Podcasts have been on a steady growth streak for years. A 2016 study by Edison Research found avid listeners spend four hours and 10 minutes every week listening to an average of five different podcasts.
“Podcast advertising revenue in the U.S. grew at a substantial rate in 2017, hitting $314 million, according to the latest Podcast Advertising Revenue Study, released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC.
That figure is up 86% from 2016, when the study found that podcast advertising captured $169 million in revenue. The study projects that by 2020, podcast revenue will top $650 million.”
While that’s not nearly as large as other segments of marketing spend (TV advertising is ~$70 billion), podcasts continue to grow, slowly but steadily. Context matters here too because podcasting is nested within some larger trends in digital.
A good example is the maturity of voice interactivity and digital assistants. People are beginning to use their voice rather than typing text to search for information. The information they need back has also got to be in an audio format.
Audio is the Last Place for Undivided Attention
When podcasts became accessible to me about a decade or so ago, I was early an avid adopter. I recall downloading them to an iTunes application on a desktop and then transferring them to a device via USB. It was cumbersome…but a vast improvement from books-on-tape.
Faster mobile data speeds have simplified this process and certainly contributed to the proliferation of podcasts. In turn, this has opened what is perhaps the final market for attention: my hypothesis is that podcasts are different because the listening audience truly pays attention.
Whereas second screen devices distract from television shows or even conversations, listening is one of the few consumption activities we can do while engaged in another: commuting, exercising or doing chores.
Podcasts, indeed audio, may represent the last slice of (mostly) undivided attention available in marketing.
9 Marketing Podcasts Worth a Listen
Recently I switched phones – from an Apple iPhone 6s to a Samsung Galaxy 9 – and while the process proved far easier than I anticipated, moving all my podcasts was the hardest part.
After trying several podcast apps, I finally settled on Pocket Casts, which is premium, but still far from perfect (podcast apps on iOS are, sadly, far superior). The process of, however, caused me to consider carefully which podcasts I really wanted to keep – those with staying power and to which I actually listen routinely.
Here are those podcasts that made the cut. If you work in marketing or are trying to understand marketing, here are nine marketing podcasts that I recommend.
Hosts Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster make a good podcast because they come at things from different perspective. These two couldn’t be more different in how they analyze a topic, and yet they provide a complementary vantage point on the show. This is important because there is too much regurgitation and backslapping in marketing, rather than critical thinking. For example, when the masses are praising the Meeker report this time last year, these two offered a cautionary tale. (monthly | 30-40 minutes)
Many podcasts interview authors, but Roger Dooley tends to find authors that are generally more cerebral – literally and figuratively. His own work largely focuses on neuromarketing and many of guests have published about related topics. The interviews home in on the subject matter – rather than ask “what inspired you to write the book.” As such his podcasts serve as cliff notes and a good way to test drive a book before buying it. Here’s a good example: Thinking in Bets with Annie Duke. (weekly | 30-40 minutes)
I’ve concluded the litmus test for this show is finding interviewees with a good idea about a trendy topic in marketing. Host Kerry O’Shea Gorgone – who always sounds like she’s smiling – has recently interviewed marketers on topics including brands, metrics, personalization, content marketing, and even, occasionally, the value of creative in marketing. She also has the occasional author too: Embrace Revenue Responsibility With ‘Full Funnel Marketing’: Author Matt Heinz. Indeed, as Mr. Heinz said in that interview, you can’t buy a beer with an MQL. (weekly | ~30 minutes)
For me, the appeal of this podcast is the coverage of marketing technology (martech) by hosts John Wall and Christopher Penn. For example, I once signed up for a free trial of IBM Watson after hearing about it on a show. However, it’s not a “tools show” but rather I find it to be more about the application, or potential application, of technology in a marketing context. The shows tend to be short enough you can knock out three at a time when you hit drive-time traffic. They recently had Rand Fishkin, whose new company appears to be tackling a vexing marketing problem, on the show for a very candid interview: Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin. (weekly | ~20 minutes)
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As the title suggests, this podcast covers all things related to B2B growth – sales, marketing, alignment, tech, leadership. If there’s a challenge in B2B, podcast hosts Jonathan Green and James Carbrary probably have a podcast about it. The interviewers are skilled at drawing a good conversation and the podcasts are short enough you can get four big ideas in an hour. The B2B Growth show is different because it recognizes that book authors don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, so you’ll hear from the *gasp* vendor community too. I’ve come to believe this podcast, and Sweet Fish Media, which is the company behind it, performs a community service of sorts, even as they help themselves. (daily | ~15 minutes)
One way to learn about marketing is to learn from the experiences of people at the pinnacle of their careers. That’s my take on the interview roster Alan Hart lines up just about every week. It’s often, but not exclusively, a CMO. In the last year so, some of the interviews I’ve listened to on the show include CMO of MailChimp, Tom Fishburne the Marketoonist, the notorious Ad Contrarian, and a pretty interesting take from CarMax and how the CMO and CIO work together. (weekly | 30-50 minutes)
Mark Reed-Edwards hosts the confession series, which spotlights movers and shakers in the marketing community. His interviews are clear, short and tend to focus on a single marketing topic: team building, product marketing and GDPR for example. It’s a great way to make effective use of 15 minutes of in-between time or save up a few and queue them one after another. (2-4 times per month | ~15 minutes)
If you’re into marketing, it’s worthwhile to keep tabs on tools, but it seems like there’s a new tool every week. Keeping track of them is time-consuming. That’s where host Nicholas Scalice can help. His weekly podcast is almost guaranteed to introduce you to a new tool every week – I’ve got a bunch of useful extensions in my browser to show for it. You can always choose to try them or not, but knowing these tools exist is an advantage in and of itself. (weekly | 20-30 minutes)
One thing you can never have enough of in marketing is ideas that are both new and interesting. To find new and interesting ideas, you need to look outside your bubble. There’s no better way to break out of the bubble than to look across the pond. Hosts Daniel Rowles and Ciaran Rogers hail from the UK and talk all things web and digital, including tactics, tools and sometimes marketing philosophy. As I write this, I noticed a new podcast that I haven’t listened to yet about the “death of content marketing.” I hope that’s just click bait, because the first time I saw people started talking about the death of content marketing, it was 2013. (2-4 times per month | 20-30 minutes)
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I’m always on the lookout for new or improved podcasts. If you’ve got one to suggest or pitch, please leave a comment, and I’ll check it out. When it comes time to refresh those on my devices, I’ll almost assuredly write a new post like this one.
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