But I bet you’d be surprised to hear that a new Edison Research study found that 117 million Americans have never heard of Radiolab or The Joe Rogan Experience or S-Town.
Because they’ve never heard of podcasts.
No, not just those podcasts.
The term “podcast.”
Seriously. They don’t know Serial from Captain Crunch.
Who are these people?
As it turns out, your first assumption is wrong—they’re not all seniors. Many of them are middle-aged, or younger. They’re people from all walks of life. They’re real, and they walk among us every day.
You’ll see some of them in this video. A few have at least heard the term, but none of them have ever listened to a single, solitary podcast:
There they are, in the flesh: the real people whose clicks, views, conversions and engagement we fight for, covet and report on with pride.
They’ve never thought about podcasts.
Yet there is no marketing meeting in corporate America where pitching a podcast won’t, at the bare minimum, elicit an engaged and positive response.
Because TED said it. Because SXSW. Because Twitter.
Podcasts are a good idea. They’re smart. They’re modern. Just as everyone wants to be the kind of person who listens to podcasts, everyone also wants to be the kind of person who pitches podcasts, or the person who green lights podcasts.
Don’t be the dope who didn’t think of doing a podcast!
It’s no surprise, then, that our world is brimming with people looking to sell electrolyte-rich podcast water to thirsty hordes of marketers.
From Forbes: “7 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Podcast (It’s Easier Than You Think!)” https://www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2018/06/25/reasons-small-business-needs-podcast/#14a35e753977
Brand Quarterly: “Listen Up! Why Brands Need to Tap Into The Power of Podcasting” http://www.brandquarterly.com/listen-brands-need-tap-power-podcasting
Chris Ducker: “Starting a Podcast: 10 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs a Voice!”
And on and on it goes.
Bingo, bango, bongo, one, two, three!
Just make a podcast!
But here’s the problem: a podcast is not an idea. It is a medium of communication, not the root.
The magic of all great communication rests on an understanding that the world each of us inhabit is just one of millions of worlds, rooted in millions of experiences.
My world is not yours. My assumptions are not yours. My experiences are not yours.
The answer to “why do people do XYZ” can never be summed up by demographic studies or focus groups.
The truth is, most of us don’t think enough about why we do what we do to really give an informed answer.
This is the fallacy of drive-by, demographic marketing. It’s the problem with algorithmically sorted interest-based groups on social media profiles.
Amidst all of our data, all of the analytics dashboards and real-time reporting that surrounds us, what could have been said decades ago remains true today: We don’t ask enough questions in this business. We don’t think critically enough.
We don’t talk to enough real people. People who live in that vast expanse out there, somewhere beyond the seminar stage. We don’t venture out of our world and into anyone else’s. We don’t watch people watch our content. Not in focus groups, but in reality.
So, should your brand have a podcast?
For one reason or another, yes, it probably should.
But for what purpose, and who do you hope will set aside time in their lives to listen?
What do you have to say to them, and why should they care?
Building influence remains as mysterious and difficult an art form as ever. When we reduce it to a simple execution of tactics from a playbook, the only people we fool are ourselves.