Podcasting… the next big thing?

Archived from November 2005

WARNING: Only read this if you’re interested in the latest new marketing technology and you have two minutes instead of one. Sorry… it’s really interesting stuff and I couldn’t help myself.

Just when you thought you had integrated marcom all figured out, along comes another new technology – “podcasting.” And yes, it’s definitely coming… faster than you think! But don’t worry. This issue will provide the basics on what it is and how you can integrate it into your marcom mix. One company did and found huge gains as a result.

What the heck is a podcast?
Think of a podcast as your own personal talk radio show. The term “podcast” is a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast.” But you don’t need to have an iPod to listen to a podcast. Any MP3 compatible device or player will work. In fact, you really don’t need a device at all. You can listen right from your desktop using Windows Media Player, iTunes or similar application.

A podcast is an audio file that’s available for download from a website or via RSS feed using a newsreader. Newsreaders are usually no cost downloads that sit on your desktop. You use them to view and manage subscriptions to RSS feeds. Some are available online through news aggregators. If all of this sounds confusing… just click here for my Tip Sheet, “Podcasting Demystified: A Marketer’s Guide to Generating Leads and Boosting Conversions with Podcasting.” [It’s fr… you know, the four-letter “F-word” that those pesky filters snag… begins with an “F” and ends with an “e”]

Now imagine the possibilities – your brand, front and center! You can publish guest interviews of industry thought leaders, provide tech support tips, distribute a press conference… the marketing potential is tremendous!

Other than technology for technology’s sake, is anyone really using podcasts?
I recently spoke with two successful marketers who have integrated podcasting into their marcom mix with amazing results – Mike Gauthier, CEO of e-tractions, a digital marketing company that creates podcasts, among other demand generation services for high tech decision-makers, and Paul Dunay, director of global field marketing for BearingPoint, a strategic consulting firm providing managed services for global 2000 companies and government organizations.

Dunay was looking for a way to get valuable thought leadership ideas into the hands of the right people. You know what a challenge that can be with today’s information glut. So he turned to e-tractions. “We converted a 12-page white paper into a 3-page script and hired a voice talent to record it.” says Dunay. “The resulting podcast provided an audio sample of the complete 12-page paper.” Dunay then sent a link to the podcast via an e-mail blast. And here’s what happened…

“Before the podcast, one in ten would download the paper. Now we’ve seen a sustained rate of three in ten,” says Dunay. That’s a 200% increase in response!

And that’s a remarkable number, given BearingPoint’s challenge of competing with numerous other consulting firms to reach the elusive C-level executive.

(Yes, you can listen to a few sample podcasts. Just click any of the links at the end.)

O.K., that’s really cool, but how can I measure ROI on podcasts?
Now for all of you marketing skeptics out there, podcasts are measurable and can be directly tied to revenue. E-tractions has discovered a way to apply the metrics commonly used on websites/landing pages to podcasts. “Whether you’re distributing a podcast via RSS to news aggregators or sending a link via email, we’ve extended the tracking, reporting and analytic capabilities into podcasts,” says Gauthier.

But remember, a podcast is not a substitute for good direct response tracking mechanisms. You still need to provide various links and calls to action. Gauthier also includes cookies within podcasts to provide another way to track results. “We’re able to track from the source through the steps in the landing site to calls to action, plus tie results directly to the sales pipeline,” says Gauthier.

Now that’s integrated marcom!

More next time…
Joan Damico

J. Damico Marketing Communications
(845) 778-5095

PS What about you? Do you have a white paper that would make an engaging podcast? I’ll bet you do. Let’s talk about transforming your white paper into a powerful new lead generating podcast.

Hear a real podcast… courtesy of BearingPoint and e- tractions: