales came from this four or five brand heroes that we were able to bring in and then run new events, new educational events, for all the teams inside their companies. And being able to onboard many more event planners then that's first brand that attended this Let's Get Phygital event.

AL (09:29):
What I love about this is that you're also, and this is what I hope every marketer listening to this is picking up on part of this conversation is you're also showcasing a way to run virtual events differently, where you don't have to sacrifice those meaningful in-person personalized opportunities, those networking opportunities that physical events provide us. You can do that virtually. And you can do education on your product and your company in a way that doesn't involve slides. And I think part of our effort as marketers running virtual events during a time of virtual events is to reconsider what virtual events mean and the idea of kind of a meta sort of virtual event, where you can show your product in the way your product is best used instead of throwing screenshots of the platform on a slide and teaching people about it. That's the way we should be running these events. I absolutely love that. I think that's incredible. So cool.

TP (10:42):
Absolutely. And you know, we're actually hosting another virtual event you and I next week and the idea was first to have slides, but I, and we both decided to actually make it more of a fireside chat. I think people get tired of slides very quickly and you want to find a way to make it as hands-on as possible. And I think, you know, if you were to trying to kind of replicate the Let's Get Phygital event to your own company, I would, first of all, I would think about how to make it as practical as hands-on as possible. And so for us, we are in the virtual event space. So we could you know, we could showcase in tense lights, Hey, this is what Hoppier is, how to get set up, or we could offer a $15, $20 Hoppier card and make people buy it, buy some lunch, buy (inaudible) before the event.

TP (11:45):
Then they get to experience the entire platform on their own before they even attended. And so I understand that it's not always possible to do that. I mean, not every SaaS or not every company has such a fast onboarding process, I would say, but you can always try to make it as hands on as possible. It just came to my mind, say, you have an SEO software, you know, you have a SaaS to analyze your website SEO and give you insights on how to improve your SEO strategy. Well, if you invite different people to that event, why not, you know, why not surprise these attendees with a, by showcasing what they, what your software has been able to do for one of the people attending the event or, or even for a few people that will attend the event and just showcase, Hey this is, this is what this software has been able to do instead of coming up with general slides, generic slides on what a software can do for you, if you can make it personalized and super hands on so that people get to that aha moment quickly, I think this can be this can be very powerful.

TP (13:13):
And maybe if you have different partners, one thing that I would advise is first of all, find complementary partners like for us, it was swag and lunch, you know come hand-in-hand. But if you, I mean, I don't have a specific example for a CEO or maybe, you know if you want to have a nice Google strategy, you can find a great software through Adwords, and then you are the one for SEO, for example. But I would try to find a partner that has a complimentary offering first of all. And not only that, I would say two other things. One is the same mindset. So the way, the way you're going to communicate about this event or this new marketing initiative has to be in the same kind of brand story or in the same kind of in, in the same kind of mindset or in same kind of storytelling strategy that you have. Like for example, Demio and us, I mean, we like to, you know, to use gifts we like, we like to make it fun.

TP (14:29):
We, you know, we like it to make it super personal, I would say. And so I don't want to work with a brand just too serious. I prefer to find somebody who has kind of the same tone of voice so that it doesn't sound weird that you have two or three companies that communicate with a different tone of voice. And the last thing would be that those partners have to have the same willingness to bring results. So it happened to us, I think a few times now that we hosted it, not only for the Let's Get Phygital series, but for all the webinars, all the events that we hosted that it was clear that the engagement level of the other partner or partners sometimes was very different. And so it's not something that you can easily find out.

TP (15:23):
I mean, you can have an amazing call with somebody and then and you start this also this awesome collaboration with a partner and then, you know, like they are being late on every deadline on every deliverable. And that's just how it works. So I would say have a lean approach, like don't start with running a big marketing campaign or a big event with partners, try to find something small that you can test with those news partners. And then if that works and you find that you have the same engagement level, then you can, you can think of something bigger.

AL (16:04):
That's great advice. And it sounds like we've got a playbook now. We can all go out and replicate this. This is a great idea. I love it. Thank you for sharing with us. But not only are you doing math, you are also running, like you mentioned monthly webinars, partner webinars, Hoppier specific webinars, and you recently got a 70% attendance rate, and I want to know what you did to get that. Share with the class. Take a drink of water. Really prep yourself for this. This is a big one.

TP (16:39):
Yeah, it does not, does not happen at every webinar, I'm going to be honest there. Okay. So first of all, it was a webinar on how to get people to attend your webinars. So if I had had a very low attendance rate, that would have been a bit awkward. So well, I did that that extra effort really having an amazing pre-event journey, pre-event strategy to make sure that people actually show up at my webinar. But definitely there are a few tips I can give here. The first one would be, I think one of the most important things to have is a killer title. So how do you come up with a killer title? Well, you have to go back to the basics of understanding your audience and understanding the challenge that they have, but not only that, is understanding what are the current challenges that they have.

TP (17:45):
So when you're going to launch a webinar and by the way, these are tips for, I would say, smaller sized events like (inaudible) or webinars or roundtables. You know, these are, this would be like smallest. If you have a large conference, it's a different strategy, because what I'm talking about is more like once you launch, you have like three weeks to one month to promote that and having a nicer pre-launch strategy, once people sign up to make sure that they actually show up. So having said that I went to my sales team. I went to my customer success team. I checked slack communities. I talked to a few clients. I sent an email to or email database. And I, you know. I always ask the same question is like, what are you currently struggling with?

TP (18:47):
Of course, that was to my audience. If I was asking, say that would be, Hey, what are the current challenges that, or leads or clients have, what comes up currently in those conversations? And, well, it became pretty clear that that engagement during virtual events was a big thing. And then I had to understand, okay, but what do you mean with engagement? And the thing, the thing about virtual events is that most of them are free, first of all. And also that the content is available on demand after they actually take place. So what incentive do people have of actually showing up? Right. And if you have to link that back to the fact that if you compare it to in-person events, virtual events or like people usually attend virtual events to learn something. Okay. So if they attend to learn something and you offer all the content for free after the virtual event, so why would somebody attend?

TP (19:52):
Like that became clear to me that that was a big challenge. And that was a big challenge because you can talk about during and after event engagement. But if people just don't show up, like your chance of turning that attendee into a lead and into a client is almost zero. I mean, yeah, they might watch the on demand webinar, but let's be honest. Like the view rates of these on-demand videos is not that great either because people think, Hey, I'm going to watch it afterwards. And then they have kids or other activities, life happens, and you get lost in 100 emails a day. So anyway, coming up with a killer title, this is a process I kind of came up with. It's like having all these data points to understand, okay, what's trending right now. And then virtual events' attendance was a big one.

TP (20:50):
So I came up with this topic and then I think where people get wrong is like not having a clear event promise. That's why people don't show up. And so what I think I learned that from you, by the way. And then, and then I made sure that in all my communication pre-event, I re-explain what I was promising. And so part of the promise was the content. So what, I'm going to talk about, the talking points, and please don't have talking points and then the actual talking points are completely different than the one on your landing page.

AL (21:30):
Yeah. Don't do that. Why would you still do that? So irritating.

TP (21:35):
I know why people do that. I mean, you come up with like amazing talking points and then you realize, actually I want to talk about something else when you create the slides.

AL (21:43):
This is why people are leaving your webinars, because you're not talking about what you said you were going to talk about.

TP (21:48):
Exactly, exactly. And so have clear talking points, have extending speakers who can explain things in a nice way and also have this background of running cool webinars themselves, like people know that they can present well. Also make sure that the different handouts or content done, the other content that you're able to download after the event is clear. Like, okay, we like get any resources like a template. Make sure that, that's a very important thing ,that you don't offer the webinar, the event recording to people who don't show up. Like that, I would never do that anymore. So I did that in the past, but like, if you don't show up, you won't have it. Like, that's, that's the one thing I would advise not to do unless you have, you know, you have a strategy where, you know, it's more about having touch point with as many as possible, but if your goal is to actually build relationships, make sure that people don't get it and that they understand that they will not get it if they don't show up because if the title is exciting and they won't get the content afterwards, I guarantee they will show up.

TP (23:06):
The third point would be all the kind of experiences or incentives that that you can offer. So having lunch of course, facilitated with some amazing Hoppier cards or having some drinks or having a live DJ that starts or life yoga session, you know, like you can have some new experiences that make it more fun and just make sure that in your pre-event journey that everything is clear. Like that event promise, those three elements that are event promise, are super clear.

AL (23:43):
Amazing, great advice. Yes. Love that. You're like preaching to the choir over here. I'm right with you. Okay, so

TP (23:49):
Learned so much from you to be honest. For that specific topic, I think a lot of the things that I've said come from what I, from what I've learned from you. So if you agree is because it's because I'm I was a pretty good student. And you are by far the most amazing teacher on that subject.

AL (24:08):
Well, I'm glad that it got you 70% attendance rate. That is pretty incredible. Love to see that. Okay. We're doing three lightning questions before we wrap up. You ready? These are going to be as quick of answers as you can provide.

TP (24:21):
Yeah. Sure.

AL (24:22):
Ready? Okay. Number one. What is one thing you did this week to support your team?

TP (24:29):
We give this Friday off and I want to say something else is, in France there is a nice thing that says faire le pont. And it usually happens when you have Thursday off. So you make the bridge between Thursday and Saturday so that you trump off Friday.

AL (24:49):
Wait a minute, wait a minute. Wait a minute. So you make the bridge between Thursday and Saturday.

TP (24:55):
And you say bye-bye to Friday, you can, you can look down to Friday and say, bye bye.

AL (25:01):
(inaudible) Friday, we bridged you. Well, that's amazing. That's a great thing. All right, cool. I love that. Number two. What is your most embarrassing webinar moment?

TP (25:13):
So at the last, at the last webinar on attendance rate, so I used an amazing webinar platform called Demio and, and I have tested it a few times. I don't know why, for it, when it was live, I didn't realize it had started. And I realized after so when I, when I looked at, when I looked at it again, that people were watching me saying nothing for three minutes. And when you don't say anything for three minutes, it's actually a long time because you know, and I'm so glad that people didn't drop off you know.

AL (25:54):
Where you muted?

TP (25:54):
I just didn't know. I didn't, no no it's not that, I didn't realize that it had started. I don't know why I was like, okay.

AL (26:01):
Ah, yes, yes. We record it for you right away. As soon as it starts.

TP (26:05):
Exactly. Exactly.

AL (26:09):
Well, listen, worst things have happened. I myself have had scary things happen on webinars. I had a, I was doing a webinar in March and my dog just started barking profusely as I was speaking. And it caught me so off guard. I honestly must've jumped a full foot in the air and people in the chat were like, checking on me. Is she okay? Can we see the dog? Is everything, is everything okay? Anyway, was a mess. All right. Final question. What is your favorite work tool that you can't live without?

TP (26:47):
I'm going to say FullStory. So for the peeps, the marketers that don't know it, it records what people do on your website and on your app. So person to person, you can actually watch their mouse click on stuff and you can understand the entire behavior person per person to understand, okay, what are they doing that you wish they we're not doing? Or what are they not doing that you wish they would actually do. And to understand what to optimize on your website and even within your SaaS or your app. It's one of the most powerful tools I know.

AL (27:24):
Incredible for self-serve onboarding too. If you, if you're a platform that does self-serve onboarding where people kind of choose their own adventure, being able to see how they actually learn your product in real time. Whoa, that's powerful. Full story. Got it. Okay. Love that. Cool. Oh, Thomas, what a great time we've had together. Thank you so, so much for your insights, for sharing your results and campaigns with us really, really grateful. Thank you for joining us.

TP (27:50):
It was amazing. I had a lot of fun. Thank you so much for inviting me Ashley.

AL (27:55):
We are going to continue this conversation with Thomas on my LinkedIn - Ashley Levesque, go find me. We're going to ask more questions and we're going to get more answers. So thank you. Thank you so much. And we will see you next time.

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