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Lois Kelly, author of Rebels At Work: A Handbook for Leading Change From Within, shares her first-hand experiences witnessing the impact rebels can have on an organization. It’s not about disrupting projects, but about sharing a different way of looking at the world — something that comes in handy more often than not.

In The Rebel’s Role, you’ll hear about:
  • The difference between a good and bad rebel in the workplace.
  • How understanding the different types of people in a workplace can help make the overall workplace more productive and efficient.
  • The importance of knowing when to take credit for an idea and when to let someone else get all the glory.
  • How to work with and manage rebels to make sure their abilities are used in the right ways, at the right times.

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed page in Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

Author information
Trevor Gilbert
Podcast Producer

The post The Rebel’s Role appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Podcast marketing advice tends to be overly simplistic and unhelpful. For example: “Once they’ve followed you on Twitter, send them to Apple Podcasts and get them to subscribe to your show.” Such flippant recommendations get tossed around a lot. However, the complexities of the podcast conversion funnel are far greater than they initially appear.

What follows serves as a guide to understanding the podcast conversion funnel, how it differs from a standard content marketing funnel, and how it ultimately converts listeners into qualified leads. Understanding it is one of the most fundamental pieces to understand if you want your podcast to succeed.

The Podcast Conversion Funnel

For most B2B marketers, optimizing a conversion funnel requires:

  • Data analysis, which enables marketers to make decisions based on quantitative data.
  • Customer research, which enables marketers to make decisions based on qualitative feedback.

Unfortunately for most companies, the world of podcasting doesn’t fully offer either of these. Data is available, but it’s almost entirely anonymized. Qualitative feedback is available, but it relies on listeners reaching out to you. That makes the podcast conversion funnel difficult to optimize, since you can’t entirely rely on great data or knowing who is listening at any particular stage.

How Does The Funnel Work?

It starts when people become aware of your podcast. That can be the result of seeing a post of yours on LinkedIn, by one customer sharing it with another potential customer, or in any one of a hundred other ways. The podcast conversion funnel is further obscured by not knowing who is listening to your podcast, since most podcast players don’t provide data on subscribers or on listening behaviors.

Then there is the big leap from initial discovery to deciding to open a podcast app. It involves going from Desktop to Mobile, browsing to engaging, and passive to active participation. If that big leap happens, they’ll ideally subscribe to your show.

Finally, as a business, you want to translate those engagements into known contacts.To do that, listeners will have to leave the podcast application and get in touch with you. Optimizing for their preferred method of contact is also a challenge. Do they prefer email? A phone call? A form fill?

It’s the complexity of this funnel that makes most podcasting advice seem out of touch. Saying something like, “once they discover your show, get them to subscribe to your show” is as useful as saying, “when you get to Europe, say ‘hi’ to my friend Jacques” with no additional guidance on who Jacques is.

Good luck with that.

Understanding the Funnel Is Half the Battle

With podcasting, luck isn’t enough. Instead, our advice is to prioritize the parts that you can measure and have the greatest value.

Here’s a handy breakdown of each stage of the funnel:

Stage Measurable? Value Notes
Awareness No Low You can’t measure who becomes aware of your podcast in the same way you know how many people viewed a blog post. Podcast awareness happens in thousands of locations, most of which aren’t instrumented for tracking on a per-listener level. In addition, the value of this stage isn’t particularly high, since awareness doesn’t necessarily lead to becoming a client.
First Listen No Medium The first time someone listens to your podcast might be on social media, YouTube, your website, or a podcast player. Each provides different levels of analytics. For example, you could see the number of viewers who saw your tweet, while a podcast app will tell you how many downloads you receive but not how many people viewed your podcast.While you may not know who is listening, there is some value in improving conversion at this stage of the funnel. After all, the adage of “first impressions matter” is especially true in podcasting.
In the App Yes High You can measure if people are visiting a podcast app for your podcast in two ways. First, you can track clicks from links you have on your website. Second, you can look at the weekly download numbers per user agent, which is provided by most podcast hosts. Similarly, the expected value here is quite high, since they’re clearly interested enough to open a third-party app to listen to your show.
Subscription Partially High There are ways to measure the number of subscribers you have in Apple Podcasts, Overcast, and a handful of other podcasting apps. However, you’ll never get a complete number of subscribers or any information on who those subscribers are. While the subscriber data is mostly incomplete, the value of a subscriber is incredibly high. That’s because they’re not only interested in your show, but they’re also automatically downloading future episodes onto their personal devices.
First Contact Yes High Being contacted by someone listening to your show is both very measurable (you have a new lead) and has a very high expected value (they’re talking to you). However, to fully take advantage of this value, you need to make sure your marketing and sales teams are aligned on tracking these touch points.

The big takeaway is that the two highest priority stages of the podcast conversion funnel are App Open and First Contact. From the perspective of getting the best bang for your buck, these two stages typically have the most to offer. (That’s not to say that the other stages aren’t important.)

A caveat: this will change as more podcast apps share information about who is subscribing to your show. But we’re not quite there yet. In the past month, we had more than 60 apps play our podcast, with only a handful of apps reporting subscriber data.

As with all conversion optimization and lead generation, some of the most valuable work you can undertake is to reduce friction from one stage of the funnel to another.

In the App Stage

By the time someone has listened to your podcast, much of your work is done. But, you still need to get them to open a podcast app and subscribe to your show. Logistically speaking, that means that wherever they’re listening to your show (social media, your website, etc.), you need to have a link pointing them to the relevant podcast apps.

For something as mundane as linking to a podcast, there are two opposing schools of thought: glass half-full and glass half-empty.

The Half-Full school optimistically believes that most people will have a preferred podcast app on their phones and that they’ll want to view your show on that app. So, they provide a grid of links pointing to all of the major podcasting apps. Which is no small number, as there are dozens of active podcast apps.

The Half-Empty school looks at the data saying most people have never listened to a podcast and believes that they should only rely on pre-installed podcast apps. So, they provide a link to Google Podcasts for Android users and Apple Podcasts for iOS users.

Personally speaking, they both have some merit. Deciding on one avenue vs. another relies on understanding the target audience for your podcast. Are they technologically savvy? They likely have a preferred app. Are they less tech savvy? The default apps will likely work fine.

Either way, one tool we use for our show, the B2B Revealed Podcast, is Branch. It has many applications, but the relevant one here is that you can create a link that will redirect based on the type of device the user is using. As an example, if you click this link to our interview with Dr. Bhaskar Chakravorti it will open Apple Podcasts on an iOS device, Google Podcasts on an Android device, and our website on any desktop device. Simple tweaks like that can create a great experience for your listeners.

The First Contact Stage

Seeing your monthly download numbers go up and to the right can be a wonderful feeling. Yet, if none of those people are converting to customers, what’s the point? That’s why it’s so crucial to pay attention to the First Contact stage.

There are three common ways that brands grease this stage of the funnel: gating, advertising, and participation.

Closing the Gate

Some brands use their podcast as a teaser for content that’s locked behind a content gate. For example, if you have a podcast where you’re interviewing experts in your industry, you could post the first 10 minutes of the interview in your public feed and then explain that the full hour-long interview is available on your website in exchange for an email address.

The upside here is that you’ll gather contact information from those who want to listen to the entire podcast. The downside is that you’re effectively producing two different podcast feeds. That may not be worth the effort, as many of the leads will be unqualified and unready for any serious discussion about using your products or services. They are leads, yes, but the value is a bit lower.

Self-Advertising

Another way that companies increase the conversion is by advertising their company as the sponsor and creator of the podcast. Since it’s rare for people to want to listen to a company talk about themselves all day long, most successful branded podcasts focus on larger themes than a self-centered pitch.

Still, many listeners will be unaware what your company is or what you provide. By inserting a 30-second advertisement for your own company in the middle or end of every episode, you’ll increase awareness and conversion. For example, on our podcast, we put in an audio clip that sounds like this:

Audience Participation

Finally, getting your audience to participate in the creation of an episode is a great way to transform podcasting from a one-way broadcast channel into a two-way conversation.

For example, we’ve recently begun soliciting questions for our guest experts on B2B Revealed. This gives clients and listeners the benefit of asking experts questions about marketing and marketing research. It also allows us to engage with clients in a more meaningful way and gives listeners new perspectives on topics we cover.

Funnel Tunnel Vision

Without understanding your conversion funnel, your podcast will meander along without clear direction.

But, if you spend some time understanding and optimizing your conversion funnel, you’ll end up with a clear idea of what needs to be done to get your podcast in the ears of the right people.

Need help launching or optimizing a business podcast? Check out our B2B podcast production services.

With custom market research and marketing services, Cascade Insights helps companies seize opportunities in the B2B technology sector. We work with everyone from enterprise tech stalwarts to up-and-comers in fields such as FinTech, MarTech, Health Tech, and more.

Author information
Trevor Gilbert
Podcast Producer

The post Podcasts and the Trouble with Conversion Optimization appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Dear readers,

We’ve launched a new Cascade Insights B2B Marketing Blog & B2B Market Research Blog. Follow the links to keep up-to-date on our latest B2B tech sector insights.

Author information
Isabel Gautschi
Director of Messaging

Isa received her B.A. from Bard College. She was a journalist before joining Cascade Insights. She primarily works with editing and sharing the podcast and blog.

The post We’ve Moved… New B2B Marketing & Market Research Blogs appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Dan Cable, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, joins us to talk about his book, Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do. Pulling from the worlds of both psychology and business management, Dan helped explain the connection between giving your employees the freedom to work with fewer constraints and overall business success.

In Alive at Work, you’ll hear about:
  • What makes work meaningful and how leaders can help their team find meaning in their work.
  • The issue of learned helplessness, how to spot it in your organization, and what to do about it.
  • How jobs with repetitive tasks are especially vulnerable to employee churn.
  • Why metrics and KPIs are important, but shouldn’t be completely controlling everything your team works on.

To listen to this interview on your phone, visit the B2B Revealed page in Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

As always, we’d love for you to take a minute to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And, if you have any feedback (or would like to work with us on a podcast of your own), you can reach us at hello@cascadeinsights.com.

Author information
Trevor Gilbert
Podcast Producer

The post Alive at Work appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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B2B tech messaging tends to be big, broad, and vague. Which is the opposite of what savvy B2B buyers are looking for.

So often, B2B marketers leave customers in the dark in terms of:

  • The intended audience.
  • Relevancy to buyers’ “jobs to be done.”
  • How the product or service uniquely solves their business problems.
  • Whether the messaging is to be believed at all.

After conducting scores of B2B message testing studies, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the truly horrifying.

Here are some common messaging mistakes to avoid before you launch your next landing page, product marketing initiative, or content calendar.

Horror Story 1: It’s Unclear Who It’s For… And Who It’s NOT For.

Tech companies, powerful visionaries that they are, have a tendency to go really broad with their messaging. For example: “Your vision. Your Cloud.” Or: “Cloud for all.” But is it really for everyone?

B2B products and services are rarely intended for the use of any and all. Unfortunately, it’s rare for tech companies to make it immediately clear who their intended audience is.

Buyers shouldn’t have to work to figure out whether a product or service is relevant to them. B2B messaging should make it really obvious. Whose life will be made easier by this B2B solution? Use visuals, smart layouts, and clever formatting to make sure the eye is easily drawn to copy that identifies and speaks directly to key buyers.

Horror Story 2: It’s Not Written In The Voice of The Buyer(s).

Is your target buyer technical? Do you have someone technical on your marketing team?  You should. At least make sure you get someone technical to vet your messaging.

Technical buyers will lose confidence in your solution if the messaging gets the jargon wrong or strings random concepts together in a way that doesn’t make sense. Or if it skirts specifics and stays vague. (Also, technical buyers will be turned off by anything they consider “fluff.” They don’t like marketing buzzwords.)

Context matters. Don’t message in a vacuum. Do what you need to do to author, edit, and verify that you’re writing messaging that resonates with your key buyer personas.

Here’s a place where understanding your target buyers’ “jobs to be done” really comes in handy. You’ll score lots of brownie points if you can speak to the specific issues your solution solves for the intended buyer.

And remember, B2B buying decisions usually happen by committee. In other words, you need to convince a group of stakeholders, not just an individual.

Your B2B tech messaging should speak to all the key buyer personas involved in making the purchase decision- not just the end-user.

Horror Story 3: The Messaging Is Stranded From The Brand Strategy.

The goal isn’t just for the customer to remember the product. You also want them to remember the brand.

If your product is part of a larger suite of solutions, your messaging shouldn’t make it sound like an isolated offering.

Graphics are often an effective method of demonstrating that a particular solution or tool is part of a holistic suite of offerings.

Your B2B messaging strategy needs to connect the product or service back to the company.

Horror Story 4: It’s Poorly Written.

Bad grammar creates an unnecessary obstacle for communicating the relevance of your solution. Especially if your target buyers are non-native English speakers.

In our B2B message testing studies, we’ve watched scores of buyers use the bulk of their energy trying to parse out the intention behind our client’s initial attempt at messaging. This prevents customers from moving down the purchase funnel.

Make things as easy as possible on the buyer. Communicate clearly. Don’t make them work to figure out why it’s smart to buy your product or service.

So. Use complete sentences. Simplify your wording. Amplify your main message so that it’s the most noticeable thing on the page, the paragraph, etc. Only attempt to convey one idea per sentence. Make sure you can get through a sentence without having to take a breath when reading out loud. Shorten the sentence if you can’t. Edit. Edit a lot. (More on this here.)

Horror Story 5: There’s No Hierarchy of Emphasis.

Tech companies love listing the attributes of their product or service. Unfortunately, they often neglect to explain how these features solve problems for their target buyers.

Also, lists are just plain hard to read. Reading a list gets monotonous and boring. Which of the many adjectives is the reader supposed to remember? What’s the main point of the product? What makes it special?

Say you’ve got five key selling points. Please do not pack all five key points into one sentence or even one paragraph. That will mute the impact.

Instead, give each key point its own space and separate emphasis. Add in supporting points as needed. Make sure the supporting points strengthen the main idea, rather than sounding like isolated factors.

Strategic messaging requires a hierarchy of emphasis. Your marketing team needs to be clear on the main selling points of the solution and the supporting, secondary factors.

Readers are more likely to remember what is given the greatest emphasis. If everything has the same level of emphasis, readers may struggle to remember anything at all.

What do you want the main takeaways to be? Emphasize accordingly.

Horror Story 6: Unsubstantiated Boasts, Vague Terms, & Marketing Buzzwords.

During our market research studies, we’ve watched many B2B buyers grow suspicious over broad messaging claims.

Unless you have substantial, authoritative backup for making such a claim, shy away from declaring yourself “the best” or “the leading solution.”  When such lofty claims are made, we’ve noticed that B2B buyers often take it as a challenge to think of a brand with a better solution.

Further, to be blunt, messaging that reads like marketing wrote it puts many B2B buyers off.

B2B customers often take vague terminology as a red flag, as it may indicate that the solution is being pushed by a company who doesn’t understand how it will actually be used.

Further, marketing buzzwords tend to scare off technical buyers. These customers will only be convinced by brands that get what their day-to-day entails.

So, be as specific as possible. What does your solution actually do? How does it do it? How will it fit into the work of the buyer? Specifically, what value does it bring to your key customers?

Also, marketers, make sure to run your messaging by someone who is well-versed in the business and technical context of your target buyers.

The Takeaways

To summarize: don’t make your buyers work to figure out your solution’s relevancy and value-add.

Make sure your B2B messaging:

  • Identifies the intended audience. It should be very obvious who the solution was built for.
  • Is written in the voice of the buyer. Messaging needs to get the B2B buyers’ business and technical context right.
  • Connects to back to the brand strategy. Give the reader an easy pathway to related solutions and information.
  • Is easy to read. Pay attention to good grammar and avoid run-on sentences.
  • Has a hierarchy of emphasis. Be clear internally on the top 2-5 selling points you want the reader to take away. The main value-add should have the most space, visual draw, ink, etc.
  • Is specific. Avoid vague terms, unsubstantiated boasts, and marketing buzzwords. Explain how your solution accomplishes the benefits you’re boosting. Back up your claims.

Need some help with messaging strategy? We offer B2B messaging upgrades and

Special thanks to Senior Consultant Colleen Clancy,Senior Research Analyst Hercules Randolph IV, and Research Analyst Courtney Bae for advising on this piece. 

With custom market research and marketing services, Cascade Insights helps companies seize opportunities in the B2B technology sector. We work with everyone from enterprise tech stalwarts to up-and-comers in fields such as FinTech, MarTech, Health Tech, and more.

Author information
Isabel Gautschi
Messaging Strategist

Isa received her B.A. from Bard College. She was a journalist before joining Cascade Insights. She primarily works with editing and sharing the podcast and blog.

The post Horror Stories: B2B Tech Messaging appeared first on Cascade Insights.

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Despite frequent public commitments to diversity, the tech industry isn’t kind to those over age 35.

What’s more, many don’t see a problem with that. Remember when Mark Zuckerberg famously claimed that “young people are just smarter”?

But, companies deprive themselves of the benefit of experience when they undervalue hiring and retaining workers who have made it passed their 20s.

Cascade Insights was recently asked to present our research on ageism by industry. During our study, we analyzed 9.45 million LinkedIn profiles.  Our analysis revealed that employees over the age of 35 are in the minority in the tech industry.

Our talk focused on our methodology, data, and findings about the rampant ageism in tech. Here, we would like to provide some more context for why age discrimination is depriving the industry of a plethora of talented workers and unduly undervaluing some of the sharpest minds in tech.

There is nothing that should limit those over 35 from having a job in tech. In fact, tech is worse off without them.

(We also presented our findings on the gender gap in tech. Check out our defense of women in tech reading list here.)

Age discrimination is detrimental to valuable members of the workforce. Companies should not discount the benefit of experience when hiring, acquiring, & funding. Millennials will not drag down the average age of the U.S. worker. In fact, it’s going to get grayer out there. Diversity benefits companies by making them more likely to innovate and raise profits.   Older workers are more loyal, reducing turnover costs.  How can we improve age diversity in tech? Here are some ideas. For all of the above reasons, ageism in tech cannot simply be written off as older workers being less capable than their younger colleagues.            

This blog post is brought to you by Cascade Insights. With B2B focused market research and marketing services, Cascade Insights helps companies seize opportunities in the B2B technology sector.

Author information
Isabel Gautschi
Messaging Strategist

Isa received her B.A. from Bard College. She was a journalist before joining Cascade Insights. She primarily works with editing and sharing the podcast and blog.

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There have been attempts to justify the stark gender disparity in tech. But none of them are valid.

Cascade Insights was recently asked to present our findings on the gender gap in tech. More than 1 million LinkedIn profiles of employees of 50 major tech companies revealed how far the industry is from achieving gender parity.

Our talk focused on our research into the gender breakdowns of tech giants, so we weren’t able to go into much detail about why there is a gender gap in tech. We would like to clear up some common misconceptions with this reading list.

There is nothing in women’s nature, collective ambitions, or capabilities that make them less qualified than men in STEM fields. While there are mountains of evidence to back up this unequivocal statement, we’ve included a small sampling here.

(We also presented our findings on ageism in tech. Check out our defense of age diversity in tech here.) 

No, women are not genetically predisposed to lag in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Prevalent stereotypes affect the evaluation of women’s STEM abilities. Even in early education, implicit bias creates obstacles for girls in STEM. And it keeps going. Science faculty judge women more harshly than men in higher education. Implicit bias impedes women’s career advancement. Few women reach the C-Suite in corporate America. Women are far less likely than men to hold leadership positions in tech companies. Thus, men are far more likely to control hiring, firing, raises, and promotions in the technology industry. Not to mention the tech industry’s endemic sexual harassment which has prompted many women to leave. So, bottom line…

The gender gap in tech cannot be written off as women being less capable or lacking the desire to have successful careers in STEM fields. There is no valid justification for the immense gender gap in tech.

Further, research shows that diversity actually benefits business. More diversity, more profits. How can we do better on gender diversity in tech? Here are some ideas.

This blog post is brought to you by Cascade Insights. With B2B focused market research and marketing services, Cascade Insights helps companies seize opportunities in the B2B technology sector.

 

 

 

Author information
Isabel Gautschi
Messaging Strategist

Isa received her B.A. from Bard College. She was a journalist before joining Cascade Insights. She primarily works with editing and sharing the podcast and blog.

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Amy Peck believes in the bright future of AR and VR — or at least, in trying to make that future a reality. Check out the latest episode of B2B Revealed for everything B2B companies need to know about AR, VR, and Mixed Reality.

The best way to listen to the episode is through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or Overcast. You’ll be able to listen to past episodes and subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes.

As we mentioned in the show, if you’re enjoying the B2B Revealed show we’d love it if you would leave a nice review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to the show.

   

Author information
Trevor Gilbert
Podcast Producer
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Surprise! — employees aren’t productive in their first day on the job. Guest Maia Josebachvili, VP of Marketing and Strategy at Greenhouse, has gone beyond that conventional wisdom and helped to create the Employee Lifetime Value Framework. This Framework helps companies understand how employee effectiveness changes over time. In this episode, we’ll help you understand the Framework.

The best way to listen to the episode is through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or Overcast. You’ll be able to listen to past episodes and subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes.

As we mentioned in the show, if you’re enjoying the B2B Revealed show we’d love it if you would leave a nice review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to the show.

   

Author information
Trevor Gilbert
Podcast Producer
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David Fisher, author of Hyper-Connected Selling, knows that technology-enabled sales is great, but it’s never going to satisfy the need for human connection.

The best way to listen to the episode is through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or Overcast. You’ll be able to listen to past episodes and subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes.

As we mentioned in the show, if you’re enjoying the B2B Revealed show we’d love it if you would leave a nice review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to the show.

   

Author information
Trevor Gilbert
Podcast Producer
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