01 The Business of Podcasting: Why your Ads Don’t Work


Are you surprised when your advertising doesn’t work? 86% of people sky through television commercials. Hard to believe? It’s true. In today’s episode, we discuss why traditional ads don’t work and discover new ways to expand your advertising presence.

Why your Ads aren’t Working

There are so many different places to advertise. When I started my career in advertising the standard advertising outlets were newspaper, television, radio, phone book, and coupon clippers. The number of advertising outlets has increased exponentially. Many business owners don’t feel that their ad campaigns are as effective as they’d once been. There are so many advertising options facing the business owners today. Surveying the landscape of the advertising world I believe that podcasts represent a powerful and emerging path for success in marketing and advertising.

Outbound versus Inbound Marketing

We categorize marketing into two groups: outbound and inbound. Think of outbound advertising as an ad that is shouting at you, “Buy my product, buy my product.” It’s a company that is trying to get you to purchase their product or service so they’ve placed an ad in either a traditional medium or online medium. The business is trying to get your attention so you’ll purchase their product. (I like to think of the out as shout and it helps me remember the difference).

Inbound marketing is content driven. Looking at an example, let’s say you’ve decided you’d like to put a pool in your backyard. What do you do first? You grab your phone, computer or tablet and search, finding the best company to install a pool. This will bring up a list of a bizillion pool articles, review and websites. As you research the process and the companies who work in your area, you’ll get a good sense of which companies might be a good fit. You’ll read reviews, and survey the content they’ve put on the internet. And you’ll make a decision. Chances are, and research has shown that you’re more likely to buy a pool from the company that you’ve found online. Why? Because you went out and actively sought that information. It wasn’t information that was being forced on you, but rather information you found about a product that you wanted to buy. Consumers have been empowered by the web. For this reason outbound advertising is suffering. Recent studies show that:

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened.
  • 86% of people skip through television commercials.
  • 84% of 25 to 34 year olds have clicked out of a website because of an “irrelevant or intrusive ad.”

Businesses need to market and advertise. It’s an important part of running and growing a business. As the face of marketing changes so drastically it’s important to keep up with the changing environment. And that is why I believe that podcast advertising is on the cusp of a tipping point. Podcast advertising is a form of inbound marketing and is approaching the consumer in a very different manner.

Let’s be honest, finding a podcast you love and listening to it isn’t always easy. However, when you find a show you love you listen and listen and listen (confession: I found a new show I loved this weekend and listened to 10 episodes). This podcast I listened to was about backpacking. If that podcast had ads for products related to backpacking you’d better bet I’d be interested. I’d be interested because backpacking gear is important and it’s expensive and you don’t want to buy the wrong stuff. Trust me I’ve done it. So if a host of a backpacking program tells me that this is THE sleeping pad I should get, I’m going to trust her. After all she’s backpacked thousands of miles. When people find podcast they like they listen.

Podcasts are micro targets. When we’re thinking about marketing the number one rule is, preach to your potential customers. You wouldn’t want to sell ski jackets in Florida and my guess is beach towels don’t sell well in Montana in the dead of the winter. People purchase your product or service because they have a need for that product or service. You have to make sure that you’re speaking to the people who are interested in your product. If I’m not a car owner, I’m not going to buy tires. The problem with 80-90% of mass advertising vehicles like TV, radio, newspaper and even many online outlets is that they speak to people who aren’t interested in buying your product. Podcasts on the other hand have the ability to target your audience. I recently sold an advertising campaign on an auto detailing podcast that targets people who own auto detailing companies. The advertiser is selling software for auto detailers. It’s a perfect match and going well. When you target prospects who have been qualified to buy your product or service your ads will work and your return on investment will be the evidence of their success.

Podcasts aren’t cluttered. They’re free from ad overload. Most people don’t mind a couple of ads, but hate a huge group of ads. Advertisements are typically clustered together. Getting prospects to hear your message as an advertiser isn’t just about putting the message out or even putting it out to the right people. Your prospects have to actually hear or see your ad to make that ad effective. In many cases even though a TV station or website is getting great traffic your ad is being overlooked because their are simply too many ads. Podcasts have such low numbers of advertisers that you don’t need to fight the crowd to be recognized.

Podcasts are works of art. Podcasters pour their heart and soles into the creation of their programs. Podcasters love what they do, but almost without exception when talking to a podcasters, they’ll say, I just wish I could make money podcasting. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to connect the podcasters with the advertiser. Advertisers need to advertiser. Podcasters want to suggest great and helpful products and services to their listeners. What I love about podcasters is how much value they place on their listeners. Several times I’ve approached a podcaster and told them about an advertiser interested in advertising on their show. After taking a look at the product or service they have often refused the advertiser because they didn’t believe in the product of service the advertiser represented. Podcasters are looking for products they love that they can promote!