Podcasts present perfectly prime and personal marketing potential

I love listening to Terry O’Reilly Saturday mornings on CBC Radio. Mixing profound insights with sharp wit, he takes listeners behind the advertising curtain. Whether he’s talking about branding, marketing or celebrity promotion, Under the Influence rarely fails to delight.

What I don’t like is that it’s Saturday morning. It’s a great show, but I’m not prepared to skip my pilates class so I can stay home and listen.

So I don’t. I simply load the latest Under the Influence podcasts onto my smartphone once a week and listen when I have the time and the inclination. In the workplace, connected technologies mean employees can increasingly work from whenever, whenever they need to. Why shouldn’t my radio listening fun have the same rules?

The early adopters have been trying to take podcasting mainstream for 10 years and they are finally getting some traction.

Pew Research Centre data points out a steady growth in this 10-year-old medium. Americans that listen to podcasts almost doubled since 2008 from nine per cent to 17 per cent by January 2015. Part of the tremendous growth lies with better-connected cars, wherein many spend time. In a recent Forbes article by Dorie Clark, she quotes one industry group that estimates 50 per cent of new cars sold will have Internet connectivity, with all cars having it by 2025.

I can’t wait until my own car lease runs out in order to have my technology gadgets built into the car to better enjoy my podcasts. Some might ask what is the difference between radio and podcasts? I would simply say it’s the emphasis on storytelling. And of course, Podcasts don’t need to contend with the typical radio scheduling. It’s all on-demand with emphasis on the best way to articulate a story that engages the listener, with no interruptions. Yes, for many it’s a great way to absorb a vaster amount of educational materials. For others, it’s a new art form that spawns not only a new type of content but a new type of experience. Best of all, in a busy world with little free time to spare, podcasting is all about personal convenience.

And so it should not be a surprise to marketers of the exponential growth of podcasts. Workers today try to make each segment of their day to be more productive. People commuting in cars and in public transit enjoy consuming and absorbing vast amounts of audio information. This trend explains in part the drop in traditional advertising spending. Whether you are a consumer by the weekend, or business person by weekday, accessing the information one seeks is now and forever on an individual’s schedule. Advertising dollars and marketing trends are not only alert to these facts but also are voting in how they spend, and where they invest. No longer can marketers depend upon scheduled times set by the broadcast industry, or by the publishers’ magazine editorial calendar, and popular radio programming times.

Social streams now scream about podcasts to download, depending upon your interests. So, I list my reasons why smart marketing dollars are embracing this medium. If you are interested in adding to this list, let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

  • “Sound is going to be huge”, according to Mary Meeker, an analyst from Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, “because 144 Million Americans spend 52 minutes per day in cars.” Time in the car is the newest marketing opportunity for business today.Podcasts personalize information – Alone in your car, in your home, in your garage or riding transit, podcasts are a more intimate way to connect directly with the person listening to you.
  • Podcasts personalize information – Alone in your car, in your home, in your garage or riding transit, podcasts are a more intimate way to connect directly with the person listening to you.
  • Mobile loves podcasts – The most portable digital appliance is one’s smartphone. As of 2015, there were 28.2 million smartphones in Canada with a population of 35.6 million. According to, 63 per cent of smartphone owners use it as their primary device for all activities.
  • Podcasts are a brand and social integration tool for marketers – Podcasts allow the integration of brand, knowledge, thought leadership, product and services to coalesce with the listener. And, like videos, podcasts allow your audience to tweet likes and recommendations about your content.
  • Executive and influential presence – The right voice representing your company, be it your CEO, executive, or thought leader brings to bear the right personality that exudes confidence and is convincing with the information being disseminated by the listener.
  • Podcasts build an engaged audience – All companies require attracting new customers. Reading an article sparks curiosity to explore further options. Listening to a voice with authority and valuable insights creates an invisible bond to further your prospect along the buying journey with you or your company’s offerings.

That’s my take. I am now going to search for a book I was told to read, so I will assume it has been converted to a podcast called “Your strategy needs a strategy.”

Stay tuned.

Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan
Fawn Annan is the President and Group Publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada, the largest global IT media company located in 87 countries. Its global brands such as CanadianCIO and Computing Canada are written with local views for global IT issues.

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