Case Study: Podcasts Create Sales Opportunities for Igloo Software

We’re fortunate to work with Igloo Software, a company that offers an intranet that you (and your coworkers, and your boss, and everyone else at your job) will actually like. Igloo got involved with podcast advertising early, and they’ve seen tremendous success with the medium.

Here’s a quote from Marko Savic, Igloo Software’s Creative Director:

“Out of all of Igloo Software’s opportunities last year, 7% came from podcast sponsorships. But the remarkable thing is that a full 21% of opportunity value was influenced from those podcast ads. Podcasts were one of our most efficient methods for opportunity creation in 2013.”

Marko and Igloo Software volunteered to participate in a case study that demonstrates just how incredibly effective their podcast ad campaigns with The Mid Roll have proven.

Igloo's Marko Savic
Igloo’s Marko Savic

Who are you? What is Igloo? What do you do?
Hi! I’m Marko Savic, I’m the Creative Director at Igloo Software. I’m responsible for our online marketing, branding and other web related things.

Igloo is an intranet you’ll actually like. It’s a cloud solution that brings together content and conversation in one place, so you can share files, give updates and work better together with your employees, partners and customers. That’s why mid-market leaders and world-class brands, such as Aetna, Kimberly-Clark and Siegel+Gale, choose Igloo.

You can learn more and watch our Sandwich Videos at www.igloosoftware.com.

Why did you decide to try podcast advertising?
We’re huge fans of podcasts here. We listen to everything from This American Life to DecodeDC to Accidental Tech Podcast. When you listen to podcasts you really get to know the ads. They’re always for something great, and you can tell if the hosts really like it. We noticed that we actually subscribe to services and recommend products we hear about on podcast ads. Everybody jokes about the podcast industry being sponsored by Squarespace, but I’ve personally subscribed to Tonx coffee, bought prints from Fracture, and started recommending Hover to my friends. Everyone here is decked out in glasses from Warby Parker.

We wanted to expand our ad strategy. How do you attract better prospects and drive significant growth more efficiently than your competitors? We started by looking at our own experience with ads. In our own personal lives, we recognized that we delete email marketing without reading it.  We recognized that we skim past keyword and display ads. So instead we looked at what influences our own buying habits, both at work and at home. This led us to experiment with podcasts, which have proven to be very effective.

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Podcast ads drove a full 7% of Igloo’s 2013 opportunities, but influenced nearly a quarter of the pipeline value. What makes podcast listeners such a lucrative audience?
Podcasts listeners are a highly dedicated, engaged audience. Just by being a podcast listener, you’re someone who cares enough to tune in on a regular basis. You’re more likely to be an informed resource for your colleagues or friend’s, podcasts attract people who are much more passionate, an influencer. You’re not passively glancing past content in a stream. You’re actively listening, every week. You build a relationship with the hosts, and from that you trust their recommendations like they’re one of your friends.

So you have this confluence of factors that make podcasts great: a captive audience, a message read by someone the audience has a positive relationship with, and easily measurable calls to action.

Why do you think Igloo’s message resonates so well with podcast listeners in general?

Because we listen to podcasts, we know how to shape the ads based around our own listening habits. We tell a story, we leave room for the hosts to interleave their own commentary. We don’t try to take over the format. We work with it. We love the jokes. So we’re saying We understand you. We’re one of you. It builds goodwill from the hosts, and we’re more likely to get glowing reads from them, as well as social media mentions from the hosts and the listeners.

The host knows the audience best, so we rely on them (and The Mid Roll) to provide the best story. They make it easy for us.
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If you look at some of the reads we’ve done, one of my favourites is for Accidental Tech Podcast. We took a topic that was on the show, the horribleness of enterprise software, and created an entire ad around it and how Igloo is different. It was hugely effective. The hosts are genuinely enthusiastic, and that’s how we know we’re a good fit. Highly influential people like John Siracusa (who we love) are saying amazing things about our software. Frequently, when people sign up they write in the comments box – “John Siracusa sounded so excited about this, I want to know why.” That influence and positive sentiment is hard to get from any other medium.

You’ve increased your investment in podcasts. Where did you previously spend that marketing budget?
Our marketing mix includes of online and outbound marketing – so keyword and display ads, content syndication like blog and podcast sponsorships, and outbound campaigns like cold-calling, email and direct marketing.

We’ve learned a lot about executing each of these specific instances. Content syndication and SEO are representing a much larger percentage of our total opportunities than they have historically. A particularly effective tool in content syndication is podcast sponsorships. With a relatively modest podcast budget, 7% of our opportunities can be attributed to directly podcasts, and 21% of our opportunity value has been influenced by it.

What have you learned about the best ways to shape your copy for the shows you’re on?
One-size does not fit all. Target your message to the audience: if it’s a tech show, go tech heavy.  Get down and nerdy and show them your acronyms. But if your show is for a general audience, explain it like you would to your mom (unless she is nerdy, in which case you have a really cool mom).

You’re not pitching 150 words. You’re telling a story, so when you write it, read it out loud. Help the hosts try your product and give room and suggestions for the hosts to talk about their own experiences. If you have a product that might be hard for them to test in a real world scenario (like an intranet), get them to talk about their experiences with similar tools. In our case we get people to rail about their dislike for SharePoint. It’s funny, but it’s also effective. And don’t be afraid to talk about competitors, it’s much more honest.

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Typically we build a demo Igloo intranet for our podcast hosts to play with, so they can actually speak about the value and user experience of the product first-hand.
We sponsor shows repeatedly when they are highly effective for us. But you can’t run the same ad week after week. Change your content and update your landing pages. You want to retain your core message, but you don’t want people to groan every time they hear your company name and fast-forward through the read. You’re reaching, more or less, the same audience every week. You have the opportunity to build a narrative. Don’t miss out on that.

How do you measure podcast ads?
At Igloo we measure the effectiveness of each marketing execution. Not just in terms of leads, but opportunities and opportunity value. Podcasts are no exception – we see their value from awareness to lead generation and through to deals.

For podcasts, we create short URLs for each show. They’re easy to read on the air – like igloosoftware.com/atp, and give us direct ways to measure performance. We use Google Analytics to measure traffic for each show. And we use our marketing automation tools as a way to record the leads behavior as they come in: did they download a resource, sign up for a trial, etc. And finally we use our CRM as a way to record the history of the lead so we can see how the convert to be an opportunity and a deal.

We build dedicated landing pages for almost every podcast, and from these we can track how people travel across our site, or sign up for our service. The only downside to this system: a lot of people will just remember your product name and Google you later. Note to podcast fans, always, always use the URL provided.

Coupon codes are also effective if they fit your business model. We’re working towards something like this in the future, but we’ll always keep the landing pages around.

We also look at social media: are people talking about our landing pages, are organic/word of mouth referrals increasing.

What’s the single best thing about podcast advertising?
Making hilarious content that the show hosts and audience enjoy is the best part. We love to hear the reads and see the reactions from the audience. It’s amazing to get to hear other people so excited about your product. When we’ve struck the right tone, the reaction is huge and overwhelmingly positive.

And these overwhelmingly positive reactions turn into prospects that convert, deliver higher revenue, and create happy customers. We love all of those things.

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