Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Cutting Edge Communication?

So this is my problem with podcasts. I head over to look to see what Podtech is about and find this interesting title "Tips to make blogs read better." It promises the top five tips to increase blog visibility.

Now how long would it take me to read five tips? Let's say two to three minutes maximum. But a marketing podcast wants me to devote 14.47 minutes of my time (and total concentration) to this. That just doesn't make sense to me and not just because it suggested that a blog with few comments (like this one) is ignored by potential readers.

UPDATE: The inimitable Ze Frank makes similar points in video but much more funnily.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Podcasts are not a substitution for blogs or any other form of written text. They fit into the niche that's otherwise occupied by audio: music cd's, MP3, radio, etc.

Yes, you could read those tips in 2-3 minutes. But, can you read them in the car without endangering everyone else on the road? Can you read them while mowing the lawn without risking losing a body part? Can you read them while running around the lake on a jogging trail?

Sure, some people are pitching podcasts as a straight-up replacement for reading text on paper or on screens. However, that's just bad marketing, like trying to convince a family of 5 to buy a Mazda Miata as their only car. That doesn't make the Mazda Miata a bad product, just targetted incorrectly.

Podcasts will thrive when they are marketed to the use that makes the most sense: being listened to when your eyes and/or hands are otherwise occupied, but your ears could be paying attention to something more interesting than that other activity.

When those 14 minutes are otherwise spent staring at taillights, or the overgrown grass, it's not a waste.

6:50 AM, October 03, 2006  
Blogger john dodds said...

I would dispute that you could fully absorb the content of this podcast while mowing the lawn (or arguably if driving) because one would switch attention and/or be distracted. But equally, I'm not saying that podcasts are a complete loss. I am very much a fan of audiobooks and agree that there will be contexts in which an audiofeed can be absorbed.

Marketing is as much about the product itself as the context in which its consumed and as well as promoting podcasts to the users in the way you describe, I think it is essential that they apply the lessons of the other audio formats you describe.

However, I do think the creators of podcasts must focus on two elements which I think you could term editing issues.

1) Providing the information in a space of time that does not greatly exceed the amount of time in which you could read it.

2) Ensuring that it is absorbable in an environment where the listener is not giving 100% attention. We all know from listening to radio that sometimes we zone out or are distracted (in a way we don't when reading) and if the subject matter is complex, such a zoneout can require significant rewinding.

If these rules were followed, I'd argue that your 14 minutes behind the taillights could be almost 5 times as productive if you consumed 5 podcasts of 5 bullet points than one 14 minute underedited podcast. This could happen but at the moment far too many podcasts just ramble on.

8:03 AM, October 03, 2006  

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