There I was, leading content marketing for a global enterprise SaaS company. We had a great team. We were publishing great content. And we had recently launched a great podcast. (OK, so maybe I'm a bit biased, but I really do think it was all pretty fantastic.)
But I will never forget the day my whole perspective changed.
The podcast had been live for a few months and we had just reached a major milestone in episode downloads - sooner than expected. I had been recording great interviews with customers, partners, prospects, and big-time industry influencers, and the show was really getting traction. Listenership was on the rise. Positive comments flowed steadily to me from teammates around the world who liked the show. My team’s excitement and energy for the show was high.
We had stickers and shirts for the show.
We promoted the podcast at events and in our other content.
We linked to episodes in our sales cadences and email campaigns.
All this work was paying off. We had a great show. Our audience was growing, and I was pretty confident in the positive impact it was making on our brand. Life as a marketer/B2B podcaster was good.
During a one-on-one meeting with one of my leaders I was asked how the show was doing.
“Great!” I said, “We’re exceeding all of our goals. Blowing them out of the water, actually!”
“What are those goals exactly?” he said.
Okay…I could see where this was going. I was riding the wave of enthusiasm for what I knew this podcast would do for our brand. I saw the relationships we were strengthening as a result. The doors we were opening. The voice we were establishing. The trust and credibility we were building.
But I was also aware of a critical flaw of this podcast… and I was about to get called on it. I didn’t have metrics that mattered to this leader across the table.
In fact, few - if any - B2B podcasters do have metrics about their podcasts that matter to their business’s bottom line.
You see, podcasts are growing rapidly, and podcast listenership is exploding with year-over-year double-digit growth. However, despite all of that, the technology and methodology that exist to measure podcast performance is limited, archaic, and - to put it nicely - not what marketers need to accurately measure the impact of the show on the business. Instead, all we really have is “downloads”, which simply points to the number of devices that downloaded the episode from the RSS feed. They have nothing to do with who is listening, how frequently, and if the episode was completed. Heck, a download doesn’t even mean someone actually listened to the show, but rather that their device downloaded it because they subscribed once upon a time.
Recently podcasters have gained access to a bit more data, but it’s still incredibly limited.
“I see the time and energy you and your team are pouring into the podcast,” the leader said, “and I know you’ve put a lot of your budget toward it too. What’s the ROI on this thing?”
There it was. The question I was dreading. I wanted the answer to that question more than anyone else possibly could, but I didn’t have it. I had no way to prove ROI, show any sort of attribution, or speak to truly meaningful business results from the podcast.
I was left to do a song-and-dance about brand awareness and how this is a marathon, not a sprint. I believed in my heart that this was true; however, it didn’t mean a whole lot without hard evidence.
“You know,” he said, “if you aren’t able to prove the value of the show, your budget for it will likely get cut. I know you’re passionate about it, but what are you going to do if you have to cancel it?”
That one hurt. I believed so deeply in the value of this show, and I could see the success really starting to build.
But I also knew he was right. If I couldn’t demonstrate ROI, my budget for the show would be allocated to something else that could. Gut instincts only get you so far, and as Jay Baer puts it, “You can’t pay your employees with downloads.”
I entered into that one-on-one meeting enthusiastic, optimistic, and full of positive energy about the podcast, but I left weary, frustrated, and truly concerned about whether or not I would be able to keep it going.
Furthermore, I knew from conversations with colleagues in Sales and Sales Enablement that they were struggling with understanding how they could leverage the podcast in the sales process. Many had no idea that they even SHOULD try to use it to drive deals.
To add to that, I also knew we were spending a lot of the team’s time on the podcast when we were responsible for many, many other marketing channels and content types. Bandwidth was nonexistent, and we were chasing one deadline after another.
After that conversation, I started to question whether we were actually getting maximum value out of our podcast. Were we really doing everything we could to leverage the work we put into it?
Then I started to think about how I could measure my podcast better. How I could prove the value to my leadership... and it turns out I was not the only person thinking about this. A few weeks later, Scott Dorsey reached out to me to talk with me about the podcast. (See? I told you we were getting some great traction!) As it turned out, he had an idea for a B2B podcasting platform and he wanted to pick my brain about it.
The more I learned, the more excited I got. It made perfect sense. Podcasting is inevitable. Eventually, every brand will have one, just like blogging. Yet the technology doesn’t exist to fully leverage it as part of the overall content marketing strategy. This could change everything for marketers like me running a brand podcast. What if I had access to the podcast metrics that mattered for my business?
What if I never had to be in that tough situation with that leader who wanted more podcast data about ROI and attribution than I was able to give him?
I wanted this B2B podcasting platform to be a reality. I wanted it for myself and for my team.
I didn’t just want to use it. I wanted to create it.
So I raised my hand and made sure Scott saw it high in the air! And we partnered up to create what is known today as Casted.
What is Casted?
It’s the first ever B2B Podcasting Platform, and it’s made specifically for B2B marketers.
We’re building metrics that matter to B2B brands. We’re going far beyond number of downloads to help marketers demonstrate ROI of the podcast, show attribution, measure engagement, and see how the show is being used across marketing channels and throughout the buyer journey.
We’re making it easier for the podcast host or owner of the show to unlock the content that is currently trapped within each episode and use pieces of it across other marketing and sales channels.
As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in my struggles with the podcast. I personally spoke to more than 75 marketers within the first couple weeks of starting this business, and their experiences were all the same. They struggled with metrics, equipping and activating sales, and getting maximum value out of their podcasts.
So I brought on a couple of amazing co-founders, Zachary Ballenger and Adam Patarino, and in just a couple short months, we built a product that addresses the top challenges of B2B marketers with brand podcasts.
That product is in the market now and it’s growing every day. We already have incredible traction with some extremely exciting brands, show hosts, and podcast producers; and we’re just getting started.
My goal is to help fellow marketers avoid those tough situations I faced in trying to justify the podcast without data to back-up my gut instincts. I hope you’ll follow along as we scale this company, this product, this team, and realize our vision.