Speaking of marketing pioneers – Seth’s the name!

Speaking of marketing path-breakers, I cannot but follow-up my Guy fan-boy post, with a post on Seth Godin and a response to his post earlier today on podcasting.

About Seth:
Seth needs no introduction. For those who do(really?!), here’s the link.

About Seth’s earlier post on podcasting:
Seth was responding to a post by Mark Ramsey (of Hear2.0 fame) whose contention is that podcasting is bad naming. Mark cites the fact that (i) low recognition of the term, (ii) very low usage, (iii) ambigous usage of the term; all contribute to the fact that:

People don’t get it. What’s a pod? Why would I want to cast it? And then there’s the whole RSS confusion thing which is anything but “really simple”.

Mark goes on to suggest that Podcast is a “horrible name for the technology” and offers alternatives like audio magazine. I am with Mark on all the above valid points he raises excepting the alternative name. I’m sure there are more innovative ways to describe an audio file though!

Seth’s response is predicated around the concept that for marketing it’s essential that marketers be brave and innovative and should come up with names that leave behind the past and forge a new path. I couldn’t agree more with Seth on that count, but in my humble opinion, being brave alone doesn’t necessarily equal a great brand name. I think being accurate AND imaginative is the trademark of great branding and on the accurate count alone the term “podcast” fails miserably.

To exemplify: My biggest problem with the term “podcasting” is the fact that it’s MISLEADING. Mark is right-on when he articulates the user’s confusion. As a marketer trying to communicate the benefits of podcasting to prospective Fortune 500 Companies, I recognize the confusion that prospects have when confronted with the term podcast. Many of the prospects I speak to are confused as to (i) whether it’ll play only on an iPod, (ii) what’s a Pod, (iii) what is RSS and its relationship to a podcast, etc… and are totally relieved when told that its just an audio file broadcast over the web with a little help from RSS.

With a misleading term, the marketer has the hassle of explaining the term before even trying to convince the target audience of its benefits. I know it may be too late to change the course of this naming convention, but it’s never too late to question the authenticity of brand names we have taken for granted and for that alone – Kudos to Mark for raising a valid point!

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  1. chocolate

    One day i went to hersey park and it made me cry. I think I have a major problem with this back

  2. “Podcast” Naming Debate – Part Deux « Marketing Nirvāna — by Mario Sundar

    […] What’s up with the podcast name debate. It keeps raging on, in different forms… If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed my coverage of a similar debate a few months ago that was initiated by Mark Ramsey’s comments. Here’s a snapshot of what transpired then: […]

  3. Jughead

    The fact of the matter is that the content or "cast" was originally intended to be transferred to an ipod for purposes of portability (the ultimate "mash up" by Adam Curry) "Podcast" perfectly describes the "original" intended use.

    The fact that "podcasting" has evolved to include video as well as audio and may be viewed on an everyday computer screen is more of a testament to the versatile nature of this nifty technology.

    If marketers are having a problem describing such a cool new media channel to executive decision makers then i would be the first to question their ability to effectively communicate moderately complex subject matter to a (supposedly) sophisticated audience.

    On a more pragmatic note, could you imagine the confusion of trying to change the name "podcast" to something else? The term is now used by big media, corporations and armies of amateurs. Millions of dollars have already been dumped into branding and promotional efforts that incorporate the term "podcast". It's the 2005 oxford Dictionary Word of the Year for cripes sake!

    nuff said.



    The reason Mark and I referred to the term as misleading is because podcasting refers to the broadcast of any music file to a portable mp3 player with RSS functionality (Check Wikipedia definition here). This requires some education of the terminology involved (such as RSS, etc…) to some tech-agnostic audiences.

    The fact that the iPod now embraces video and the existence of contradictory terms like vodcasting, vidcasting, is not helping in any way either. (Check definition of vodcasting here)

    Most marketers I know of (myself included) are no doubt wowed by the cool factor, but the fact remains that the term is not the most appropriate to a non-techie user.

    I appreciate your comments.


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