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How to select good marketing podcasts to listen to and make sure it’s worth your time

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Many of us often say that listening to a podcast is a secondary activity. In the sense, people listen to podcasts while they drive, while working out at a gym, while going for a walk, etc. But, it’s also very obvious that despite podcast listening being a secondary activity, people won’t stick to it unless it delivers value.

What do I mean by ‘value delivered by a podcast’?

Is value determined by the number of subscribers the podcast has?

While subscribers can be a good lead indicator, going by that number that would be a very unidimensional approach. It’s like saying that only companies that have raised 2-3 rounds of funding have good products.

In reality, people judge  a podcast all the time (more so when they are listening to marketing podcasts) – they are either judging the host(s) or the guest speaker. There is often an internal monologue for the listener which can be loosely transcribed to “Duh! Tell me something new or something I do not already know!”

The value of good marketing podcasts is determined by the credibility and novelty of its content.

What makes a good marketing podcast?

The Edison Research report as of April 2020 shows that there are 850,000 active podcasts, with over 30 million episodes. And it’s up to us more than ever, to weed out the noise and spend time on credible podcasts that offer some tangible takeaway. Ditch every podcast that doesn’t seem to be respectful of your time.

Based on my experience, I’ve tried to put together some indicators you can look for when you select a podcast to listen to. Never jump to subscribing to the podcast after listening to 1 or 2 episodes unless you are sure that the hosts have a history of delivering high-quality unbiased content.

Selecting the marketing podcast that is right for you

  1. Set a high bar for yourself, have zero tolerance for fluff

If you are in the marketing domain, then it’s no secret that there is a lot of fluff around. Too many people in this domain tend to play the game of “fake it till you make it”. But, it’s easy to figure out fluff.

Some of the tell-tale symptoms are:

  • The podcaster will try to make every other sentence sound like a punchline.
  • There’s too much focus on dramatizing the whole episode with sound effects, buildups and too much post-production than focusing on offering quality content.
  • Episode topics are click-baity in nature, but the episode content doesn’t live up to it.
  • Random content – i.e., the conversation goes in all directions and doesn’t communicate a clear takeaway.
  • Biased/agenda driven- a good podcast is one that offers a balanced view on the subject. For instance, if it’s about ‘gating content’ – you will see that podcasts from companies offering chatbots will be against gating content, giving you the modern marketing story. But, you as a listener are here to take away an unbiased outcome, i.e., what’s the point of gating, when to gate and when not to, and definitely not to hear propaganda.

2. Ask yourself – do you fall into the target audience of the podcasts you are listening to?

If a podcast you are listening to appears to be for everyone in marketing then the podcast is probably for no one. A good podcast is very clear on its target audience. For instance, it’s either focused on B2B or B2C. And if it’s B2B, then it’s targeted at a beginner or an intermediate or an experienced marketer.

selecting marketing podcasts

A quick glance at the podcast episode topics will give you a good insight on whether it’s for you or not. But that said, sometimes titles can be misleading. Listen to 2-3 episodes and that’s good enough for you to decide. It’s like reading a book. When you open a book randomly and start reading, and it doesn’t appeal to you – you move on to the one that hooks you.

3. Do the hosts have a regular schedule? Is the show always about promoting a guest’s new book or product?

Yes, it’s as plain as the nose on your face to look at the cadence at which the episodes of a show are published. But, it does paint a picture of how much the podcasters care for their audience. More importantly, pay attention to the pattern of the episodes. Is the podcast all about inviting a guest and helping them promote their book or products? Is it a company’s branded podcast that has an agenda of promoting a product directly or indirectly?

There’s nothing wrong with podcasts that do that. But you need to know what to expect from it. For example, if a show calls itself “The Marketing Book Podcast” and its host Douglas Burdett discusses the latest marketing books, then it’s perfectly fine. It’s about setting clear expectations and living up to it.

4. Does the show have a structure? Does it give you a balanced and unbiased view?

Good marketing podcasts have a clear structure and approach. For instance, at the start of the episode it needs to tell you what to expect in the day’s episode, then discuss the pointers without deviating too much or beating around the bush, then summarize the key takeaways. And most importantly, an informative episode is one that is unbiased and offers a balanced viewpoint rather than making blanket statements that aren’t falsifiable.

5. Most importantly, is it original and authentic?

For every podcaster, the act of podcasting is a double-edged sword. As much a podcast is a platform to share their expertise, it also exposes them quickly. Always check if the hosts have something unique and original to offer in their episodes. Are they sharing authentic information based on their experience and is it actionable? If it’s all sounding over-the-top statements, then your time is better spent on some other credible source.

5 recommended marketing podcasts for you

1. Marketing over Coffee

Who is it for: If you are an intermediate or experienced marketer interested in the latest marketing trends, this podcast is for you.

Hosts: John Wall and Christopher Penn

Listen on: Apple PodcastsStitcher

What is it about: This podcast is at the intersection of marketing and technology. They tend to have two types of episodes: topics of the week (where they discuss a trending topic), and interviews (where they have notable guests such as Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, Simon Sinek, and more).

2. Everyone Hates Marketers

Who is it for: Don’t get fooled by the anti-marketing sound of it. Its host, Louis Grenier, started this podcast to “fight bad marketing,” which is why he chose this sensational title. If you are into CRO and growth marketing, this podcast is a must listen.

Host: Louis Grenier

Listen on: Apple PodcastsSpotify

What is it about: This podcast covers topics such as customer research, marketing strategy, market orientation, brand positioning, and more. It is known for being real, one that offers actionable growth tips and promises to cut through the marketing BS.

3. The ABM Conversations Podcast

Who is it for: If you are a B2B marketer, and looking for a no-fluff authentic podcast that discusses topics with utmost practicality, then look no further.

Hosts: Yaagneshwaran Ganesh and Manish Nepal

Listen on: Apple PodcastsSpotify

What is it about: This podcast covers topics such as account-based marketing, product-led growth, aligning marketing and sales, gamifying B2B marketing, and more.The promise is to keep all the fluff away and I think our audience agrees with us. There are two kinds of episodes – one that discusses a topic in depth to give perspectives and lists actionable takeaways, and the other where we invite notable experts such as Yu-kai Chou (for gamification), Jeff Davis (for revenue marketing alignment), and so on.

4. The Alignment Podcast

Who is it for: If you are into B2B marketing or sales, or a founder who is trying to get their marketing and sales aligned or integrated and translate their efforts into revenue, then this is the podcast for you.

Hosts: Jeff Davis

Listen on: Apple PodcastsStitcher

What is it about: This podcast explores how to strategically align B2B Sales and Marketing to drive growth by tapping into exclusive conversations with top subject-matter experts in sales, marketing, tech, analytics, psychology, neurology and more.

5. The Growth Marketing Toolbox

Who is it for: If you are into growth marketing and want to get an insight into the marketing tools, tactics and strategies used by some of the best in business, then give podcast one a listen.

Hosts: Nicholas Scalice

Listen on: Apple PodcastsStitcher

What is it about: This podcast explores the latest and greatest growth marketing tools and technology. The host interviews marketers, product creators, startup founders, marketing technologists and as part of the conversation he unboxes the tools they make, use and sell. If you love martech, you should subscribe to this podcast.

With all these pointers…

You should be able to pick up the marketing podcasts that suit your need, thirst and preference. And I’m sure you are already familiar with some of the podcasts mentioned above, but I hope it helped discover at least one or two new ones.

Did I miss any really good marketing podcasts? Not all famous podcasts aren’t necessarily contentful. So, if there are some good ones (marketing podcasts only) that you are regularly listening to, then please do share them in the comments below.

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