When you think about Drift… what comes to mind?
David Cancel. Dave Gerhardt. Tricia Gellman. Matt Billotti. Maggie Crowley. Sean Lane. The list of names you know probably goes on and on. And that’s not by accident.
Part of the amazing business that Drift is building has been around humanizing their brand. They built a category around conversational marketing, marketing that is human-to-human. And in addition to the product they brought to life, they’ve had a pretty large focus on presenting their brand with real humans.
In the early days of Drift, when Dave Gerhardt was the first marketing hire, he wanted to bring the expertise and knowledge that David Cancel had to the forefront of his marketing strategy. So how did he do it? He had conversations with him. Those conversations would end up being the beginning of Drift’s foray into podcasting, also known as Seeking Wisdom.
By turning those conversations into a show for people to listen to and to get to know the real people behind the brand, Drift was on the forefront of doing a lot of cool and innovative things with the podcast medium.
So how does Drift view podcasting as it relates to their overall marketing strategy and how are they continuing to use their podcasts to evolve their conversationalist brand?
Let’s dig into just a few of the amazing takeaways from our recent conversation with Mark Kilens, VP of Content and Community at Drift, to learn more about how they are utilizing the power of podcasting.
Podcasting as a learning tool & community builder
As many podcasting stories go, Drift’s work with podcasting didn’t stop with Seeking Wisdom.
We’ve already spent a lot of time talking about Drift’s network of shows (check that out here and here). And we love what they are doing. Yes, because the shows are great, but also because the strategy that goes into every show starts with their audience.
For Mark and his team at Drift, they look at podcasts as a way to build a community through creating content that tells an engaging story and serves as a learning tool. And there’s an incredible opportunity to do that in podcasting because it lends itself well to infiltrating niche communities.
Drift’s network of podcasts isn’t because they want to be the brand with the most podcasts. They look at podcasting as an opportunity to build a community of listeners who love their content and feel connected to their brand.
They do this by the experience they are creating through their hosts, the guests they bring on, and the stories that come out of every episode. There’s immense power in learning through stories and the reason Drift has so many successful podcasts is because they are committed to podcasting as a learning tool. Both for them as a business and for their audience.
Getting your SMEs behind the mic
Drift really believes that their employees have the subject matter expertise to be the driving force behind each show. By having different Drifters head up each show, they have people who are passionate about the topics and who are willing to put in the work to create amazing shows for the Drift audience.
Mark believes that passion needs to be core to the why behind your podcast, and the passion a host brings has to very much be a part of that. Hosts, whoever they may be in the organization, have to bring passion to the project and the eagerness to better themselves and the community with what they bring to the table.
One of the coolest things about the different podcasts that Drift creates is that every show has a unique perspective and a unique voice. And those belong to different members of the Drift team. In fact, a lot of the names we mentioned in the beginning of this article are the names of the hosts.
You’ve likely learned more about Drift, their strategies, and their products from the voices that we’ve now come to associate with the brand. Talk about a great strategy for a company that created the conversational marketing category.
Putting the audience first
With each new show they create, having a passionate host is great, but it’s not the only requirement. There must be an audience-driven reason behind it. As any good marketer knows… with any marketing initiative… you start with the audience.
At Drift, their audience is split into two core sets: Marketing and Sales. But, they also care deeply about product, product managers, engineers, and product builders. So with every new show that comes to life, they look at who in the company is really passionate about that subject and what value the show could add to their audience.
Take Build, for example. Maggie Crowley is the Director of Product Management and passionate about what goes into creating a world-class product like the one they are building at Drift. Because this passion intersects with an audience Drift is serving, the podcast was a natural fit for the brand.
Or Matt Bilotti’s show Growth. As the Product Lead, Growth & Lifecycle, Matt is uniquely positioned to discuss growth tactics with an audience (ahem, marketers) that is VERY tuned in to the idea of fast-paced growth and hungry for tactics and strategies that get you there.
Each show is a carefully curated experience that combines the amazing and talented people at Drift and an audience that they are uniquely positioned to cater to.
Podcasts as cornerstones
We’ve all heard of cornerstone content and it’s likely that you’ve used some form of cornerstone content in your marketing strategy. But have you considered your podcast as one?
For Mark and his team at Drift, they look at every podcast as a resource and the inspiration for a lot of future content. Mark considers them cornerstone content. And for good reason. Podcasting is a relatively new marketing channel for many brands, but it’s SO MUCH MORE than a channel.
When brands podcast, amazing things happen. As we discussed earlier, podcasting is a tool that harnesses the power of storytelling. Can you get that from a blog post? Kind of. Sure. But you don’t get the human element. You lose the perspective. The VOICE of the storyteller. With podcasts, brands become human. We know Maggie as our guide in all things product and product management, and Matt is here to lead us through growth strategies.
And because their voices and the voices of their guests lead us through these stories, we feel like we know them. Like we’re in on an intimate conversation. That’s powerful stuff that continues to build on the relationship and community we discussed earlier, but also that leads to very strong content - content with a true personality.
Podcasting creates a repository of content that can be used to drive demand, create a ton of marketing materials, and can be used to truly unify a brand’s story across content, customer experiences, and the customer lifecycle.
With every episode, Drift looks for ways to repackage, reposition, and refresh this content. It becomes a flywheel of content opportunities that help lead listeners to the podcast, to other content, and back again using the amazing stories they are capturing.
It’s safe to say that Drift is doing some pretty impressive things with their podcasts. And not just from a production standpoint. The effort and thought that goes into the creation of every show proves that Drift is a brand that truly believes in putting humans first. Their audience AND their employees.
Put simply, Drift is proving that when done with purpose, podcasting is an incredible asset to your business.
Listen to Mark's full interview below!
Interested in learning more about how you can position your podcast as a tool for your marketing initiatives? Let’s chat!