MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Playing Favorites: Inside the Development Process of Shows (Podcasts and Video) Audiences Adore with Jay Acunzo

Podcaster, how do you stand out and create loyal fans?

Jay Acunzo is a podcaster and producer who wants audiences to resonate with the podcasts they listen to—and the people behind them.

But you can’t do that without realizing what does not work.

In this clip from Jay’s B2B Forum session in 2023, Jay reveals why your podcast doesn’t need to be the best. It needs something more. It needs you and your mission.

Watch this clip from Jay’s session or read the transcript below.

No matter what your marketing focus is, join us at B2B Forum this November to find insightful, inspiring sessions on crafting marketing that matters to your audience. Join us in Boston for the world’s most actionable B2B marketing conference, B2B Forum. Discounted tickets are available now—and groups of three+ save even more. Browse the #MPB2B program to see what’s waiting for you!


What’s the best Disney film of all time?

This is going to get a little weird before it gets better, so please bear with me.

I actually want your answer. In the count of three, really picture your answer to that question: What’s the best Disney film of all time?

Can we just shout it out together on the count of three?

1… 2… 3!

Thank you for the participation. I really appreciate that.

Unfortunately… you’re all wrong.

There is one objectively correct answer to that question… and it’s A Goofy Movie.

(And by the way, if you know, you know, the pop-star power line in that movie, “legit good music, still waiting for the album to drop.”)

Now, this is a silly question to ask.

Of course, the most important question that we can ask is what’s the best Disney film of all time?

But a very telling thing happened when I asked you that question.

You didn’t answer it!

I asked you, “what’s the best Disney film of all time?”

But how did you interpret it and then answer it?

“This is my favorite.”

That is nothing objective. That is nothing academic. There is nothing resource-related about that.

That is how we make choices about anything in our lives.

We’re not rational creatures. We’re subjective. We make emotional choices first. Then we rationalize why we did so later.

And that’s actually great news for us because in this world where we’re competing against the most super-powered voices—most of which are not in our area of expertise—maybe they have decades as entertainers and storytellers, or much more budget than us, or a bigger audience when they start their shows…

In an era where we’re competing with the biggest and the best voices, you don’t need to be the biggest or the best.

You need to be their favorite. 

That does not mean anything objective: “number one in the category, the best show for marketers.”

That’s not what we’re in the business of doing.

We’re in the business of being their personal preferred pick for a specific purpose.

That is an emotional decision.

Let’s leave shows behind temporarily. Let’s think about our favorite things in our world. Does anyone have a favorite sports team? Just shout it out. Bruins. Cubs. Cubs is a great one. Niners is another great one. What was yours? Packers. Okay, my favorite sports team? The New York Knicks.

If you know anything about sports, especially the NBA, you know that objectively they have been among the worst picks—objectively—but emotionally, subjectively, they were my pick throughout their terrible 25 plus year run.

Does that sound like rational decision making to you?

No. But it does sound like human decision-making.

And guess what your audience is made up of?

This is how people make choices. My favorite shirt is not objectively the best shirt that exists or even that I own. But it feels irreplaceable to me.

That’s where we want to be. This emotional, irrational bias people have in our favor where someone comes along and they go, “hey, this awesome comedian who’s much bigger than you are as a comic.” “Hey, this bigger brand, which is much bigger than you are as a business.” “Hey, this voice which has been doing it, or has more influence online—or more followers is what they probably mean—they have a show that sounds like your show.”

And it doesn’t matter, because your audience goes, “yeah, yeah, I know, I know, I know, but this show feels irreplaceable to me. That’s my favorite.”

It’s like a form of self-expression when we declare, “that’s my favorite.”

That’s the camp we want to be in.

Don’t be the best. Be their favorite.

Here is where we run into problems because most shows are nobody’s favorite.

Most shows are excruciating or forgettable because they’re commodity content. They could come from anyone, and I guess you’re anyone. They’re talking topics with experts.

I want to give you a few examples.

I didn’t want to pick on anybody real because we’re all out here doing the hard work and everybody is up against some sort of internal challenge. So here’s some examples that I made up that maybe you’re going to find some familiarity in either as a listener or maybe as a creator of a show. 

So let’s say you have generic category-based shows.

Like in music, you might have something like this, the Music Fan Podcast. And it might be described like this: “What’s new and what’s hot in music with the latest news trends and tracks, plus interviews with artists, producers, writers, and more.”

Again, I can get it anywhere, and that is anywhere.

Or how about this?

I feel like, in B2B, this is the one that lights the most of the people up, maybe not in the best possible way…

But you get these generic interview shows, “raw and unfiltered interviews with the world’s most inspiring people, hosted by entrepreneur and bestselling author, John ‘The Show Guy’ Doe.”

A couple comments, if I may.

Comment number one: “raw and unfiltered” is amateur speak for “bad and unedited.”

If somebody says their content is raw and unfiltered? Run. Bad and unedited.

Have you seen creators and people trying to be influencers giving themselves nicknames in their social media profiles? 

The podcast guy, the newsletter guy, the B2B growth gal…

Yeah, that’s like me in high school shooting threes in the local gym going, “I’m white lightning.”

No one took me seriously then. No one is taking your nickname seriously now.

Can we stop. Please?

But what we’re trying to do is project to others, “look, I’m the best. I’m objectively the pick, so you should pick me.”

That’s not how people make choices. So we got to do better than the generic interview show. 

This is a category I might sit in, and maybe many of us as educators of our audience, but the generic advice show, “The Business of Creativity with Jane Doe. Do what you love!” (Why are you yelling at me?) “Do what you love. Tips, tricks, and secrets of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and artists to build the career of your dreams. Also, interviews!” Because we can’t not for some reason.

We get stuck beating the same drum as everybody else and we blend in.

I don’t know what your instrument of choice is, but if everyone’s beating a drum and you come with some killer piccolo, you’re going to stand out.

The problem with all those shows, and many of ours, is what’s being delivered isn’t best delivered as a show.

Because what’s being promised, the value inside the show, is something called “transactional value.”

The idea behind transactional value is, it’s information that you’re trying to acquire quickly to your brain and move on.

So you think about tactical tips, trends and analysis, or general success interviews. I’d rather just suck it up to my brain and move right along.

The experience itself is not part of the value, just the information is.

And that means the best delivery vehicle of the information is not a sho.

And you can actually plot this for your show, or others.

I call this “the audience delivery preference spectrum.”

So think about those transactional-based shows. What’s the best case and worst case scenario, when a transaction of value is promised to you, how do you want it delivered?

Well, the absolute best case scenario is: you’ve already experienced it.

You’re like, “I don’t need that episode. I already listened to it. I don’t need that knowledge. I already possess it.”

So the best case scenario, like any transaction, is that it already happened in the past.

You don’t want to sit longer in the grocery aisle or the grocery checkout lane. You want to finish the transaction.

And that’s why people are listening on 2x speed. And that’s why people are asking you for some sort of downloaded key takeaways. Because they’d rather get the transaction over with than endure 45 minutes of an interview.

So that’s the best case scenario when a transaction is promised: you already went to the store, you already got it.

The second best case: “I know a guy, we can get in on the ground floor. It’s an investment opportunity. He’s inventing the chairs from The Matrix. When you snap in and download something to your brain and you wake up like, “I know kung fu, I know how to run Instagram ads, we can do it.”

We can do it. That’s a better-case scenario than listening to a transaction based podcast or watching a video show.

The next is, ask a friend.

“All right, I see what’s being promised in the subject of that email, or the subject of that show. I’m going to swivel my chair and ask my buddy and they’re going to give me the answer and a transaction better than following a checklist.”

But still, a checklist is better than having to read an article. Because at least I can scan the article with my eyes and move as fast or as slowly as I want.

Not so with a video, not so with audio.

I have to actually sit within the experience.

So that’s worse than all this other stuff.

And the actual worst case scenario is, “I love what you are promising, but not the way it’s delivered. So I will give up. I won’t even engage with your work.”

That is what happens when we offer people transactional based shows.

Published April 17, 2024

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