The other day, I was browsing my Twitter feed when I came across something that piqued my interest — and not for a good reason.
It was a podcast. Sorry — a “podcast.” That is to say, it was less a host or two talking about an interesting topic in a radio show format, and more an audio snippet of an event that happened years ago. It was laughably bad.
Examining the tweet in question and listening to the podcast, I could almost picture the conversation …
Exec: I listened to a podcast today. I liked it. Are we doing any podcasts?
Marketing director: No, Dave. No podcasts for us.
Exec: Why not?
Marketing director: They don’t really fit our marketing strategy. Plus, we don’t have anyone in-house who can host and produce a good one for us.
Exec: Well, I really think we’re missing out by not having a podcast for our company.
Marketing director: But Dave, I don’t think …
Exec: [Interrupts] I don’t care what it takes. Just make it happen.
After being given (I am assuming) very little in the way of resources or time to meet the demands of this short-sighted effort, the request was met and the end result was a podcast that was not really a podcast — a haphazard attempt at trying something new.
In the end, everybody loses. The exec doesn’t get a quality podcast like he undoubtedly wanted, the marketer will probably get blamed when the podcast does not take off and the podcast as a format does not get a fair shake. Whether or not it makes sense for the company is beside the point in this example — even if it was right for the company, the way to find success is surely not to jump on a bandwagon because of a fleeting interest.
There’s an important lesson to be learned, here — one that applies whether you are talking podcasts, Snapchat or a new marketing effort.
Do not start your conversations by asking, “How can we make this platform work for our audience?” Instead, ask, “Who is our audience, and what do they care about?” followed by “Is this audience on this new platform?” If the answer is no, you are wasting your time even entertaining the thought of trying to make it work.
When seeking out new adventures for your company—new tactics or platforms by and on which to get the word out — start with your audience. Following an audienceàplatformàdecision workflow makes much more sense than starting with the platform and hoping you can find a way to make it fit.
If you knew your “audience” was a group of kids and the task at hand was to drive them to and from school, you probably would choose a school bus as the best tool for the job. What you would not do (I hope) is start with a pickup truck and try to figure out a way to cram as many kids as possible into the bed to accomplish the same task. Why not follow the same thought process for your business?