Interview with Vivek Bhaskaran, Founder and CEO of QuestionPro

Marketing Darwinism spoke to an old friend and associate, Vivek Bhaskaran, Founder and CEO of QuestionPro.

Marketing Darwinism: Vivek, some big changes in QuestionPro I see. Can you tell us more?

Vivek: Paul, thanks. Yes, we’ve moved the company to Austin, Texas and are ready for our next large phase of investment and growth. We hit 200 people and I realized that we were no longer the scrappy startup full of hungry, footloose folks. We are now an established brand with world-class talent and as such wanted to find a city that would sustain us as we double revenue and increase the team substantially. Austin has proved to be a perfect location for QP.

Marketing Darwinism: Other than the move, what else is new and exciting at QP?

Vivek: Well, we’ve been asked by customers, partners, and users to help them use research, information gathering, and other elements to provide amazing experiences to their customers and ecosystem; as we thought about their feedback, we realized that while twenty years ago, we were a “survey” company, we are now truly a company that facilitates what we call “e(t)” or “experience transformation.” The markets are simply too crowded for any organization to NOT help its customers provide experiences to their customers. We are very happy with this concept, which we see not so much as a pivot but as a continuation of our QP proposition.

Marketing Darwinism: Vivek, QuestionPro has a set of “sister” companies that you’ve helped create. Tell us about them.

Vivek: Well, even though we try to be humble, I must say that when I look at the family of companies that I’ve helped build, lead, and grow, I think first of my incredible partners in crime- the team. QuestionPro has people all across the globe- who think about the mothership as well as Ideascale and TryMyUI, both lead by incredible friends and leaders. There are so many synergies in the QP family of companies and each has grown magnificently. We know it’s a combination of hard-work and luck so every day we thank our customers and amazing associates for their contributions to this.

Marketing Darwinism: What are some of the factors that aren’t captured in the numbers? Is there some sort of secret sauce?

Vivek: Well, I could say it’s our culture but so many organizations have great cultures. Frankly, I think it’s our business model which has always been predicated on ease of adoption, intense listening, and frictionless service. When your mantra is that you have to shave all friction out of the company in order to do what’s right- at the right price- for tens of thousands of customers then you’ll be successful irrespective of other factors. Well, you do need a great product too!

Marketing Darwinism: How does Marketing fit into your growth planning?

Vivek: Throughout our history, we’ve oscillated on this question but now, we take marketing and the marketing community incredibly seriously. In fact, my mentor is a marketer who lives in the Seattle area and he has always beat me up on this matter. We’ve realized that great marketers think about audiences and experiences and worry a bit less about the numbers and ROI. They come from audience and experience. So, yes, we are investing heavily in marketing and it has paid dividends.

Marketing Darwinism: Any parting thoughts?

Vivek: Well, I want to leave your readers with just a few thoughts. First, please check out QuestionPro and send me feedback if we don’t wow you. Second, for my fellow founders out there, build the company you want to build not the company that others put pressure on you to build. Finally, simplify always. Nothing else works.

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.