Archive for March, 2007

The State of Corporate Podcasting

March 27, 2007

Nick Saalfeld of Wells Park Communication (Platinum sponsor of the Corporate Podcast Summit), shares his thoughts on the event, what he learned and the state of corporate podcasting:

1. Clients still need education. Not on the intricacies of podcasts: I mean on the basics. Like, what is a podcast. Start there. If you’re reading this and you know that podcasting is not beholden to Apple, you’re already way ahead of the crowd.
2. The podcasting industry needs to get its head out of its arse (or ass for my US readers). I got a real sense that delegates were embarrassed because they enjoyed broadcasting so much, perhaps there wasn’t actually a business in it. There is. Enjoy. Stop worrying.
3. Some podcast companies seem to think that this is about editing or production. No it is not, and anyone who sets up a podcast agency to do production will fail. Production is a “flat-rate”, price-sensitive off-the-shelf service which someone on Elance or an outsource agency could do. The value of a podcast agency is in strategy, format development, monetization, audience engagement, ongoing maintenance of feedback loops etc. Production is not a service.
4. The excellent David Prever of BrandSpanking asked a superb question. “If a brand has £19 million to spend, how does podcasting achieve a deserving place as part of that budget”. He didn’t get a straight answer. Let me provide it. Media in the brand context is valued according to its value to the client, not the cost of production. Otherwise the people who think up slogans would charge tuppence ha’penny. Podcasting must prove its value- and do so in the context of engagement, whether to new audiences, existing customers or as a customer service tool. The metrics are currently badly argued (not non-existent, just badly argued in pitches) and we all owe it to ourselves as an industry to present our case more effectively. In the absence of perfect stats (and thankyou Feedburner for improving things) I simply say to clients, start with a £20K job. If I can prove a £100k return on the metrics of the client’s choice, then we’ll start talking about a share of the £19million.

So there it is.  A highly educational Summit, and let’s get our house in order!

Thoughts on the Corporate Podcast Summit – UK

March 22, 2007

Just back from the event and thought I’d post some general impressions, balancing optimism and skepticism.

The event was pretty well attended, with an estimated 150 people present over the two days, mainly from the UK.  As is often the case in such events, there was a definite element of preaching to the converted.   There were a lot of speakers and panelists – I heard a few people place the number at 47.  So 33% of the people had a business or other vested interest in the subject matter. In other words, it is happening now, it is happening big, and those companies that do not get it, well, ….

Peculiar, however, was fact that very very few big businesses (and no big media) were present to discuss what they were doing with podcasting, and how they were making money from it.  Why?

That being said, there were several solid presentations from medium and large businesses that were podcasting.  These presentations  conveyed a very concrete analysis as to why they started podcasting, and the benefit they derived from it.

Sun Microsystems stands out with their MiFID podcast – mifidpodcast.com.  The European financial market is being forced to upgrade their systems to comply with an EU MiFID directive.  The opportunity for Sun and its competitors is huge.  Competition fierce. Sun’s MiFID podcast is a vendor-neutral podcast, hosted on the Sun website, conveniently next to the Sun product whitepapers.  By being neutral, the podcast hosts get to interview opinion leaders, many of them being upper management of the prospect customers themselves.  The hosts gain unparrelel “inside info” that the industry can download and listen to, all which positions Sun as the market leader.  Great idea.

First Direct, a telephone/internet only bank in the UK (HSBC member) launched a podcast that provides valuable financial planning information to its customers, as well as strengthens the ties between the customer to otherwise invisible bank employees.

There are companies using podcasting internally, such as Alcatel-Lucent (training).

Are businesses adopting podcasting?  In the UK, slowly.  Less so elsewhere in Europe.   With the exception of the early-adopters, corporate podcasting must answer to the all mighty ROI analysis.  Clearly, the blog + podcast combination creates a new way for companies to get a more personal message out (podcast), and create a feed-back mechanism (blog).

Is it a compelling opportunity?  Like any other technology, podcasting is crossing the chasm with the early adopters and will grow.

Anita, the event was very well organized, and the presenters knew their stuff.   Good job.