During the 183rd episode of “Marketing Today,” I interview John Harrobin, chief marketing officer at Audible. Audible is an Amazon company that was founded in the late 1990s out of an oral storytelling tradition. They began as an audiobook medium and have expanded to become a subscription service, including original programming, access to newspapers, magazines and free short-form content. Harrobin’s previous experience includes serving as chief marketing officer at Verizon and various roles 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 says he views marketing as being in the center of the action. He adds, “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? If not, you need to know how to adjust.”

What sets Audible apart? “Our goal, in many cases, is to guide creators, provide them with data and help them understand what to expect. We also help them with marketing and help them reach new audiences. 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 them build their personal brand.” 

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)

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.