Until about a year ago, I was one of the 76 percent of Americans who didn’t listen to podcasts. I wanted to. And all of my friends did. And I knew the marketing inspiration gained could be substantial. But I just couldn’t find the time in my day to dedicate to listening. Then, last summer, while I was out to lunch with a few coworkers we got into a discussion about the Strange Brews podcast. They were investigating the real story behind Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer. One thing led to another, and we decided to grab a six-pack after work and listen to the 20-minute episode, then discuss our opinions.
Outside of my key takeaway that two of the hard root brews are more than enough to leave me with a substantial hangover, the experience also opened my eyes to the wealth of knowledge podcasts can bring. And in such a short amount of time.
Podcasts are like a sweet secret sauce to digestable knowledge, served up in bite sized bits. And, seemingly more people are getting in on the clandestine, too. According to the Infinite Dial 2016 report from Edison Research, podcast listening grew 23 percent between 2015 and 2016. The research also suggests a notable rise in bingeable content, like Netflix and podcasts. Meaning it’s totally normal to listen to 12 episodes in a series, just to catch up. Now, I download and listen on my morning commute to work to fuel my workday.
Here are 16 of my favorite marketing podcasts (in no particular order). Each offers actionable advice and real marketing inspiration you can put to use right away!
With guests like Richard Branson and Kate and Andy Spade (yeah, I mean that Kate Spade), How I Built This is a podcast about innovators and entrepreneurs, and the stories behind the brands they built. Each episode is told by a founder, and talks about the journey of pursuing a passion – triumphs and failures alike.
The NPR podcast hasn’t been around long, only hitting the airwaves last September. But host Guy Raz has brought some seriously awesome names in. My favorite episode talked with Beto Perez, an aerobics teacher from Columbia who mistakenly brought the wrong music to class. He just rolled with it and improvised a cardio-intense dance routine for his students, and they loved it! After the wild success that day, he began teaching it on the regular, and accidentally created Zumba.
Get tips and advice on starting a side hustle in less time than it takes to get your Starbucks. Chris Guillebeau hosts these daily 10-minute-or-less podcasts for people who want to start income-earning side projects. Each episode tells a story of a successful side hustler, and then breaks down the takeaways of why their work was effective. It’s quick and snackable – perfect to listen to on the walk from your parking garage, or yes, while you wait for your coffee.
Speaking of coffee: Marketing Over Coffee is a super chill chat between a couple friends geeking out over all things marketing. John Wall and Christopher Penn are marketing nerds in the best sense, talking about the latest marketing news with a focus on technology, analytics and data-centric hacks.
Fast – each episode lasts around 20 minutes – and to the point, Wall and Penn pack in a ton of information in a short amount of time. But it never feels rushed or overwhelming. And their tactics bring real, tangible results.
Easily one of my favorite marketing podcasts, John Jantsch brings his down-to-earth wit and straight-forward questions to some of the world’s brightest thought leaders. He’s talked to marketing juggernauts like Neil Patel and Guy Kawasaki to inspire his listeners to think harder, read more, try more, fail more and succeed more.
Episodes are quick, usually somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, but they’re insanely insightful. And as a fly on the wall during a chat between the industry’s smartest marketers, you’re bound to pick up a tip or two.
The truth is, we no longer live in a world of six degrees of separation. Instead, we’re now down to about six pixels of separation – which changes everything we know about marketing and business development. In Mitch Joel’s long-running podcast, he chats with the experts in digital marketing, social marketing, personal branding, entrepreneurship, augmented reality, machine learning and predictive platforms.
Episodes are a bit hefty, usually running an hour or so, each week, which is an awesome way to dig really deep with the top thought leaders like Google’s Avinash Kaushik and ad legend Alex Bogusky.
Co-hosted by Salesforce’s Adam Brown and our very dear friend Jay Baer, Social Pros is all about the multifaceted and, at times, nebulous world of social media, and the people who shape it. Jay brings his signature fervent flare to the conversation while the guys chat with veteran strategists from Ford and IBM to Garmin and Kellogg. They explore what the experts are doing right – and what’s been a total bomb.
The brainchild of host Marcus Sheridan, the Mad Marketing podcasts is made to feel like an intimate conversation with your marketing mentor over coffee. His personable and conversational approach addresses the real challenges he’s faced, and how he’s overcome them. It’s more reflective than analytical, rarely interviewing other people. Instead he takes questions, answers them transparently and then talks about the takeaways.
Eric Siu and Neil Patel keep their lessons short, around 10-minutes, and offer up the Cliff Notes of each episode on the Single Grain site. Each daily episode brings actionable, valuable marketing tips you can apply immediately. Most of the time, they concentrate on just one marketing question.
And their unconventional brand of marketing gives you confidence to take a few risks while letting go of a few dated strategies that just aren’t the most effective anymore.
Tim Feriss is the author of “The Four Hour Work Week,” and his show is seemingly always rated the top business podcasts hitting the airwaves. He talks to big-name celebs with unique experiences to discuss unconventional success. Guests like Jamie Foxx, Maria Popova, Whitney Cummings, Arnold Schwarzenegger talk time-management, exercise habits, favorite books and, of course, positive and actionable tips to think a little different about your workday and marketing success.
10. Call to Action
Our friends at Unbounce host this fave. These folks are insanely focused on conversion optimization, so it makes sense their podcast is the same. Through candid interviews with digital marketing experts, they break down the “art and science of our craft.” And all the while, they’re giving you strategies to test and results from the experiments they’ve conducted. My favorite so far? “Why Dungeons and Dragons Can Make You A Better Marketer.”
As the content marketing manager for a SaaS company, I was drawn to the simplicity of User Magnet’s show. Every couple of weeks, host Pawel Grabowski talks to SaaS founders, CEOs, marketers and thought leaders to uncover the unique challenges content developers face. It’s a good one if you’re looking to enhance (or create – gasp!) your content marketing strategy.
I’ve had a content crush on Jason Miller since reading “Welcome to the Funnel.” So when I found out he hosted a bi-weekly podcast, I was on it like white on rice. Miller’s signature rock ’n’ roll flavor sets a vigorous pace for discussion, covering everything from storytelling in B2B to effective time management strategies.
From venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz, a16z podcasts are refreshingly genuine. While many VCs or investment firms offer promotional podcasts, they often tend to come across as scripted and overly corporate. In contrast, the a16z episodes are real human-to-human conversations. They often feature a portfolio company, which the hosts are not shy about mentioning. But they talk with marketing heavy-weights too. It’s pretty remarkable, for instance, to listen to Marc Andreessen talk about the cloud with Salesforce founder Marc Benioff.
The marketing inspiration lets thinkers from around the world listen in to the trends, tech and culture in the future.
14. The Art of Charm
Funny thing about marketing is that it isn’t always all about marketing. In fact, marketing inspiration can come from the buyer, or through tips out of customer success. And sometimes, you need to have a few sales tricks up your sleeves to really leave your mark. The Art of Charm hits everything from career to confidence, lifestyle and love from experts like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi and Olivia Fox. My favorite episode featured Dr. Carol Dweck on growing talents, intelligence and breaking out of your comfort zone.
Heike Young is a genius content marketer. And paired with Joel Book, who leads marketing insights at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the Salesforce podcast is dynamic and actionable. Each episode focuses on real-talk marketing inspiration, trends, tactics, technologies, troubles and solutions. Their guests range from the big-league names to the up-and-comers. (Including our founder and principal Dan Hanrahan.)
16. B2B Nation
B2B Nation is the TechnologyAdvice podcast for sales and marketing pros in the b2b industry. Hosted by Chris Klinefelter, the goal is to bring marketing inspiration to evolve our strategies from been-there-won-that pros. Hubspot’s Emma Snider talks about experimenting. While Joe Pulizzi talks about Nick Offerman as the ultimate content marketer. It’s a fresh take on blending old tactics with new marketing.