Grocery stores should know that the chances of a shopper typing in the url printed at the bottom of their receipt are almost nonexistent. If they want you to take their survey, they shouldn’t include a bunch of SAT-like questions just so you can give your opinion or, if you’re lucky, get some sort of coupon.
Raleigh startup Epifany is giving the outdated survey model a tech-savvy twist. CEO and Co-Founder Jim Zidar transitioned the survey technology from his 2013 app Stealz into the Epifany software in 2017.
The software—used primarily by college and pro sports teams, as well as fitness and healthcare centers—creates just a few questions that are especially relevant, providing fans (thus the “Epifany” name) and customers with an easy way to give feedback and companies with a powerful marketing insight tool.
“Usually, it’s going to average under 60 seconds for a survey,” Zidar said. “Based on who you are as a fan, we make sure we send you the most relevant and targeted survey questions that are going to be the most appropriate to you.”
The SaaS product integrates into the mobile apps for any sports team or other organization. Some current clients include the Carolina Hurricanes, the NHL, UNC Athletics, Duke Athletics, the Durham Bulls, O2 Fitness and many more.
Using AI and NLP (natural language processing) as well as beacon technology, Epifany sends surveys straight to fans’ phones from a push notification within the app. From there, fans answer questions tailored to them.
“You don’t have to be at the game to take the survey,” Zidar said. “You could watch it on TV, but it’ll take you down a completely different path than if you went to the game or if you watched the game at a local restaurant.”
Fans get a say
One successful Epifany survey Zidar points to is an open-response question after a Hurricanes game last season which asked fans, “If we could do any theme night for a game, what would you want it to be?”
Along with some “hilarious” responses, Zidar says the team took the top nine responses, then polled fans to narrow it to three themes that the Canes used this season. Epifany also susses out operational and efficiency questions about venues, and it can be leveraged with corporate partners through sponsorships and promos.
Jan Davis, who has been a causal advisor for Zidar ever since Scott Moody (the CEO of Raleigh’s K4Connect) put them together seven years ago, knows the value of this kind of survey platform for advertisers. (If you don’t know who Scott Moody is—or want to know more about him—you should register now for GrepBeat’s first installation of “Pete Meets…” this Friday, June 26, at 9 a.m.)
Davis has been on the Epifany board for about a year and has invested in the company both personally and through Triangle Angel Partners. She says Epifany supports advertisers who ordinarily don’t have a way to measure the effectiveness of their ads.
“As a marketer, I love that,” she said. “Any way that you can measure marketing impact so that you know where to spend more money and where you should not spend money is hugely valuable. It can let you double your marketing impact for the same dollars.”
Though Epifany has always been app-based, Zidar says the software updates the survey market.
“If you look at what the market was doing,” Zidar said, “it was ‘type in this website, and then type in this 16-digit code,’ and then you get to start the survey, and then you go through a 36-question survey. That’s pretty brutal. Whereas for us, what we’re providing is a really streamlined service that’s very relevant for you.”