How Podcasts Fix the Hole in Your Marketing Funnel

Marketers are facing an immense amount of pressure. If you are a marketer you are responsible for breaking through the clutter and driving sales, all while choosing the right creative and message, using the right channel…all in the middle of a pandemic.

As if all of that isn’t a big enough challenge, you have an even bigger problem:

Marketers know how to capture the customer’s attention…just don’t know how to hold it (and aside from sales…this is kinda important).

And I can relate. I was a marketer like yourself. Working in client services for some of the world’s best advertising agencies we were always under the gun to capture the prospect’s attention and get them into our funnel. And we were really good at it. I was responsible for leading campaigns for big brands like Netflix, Four Seasons, Nordstrom, and Lamborghini. We developed world-class, award winning creative that captured attention, broke through the clutter and filled the funnel. But we always ran into the same problem over and over again.

The holding. 

Holding people in the funnel is the hard part. 

And the cost of customer attention has been consistently on the rise. In a Harvard Business School study, author Thales S. Teixeira outlines how it is increasing every year and is even outpacing inflation.

Which begs the question… what is your marketing actually doing?

Sure, marketers are filling the funnel. But there’s a hole.

And that hole is causing you to lose prospects:

They get distracted by a competing brand

  • They lose interest in your product or service

  • They can’t find the information they need

  • Their needs might not be understood

  • They get frustrated by the sales experience

  • Etc.

As Edelman said in their latest Trust Barometer:

“Those who highly trust the brands they purchase will reward them with loyalty, engagement, and advocacy”.

But some marketers don’t always do a great job of building that trust.

But as I heard Kevin Plank (Founder of Under Armour) say live from the stage at the 2018 Cannes Lions Awards:

“Trust is gained in drips, but lost in buckets”.

So marketers run another campaign to fill the funnel. And you keep filling. And filling. And filling. But it doesn’t fix the problem… the hole. So this is very expensive and time consuming activity.

But you just can’t stop.

You have to keep the content machine going, continuing to reach your audience with your content, and build their trust in drips.

But the hole isn’t going away.

So what do you do?

Obviously you have to fix the hole. You have to retain the customer’s attention through engagement. You have to fill the funnel but then keep them there.

Introducing the branded podcast. 

When done well, a branded podcast shoves a cork in that hole by retaining the customer’s attention.

When you find your new favourite podcast you listen to it day and night and you can’t wait for the next episode to be released. A great podcast captures your attention, grabs you by the lapels and says “keep listening to me!”.

And there is no reason why this can’t come from a brand, as long as the podcast is focused on ‘story first’ and chock full of value.

A great podcast will draw the audience in and get them to stay… Which increases their long-term value. It will even turn your audience into evangelists…which increases your word of mouth…and lowers the cost per acquisition.

Now that hole in the funnel is plugged.

If your brand produces a quality podcast then you can turn those previously leaky prospects into a true, engaged audience.

Your brand can now be a broadcaster.

Click here to access everything you need to market a podcast. 

But this isn’t new. Procter & Gamble introduced a series of day-time TV dramas to help sell their products, which we now know as soap operas. And GE hired famed actor and future president Ronald Reagan to host the General Electric Theater, which was an American anthology series.

A brand can absolutely create a podcast to capture and keep their audience’s attention by delivering a load of value. Your podcast can be helpful, teach a skill or concept, or hit an emotional chord.

Whatever it is if you have produced a quality podcast then the listener will subscribe. Their subscription is a vote for “more” of the show. They are saying: “I like this and want you to send me more of it when it’s ready.”

People consume 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with sales or buying direct. You can keep pumping out content but very little of it is effective at getting customers to subscribe for more, nor is it habit forming. This is one of the key reasons why brands are embracing podcasts. Whether it’s through push notifications on your favourite app, or the host encouraging you to “subscribe to receive future episodes” the very act of subscribing is baked into the podcast experience.

And nobody understands the power of subscriptions like Big Media, who have been investing in original video and podcast series for years.

But now brands get to behave like Big Media – they get to be broadcasters. 

These brands are leading the way in producing high value, high quality podcast series that connect with audiences and retain their attention so they stay in the funnel longer.

But you might be asking yourself: “what about video?”

Podcasts have proven to have a much higher engagement rate than video.

JAR Audio sees listen-through rates of 90-95% for each episode (20 min episode). Whereas the average YouTube video sees a 50% watch-through rate (1 min episode). In fact, podcasts equaled ‘listening to music’ and just below ‘watching the news’ and weather’ when a Westwood One study measured engagement value.

And podcasts are inherently portable – something a video is not. We typically enjoy podcasts while doing other things (driving, walking the dog, cleaning, cooking). In fact, a study by BBC (BBC Audio:Activated) showed that 94% of listeners consume podcasts while performing other tasks, and this multi-tasking mode of listening actually elevates engagement with the brand.

And here’s the coolest thing. The results of this study goes against everything we are being told about marketing mediums today:

Too much clutter = distraction = lost messaging

But keeping the brain occupied means the podcast content is taken in through ‘low-involvement processing’, a much more ‘fuel-efficient process’ that has a lower cognitive load.

Multi-tasking while listening = improvement in the brand message cut through

It’s for these reasons, and many more, that a great podcast can be your cork in the funnel…which is why so many brands are embracing them, and yours should too.

Ready to build a podast? You can reach out to JAR anytime for a quote, or to get those burning questions you might have answered.

Roger Nairn is the Co-Founder and CEO of JAR Audio.