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I had the privilege and pleasure to speak at Jeff Pulver’s Age of Messaging on the Net (MoNage) conference this week with my friend, colleague, and PodCamp co-founder Chris Brogan. While we covered a wide range of topics in our 30 minute discussion, I wanted to highlight one key point, the one thing most podcasters do wrong.

Consider the 4Ps of marketing that we’ve discussed recently, especially around the topic of customer experience:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

Let’s put these elements in the context of podcasting. Bear in mind, because podcasting is a form of media, we must examine it from two different perspectives:

  • We must examine podcasting from the lens of the audience, the people who listen to or watch the show.
  • We must examine it from the perspective of the customer, who may be the sponsor, the direct purchaser, or the content network, depending on the business model of the podcast.

This is a critical point: the consumer may not be the customer.

How should podcasters think about these basics?

Product is the podcast itself, the contents and the production of the show.

Price is the cost of the podcast to the audience. It may be financial, but most often it’s time. The consumer of a podcast pays an opportunity cost; they could be listening to watching something else. Price is also the cost of the podcast to the actual customer, the sponsors or the purchasers of the show.

Place, for the audience, is where the show is consumed, the context in which it is consumed. Place, for the customer, is the context of the show itself. For example, Marketing Over Coffee is a marketing show. Our place in the landscape of podcasting is in the marketing category; if you want to sell stuff to marketers, we are the right place for you.

Promotion is the marketing of the podcast, both to audiences and to customers. Audiences need to know why they should listen. Customers need to know why the show is valuable to them and they should buy what your show is selling.

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Now, when you talk to most podcasters, what do they talk about the most? They talk about the show – the product and the production of the product. They talk about microphones, compressors, hosting services, etc. Most podcasters spend so much time focusing on the product that they neglect the remainder of the key ingredients – and their shows, their labors of love languish in obscurity.

When we examine the most successful podcasts, both independent and corporate, we see that these shows place equal and balanced emphasis on all aspects of the show:

  • They create a good product, of course.
  • They understand the place that their show occupies and how their consumers listen to it.
  • They understand the price they charge and create shows of reasonable length, and they charge the right amount of money to attract sponsors.
  • They promote their shows and invest as much or more time in the marketing of the show as the production of the show.

If you are considering creating a podcast, or you’re wondering why your podcast is not thriving, ask yourself the difficult question of whether you’re placing too much emphasis on any one of the four key areas that drives the success of your podcast. Then fix what’s most neglected, achieve balance, and your podcast will stand a much greater chance of being successful.


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