Pam Seiler, House Party’s SVP of Sales, has been with the company since the beginning. We’re chatting with her today about what she’s seen in that time, both here at House Party and in the world of marketing at large.
You’ve been at House Party for over eight years — longer than anyone else we’ve spoken with in this series so far. What about the company and the space has kept you motivated and engaged?
House Party has always been a fun, exciting place to work, with exceptional people. Selling our leading-edge social marketing platform continues to provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the fast-moving advocacy and experiential marketing industries, and to share that knowledge with our brand and agency partners. And the ability to enhance our clients’ marketing mix with recommendations that drive sales and real consumer insights is genuinely rewarding.
How has the marketplace — and its receptivity to what House Party offers — changed in the time you’ve been here?
When we started House Party, word-of-mouth (WOM) and advocacy marketing were not part of most brands’ and agencies’ consideration sets. Most of our clients were looking for PR or sampling, and usually considered us in these “buckets.” The market has changed exponentially since then, as has the House Party platform. Most significant was the integration and explosion of social media, which provided an opportunity for House Party to provide programs at scale, with online amplification to support and augment the offline WOM. We now have a seat at the table with other traditional media and continue to support paid and owned efforts with our earned-media offerings.
When you’re talking with potential clients, what about House Party and Chatterbox tends to appeal to them the most? The reach? The deep engagement? Opt-ins and UGC? Consumer insights?
Most clients continue to really value our community members, especially the authentic advocacy they spread despite not being paid or rewarded through gamification. As we’ve evolved, so has our ability to drive reach and scale comparable to that of traditional media, while offering more and more engagement, targeting and, of course, rich content. With the recent introduction of our mobile app, product-review functionality and guided activities, we continue to provide tools that enable our clients to reach their target consumers and have an authentic two-way conversation with them. And, last but not least, clients appreciate that we can measure not only the reach, engagement and branding metrics, but also sales lifts and ROI, through our rigorous measurement methodology.
What’s the biggest challenge you face when describing House Party’s value to clients unfamiliar with us, or with advocacy marketing in general?
It’s helping them to understand the value of earned media (those person-to-person conversations and recommendations) and how it supports the traditional paid and the owned media that they’re familiar with. We know the platform works — our results show conclusively that WOM (both online and off), combined with an in-home experience with a brand or service, drives double-digit lifts in brand awareness and strong ROI — so the challenge is in getting that evidence in front of the right people and showing them how valuable advocacy marketing can be as part of a strategic marketing plan.
What excites you most about some of the changes taking place in WOM marketing today?
There’s finally widespread acknowledgement that WOM can drive significant brand awareness, trial and purchase. (92% of consumers trust product recommendations from friends — a higher percentage than for any other type of advertising.) The opportunity to help the marketplace take advantage of that and to show off the amazing, measurable ROI of advocacy marketing (and House Party specifically) is incredibly exciting.