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183: Power of Audio with Audible CMO John Harrobin

John Harrobin, Chief Marketing Officer, Audible

During this 183rd episode of “Marketing Today,” host Alan Hart interviews John Harrobin, chief marketing officer at Audible. Audible is an Amazon company, founded in the late 1990s out of an oral storytelling tradition. They began as an audiobook medium and have expanded to be a subscription service, including original programming, access to newspapers and magazines, and free short-form content. Harrobin’s previous experience includes chief marketing officer at Verizon and working with NBC Universal.

On the show today, Harrobin discusses the audio content market, how his professional background led him to marketing, mentorship, the future of his industry, and the future of marketing in general. He also discusses the importance of diversity in marketing departments and on boards.

Harrobin views marketing as being “right in the center of the action. What I really love is driving growth and launching products. That’s where you really get immediate gratification in the form of metrics and customer feedback. Is what you are doing working now? If not, you know how to adjust.” What sets Audible apart? “Our goal, in many cases, is to guide creators, provide them the data, what they should expect with this. Also, help them market, help them reach new audiences, and dimensionalize their own brand… We like to consider ourselves the best partner because we can provide better results through our reach and strength of distribution in marketing. We want to help build their personal brand and work with them on what they want to accomplish with the project, so we want to be fulfilling to the creator, and we want to be easy and fun to work with.” His thoughts on the future of marketing are: “The role of marketers is evolving, and I think we just need to recognize it because, I don’t know, 20 years from now, we’re not going to be wanting to be marketed to in the same way that we are today.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Where did John start his career? (01:30)
  • John shares how his background as a finance consultant led him to marketing. (01:59)
  • Did John have any significant mentors along the way? (05:00)
  • What is the origin story of Audible? (06:20)
  • Why does John think audio has remained such a popular medium? (08:57)
  • What does marketing at Audible look like? (12:00)
  • What does the future of audio look like? (14:18)
  • What are the advantages for a creator working with Audible? (16:05)
  • How do Audible’s content marketplace and original content work together? (19:56)
  • Does John have a specific experience he feels defines him as a person? (23:27)
  • What other brands does John admire? (26:45)
  • Does John see any big opportunities or threats staring marketers in the face? (29:46)

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