26 Oct

Audio marketing: should my brand consider podcast partnerships?

Written by Chris Wilson, Head of Brand Partnerships 

How audio marketing and podcast sponsorship will become a valuable pillar within the marketing mix!

With 10M+ people listening to podcasts each week in the UK, (a number that’s expected to double by 2023), more and more brands are beginning to look at podcasts and audio marketing as a way to engage their audience.

The current climate and behaviours that have been seen in response to lockdown mean brands have had to improvise to reach their target consumers in different ways. When you haven’t done it before, targeting consumers whose day-to-day lives a largely spent at home is no mean feat.

The demand for podcasts has risen, as consumers tried to entertain themselves throughout a period of being stuck at home. But even before lockdown, general interest in podcasts has been steadily increasing following the ever popular and common availability of affordable connected speakers that link to audio subscription partners such as, Spotify, Soundcloud, Deezer, Audible and Tide.

These customer trends have prompted a spike in interest from brands to involve themselves in audio in order to build a strategy and engage an audience. This is because many brands cannot predict if they will be able to promote their products in live experiences for the short term, meaning they have to promote and engage customers through new formats.

Many brands spent lockdown pausing any or all marketing communications and weathered the storm and impact COVID-19 had on their customer engagement. The issue is now, as winter approaches, whether brands continue to cease all comms, or instead innovate and create new forms of marketing engagement.

Enter audio marketing.

Why is this new channel becoming more reliable/valuable?

Put simply, audio marketing is doing so well because the reach and volume of customer audiences listening to podcasts and audio content has skyrocketed. It has steadily been on the rise for some time, but recent lifestyle shifts have grown audience numbers and saturated the market with quality content.

By using specific, popular themes (say cookery or fitness), combined with talent, a brand can subtly create quality content and control the narrative. They can either do this by owning their own series, or partnering with a media asset/organisation that has access to the right story to generate alignment with their brand or product.

Essentially, the product can be brought to life through audio. For cookery it can be equipment in the kitchen, or a key ingredient in a great recipe. The opportunities for a brand to create a personalised and engaging connection are endless. It’s also a chance to do something that is unique and gets noticed.

At the end of the day, in these trying times, innovation is vital, and when given the right strategy, brands can reap the rewards.

What’s available?

It depends what you’re looking to achieve, but as mentioned, forming your own series or sponsoring content is often the way to go.

If you have a product that requires additional partner involvement, you could generate a piece of audio content with a third-party partner offering assets and bringing the story to life using both brands products and marketing stories.

If your product is more of a service-led offering, you might be best suited to partnering with an established audio podcast, and having the opportunity to control the narrative and key discussion points; this will allow you to change perceptions, increase customer loyalty or generate a discussion about your brand.

Whose doing it right?

In short, it really depends on your preference. I personally love many of the available sports podcasts. The ones with brand involvement or ownership of the story are the ones succeeding.

But the issue now is that as so many brands are looking to start an audio strategy the market will become saturated quickly. Equally, many brands don’t actually know how to enter the space quickly and efficiently, which will affect the quality of audio available. At the end of the day, building this approach with the relevant insights and strategic thinking beforehand will generate the best results.

Why should I try to engage an audience through audio?

Today, consumers in general are getting increasingly hard to reach, as linear, broadcast media consumption shifts to on-demand. As consumers are fickle and less brand loyal than ever, it’s particularly hard to reach the younger demographics through digital content, because of ad overload – it’s difficult to cut through.

Podcasts provide the perfect medium for consumers to enjoy high quality content without staring at their phone and simultaneously allowing brands to communicate with them in a very native, leaned-in way.

What does this mean for brands?

The opportunities for brands are endless. Find the right partner that can help you build a strategy, source a brand partnership that will develop a strong story and use insights to direct your strategy, and you’ll be golden.

I believe this will become a valuable and reliable pillar in the marketing mix for brands in the short term and beyond. With the expectation of further lockdown restrictions becoming a reality, consumers are most likely to spend much of winter behind closed doors, meaning brands should consider audio as an effective channel to engage and interact with them.

Ingenuity London

If you’re a marketer who craves engagement and new customers, then perhaps this is a good route. You might also just want to talk to brands about partnerships. Ingenuity can help you create these relationships and form new strategic alliances.

Ingenuity London is a consultancy business that helps rights holders’ source new brand partnerships through creative partnership sales development and implementation. We also consult brands with their marketing objectives and help them to find the right agency or rights holders to partner with in order to solve a variety of challenges. In short, if you’re in the space, we’d love to talk to you.

Drop me a line on chris.wilson@ingenuitylondon.com