Let’s get it out there, I’m a nerd. Recently I had a conversation with a colleague about Seattle’s traffic snarls. I had to admit that I don’t mind the traffic delays. It’s no worse than Melbourne, and I use the commute time to listen to podcasts. It’s easier than trying to find time to stay up with current affairs, both world and marketing.

With so many podcasts available, I do set a couple of rules. On a great day, my morning commute is only 20-30 minutes, so I generally cap podcasts at 30 minutes. There have been a couple that I’ve dumped because the person’s voice didn’t work for me. I know that sounds harsh, but some people have voices that are gorgeously smooth, and then my attention wanders. Yeah, those are the main rules.

So what podcasts do I listen to?

Marketing Podcasts

Frank Reactions

Each week Tema Frank interviews people about producing great customer service and why it’s required business. Each episode is 30-40 minutes. A recent favorite was her interview with Mari Anne Vanella of the Vanella Group had me wanting to hug them both for their suggestions of how to improve cold calling and the sales process. It’s enjoyable and informative.

SMAC TalkPodcasts

SMACTalk is social, mobile, analytics and Cloud from the fast-taking Brian Fanzo and Daniel Newman. They live and breath technology, and are incredibly real about how it needs to make life easier. Occasionally it gets a bit more enterprise and cloud than I’m interested in, so I do sometimes skip episodes. Episodes are recorded live and on the iTunes feed early the following week. I was going to write that they are closer to an hour, but so well presented you don’t notice the length. However, I checked and they are 29-39 minutes. Maybe it’s because they talk so fast it’s an hour worth of content?

I’m counting the economics and writing podcasts as marketing ones. You were warned that I’m a nerd. The knowledge definitely helps me be a better marketer.

Grammar Girl

When reviewing Mignon Fogerty’s grammar book I said that I didn’t study English grammar or spelling in school. so this 15-minute podcast is perfect. It quickly covers short tips and includes a longer explanation on another topic. It’s all fun, and some things I would never have thought about, like how authors deal with characters swearing. Episodes are released each Thursday.


Did you know I used to be a finance nerd? Economics class in high school, black suits at work, the lot. Sure, I was the marketing and events side of things, but I still spent evenings learning derivatives and hedge funds etc. Freakonomics takes the fun aspect of economics and shows how the principles impact us day to day. The weekly podcasts are long (45-60 minutes) and recently have been a little hit or miss, but still good. It’s also now sometimes hard to see the economics, but it’s always a clever look at the world. Last week’s episode looked at the economics and psychology of standing in line.

Planet Money

Continuing the finance nerd theme, NPR’s Planet Money stays a little closer to its finance base. Currently, they are doing a series on oil, from well to car (or other use). A few years ago they made t-shirts and followed the process from cotton growing to distribution. Episodes are around 20 minutes, twice per week.

Social Media Podcasts


Hootsuite’s inaugural podcast still has a sole episode, but I hope more will be coming soon. The first episode had an interview, an overview of using Facebook’s new internal (think intranet-style) product for business, and other tidbits. It runs just under 30 minutes and is highly produced – something that could be reduced to help increase frequency.

Twitter Smarter

I hesitated to include this one because it is the one I tend to skip the most frequent. Madalyn Sklar is a great marketer and also a Hootsuite Ambassador (like me). Each week she interviews a different person about their products (generally they own start-ups making social media tools). I’m not sure what it is but while there’s usually a wealth of knowledge, the audio sometimes annoys me. It’s also very pro the products, which can come across a little less convincing.

Current Affairs Podcasts

BBC World Update: Daily Commute

News, events, human interest, with a global approach.

The Economist

I used this to entertain and distract during a long dentist procedure. The Economist shouldn’t make me laugh, right? This series of shows looks at politics, tech, science , everything really. It’s in short snippets so great for staying aware.

TED Talks

I don’t think TED Talks need further comment.

Fun Podcasts

I’m just linking to these. Check them out because we can always do with more fun, laughter and stories in our lives. Unless you go for the storytelling aspect they aren’t marketing or social media, but we all need pure entertainment.

The Black Tapes

Dear Hank and John

Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids

The Memory Palace

What other podcasts make you a better marketer? Please share in the comments.

Photo by Alphacolor on Unsplash

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