CMO's Corner: Forget True Crime, Podcasts Are For B2B Marketers

August 21, 2017

B2B Podcasts

Editor's Note: This guest post is written by Joe Hyland, Chief Marketing Officer at ON24. 

A month ago, Apple announced they would began sharing analytics from Podcast useage to creators. Although the news passed without much fanfare don’t let that fool you, podcasts can have a huge impact on your marketing strategy. Marketers take note, podcasts are no longer for true crime mysteries and comedy routines - they’ve become a viable B2B marketing channel.

Dozens of B2B companies are already finding success with branded podcasts. Microsoft recently announced a partnership to produce a podcast exploring the connections between humanity and technology. Meanwhile, companies like Deloitte, Atlassian, and Dell each produce weekly updates, promoting both product and broader industry news. Even independent agencies have sprung up to meet the growing demand for professionally produced audio programs.

For far too long podcasts were passed over due to a lacking standard of measurement, or their perceived difficulty in production. Now with full analytics, podcasts are entering a new stage of maturity. Finally, marketers can take full advantage of the unique benefits podcasts have to offer. Here’s a few I believe are worth noting:

Cut Through The Noise, Go Straight for the Ears

What I find most exciting about podcasts as a B2B channel is their “un-blockable” nature. Consider the current marketing dilemma surrounding online video and advertisements. Ad-blockers have effectively stunted a once dominant channel - I know I’m guilty of using them. Additionally, digital media today is incredibly noisy. A pre-roll YouTube video playing in one of my 15 tabs open is not going to catch my attention, neither is your blocked banner ad or those pesky pop-ups I scramble to close.

On the other hand, audio is un-blockable by nature. When a person listens to an audio program, chances are that’s all that they are doing. There’s no multitasking or side conversation, listening requires a person’s complete, unfiltered attention. Plus, enjoying podcasts tend to fit into different parts of a person’s day opposed to viewing videos or reading articles. We listen to podcasts on commutes, working out, or chores. For B2B marketers, podcasts and audio programs can capture a prospect’s undivided attention at times when they may be most receptive to new information.

A Medium Perfect for Thought Leadership

Podcasts are also highly effective and communicating complex ideas. Although written works and contributed articles (like the one you’re reading now) have become the de-facto soapbox of industry thought leadership in recent years, podcasts represent a new untapped channel to spread interesting perspectives and complex ideas in the B2B marketing space. 

In my experience, a conversation between two industry experts can be just as enlightening, if not more so, than a well-written article on the same subject. For thought leaders, podcasts represent a natural way to communicate and articulate ideas that may not find traction in other mediums. Create a talk-show-esque environment for industry leaders to explore, argue, and perhaps develop new ideas of their own, all in-front of the ears of your customers - what more could a B2B marketer want?

Get The Most for Your Marketing Dollars

Every medium in a marketer’s arsenal has its strengths and weaknesses. A video, for instance, can  become anything within a marketer’s imagination, but a wild imagination means an equally wild budget.

Despite what you may believe, podcasts and branded audio programs require far less resources than more involved content production like video or animation. With a regular podcast program, marketers can maximize their available marketing resources. Podcasts offer a very high-value to cost ratio. Moreover, content like webcasts and webinars can be easily converted into podcast formats, giving marketers even more ways to recycle produced content.

In the next year, the importance of podcasts as a reliable B2B channel will only continue to grow. In fact, a recent Nielsen survey found a 64.2 percent increase in on-demand streaming from year prior - topping out at 7.5 billion streams per week. It’s clear audio is here to stay. Start looking for ways to incorporate podcasts and audio streams into your marketing strategy, and your audience is sure to tune in. 

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