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How Podium Audio Transitioned from Amazon Ads to Email Marketing — Fast

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When Maggie Silver joined Podium Audio as the head of strategic marketing, “the company barely had a website,” she said. 

It had never really needed one. Podium bought audio rights from authors who had self-published, primarily on Kindle, and in 2012 one of its first releases took off. 

The Martian, once an obscure blog by Andy Weir, rapidly ascended to bestseller status. Then, in 2015, became a hit film starring Matt Damon.

That early success — and a lack of competition — propelled Podium organically for years. 

By the time Silver joined the team in late 2019, though, the audiobook industry had matured, and Podium needed a more formal marketing strategy.

“I was tasked with everything from building a consumer-facing website to rebranding the company to growing  their nascent social accounts —  literally building the marketing strategy and team from ground zero,” Silver said. 

She was just one woman, though. She needed help.

Specifically, she needed a specialist to help her understand Amazon’s advertising ecosystem, and how it connected to Audible, Amazon’s subscription-based audiobook hub. 

Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising is only a few years old, and Silver thought there had to be ways of “hacking it and experimenting, like in the early days of Facebook.”

Most agencies with Amazon expertise only knew the e-commerce side of its advertising offerings, though. The publishing side, which revolves around ASIN numbers,  was a different world, and people with experience in it eluded her.


I was tasked with... literally building the marketing strategy and team from ground zero."

Maggie Silver

Head of Strategic Marketing


Podium Audio


That is, until a consultant helping Silver with an unrelated project suggested she check out MarketerHire. 

“It sort of blew my mind,” she said. “What I loved about MarketerHire was the ability to find someone who was a specialist [and] to have them feel integrated into the team” — without committing to a full-time hire right away.

“So much of a startup environment is testing and iterating,” she explained. A lean, flexible team is important.

It wasn’t just the concept of MarketerHire that spoke to Silver — the talent pool did, too. The team connected her with a freelance growth marketer who had worked on the publishing side of Amazon.

She was “a very seasoned performance marketer,” Silver said. 

More importantly, she understood that Amazon’s advertising product for e-commerce companies was a “different beast” from its product for publishers.

Silver was so impressed with her growth marketer that after a few months,  she returned to MarketerHire to find a freelance email marketer. 

Initially, she considered hiring a consultant through the partner program at Mailchimp — Podium’s email platform of choice — but the candidates she interviewed “didn’t understand [Podium’s] business model,” she explained.

MarketerHire, on the other hand, promptly connected her with an email marketer who took a more curious approach; he asked about Podium’s objectives, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all playbook.

“He didn’t want to just jump in,” Silver said. 

And when he did jump in, he delivered. 

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Before we get to that, though, let’s circle back to Meghan, the growth marketer Silver hired to test for audiobook publisher opportunities in Amazon’s advertising ecosystem. 

“There was a lot of handholding,” Silver said.

That is, Meghan held Silver’s hand. A consummate professional, she ran several impactful test campaigns, taught Silver the ins and outs of Amazon’s relevant ad offerings and connected Silver with an internal Amazon ad rep.

Meghan was “a strategic thinker,” Silver said. “I said to her a number of times, ‘if you were me, what would you do?’” 

Eventually, Meghan said she wouldn’t continue pouring money into Amazon ads. The opportunity Silver had been hoping for didn’t quite exist. 

In general, Amazon’s advertising options were designed more for e-books than audiobooks; Audible’s subscription model also made it hard to track and attribute conversions from Amazon ads.

So after nine months, Meghan and Silver parted ways — though Silver was sad to see her go. If the channel had worked out, she would have wanted to hire Meghan full time.

Instead, Silver shifted her focus to email marketing. Email, an owned channel, is “a dominant channel in traditional publishing,” she explained. It hadn’t been a focus for Podium before she arrived, but “we wanted to build in automations and sophisticated targeting pretty quickly.”

With the help of the freelance email marketer she hired through MarketerHire, Podium did exactly that. Matthew connected some of Podium’s external systems — like Airtable and Facebook Advertising — to Mailchimp through Zapier, giving the company reporting capabilities Silver had never even imagined. 

He understood what a customer journey looked like over email — and now Silver does, too. 

Silver said she would recommend MarketerHire to a fellow marketing leader in a heartbeat for two reasons: the speed of matching, and more importantly, the quality of candidates. 

“Clearly, your process for vetting people and qualifying them is fabulous,” she said. “I found two people who were gems. Truly, gems.”


Clearly, your process for vetting people and qualifying them is fabulous. I found two people who were gems."

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