Episode 26

Balancing Data and Intuition

In this episode of Good Data Better Marketing podcast, Andrew Mok, Chief Marketing Officer of Turo, discusses balancing data and human insights, stopping the scroll, and dogfooding your product.

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Guest speaker: Andrew Mok

Andrew has served as the Chief Marketing Officer since 2017, leading Turo’s sales and marketing teams. Andrew’s focus is on growing Turo’s community of hosts and guests and making Turo an iconic global brand. His previous roles include VP of Growth at DogVacay, Strategy Consultant at Bain & Company, and Front-End Developer for Life360.

 

Episode summary

In this episode, Kailey and Andrew discuss balancing data and human insights, stopping the scroll, and dogfooding your product.

 

Key takeaways

  • While AI can help us become more efficient, it can’t replace human connection, something that customers value. Intertwining AI and human insights can help your campaigns stand out from the crowd.

  • It’s important to know when to balance data and when to use your intuition. Data can and should be used to structure an experiment, but intuition can lead to creating revolutionary products.

  • Customers are getting savvy to generic value prop messaging. By making content that feels organic and authentic, you’re able to hold their attention much longer.

     

Speaker quotes

“It's important to remember there's a balance between when to use data and when to use intuition. You should use data when it's available and when you can actually structure an experiment. You also shouldn't get paralyzed by data. You should know when to use your intuition. You don't create revolutionary products by optimizing your way there. It comes from somebody who has a vision or a team of people who have a vision and who execute it.” – Andrew Mok

 

Episode timestamps

‍*(02:38) - Andrew’s career journey

*(07:17) - Trends in customer experience in car sharing

*(10:27) - How Turo is building AI and human insights into campaigns

*(15:48) - How personalization and data impact Turo’s strategies

*(22:53) - Changes in customer behavior at Turo

*(32:19) - How Turo is “stopping the scroll”

*(39:26) - An example of another company doing it right with customer engagement (hint: it’s Amazon and Masters Tournament)

*(44:48) - Andrew’s recommendations for upleveling customer experience strategies

 

Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn

Connect with Kailey on LinkedIn

 

Read the transcript

 

Kailey Raymond: I'm excited today. I have Andrew Mok here, he is the CMO of Turo, which is the world's largest car sharing marketplace. He's been with them since 2012 and oversees both sales and marketing, he's really focused on building both sides of their marketplace. He's also an engineer by training, so I'm excited to hear how he's bringing together his left and his right brain to help build this iconic brand and how he's grown Turo by over 250x in revenue since joining in 2012. So Andrew, welcome to the show, thanks for being here.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, thanks so much for having me on the show Kailey, really excited to be here. And tell folks a little bit more about myself and about the Turo story.

Kailey Raymond: Awesome, well, I wanna kick it off and get to know, you have a little bit of an unfamiliar path to your way of marketing. Tell me a little bit more about your career journey in your own words.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, it's funny, growing up, I actually never thought I would be in the field of marketing, so I sort of stumbled into it over the course of my career, so just going a little bit further back in terms of my background, I'm the son of Asian immigrants, first generation Asian-American. And so, like many children of immigrants, my parents really focused on emphasizing the hard skills, the practical skills, things that could get me a job, because we grew up with very little. And so when I went to school at UC Berkeley, I studied computer science and business. I think very early on, I realized I had always been interested in computers. I remember when I was younger, I used to build computers and tinker with computers, but once I got to Cal and I met some of the best and brightest minds of the engineering world, I pretty much knew immediately that engineering was not going to be my forte. I still remember this Monday after a weekend, I got together with some fellow classmates and everybody was kind of recapping what they did over the weekend, and I was like, "Oh yeah, you know, I explored Berkeley, we went out, we went to park, we hung out, etcetera. We went to the football game," and one of my partners on the project was like, "Oh yeah, I read the Java manual over the weekend."

Kailey Raymond: And you're like "That is not relatable to me."

Andrew Mok: I was like, "I don't think I'm gonna be able to get an A in this class." It sounds pretty difficult.

Kailey Raymond: I love that.

Andrew Mok: So I'm really glad I had that experience and I had that background I feel like. I know enough to kind of be dangerous and have a conversation with engineers and my left brain counterparts, but I knew pretty quickly that engineering wasn't going to be my life's work. So when I graduated from college, I started my career actually doing strategy consulting at Bain, I did a lot of private equity type stuff, looking at M&A deals, doing diligence, lots and lots of spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations is kind of the long and short of it. Eventually I just kinda got the itch to join the startup world, I grew up in the Bay Area, so I had always been intrigued by start-ups and by entrepreneurship. My father has always done his own companies and worked in tech, and so it was always in my DNA, I guess, that I was gonna be interested in doing tech startups. So in 2012, I sort took a leap of faith and I joined a company at the time called RelayRides, we've since of course, re-branded to Turo.

Andrew Mok: And I did a little bit of everything. We only had 25 employees at the time. Our offering was only available in San Francisco and Boston, and so really I did a little bit of everything from analytics to finance, to marketing, to you name it, and more slides, more spreadsheets, pretty much anything that needed to be done. And fast-forward to today, Turo's in over 11000 cities around the US, in the UK, in Canada, France, and Australia. Our team is over 800 strong, and the company is doing quite well. So it's been a fun journey.

Kailey Raymond: That's amazing. I also, I grew up in the Boston ecosystem startups in 2012, and I remember the name really arrives at the time. It's like I feel like this nostalgia is hitting me at this moment right now. That's so funny. I was also employee number two, so I can empathize with the wearing of many hats and doing many things in the very early stages, get exposed to a lot of different sides of the business, which I think is just unbelievable to accelerate your learning.

Andrew Mok: Totally, it was extremely fun. And actually, Boston has a very special place in our company's history because I think that actually it was our very first city. The founder of our company, his name is Shelby Clark. He actually came up with the idea of peer-to-peer car sharing, because it was one of those crazy winters in Boston, I've never lived on the East Coast, I've only heard of it. And he always describes it as, it was one of those days where I was sledding upwards, and it was just completely crazy. And he needed to get access to a car, he didn't own a car, and so was going to, I think a nearby car rental, pick up location. And he was riding his bike, which is all he had, and the snow was just knocking him over and the blizzard was just disorienting him, and he saw all these cars that were just parked on the side of the street, collecting snow. He's like "Why can't I just use one of those?" That's the genesis of the business model, so Boston has a very special place in the company's history.

Kailey Raymond: I love it. I can see the early days pitch deck starting with the founder story in the blizzard. It's a great story. So you've seen a lot of different iterations of RelayRides, now Turo, and you've seen the company grow quite a lot. And with that, I'm sure you've seen a lot of trends come and go and things that you all are kind of focusing on. So I'm curious to get your take, CMO of a very fast growing company. What are some of the trends that you're currently seeing related to customer experience?

Andrew Mok: I think, of course, one of the hot topics right now is just everybody's talking about AI and what does that mean in terms of the field, and really just like humanity at large. I think this trend has actually been playing out for a very long time, everybody's excited about AI now, because they've seen what OpenAI has done with ChatGPT and it's very, very impressive, and people are seeing, I think, a lot of practical application of ChatGPT being able to surface recommendations or write things for you or produce new things. But really, there's been this whole trend of AI, or I guess you can call it more basic format of it, just like machine learning in general, that has been around for a long time now and actually has been changing quite a bit. One example of this is with performance marketing, 10 years ago with performance marketing, you used to need a team of engineers and marketing managers to update the bids every single day and to be doing thousands of AB tests running this copy versus that copy and creative testing all the time. And it was very, very complicated to be able to run these experiments.

Andrew Mok: Nowadays, Google, Meta, they've created these machine learning algorithms where you just throw everything in a pot and the computers kinda figure it out for you. And they automatically optimize for the best copy to match with the best design, with the best creative. They automatically optimize your bids, so it's delivering the best ROI for you or new payback period or whatever is, the success metrics that you're optimizing again. So this thing has kind of been going on, I would say for a while, and I think AI and ChatGPT and all that stuff, there's some really exciting applications that are only gonna make it even more sophisticated and better. That being said, so what did that leave for the rest of us feeble humans? What are we going to be doing? I think there's just been a trend that has been going on for a while that's going to be further accelerated, which is a premium on things that only humans can do. So human stories, human connection, originality, creativity.

Andrew Mok: These are things that robots by definition can't do because people value them because they come from another human. That's turbo-charging even more, I think just this idea of coming up with original content, coming up with original campaigns, doing things that are new, doing things that are different, that are authentic to sort of like what it means to be a human. I think those are gonna be the types of stories that really resonate.

Kailey Raymond: I was just having a conversation, one of my very good friends is a singer-songwriter. And in that industry in particular, they're really thinking about how is this going to change the game, are we not gonna be writing songs anymore? Is AI gonna be writing this? They're gonna take my voice and be able to write the song simultaneously, where's my place? And at the end of the day, to your point, it's like actually, I think that's the greatest place for humans to continue to insert themselves, as the computers can't really figure out how to be entirely original. They are in a lot of ways still regurgitating a lot of the information that they're pulling from different blog posts, data points that they're pulling across the web. And human insights and human intuition, human creativity is the thing that's probably one of the most interesting assets moving forward. How is that impacting Turo, what are some of the ways that you're thinking about building that into campaigns and programs?

Andrew Mok: A really big part of our brand strategy has always been centered around hosts and guests, and the people that are sort of behind the community, operating peer-to-peer car sharing, and so for us, it's even more leaning into that. So the human stories of our host, our incredible host community, we have the single mom who shares five cars on Turo, so that she can stay at home with her kids and still generate an income. We have the pastor in Hawaii who has and wants to continue to dedicate his life to local community service and helping his community, but he also needs an income because he has five kids, so he starts a small car sharing business. So really highlighting, I think more and more of these stories has always been a big part of our branding, and it's gonna be something that we continue to do. I think also just kind of speaking more from the marketing lens, I think we've put even more of a premium on creativity and creative direction in our phenomenal in-house creative team that's comprised the designers, video producers, photographers, copywriters, content strategists. We really believe that that is part of the special sauce of what we do, is the team that we've built and the team dynamic, and our process for brainstorming and coming up with concepts and testing them and making them better, and reacting to trends as they happen. These are all things that I think it'd be very, very difficult for a robot to replace.

Kailey Raymond: Yeah, I think there's a lot of places that robots, AI can insert themselves into the customer experience, but building that sense of authenticity, and that sense of connection really does take a human touch to be able to understand. There was one of those videos that came out today, somebody had an AI bot spit out a movie trailer for Heidi or something, it looked like a horror movie. It was unbelievably scary. There was beers in places there shouldn't be, the fingers were all crooked, and so yes, we still need human beings.

Andrew Mok: That's the thing, is you can tell when something today is being generated by ChatGPT or being generated by AI.

Kailey Raymond: Yes.

Andrew Mok: I was just catching up with my aunt a couple of the weekends ago, and she's a university professor, and this is a huge deal at schools and especially universities. It's just, I mean, I probably would have done the same thing when I was in college.

[overlapping conversation]

Kailey Raymond: Absolutely. You're using the tools available.

Andrew Mok: Putting the text in, and you get the essays. Yeah, exactly, and you get the essays and she's like, "You know." It's pretty obvious, when it's actually being written by a student, and when it's being done by a robot. You can just tell from the language and just like the way that they describe things, because everybody has their own quirks to how they write, and also just the way in terms of how humans interpret things. And I don't want to downplay how advanced AI can get, I'm sure they can get to the point where it will be hard to resemble, but I don't think we should underestimate how difficult it is to replicate all of those things. I think in general, with new technologies, it's the whole hype cycle. We as a society, we get super excited when we see this thing and we're like, "Oh my god, it'll change the world." And we're imagining everything to the extreme, but I think we should always remember that the technology, the first 80% comes from 20% of the work. The last 20% is 80% of the work.

Andrew Mok: One of the best examples of this, I think, is autonomous vehicles. I remember, this is maybe seven, eight years ago, everybody was asking us about, "What's gonna happen to your business model with autonomous vehicle. What's gonna happen? What does transportation look like, etcetera." And I think at the time, we felt autonomous vehicles were really actually quite revolutionary, and people have used it in very revolutionary ways, but this vision of nobody is driving, everybody is just laying back in their cars and the cars are just transporting them everywhere. I think we all felt a lot of that we were going to be a long ways away from.

Kailey Raymond: Sign me up.

Andrew Mok: And I think we're seeing that today, the first 80% think Tesla Autopilot, think assisted staying in the lanes and adaptive cruise control. That's all here. It's all great, people use it, but the last 20% of I'm sleeping and the car is just doing its thing and it's taking me from the Bay Area, up to the mountains to Tahoe, we're a very, very long way away from that. And it's very difficult to get it done.

Kailey Raymond: Yeah, we could go down a whole rabbit hole, I would love for there not to be traffic anymore, because in theory, if you're building autonomous vehicles and IoT, they're all speaking to each other, you would eliminate hopefully a lot of accidents, a lot of traffic. But then how do you build morality into the algorithms? If something does go wrong, like who are you choosing? How do you share that information back and forth, and how do you build that across governments? There's plenty of roads that cross-country, states have different laws.

Andrew Mok: Exactly.

Kailey Raymond: So a lot of complexity related to that. And you're right, not even on a technological level, also just truly on the level of trying to get anything through Congress, good luck. The change is gonna be slower than you expect.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, exactly, it's the social proofing and the community proofing. Yeah, it is just as significant.

Kailey Raymond: Absolutely. One of the things that you were really talking about a little bit earlier was really kind of centered around the idea of you're speaking to a person, like they're a person, you're using customer stories, which is really in a sense driving a lot of personalization, you're speaking to me, one-to-one, Kailey, this is the type of car, this is the type of experience that I like to have. How are you seeing personalization and data impact a lot of the strategies at Turo right now?

Andrew Mok: That has always been one of the core tenants of building our business, is staying super close to the customer and using data to drive our decision-making. It's important to remember, there's sort of like a balance between when to use data and when to use intuition. You should use data when it's available and when you can actually structure an experiment. But you also shouldn't get paralysis by analysis, you also shouldn't get paralyzed by data, you should know when to use your intuition. You don't create revolutionary products by optimizing your way there, it comes from somebody who has a vision or a team of people who have a vision and who execute it. So I think that has always been sort of the journey of Turo, is we wanna stay super close to the customer, we wanna stay super close to data and balance that with sort of the collective intuition and sort of the collective vision that we have for the market and for the product that we build.

Kailey Raymond: This is great, I was talking to the CMO of Anthropologie recently, and she was saying the exact same thing, which is like data can obviously inform a lot of what you're talking about, but if you're going to innovate and create an entirely new category, that's probably coming from humans. That insight, that vision, as you said, is probably coming not from historical data that you're crunching and taking a look at the trends that happened last year, because you are trying to create a new trend. And it's a really interesting balance that you're talking about. Do you have a rule or a sense for when you use data and when you use intuition, do you have any constitution that you're saying like, "This is when we do this."

Andrew Mok: Yeah, I wish I did, but I don't. I think that's kind of the value of leaders at the company and how you've designed the company. But what I will say is that I think oftentimes, it can be very intertwined with clear accountability within a company. So what will happen is if there is not clear accountability and clear decision-making within a company, oftentimes, people will default to wanting to look at data and analyze data. Because they're hoping that data will point to a decision that then is just consensus and is accepted by everybody. Whereas when there's kind of clear decision making and clear accountability, one person or a group of people will feel empowered to sort of say, "I have a vision and I wanna push forward this vision, without having to necessarily fall back on kind of paralysis by analysis." So I do think the two really go hand in hand, this idea of being data-driven and looking at data, but also making sure that there's clear accountability and clear ownership within your company.

Kailey Raymond: That's great and I think that makes uniting around a customer and making sure that you're building valuable experiences for them a whole lot easier. If you have that clear accountability and it's going across teams and across silos, then you're breaking those down in a lot of ways because you're able to make decisions with one person at the centre of that and usually that is your customer.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, totally. And I think a lot of what we do at Turo and at many companies is it's sort of the it's a collective conversation that we're having and it's all about creating this ecosystem and creating kind of processes and defining the ways in which we work together so that the best ideas can win. We want as many ideas as possible. We want a diversity of ideas, we want a diversity of opinions, we want a diversity of people reflecting those opinions and then we need to process so that the best ideas win. And so we spend a lot of time thinking about how do we design our road mapping process or brainstorming how we will work together so that the best ideas can elevate to the top. And an equally important part of that is making sure that when the ideas are being generated, the customer voice is being represented.

Andrew Mok: I think this is something that it's, I mean, it does just sounds so in some ways like trite, "Like listen to your customers, spend time with your customers." But it's like, it's so simple but so many companies forget to do it. I think especially as you get bigger you spend your day to day with your colleagues, with your coworkers, checking your slack or checking all the red dots on your screen and you just kind of forget like why we're all here which is we're here to serve our customers. And so that has been a really big focus for us is making sure the customer voice is intertwined with the employee voice. So an example of that is we use Slack for all of our employee communication and we don't really use emails anymore. We actually have all of our customer feedback piped into Slack.

Andrew Mok: So all the feedback that comes in from the app, all the feedback that comes in from NPS surveys, all the feedback that comes in through our customer support channels, both insource and offshore, everything is all just sort of in there in Slack. And sometimes it can get kind of unruly. I mean you're seeing thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of feedback come in every day. But you see people within the company read them, tagged people share them in certain places. And our CEO actually is known to read, I think pretty much every single piece of feedback. You could be the unlucky recipient of a midnight tag when he catches something but that's an example of their voice being included in this process of the best ideas win. So that I think has been a critical part of how we've designed the company.

Kailey Raymond: That's brilliant. I think there's a couple of just like really interesting ideas in there. The first is making sure you're bringing together the feedback loops of your employees and your customers. You gotta make sure that there's complete visibility between the two. You gotta make sure that both are rowing in the same direction. It can be really easy to your point, to sit at a desk all day, especially and I feel like in remote you're sitting at a desk all day, you have one of those click-clack jobs. You know, you're at your computer and you can forget who your customer is and why you're logging in every single day. But that constant feed of customer feedback coming in from, it seems like every direction you mentioned a few different types of ways that you're collecting customer feedback it creates that strategy, it builds that energy. It really keeps people accountable. I think that's brilliant. So like way to go.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, we're really proud of it. I think it's a huge part of our DNA and I think at some points the folks may feel like, "Oh well it's a lot of noise or it's a lot of comments or it's a lot of feedback." But I think it's a lot better than the alternative, which is no noise at all and of course I think there's things that we do to synthesize it and we try to group it and so we can make it so that the themes come out and we can do some better pattern recognition. So we're always working on those things. But I do think it's important to make sure that it's just part of your daily routine. If your routine is you're checking Slack from feedback from your boss, from your colleagues, from your team, from your partners at agencies, et cetera, equally important, if not more important is you need to check that red dot with the customers. And so we really wanna make sure that's part of everybody's routine.

Kailey Raymond: I love that because I hear as you might imagine I hear on this show quite often is, "Listen to your customer." Yes. Okay. But you just gave a tangible example of how to actually implement it. Slack integrations, make sure that every channel is actually piping data in. And then of course we can get to making sure that you're synthesizing those into unique categories and pushing them out to the teams that need to take action on them accordingly. But that information flow is really kind of the first place. I'm wondering based off of that or anywhere else if there's any new customer behaviors that you've been noticing over the past couple of years, anything cropping up that you're watching?

Andrew Mok: I think there's generally this broader trend that Turo is a beneficiary of experiences over things. This is very different than my parents generation where I mean, I it's still even to this day, my parents are collecting things and hoarding things and they want things and you, if you get a job and you get your first paycheck, the first thing you do is you get a thing. I want a thing to commemorate my success or that I've gotten to this life stage. And I think the younger generation they really value unique experiences and are valuing experiences over things. And I think that that is something that has been a big tailwind for our business because most of the time when people are comparing Turo to an alternative, the alternative is traditional car rental and traditional car rental you think economy car, you think compact, you think the blasé car in white.

Kailey Raymond: I got a mystery car the other day, it wasn't what I wanted.

Andrew Mok: Mystery car. Yeah, I mean that category always continues to boggle my mind. You know, imagine if you went to Amazon and you were like, "I want to get some soap. Send me a mystery soap." So you're like, "No, I want this specific thing. Or send me a mystery t-shirt." There's really no other industry where people have been trained to like not actually get what they want and I think that has really been one of the reasons why folks tell us that they really love using Turo so much is because they get to pick exactly what car they're going to get. They get to see it in advance. They get to pick the thing that fits whatever is the mood or the vibe that they're trying to achieve for that trip. You know, if you're gonna Hawaii, maybe you want a convertible. If you're going to Denver for a ski trip, maybe you will want a Jeep. If you're going to California maybe you will want to try out a Tesla, if you're gonna Texas maybe you will want get that pickup truck and live the Texan life where the roads are a lot bigger. So it allows people I think, to kind of curate the experience that they want on their trip. And I think it's been a really, really big part of why guests choose Turo. So that's definitely a big trend for us is the experience and the over things.

Kailey Raymond: And I imagine kind of related to this is people are choosing things related to like a lifestyle, right? And so in particular what I'm thinking about is ESG, like everybody is looking towards electric right now. Maybe they wanna test drive an electric car but they might not be able to do that in any other way. And so it's this interesting way for people to kind of be able to explore things that they're interested in that they care about as a human. And that's kind of an interesting convergence of what we're talking about as well. Do you see that?

Andrew Mok: So EVs are actually one of the fastest growing categories kind of vehicle categories on our marketplace. Exactly For the reason that you just mentioned. Everybody has heard about extended or sorry, about electric vehicles and I think everybody is somewhat at least interested in kind of experiencing it but they're really nervous. They're nervous about range anxiety, they're nervous about are there enough chargers? They're nervous about, "Can my child sit see fit in it, does it work for my daily routine?" These are the types of questions that you're not gonna get answered from a one hour test drive with a rep sitting in the front seat with you and hounding you for a sale.

Andrew Mok: These are things where you're gonna want to take it home and park it in your garage and put your kids in it, et cetera. That's actually been one of the top use cases at Turo is we call it sort of the try before you buy or extended test drive of people who are booking Teslas, they're booking Rivians, they're booking Lucids, they're booking all of the kind of the latest and greatest EVs so that they can actually experience it for themselves and see if it fits their lifestyle. And the good news for the EV industry in general is that when we survey these guests, most of the time people have a really, really good experience and they sort of sign up for the wait list shortly after. So it's been a very positive trend for the marketplace.

Kailey Raymond: That's interesting. And feels like an interesting partnership opportunity. I'm like, ooh, my brain is going in a lot of different directions that's really cool that it's like a use case that you've seen kind of growing. I'm wondering, based off of these like unique perhaps use cases that we've talked about there's a trend around people with experiences. There's this trend around EV and it's kind of accelerating in some use cases for you. Are you building kind of unique customer experiences off the back of what you know about each of these customers and the use cases that they might have? Walk me through that.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, so increasingly we're trying to use sort of the browsing data and also the search data and the booking data of our guests to kind of customize their experience. I think that's the beautiful thing about our marketplace because we have thousands and thousands of makes and models. Literally you can find any car under the sun. We support so many different types of use cases. You know, it's not just family travel or business travel, it's the extended test drive like I mentioned. It could be special occasions. You're looking to get the classic 67 Mustang to surprise your dad on Father's Day.

Andrew Mok: It could be you're looking to get the minivan so that you can fit the whole family plus the grandparents on a trip to Hawaii. Like it can mean so many different things and so you can imagine the marketing and the product experience needs to be very different for the family minivan versus the person looking for the Lambo. And so increasingly we use that data on our marketing and within kind of our product user experience so that we could show them, "Hey, you showed us you were interested in EVs, did you know the Cybertruck is coming out and we're gonna be the first place where you can test drive the Cybertrucks? Here's a notification." And so that has been part of how we kind of personalize the experience based off of the different use cases that we observe.

Kailey Raymond: That's great. And so I imagine you're kind of collecting data from a lot of different streams. How are you collecting some of that data? Like favorite lists? How do you understand exactly what kinds of vehicles or experiences, you know, use cases somebody might have? How are you categorizing these people and, on building audiences?

Andrew Mok: Yeah, so we look at their browsing behavior on the side or within the app. So we can see what they search, what vehicle listings they click on. We can see what filters they use and most importantly, we can see what trips they actually book. That's usually sort of the best indicator is just looking at prior trips. We increasingly can also just ask, we always kick around this idea of maybe folks eventually can follow a make, they can follow Tesla or they can follow a category, they can follow trucks or they can follow EV trucks. And they can tell us through permission marketing what it is actually that they wanna hear about and learn more about so. And increasingly it's kind of a combination of both the implicit data so that the data that is related to their browsing as well as the explicit data of them explicitly telling us what they're interested in.

Kailey Raymond: I love that there's this concept that's emerged over the past couple of years and it's zero-party data which is exactly what you're talking about, which is form fill, tell me about yourself, tell me what you care about, tell me about what you like, and then we can actually market to you and build experiences for you appropriately which is really powerful in combining it with click data, action oriented data, behavioral data, which is first party data. So it's interesting to hear that you're gonna be experimenting with both really high quality signals.

Kailey Raymond: What I wanna move to is we've been talking about some of the user experiences. I'm wondering how that actually looks like on the acquisition side of things. So am imagining you're acquiring people from all different types of channels, whether it's organic or paid, and you really need to like stop somebody's attention and make sure that you're resonating with them when they're seeing Turo for the very first time. How are you taking some of the data that we just talked about and using it on the acquisition side to build those campaigns, to get people to care about Turo see Turo for the first time and use you?

Andrew Mok: I think one of the most powerful ways that we've been able to use that is actually just using it to personalize the creative that they see. So if we understand from your browsing behavior that you're interested in EVs, we'll show you an EV and we'll take you to a landing page that focuses on EV or on some channels where you explicitly will search for something like on SEM, for example, wedding cars, luxury cars, super-cars, family cars, EVs, or maybe you're searching specifically for a make model. You know, of course we'll use that data in customizing the copy that they see as well as the landing experience that they have as well.

Andrew Mok: So it's really, you know, actually quite a powerful way for us to be able to bifurcate the experience that people see. I think there's many companies that are doing this very well. I think the most notable ones would be like Netflix or like TikTok. They've just been really, really good at getting you in these rabbit holes where you just keep going because they know what's interesting to you based off of your swipe activity. And we're definitely drawing some inspiration from them. You know, how do we make the platform as addicting in a positive way as possible based off of your browsing behavior and what you've demonstrated your interest in.

Kailey Raymond: Absolutely, and this is really powerful related to what we were talking about earlier which is like that authenticity, right? So building a really authentic customer story around EV and then pairing it back to an ad. We've been hearing a lot about this trend recently called Stop The Scroll, right? So you really wanna have somebody's attention when they're on one of their feeds, TikTok or otherwise, and say like, "Cool, I actually wanna understand what this brand or person is saying to me." How does Turo get people to stop the scroll?

Andrew Mok: So I think this kind of goes back to this conversation about AI versus humans. I think this is one of those things where people who are going to be using AI or robots to generate creative or marketing campaigns or copy it's going to be very quickly spotted by users. It's sort of the same thing that's happening today with I call it, kind of "corporate marketing". You know, when people see an ad on Instagram or on TikTok or on whatever social media platform they're on and it feels very corporate, it almost feels like overly produced or it feels like there's like some stock footage forget about it, that's never gonna work. The stuff that performs well is the stuff that feels authentic, organic. Oftentimes it's like more user generated content, it feels like a bit more real. I think that's sort of the same thing that's going to be exacerbated with AI.

Andrew Mok: If the story feels like it's just generic and it's a generic value prop or it's a generic message, as humans, we're gonna be very, very quick to pattern spot those things and we'll lose attention. And so it's gonna be all about originality and telling these stories that it's pretty clear that only a human can come up with. We apply actually this cultural filter for all of our campaigns where we think about a variety of things like, "Is it culturally relevant? Like why do people care about this right now?" We ask, "How does Turo actually contribute to this message? Is this a company just commenting on something on trend because they're trying to get eyeballs on it? Or is it actually something where they can add something to the conversation?" So it needs to fulfill both of those things. And then three, "Is it something that only Turo can comment on that nobody else can?" So something that we can uniquely comment on that other companies can't. So we apply those three filters to pretty much everything that we do on kind of the brand marketing side. And if it checks all those boxes, then that means the stars align for us to come up with something that can "stop the scroll".

Kailey Raymond: Do you have any examples of a campaign that uses some of those principles that you just outlined?

Andrew Mok: So there's some stuff coming that I can't announce yet but I can tell you about a campaign that came out towards the end of last year, early this year. It was a partnership that we did with Netflix's Wednesday, one of the top stream shows on Netflix. And we struck this partnership with them actually before the show even came out. So we had no idea it was going to be as big of a hit as it was. And so we ran this partnership where actually you could get the Wednesday mobile on Turo and you could book it and you could have an experience with the Wednesday car on the platform. And we even wrote and we had this really funny, all of our listings have a host profile page and a car page. And so we wrote everything from the perspective of Wednesday Addams. So our copywriters had a lot of fun with that and they did a really, really great job. And so that was an example of something that was obviously very culturally relevant. It was something that Turo could add to the conversation because we could make the car available and it was something that only we could do that our competitors couldn't because our competitors they have economy, car, and compact car. They don't have the specific Wednesday car that is available for booking. So that was a really, really fun campaign for us that sort of checked all the boxes and performed quite well for us.

Kailey Raymond: I love that example that that would be so much fun to hop in to some branded car. You talked about kinda that framework that you're applying to some of your campaigns, which really does sound like the do's and don'ts related to how Turo creates customer obsession. But do you have any advice that you've received from a peer or leader that you maintain around customer experience and building customer journeys?

Andrew Mok: I've learned so much from my experience at Turo and I've learned so much from my boss at Turo, the CEO of Turo, Andrew. But I think if I were to kind of synthesize it or distill it into the one single best piece of advice that I received it's that progress is non-linear but it takes time. It can be two steps forward, one step back sort of thing. And it may not always feel like you're making progress but progress is unstoppable and it just takes time. And you know, I still remember when I first joined the company, I really underestimated how long it was gonna take to build peer-to-peer car sharing. I remember thinking to myself when I first joined, I was like, "Oh hey, you know, maybe I'll know within a year or max two years if this thing is gonna go anywhere."

Andrew Mok: That was this is back in 2012, "I'll get a clear signal on one way or the other." And that was just completely naive. It has taken at least, you know, 10 years to build this marketplace and to actually start to see more and more signs of it becoming mainstream and achieving product market fit. And just I think it reminds me of kind of this journey that we've been on. When I first joined the company, I still remember telling one of my family members, "Hey, I'm gonna go join this thing where strangers share their cars and you give the keys to a stranger and I'm gonna leave my blue chip job at consulting to go do this." And he just like looked at me with absolute disbelief and like disappointment. He's like, "What? Why would anybody wanna do this?" You know, fast forward to today I actually just saw this family member a few months ago and he was like, "I used Turo on a vacation."

Andrew Mok: "It was amazing. I absolutely loved it. Do you have a promo code?" And it's, you know, it's just this, it's this stark kind of contrast of just like things take a long time it's been 10 years plus building creative fair car sharing. By definition. If you're doing something that's bold and pioneering and new people are going to think it's stupid, people are going to think it's crazy. It's par for the course with innovation. So just remember it takes time. There aren't any shortcuts. You just have to focus on incremental improvement in getting a little bit better every day, 1% better every day. And you'll look back over the course of 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, however long it takes. And you'll be really proud of what you've built. So that's certainly I think one of the main lessons that I've learned from my decade plus at Turo.

Kailey Raymond: It's a nice reminder to me as well. I've been in tech my entire career and I think that it very often feels exactly that it's two steps forward, one step back. But that is progress, right? To your point, it is. You have that vision, you're probably not gonna get there in a year if you did, your vision wasn't big enough. You know? And so we have this framework at Segment that we call The Customer Data Maturity Framework. And so at the end of it, you know, is this real time personalization happening across all your different channels? And Amazon makes everybody wanna do that today. That's not something that you can do today. You're probably gonna have to start by sending an email that is using some unique qualifier that you know about this person and then you'll get there one day, right? But it's this incremental step change that we're all trying to do every single day to move the ball forward. I am wondering if you have any brands or companies that you look to that you think are doing it right in terms of customer experience?

Andrew Mok: There are quite a few. I mean I think of course what Amazon is doing in terms of offering more, doing it better, doing it cheaper, I think is very, very impressive obviously. I think just the ubiquity of everything that they do. I think that a lot of times marketers focus on retention in a way where they emphasise kind of like the hacks. You know, they emphasise, "Oh, I'm gonna send more emails or I'm gonna send more push notifications or I'm going to use more promos." And to me, these are all hacks at the core of it customer retention and customer experience is all about delivering an amazing experience that you can't find anywhere else. That's the core engine. The rest of it is great and it's helpful. Emails, push notifications, promos, it helps accelerate that core, accelerate the flywheel. But the core of it is delivering this amazing seven star experience not just five star but seven star experience that you can't find anywhere else.

Andrew Mok: And I think Amazon has really embodied that in terms of everything that they've done. The other one that has caught my attention recently, I have started to get into golf recently. It was one of the pandemic activities when there was nothing else to do. And so I've been learning a little bit more about sort of just the culture of golf and like kind of the history of the tournaments and things like that. And one thing that really caught my attention was there's this tournament called The Masters. The tagline is a tradition unlike any other, you know, it's the same tournament every single year at Augusta National. And nothing changes, same colour pattern, et cetera. And but one thing that they do I thought was really cool, they really emphasize having their own glossary, having their own vocabulary. So when they do the broadcast and in all of their materials promoting the masters they don't talk about them.

Andrew Mok: The sports fans as fans, they call them patrons, they always call them patrons. And all the announcers call them patrons.

Kailey Raymond: Huh?

Andrew Mok: They don't call the part of the grass that is like kind of a little bit thicker. It's sometimes it's called the rough, they call it the second cut. So it sounds very like kind of classy. It's the second cut of grass. They don't call it the sand traps, they call it bunkers. And it just really highlighted, I think the power of language. And it's something that we've done actually at Turo. It's a great effect as well. We call our community hosts. Those are the folks who have the cars and share them guests, the people who are getting into the cars. And we call them trips, we used to call them owners, renters, and rentals. So very, very different. It's like we went from commoditized to really having more of a peer-to-peer or human to human feel and making it feel less like a faceless, commoditized, bland transaction into something that actually is a real human experience that is being offered by hosts and that is being completed by guests on these amazing trips.

Andrew Mok: So, you know, it just highlights, I think the power of language and how, you know you're not gonna quantify that really with data, how well that that's performed. But I think that that has had a huge impact in terms of the perception of the marketplace and also the quality of the marketplace and the way everybody kind of acts as a member of the Turo.

Kailey Raymond: I love that example. An equivalent that I'm thinking of are all these social media platforms that immediately need to come up with a new name for the way that you post on it. So like Twitter tweets, threads, I don't know what they are. Maybe it's a thread, you know?

Andrew Mok: Yeah.

Kailey Raymond: But the fact that you can get people to use the language that you are creating but then to our very earliest kind of conversation is you're driving authenticity, you're speaking to the customer like they're human. And it's not a transaction. You don't ever want one of your customers to feel like they're being sold to or that they're a part in of a queue that they have to line up for. It's supposed to feel one-to-one, it's supposed to feel authentic, and it's supposed to feel like you know them and they know you. So yeah, I love that.

Andrew Mok: Exactly.

Kailey Raymond: Language.

Andrew Mok: Yeah. Specifically with Turo, it was so important for us because there's property being shared here. The car is being shared and there is I think people have heard these tropes about like, "Oh, don't drive the car like a rental car." And they're treating the car not like they would treat their personal car. And that was part of our thinking when we went with hosts and guests because we wanted to make it seem like a more meaningful connection. So the hosts aren't just car owners, they're not just the owner of the car giving you this commodity. They're actually hosting your experience, they're hosting your trip. The guests aren't just customers, they aren't just renters, they aren't just these commodity consumers they're actually guests. You're a guest in this post car. Treat it well, treat it like you would if you were the guest of a friend or a family member. And so there was actually, I think a lot of significance behind using host and guests because it also built I think, kind of a sturdier foundation for trust and just care, you know, people taking better care of one another and of each other's things.

Kailey Raymond: And that's one of the big themes too, I think that's happening right now related to a lot of this, is building that trust and making sure, especially with data today that folks really trust what you're doing as a brand. And I love the example of language being a way to influence that. Andrew, I have one more question for you as we roundup do you have any steps or recommendations that you might share with somebody that's looking to uplevel their customer experience strategies?

Andrew Mok: I mean, I think the main thing is make sure that the customer voice is somehow intertwined with your daily job. Not weekly, not a monthly summary from somebody else who puts it into slides daily. You know, make it part of your daily routine to listen to the customer. And if you can, maybe not daily but as often as possible spend time with customers, sit in on a customer support call. You know, we have a host success team and we'll do ride along all the time, you know, like really listen and put yourself in the shoes of the customer as much as you can and use your product. It sounds so simple but dogfood your product it's something that like I think when you're first starting a company and it's only 10, 20, 30 people, it's kind of people are dogfooding their product every day but then as the company gets bigger the people they get busy with other things, or maybe they just lose touch with it. Or maybe they just kind of take it for granted. But we have had so much in terms of product innovation, in terms of marketing innovation just from actually dogfooding and using our own service and we're still learning so many different things. So I would say definitely those two things. You know, making the customer voice part of your daily routine. And then number two, dogfooding your product as much as you can.

Kailey Raymond: I love that advice very wise connect your Slack channels or wherever else you are, getting that information in, that is one of the most tactical ways that you can actually start to change your perception or understanding of customer voice. Love it. Andrew, so many insights today. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your time.

Andrew Mok: Yeah, thanks for having me. This was fun. I Appreciate it.

Producer 1: This podcast is brought to you by Twilio segment. In today's digital first economy, being data-driven is no longer aspirational it's necessary. Segment's leading customer data platform empowers every team with good data from marketing your product to engineering and analytics. Segment unifies data silos into a single view of the customer. It allows teams to make data-driven decisions and personalize customer engagement in real time. All with one single platform to collect and manage your data. Curious to find out why over 20,000 businesses trust Segment to be their data foundation? You can learn more by visiting segment.com.

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