Are B2B Companies Still Excited about Podcasts?


In theory, podcasts are a great thing for B2B and B2B SaaS companies.

They allow companies to connect with prospects, customers, and influencers and generate a ton of content (blog posts, social media updates, videos).

But podcasts can be a hard sell for marketers. One of the challenges is that the value and ROI of a podcast are more than data-driven.

When a marketer is asked by a CEO about how to measure a podcast's success, the answer is "a podcast can be quantified but many of the benefits aren't visible".

To get insight into the B2B podcast landscape, I connect with Tom Hunt , founder of Fame.

We talked about:

- Whether companies are still enthiastic about podcasts

- How to sell a podcast to. CEO or CMO

- The role and value of an internal podcast for employees

- Whether CEOs really understand their customers, and how a podcast and creating content is a great way to discover valuable insight.

I launched the Marketing Spark podcast in mid It has been one of the most rewarding professional decisions. The only regret is that I didn't start a podcast earlier. Podcasts have become a huge part of the media landscape, and many BDB companies have jumped on the bandwagon. As a marketer and podcaster, I'm curious about the state of the podcast landscape, where it's heading, and how companies will embrace podcast To answer these questions and tackle some other marketing topics, as Tom Hunt, founder of Fame, which starts and grows profitable podcasts for growth focused pb businesses, and b Casts, which hosts podcast Welcome to Marketing Sparks. So much for having me. I'm very excited about the next thirty yeo seminutes. Let's start with your thoughts on the BDB podcast landscape. You and I both live in the either hurricane. We live and breathe podcasts, you more so than than I because it's your business. And my question is whether bt B companies are still excited about podcasts. That's a leading question, I admit. I know that companies love being guests on podcast by the number of invitations that I see in my inbox. But I get the impression that not every company wants to create a podcast, or they're afraid of creating a podcast. What are your thoughts in terms of the overall B two B podcast. It's a great point, and I've got a couple of angles on this one. I'll take the first one, the most bullish of angles, which is what I typically use the sales schools as well. If someone asked me this question and it's that, well, actually, I'm gonna throw it back to you, Mark, do you know how many YouTube channels are billions? I guess fifty? Right, yeah, nanny about a parany and then like actway, let's not do active but like total podcast like two to three million. And so if you really think about like what a podcast actually is is just an RSS feed of audio content, just like a blog is an RSS feed of written content. And so if like literally every business has a blog, why shouldn't every business have an audio feed of a RSS feed of audio content? And that's the most bullish. But what are the other angles that I can come at this question to which are like maybe a bit more realistic or reasonable. Um, The first is I think there is a drive for B two B companies to create that like audiences that they control, like an email list, like a podcast subscription list, because no one can stand in the way of that. I guess Apple, Spotify, accessor it can stand in the way of that. But it's a bit more diversified. Um. And then at the same time, so there's like this control, like no one can take that away from you. I like it like a LinkedIn following UM. Then the second point is that it's much cheaper for you to then get the attention to those people. Could you just release the thing versus having to pay Facebook or LinkedIn on YouTube for the ads. So I think there is a drive towards owning creating owned media properties on the B two B side. That's one other angle. And then actually the biggest benefit I think of podcasting isn't necessarily building up the subscriber list or getting the downloads. It's like everything else that can come through it, like learning about the niche about building relationships with guests that could be customers of partners. And then also those are the two big ones. Oh yeah, all the other content that you can create from it, not just the audio. So there's are a few different viewpoints on that question. That's a lot of topics to discuss in in one in one answer, why don't we step back and look at the suggestion that every BDB company should have a podcast, just as nearly every BDB company as a... There are people out there that fervordently believe that this should be the case, but obviously it isn't right now. So eight do you think that this should be the case that every BDB company should have a podcast? And what's holding companies back? When you look at the benefits, the obvious benefits and the r o I of a podcast? Why are many companies just sitting on I'm going to well, yeah, the first question I think was about like why people should have the audio feed, And then I'll then I'll take the second one the first one, and I'll defirm into one. And it's the ease of which you can build a relationship with someone through creating that content. Relationships are built by going on like a roller coaster with friends, like the friends you are traveling with when you're younger, like your closest mates. And so if you think about collabbing on a blog post versus collaborating on a podcast episode, like, for example, this like we're going to become friends in theory, or we're gonna come closer after the US, and it's taken us literally thirty minutes feature maybe a bit more for you for researching, et cetera. And whereas if we were going to clap on a blog post, one of us is going to have to write it, the other one is gonna have to review it or add stuff. That's what we're going to take more time. And so I think that's the biggest benefit here is that the host or someone from the BCP company is going to get to know other people in the space, is going to learn from them. And so why people are sitting on the sidelines, It's a great question. I think five years ago it was quite hard. It was much harder than it is now. It's getting easier every year, like the script anchor, et cetera. All podcast agencies are making it much easier and cheaper to do. So I think people think you company think it's like a bigger effort than it than actually is, which is great for my business. Obviously. A couple of thoughts here. One is that two or three years ago I was intimidated about the idea of doing a podcast, the technical requirements, the costs involved, but the barriers to entry have come down dramatically. I spend probably if you don't include the time spent to edit and prepare. I spend thirty bucks a month preparing my on my podcast. But the other angle is that I think a lot of marketers have a tough time selling a podcast to the CMO or the CEO because many bTB companies it's all about data, it's all about KPI s, it's all about metrics. And when you go to a CEO and you say I want to do a podcast, and the the CEO says, well, how do you How are you going to measure r Y? How are you going to quantify whether this podcast is the success or not? You could turn, as you say, to his number of subscribers, streams, downloads, But that's not the number. So a marketer may say, but it's gonna build brand awareness, it's gonna help us build relationships, it's gonna build trust and affinity, and the CEO is going to go, well, I can't really measure that. What's your advice to marketers who need to convince the CEO that this is a this is no pointer idea first point, and you did touch upon this in the short term. We always advise like the r y and short term probably isn't going to come from the audience. Podcast think is actually not a great way to build an audience. Is a great way to build a better relationship with an existing audience. So if you think you're gonna star our podcast, everyone's gonna listen, then they were going to buy your stuff is probably unlikely. So what we say is that, let's say we're doing a bi weekly show over six months, we're going to build relationships with twelve people, twelve guests, and we're not going to pitch them. And they might be ideal customers or that might be ideal partners, but you're going to build those relationships and you make the guest experience amazing, and then you may expect like one or two of those people to like progress down your sales or partnership funnel. So that's what we typically say is actually, don't look at the listener side for the first six months, because if you then get a deal, let's say from the guest side, you can reinvest in the into the content, make it better, build the audience increase the likelihood of the r I on that side. That's the first point. Now, the second point is that the way we're going to get that our wife from the listener side is not by tracking those numbers. It's by adding a free text...

...field on the demo form saying how did you hear about us? And then over twelve months, if we're doing things right, that should start to happen typically after like six months. The third point, and it is something that I've been exploring recently in my own like world of B two B, is that I think that a new metric that BP marketers should be tracking, and it's a leading metric to revenue. And I think if the closest thing you can get to the measuring brand and I'm calling this total targeted impressions, And so there is just the number of impressions that your content is getting every month. Targeted means that from people that ideally could be biased. And one feed into that metric I think is the podcast download. An oppression is essentially like them showing that they want to listen to your episode basically, and so I combine that with like LinkedIn impressions podcast downloads, impressions on any other social platforms, email opens, and there's the metric that I think is a great thing to measure to show the goodwill that is is building for you in the marketplace, and say podcast downlands would feed into that. So there are the three things I would speak to the CEO about. Let me step back here. In the BDB world, everybody accepts the reality that content is king, that if you produce insightful, valuable content, that's a good way of building trust, establishing relationships, positioning yourself as the go to resource in a particular area. And one of the things that I think many CEOs don't understand is that the content from a podcast can be repurposed and reconfigured in lots of different ways, and it can be your your content catalysts. You can sit at the core of your content engine. Is that something that do you think many business leaders aren't aware of because maybe they're not content people. They overlook the idea that there's a treasure trove of and colligence and insights and content just sitting there awaiting to be experience. You are you are totally right, I would expect. Why do people not realize that? Yeah, I'm not sure. I think it's just quite shocking the amount were like, when you do one video podcast episode, is shocking the amount of information you can pull from that um And if you so a, you're going to get a load of information from it. But then be because you're including someone else in the process of creating it, there incentivife to share it. Right, And so I'm going to bring this back to the third point of my previous answer, where and it didn't actually make this clear, but if we think about total total talgeted impressions again, like like doing the podcast and getting all the video snippets and having someone else in centivives to share your post or comment on your posts is going to blow up what you're not going to blow up, but it should increase that total talgeted impressions metric over time. So I think you're right as to why people are not doing it and don't understand it. I think it's just something that you have to experience. The first time you record this, you realize you've got the transcripts and you're like, okay, I could probably have seven videos from this episode. So yeah, if you make a very good point, mark the other question I wanted to ask you about podcasting before moving on to other topics. Is the idea of internal podcasts. I saw a buffer post that companies should look at creating internal podcasts for employees to engage, inform educate, maybe even entertained. And then I was talking to Steve Schmidt, a very well known salesperson on LinkedIn, who's talking about the idea you could use an internal podcast to bring marketing and sales together. They had a marketing the head of sales can do a mini podcast every week and talk about the things that they're working on and the things that they've achieved. So I wanted to ask you about whether an internal podcast is maybe a way to get companies to get on the podcast. I'm not paying you for this starting session,...

Like that's a good idea sales and marketing combined. I'm literally going to go and pitch out talk clients or No, that's such a good idea. I think if we like back out, like take a step back actually to actually ask your question. Yes, you're totally right, Like people should start to experience like the magic. It's really the closeness you experience when you listen to someone else's show, Like I listened to True crime pods all the time, and so I just know all of these true crime journalists like like they're my best mate. I think if we step back and really understand what happens when you put someone else's audio in your ears is that you build this like incredible relationship and you can use that, I don't want to say influence with the sound stock, but you can use this to try to change people's behavior in a good way. And that's what we're kind of trying to do with the podcast externally, because they're trying to influence the market subtly to come and understand the problem that it solved. The objective exactly the same internally. What are the things that you need to educate your employees about to influence their behavior via to increase productivity, increased up satisfaction, and increase employee engagement. And a show just like it should be pot of an external marketing mix, I think should also be pot of an interunnel marketing myth with basically in tunnel calm slash H. I think it'd be a great idea. It's a great way to really engage your employees because that's one of the biggest things that we're struggling with right now is the fact that you've got a hybrid work environment. You've got remote workers people, some people are even working together in person, but they're not connecting, and maybe a podcast is a good way to make that happen. I want to jump around a little bit into some other marketing topics and to be perfectly transparent, these came from the post that you did on LinkedIn. You as as a podcast guy. Obviously this is an area of expertise, but you're also interested, are passionate about a lot of different things. So why don't we bounce around and I'll ask you some questions about some of the things that that you talk about and give me some you can elaborate on some of what you're thinking. You talked about something called corruption based marketing, which is a term that I hadn't heard before. How is it different or better than other approaches to market and totally understandable that you wouldn't have heard that before because they made it up now. So interruption for like for fame, the way that the impact our business has on other B two B companies I think are like enemy or the opposite of what we do is interruption marketing which is the way I define the difference between interruption and marketing, and like value ad marketing is really the reaction to the ideal buyer as they see the thing. And so let's just take a really obvious example, a cold Facebook ad. This driving someone that's like getting in the way of someone's feed and driving them to get a demo of your software even though they've never heard of you before, Versus a podcast they've been listening to for half a year. They see a new guests that they're really interested come up on their podcast feed and they see that and they click on it. Right, So this I would say of the interruption, this I would say if like value add the screen that I would ask every B two B market to look through as they're going to be sending that email that they're going to publish the ad, as they're going to publish our podcast. Is do I think that the reaction to this from my ideal bio is it going to be a positive one or a negative one? Have I interrupt them with this thing? Um? So maybe I need to think of a better name, because like, technically, whatever we send and put in front of IDEBAI is going to be an interruption, But it's more about the reaction to it. Do they see it if an interruption, or do they see it is something that's going to improve their lives. That's an interesting concept because there are two kinds of interruptions. One annoys you. You see the added or the piece of content. It's not relevant, it's not interesting, and in fact it's distracting and and causes you to two breakdown in whatever you're doing at the moment. And the other one is ah ha, that's interesting. I'm curious about that, whether it's the title or the content or whatever, and it can completely generate a different reaction immediately.

It's an interesting game to play, and I think you're right. I think a lot of markers will need to think through what kind of content, what kind of advertising and putting out there. You talk about CEO is understanding their customers, and if you go through a LinkedIn feed, there are tons of posts about the value of understanding your customers and being empathetic to their needs and interest and talking to them. My take is a lot of it is talk as opposed to walk. Is Marketers in theory love the idea of talking to customers and prospects but they don't do it because they're busy or they've got different priorities. But one of the realities of being a CEO, especially as the company's growing, is you get farther and farther away from your customers. When early days you love your customers and you're the CEO and the chief salesperson, so you're you have very intimate relationship with prospects and customers. But as the company grows, you get busy and you do other things that you stop talking to customers. So my question to you is what are best practices to make sure that CEOs are aligned and connected with customers and prospects. How to make sure that there's not this wall between them because the CEO has other responsibilities. Yeah, I mean obviously host a podcast. I'm joking that typically even necessarily the CEO. But they here the great question and I think get a reaction when I posted on LinkedIn, because my view is exactly that that I think the CEO needs needs to be the person in the business the nose the customer the most, and people are responding the thing that with bigger companies it should be like sales customer success and now that so I'm still of the belief that the CEO needs to know the customers the better because they are ultimately making the big decisions the impact, like what products are being made and how they're being sold. So to your actual question, which is, how did the CEO actually do this, I think, and I've thought about this a bit, I think the best way is for the CEO to create content because when you create, for my life experience pretty limited. But the best way for me to learn is to teach, which is why I write on LinkedIn, which is why I host a podcast. They're going to learn about the thing that they're creating content about more as they create it. And then the great thing is that if they're creating it and posting it ideally from their own social profiles themselves, then they are going to see the responses to that content and even get into the comments and interact and really learn from the people they're reacting to the content, which ideally are also the customers. I think that is probably the best thing. I guess the alternate is for like the CS team to set up calls for the CEO to jump on and ask questions, but I don't know if that's gonna two get the deep enough knowledge that well. I essentially think that creating content could build deeper knowledge for the CEO, and the benefit there is also there's going to help grow the company as a content market or someone who totally believes in the value of content. I think the CEO should be creating content on a regular basis. But the pushback that I get when I suggest that is that they've got bigger things to focus on. It's not a priority, it's really not a good use of their time. So how do you convince the CEO that yes, they should be creating content. And the other adjacent question is do you think that CEO should be hosting podcasts or co hosting podcasts, whether it's to an external or The reason why you get that pushback is because it's so hard to source or attribute the source of a good idea. A CEO if completely ignorant of the idea, if they could be getting from their customers, that's going to completely change the direction of the business or how they sell their thing, and so it's so hard to track that. And so that's how I tried to get a cross but...

...obviously it's not going to be that convincing. Maybe I would say, look, CEO, we're going to do this for a month. If we don't see the numbers growing and if and if we don't feel like you're learning about the customer, then we can stop. Maybe I'll just say we can try it. Well, we're actually going to go full circle back to we're talking about the benefits of podcasting versus writing blog posts. If you like nail down the process, as you were saying, Mark, like this episode might take you like forty minutes, including finding me and prepping the questions um, and then obviously if you can hand everything over to an editor, et cetera, to the marketing team, then you can get the time down for a CEO to record an episode to like thirty five minutes. And so they're going to learn from the guest. Ideally they're going to feed them feedback on the show or get a report from the marketing team about howth doing, including like quality of feedback, and like the THEO ideally is going to be a pretty good host because they normally know the subject matter and have good communication skills. I think that is like one route to creating content for a CEOs podcast. Now we might be jumping onto another question, But I think there's like there's the best way to become famous in any B two niche basically combines three things. It's very simple. Just start written posts on LinkedIn. They can have a video and image in them, and so the CEO can do this. They can get the insights from the show, start hosting their own podcast around the niche, and then go guests on another podcasts in the niche. Do those three for six months, and that's going to like make the CEO and the business famous. Admittedly, that is going to take the CEO quite a bit of time. So where possible, we're going to hand over some of those tasks to the marketing team. Like the marketing team can get the booked on the other shows, the marketing team can do everything for the podcast. A part of my host and were actually writing that post. The marketing team can prep the video, but the actual writing of the post, I would say it does need to be done by the CEO. On a related note, in terms of understanding your customers, you talk about how organizations need to become better listeners, and as a reporter, a lot of the best information I got during during an interview was simply listening and not talking, letting people fill in the pregnant pauses with information that they would never have told you otherwise because they're uncomfortable with silence. So I think that listening is an awesome thing and an awesome skill. How do you teach people to listen better? How do you make them understand that it's not about talking? Because we all love to talk, and if you ask somebody a question, they'll talk and until the cows come home. But what about listening? How do we improve listening? From my business perspective and even from a personal perspective. Such a good point, And I don't know how much thought I've committed to understanding how to make people a better listener. I think maybe I'll try and respond by understanding how I've become like a relatively good list knife thing It might have been like in my earlier career, I would like starting small, start off that none of them worked, But I do remember reading like the Eric Reese book and the other one this, but Eric rees so silin startup, and then the other one is called the fourth step to the Epiphany, and they just hammer so hard on the fact that the like your product, the products should be brought out of you by the customer should be pulled out of you. Um why combinators say this, They mafal, you just say, make stuff people want. And so I think it was hammered into me from like the startup world and reading those two books, it becomes very clear that ultimately the gold the thing that you're going to create that people actually want. And I got this wrong for like five years, right, So maybe I learned through the pain, But maybe I would recommend like reading those books. I'm not going to say that B two be marketer marketing manager in a big company should go and start their company so they could start their own companies so they can learn how to listen. So it's but it's exactly the same marketing. Like the messages that are going to resonate don't sit in your head. Maybe they do kind of if you you used to be the ideal customer yourself, if you used to be that buyer, but maybe you didn't. So you just need to sit down and listen to these people. So I don't know if that was a good answer, mark Well, I think it's a good answer. Think...

...what you're putting the spotlight on is the idea that if you listen to your customers, they will tell you what you need to know. They will tell you what they need to do their jobs better. They'll give you great ideas for content, they'll give you great feedback on your product. And so if you combine customer insight with listening, it's a powerful one to punch. Going back to original discussion about podcasts, I want to ask you about s c OH. I listened to one of your other podcast interviews and a big focus was s c O and the rule that it plays and helping you promote your own podcast and those of your clients. How has Google's recent algorithm change impacted SEO when it comes to so, my literally the anything I about the new algorithm is like, well, I read on a couple of link tempos, and my understanding is that it's prioritizing content that people actually want to read, like interesting content. And I kind of thought they were doing that anyway with like scrol rates and like click click rates, et cetera. So maybe they're just honing that and it makes total sense. And I think really for the last like seven years of SCO, people have started to realize that you can't game it, and you literally have to make content that people like the opportunity for businesses for f EO. With a podcast, it is simply just to ensure that you're able to pull out and create a web page or a blog post from the episode that actually adds value to people. And so this typically consists of like the embedded player they inventedded video if you have it, the key takeaway and the transcripts, and then links to the guests. Typically, now that's like the standard, and if you really think about the youth of journey there, like somebody I don't know, they're going to feed that on search posts, they're gonna click, then they're going to click on the Apple link on the player that on their phone maybe, and then they're going to subscribe or listen to it later, which is fine, but then that's not really gonna help with with f EO. So we can like brainstorm on how to make that page better if if we want. So, the first thing we want to do is trying to get some back links, and so that what we do here we go to the guests and be like, hey, we made this allt some page for you, maybe incentivized some somehow to get the link from their domain back to yours. What we've been testing is like writing a written some read the post, giving that to the guests for them to post on their blog, and in that we didn't better link back to ours. We typically get like a tick box when the guest is booking, like if we write, if you write the stubwhare you post on the blog and say yes, then I'll write it. So that's the first thing. The second thing is maybe I would like take out the we haven't tested this yet, but take out we embedded player or video and just link to that at the bottom of the post and then tell the story of the episode in the blog post. That's something to test. We do still recommend putting the full like transcript, but like not not not if it's automated, but if it's the human review transcript, like getting that on the page maybe with a click thing so you click it to like fully release it. That will probably help with Google as well. But like to zoom out again, the way you're gonna get more organic traffic is by creating information that people actually want. And so if you are able to like put out good insights in your episode and then communicate them and on a web page on your domain, then you should be able to get organic traffic. One final question that's around fame. I described fame briefly off the top, but perhaps you can provide a more full blown description of what theme does, who it serves, and the value that delivers to clients. And I'm also interested in your approach to marketing these days. What kind of channels are using, what works, what hasn't worked for you? Great? Yeah, so fame BT B company one in one line. We've started great podcasts for B three brands and the business started because I with head of marketing at a B company, we start a podcast, went really well, I left, Fortunately they became the first client and then they're still a client today and we've just then taken that process we built in house and applied it to fifty five different B two B businesses now in terms of marketing. Is such a relevant question, Jim Mark, because I was...

...literally spending this week working on this and he is like a Chris Walker thing. But I've taken all of our growth programs I call them, and I've added them into like into a treader boarders like ideas, experiments, positive signals, repeatability, operationalize and scale fully integrated and currently we have nine on there. I'll quickly run you through them. Now, nothing is passed through a repeatability yet, but in ideas we have LinkedIn ads, not not started that yet. In experiments we have my podcast still an experiment service led growth and this is how we can get exposure for fame through the content we produced for clients. Well, if we get approval, we have LinkedIn organic for another one of the team is in there. Then moving to positive signals, So these are things that we started working on. We're getting good for you back from. We have a community called SAS market the biggest SAS marketing community on Facebook that I've had for like three years, So that's in there. My LinkedIn organic is positive signals, me being a podcast gift how relevant here is in positive signals And then we just have two and repeat ability with Google Organic and Google Paid. So those are like all of the programs and my job as CEO and CMO is like prioritizing and trying to move them through that tradey board and what's your approach to paid these days because a lot of companies are pulling back on paid, they may not be seen the results they want they may not be seen the engagement like a ratio of paid spend to revenue. If only Google paid, so people that if they've capturing demand, people that are Googling for what we do, um our ratio of like one, and so I'm trying to push that up. We're still maintaining like cost per conversions are acceptable and we're kind of hitting a hit a limit. So I wouldn't say we're skating back. If I could find a way to pay more. Maybe I just need to get better Google ads, I would, um, but I need to find someone who's going to do it with me. But that's how how we're doing unpaid. Well. Thanks to for the great inside about podcasts and lots of other topics that I'm sure people will enjoy as we bounce around from topic to topic. And thanks to everyone for listening to another episode of Marketing Spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a glowingly positive review, Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or your favorite podcast app, and of course share via social media. And to learn more about how I helped B two B sas companies as a fractional cmos reaching to advisor and positioning and Messaging Guru email Mark at Mark Ivan dot C. A working out with me on Lincoln. I'll talk to you s.

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