Hear And Now: Audio Content In Digital Marketing

Ginger Shimp and Jeff Janiszewski

The following is a conversation about marketing innovation with Jeff Janiszewski and Ginger Shimp from SAP North America Marketing. In this blog, they (ironically) talk about listening.

Ginger and I had another terrific discussion about marketing innovation on Bonnie D. Graham’s
Coffee Break with Game-Changers.

Coffee Break with Game-Changers

The topic was the use of audio content in marketing. It got me thinking about the book
Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost into Profit
. In the book, authors Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose say: “The most innovative companies around the world have achieved remarkable marketing results by fundamentally changing their approach. By creating value for customers through the use of owned media and the savvy use of content, these businesses have dramatically increased customer loyalty and revenue.”

That’s particularly interesting since we were on a panel with Pam Didner, author of the book
Effective Sales Enablement and host of the 7 Minute Marketing podcast, and “Shark” Kinney, host of
A Shark’s Perspective marketing podcast. So, it was a podcast about podcasts and other audio content. And it’s not surprising when you think about it.
recently posted that there are 73 million podcast listeners in the United States and that number is expected to rise in the coming years, and they’re expecting B2B marketing to be even more personal in 2019.

Yeah. We covered a lot of stats in our conversation. It’s really worth listening to. Especially if you’re in marketing.

I like what you said to Bonnie about the motivation to click on a link for audio content.

We need to be interested in the subject matter first, but we also need to trust the link. The numbers show that people are interested in audio, so as a marketer, if we have compelling content and we’ve earned their trust, it’s a great asset.

I agree that the numbers are good, but as a card-carrying contrarian, they also make me suspicious.

You don’t believe the numbers?

I do, but I wonder if it’s a fad or truly a new (yet ironically old-school) way of reaching prospects.

Well, the trend is growing, so it looks promising.

Yes, but that’s where the trust factor comes in. How long will it be before there’s so much bad audio content that people stop clicking?

That might happen, but why are you suspicious of the numbers? Numbers are a marketer’s best friend.

That’s the problem. There’s an old adage that we have two ears and one mouth, so we should use them in that ratio. The question is whether marketers are truly listening to customers.

I think so. That’s half of the job. We learn about our industry, we understand the pain points, we look at the numbers, and target the audience with the message they need to hear.

Whenever someone talks about “targeting an audience,” I feel like I should be sitting in a tree stand wearing camouflage and waiting for prospects to come by so I can blast them with my bullet points. That’s not a great way to build trust, and I don’t think it’s what they need, even if it’s what they think they want.

Okay. You made me laugh there. You kinda make it sound savage. If we’ve done a good job of targeting … forgive me … if we’ve identified people who are receptive to the quality information we’re trying to give them, doesn’t that build trust?

That may be what they want, and it may even be what they ask for, but it may not really be what they need.

You lost me.

Suppose you were tutoring a high school student and she’s paying you $25 an hour. She comes to you with 15 algebra problems, and she has no clue how to solve them. Do you say, “I’ve got this. Go play your video game for an hour and I’ll do them for you.”?

It wouldn’t take me an hour to do 15 algebra problems.

Ha! The point is that you can make a quick $25, and she’s happy to get the problems solved. That’s what she wants. Her goal is to get the homework assignment completed, and it’s a lot easier for you to just complete it for her.

So, you’re saying when we marketers just look at the numbers and provide solutions, we’re missing the point. We’re not actually helping their customers or building trust. But the numbers do matter. This is a nice metaphor, but giving customers the information they want is the most efficient way to fill pipe, and that’s the objective.

But what if it weren’t the objective? What if instead of targeting our prospects we befriended them? What if our goal were to help customers understand their problems? Is it possible that by building trust, the pipe will fill itself?

I acknowledge that this is a different way of looking at things, but as a practical matter, I’m not sure there’s a difference. What do we do differently? What’s the innovation?

Well, it’s not about changing the message. Like the algebra, the problems still have the same solution in the end, but we need to arrive at that solution in a different way. The difference is in the medium. It’s about how we present the message. There’s a difference between teaching and informing. If you want information, get an encyclopedia. If you want to learn, find a mentor. You even said it yourself in a prior blog, we need to be the bartender who empathizes. I’m just taking that a bit further. Marketers need to be mentors.

Okay. I see that. It’s harder to be a mentor than a repository of information, but that’s where the innovation comes in. Audio content can be much more personal. It’s like whispering in someone’s ear. If you want to give someone some friendly advice, you don’t really want to shout it at them.

Or blast them with bullet points. I’m not sure marketers can really listen twice as much as we talk, because we usually have a lot of valuable information to share, but we can listen twice as much as we have been.

Marketers ask for feedback all the time, but it’s usually a method of harvesting information so the prospect can be moved down the funnel. Marketers should spend more time considering the customer experience.

Well, if you need to rack-up more communication karma points, you can listen to the Coffee Break with Game-Changers podcast with host Bonnie Graham.

Or our Searching for Salaì podcast. With people increasingly on the move, we marketers need to use mobile devices to capture their attention via audio, so we need to create content that is actually interesting and useful for them, which requires some creativity.

Searching for Sali Podcast

Or the 7 Minute Marketing podcast with Pam Didner. Or A Shark’s Perspective marketing podcast with Kenneth “Shark” Kinney.

7 minute marketing podcast
a shark's perspective podcast

If you do all of that listening, even with a two-to-one ratio, you’ll be entitled to talk for some time.

Did we just move readers on down the marketing funnel?

Yeah, but we had a conversation first, so it’s cool.

And the best part is we didn’t have to wear camouflage.

Don’t miss Part II of this conversation. Pam and Shark will be back with us to dive deeper into this topic with Bonnie.

Listen to Coffee Break with Game-Changers, Hear and Now Part II, at 11 am ET on Wednesday, March 20th.

About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.

Jeff Janiszewski

About Jeff Janiszewski

Jeff Janiszewski is an SAP award-winning B2B marketeer with a proven track record of designing, implementing demand generation and pipeline strategies that generate sales across a diverse range of industries and solutions.