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Reinventing the $50B Radio Industry for the Digital Age with Richard Stern, CEO of Tunein

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In this episode, Eric invites Richard Stern, the CEO of TuneIn, to discuss how TuneIn is revolutionizing the radio industry through digital transformation. TuneIn is a challenger brand with a mission to disrupt traditional radio broadcasting, allowing listeners to tune in to shows from anywhere in the world without being restricted by geographical limitations.

With 75 million monthly active users, TuneIn has become one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms globally. Richard highlights the importance of offering a better user experience to encourage adoption, using examples from industries like Uber, Casper, and Apple to illustrate how disruption can lead to innovation. He emphasizes that a great product should serve as its own marketing, providing an exceptional user experience that attracts and retains customers.

During the podcast, Eric and Richard also discuss the marketing challenges faced by traditional radio broadcasting, the role of brand in the connected home, and the value of companionship provided by radio listening. Tune in to this insightful conversation that highlights TuneIn's mission and the future of radio in the digital realm.

[If you’re a brand-side marketer and want to join the AMP community, check out the application form here]

"Scratch" is a production of Rival, a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses grow faster by developing effective strategies and capabilities.

Every week, Eric interviews the CMO of a challenger brand, exploring their innovative marketing strategies that challenge established incumbents. Immerse yourself in the world of challenger brands and learn valuable marketing lessons from industry experts, as you discover their secrets to success.

Listen on your favorite platform 🎧 : https://link.chtbl.com/scratch 

Watch the video version of this Podcast on YouTube.

Chapters:

(00:00) Rival AMP Community

(5:23) What is one challenger brand that you’re passionate about right now?

(9:35) Does Tesla actually do marketing?

(14:00) Mattress wars

(23:55) Home of Storytelling - Audible

(24:05) What problem are challenger brands trying to solve

(27:00) Being customer-centric the way Amazon is

(28:10) Early days of Uber

(31:55) What is the mission for Tune in

(36:55) "People don’t change for more good, they only change for much better"

(45:00) One thing people should do differently after listening to this episode

Scratch is hosted by Eric Fulwiler, and in this episode,  he’s joined by Richard Stern, the CEO of TuneIn. 

Find Rival online at www.wearerival.com, LinkedIn, Twitter

Find Eric on LinkedIn and tweet him @efulwiler

Say hi at media@wearerival.com, we’d love to hear from you.

Transcript

Eric: Hey everyone, before we get to today's episode, I wanted to share what I think is a pretty exciting announcement, we are opening up our rival amp community. So some of you listening have been part of AMP. From the beginning of the company. It has been our small, very small friends and family community around rival where we post updates asked for feedback, kind of share what's going on in the business. But actually, we think there's a lot more potential as we've grown as our community has grown, as we've met more of you to actually build and scale a proper community within rival amps. So what rival amp is going to be is it's going to be a community for challenger marketers on WhatsApp, we're going to share ideas and observations from the Challenger marketing world that we see and ask everyone to contribute to that share about challenger brands, marketing, news, industry events, job opportunities, ask for feedback, and input use each other as a sounding board, we think it's going to be really great. So if you're interested in joining in, or not already a member, please either reach out to me, if you know me, or go on over to our website, wearerival.com Aand you can apply from there, this is free. But we do want to make sure that we're adding people that are really interested and can really add value. That's it onto the episode.

Richard: Steven Spielberg has a quote about filmmaking, which I think is very appropriate for brands as well. He says that, you know, great movies are stories that begin and keep beginning. And I think great brands are the same way. And when you talk about sort of Challenger brands, you know, just for the purpose of this conversation, I think it's been boiled down and sort of this trite answer of, well, what problem are you trying to solve? It's more than that, like the great challenger brands are on a missionary pursuit to change a part of the world. Like it's fundamental. And it's not a problem, like a problem is sort of a small thing. It's a revolution that they're trying to sort of pick up. And I think, the bigger that missionary pursuit, the more precious it is, the more successful those brands are


Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler. And this is scratch, bringing you marketing lessons from leading brands and brands rewriting the rulebook from scratch for the world of today.

Everyone, my guest today, Richard Stern, he is the CEO of Tunein. Tunein is on a mission to reinvent and disrupt the radio category, they have become one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world with 75 million active users. I don't think we've had a lot of guests on here that come from businesses with 75 million active users, much less the CEO him or herself tuned in has over 120,000 owned and operated partner radio stations and more than 5.7 million on demand programmes stemming from every content previous to Tunein. Rich was the Chief Product Officer at Audible, owned by a company you may have heard of called Amazon. He was previously the head of Global Media products at Playstation and before that he was at Amazon Studios as the Head of Product Management. So as you heard from his background, Rich is a CEO who comes from a product background. But what I loved his perspective on just innovation building businesses, he touched on culture as well. And just given everything that he's done, but also his perspective on marketing. from a product perspective, I think it's really refreshing. I think you're really gonna find something valuable from it. I loved hearing about his time at Amazon as well and how he's taken all of those learnings now to Tunein. It's a fascinating category with everything that's going on right now. It is massive and rich, and Tunein and a bunch of other businesses are at the leading edge of disrupting it, and recreating it. And he has a wealth of experience and perspective and advice to share. I think you're really going to enjoy this episode. It's one of those where we don't even get through the icebreaker question until about 30 minutes in but we touch on so much interesting stuff. Please enjoy my conversation with Richard Stern. All right, Rich, we are alive. Thank you so much for joining us today. How you doing?

Richard: Great, Eric. Thanks for having me.

Eric: Where are you calling in from?

Richard: I'm in New York.

Eric: Amazing I'll be there at the end of the month rival. We'll be in New York for New York FinTech week. We have a lot going on there. Looking forward to it.

Richard: Well, we're gonna bring the nice weather for you. Spring has finally sprung in New York City.

Eric: Amazing Yeah, hopefully it gets that way over here in the UK. Pretty soon two degrees this morning are what is that 36/37 have been over here for so long have converted to centigrade now. So Rich, we've got a lot to get through. I know that we did our prep call a little while back but I've really been looking forward to this episode ever since we were introduced and ever since we had the conversation about what you're doing at Tunein and and now So you know, we have a lot of CMOs, a lot of entrepreneurs, some of whom are CEOs on the show. But I'm really curious to get your perspective not only on how your industry is going through transformation, disruption, change what you're trying to do with Tunein, but also your perception as a CEO on and someone who comes up kind of from more of a product backgrounds, on marketing, the role of the CMO, within your business and all that. But, of course, before we get into the meat of the conversation, gotta start this episode, like we start every episode by asking you, what is one challenger brand that you're very passionate about right now, and why

Richard: one challenger brand that I'm very passionate about right now, you know, it would have to be and I'm not going to single out one single brand, but I would say the cohort of brands in the electric vehicle space, that are redefining mobility, and that are changing our expectations of what vehicles could be, as well as aspirationally, you know, letting us all be part of creating a better planet. And moving off of our dependency on carbon fuels, I think it's an amazing place to spend time, and I'm in love with with all of them, and how they're doing their work today, in educating the public and getting the public to think about mobility differently.

Eric: I'm curious, and maybe already have one, but if you had to buy an electric vehicle right now, just for you personally, which one would it be? Because I would imagine, you know, there are, of course, some product differentiation between a lot of the, you know, the electric vehicles that are coming out, but a lot of its brands as well, which one would you buy?

Richard: Well, you know, I, I'm, I'm gonna be careful here, because I work with many of them. You know, and, but But what I would say is, you know, for the last five years or so, I think the easy answer that would have been noncontroversial would have been Tesla. And I think many people have in writing that Tesla makes a fantastic product. I think what's amazing about 2023, though, is that there are now over a dozen manufacturers that have market worthy Evie offerings, that aren't science experiments, but are wonderful vehicles with wonderful features, reasons to go by them. And I'm not just talking about startups like Tesla, or rivian, or lucid or Fisker. I'm also talking about like legacy manufacturers like GM and Ford, I think the product offerings are fantastic. And the product market fit of these vehicles are fantastic. So I'm not going to get a single out just one. But I would say that the market across the board has so many fantastic offerings. What I would say is, and this will be my one PSA for everybody, is that anybody who sort of thought, man, it's it's not practical yet, or they're maybe not reliable enough where I travelled too far. If you're thinking about buying a car, think about Evie, it's a great thing that you can do. It's a fantastic product. But it's a wonderful thing to do to the for the environment and for the future of our planet, too. And when do you get to make those choices as a consumer where you get to get something that's fantastic, as a product, but also does a greater good? I just think it's a wonderful time to be in that space.

Eric: And it's interesting from a marketing perspective, because yeah, there kind of was the RIT, there's Tesla, wait a few years. All right, now, here comes everybody else. And in those wait a few years, you know, Tesla famously doesn't, quote unquote, do marketing, meaning they don't do traditional advertising. But of course, you have the Elon Musk machine that did a tonne of PR. But now you've got all these other OEMs all these other manufacturers, whether they're challengers or incumbents that are innovating, that are actually starting to market and advertise electric vehicles. So from, I guess, practitioner standpoint, you know, as a marketer out there, it's very interesting to me seeing how the different ones are trying to position themselves and also differentiate from each other. And Tesla still being kind of like the whale, the gorilla in the room, when it comes to mind share, and what and the brand that people associate with electric vehicles, I don't know as much about their market share these days. But that kind of battle on the marketing side, as well as the product side that you touch on, is very interesting to watch as well. So go ahead, Rich. Yeah,

Richard: I would just say like, I think you're hitting on something. And being that I'm not a CMO. You know, I'm a CEO, and I come from a product background. I think when you're defining a category, and you know, when you're an early challenger brand, you're trying to change the status quo. Your marketing is the product at the end of the day. And I think that, you know, when Tesla says, well, we don't do marketing. Well, that's not true, like they could a product that's radically different into the market, and they talk a lot about the differentiation of that product. So it may not be like Sexy Commercials and celebrity endorsements. But you know, Elon, and I know he's a controversial figure, you know, whatever you think about him personally, has done a lot to educate the public about the diff Since isn't the value of electric vehicles, I mean, I remember a time when it was Ed Begley Jr. You know, in, you know, an early GM prototype vehicle, talking about the electrification of cars and nobody cared. And then all of a sudden Tesla came on the scene with cars that looked good that drove well, that were fast that were Torquay that had, you know, Ludicrous Mode, and all kinds of fun aspects to them. And I think the product did a lot of selling and a lot of marketing, I think as the space becomes more crowded now. And a consumer asked the question you asked, Well, which one is the best, that's where more traditional marketing is going to help shape consumer opinion, I think that happens in more mature markets where, you know, the product offerings from different brands are less obviously unique to the customer. And they need to start looking to other aspects of you know, the brand and the product to try to make a purchase decision. But I think in the very early days, the product was the marketing. For Tesla,

Eric: I think the product is always the marketing, to be honest. And that's one of the things that we say is the best marketing is a great product. But ideally, you need both working really well to drive the growth of your business and fulfil the potential of the product that you're building. But you're totally right. That's what they leaned into. And actually be, it'd be really interesting to, at some point, you know, Vera and I'm thinking we should do a category creation episode, because it is really interesting, kind of like how you approach marketing to create a category, but also how you approach marketing. If you are bringing a product into a category where someone else is the dominant category creator, I was thinking about this as a bit of a side tangent yesterday, actually, because I do a lot of like fitness and training. And I have one of those, I'm even gonna call it a Thera gun, because I don't actually know the brands, but it's one that's from China, it's a lot cheaper, it does the same job. But the category creator of I think it's called a percussion massager or something like that, that Thera gun created. And yet these all these other products are coming into it's really interesting. But I think that to be honest, misunderstanding is honestly what I would call it with a lot of technology and product led companies around the definition. And the the correct application, in my opinion of what marketing actually is. A lot of people think, you know, we do a lot of work in financial services and technology and b2b technology. And we see this all the time. And people listening are probably getting sick of hearing me say this, but you know, marketing is the bridge between the needs in the market, and the value that your product delivers. It is that and it is a bridge that goes both ways. So actually, what we see within a lot of Challenger businesses, startup businesses, is that marketing functions as much as an innovation discipline as it does a distribution, discipline. So it's actually helping to bring the customer into not just the marketing, but also the product roadmap. And so I think that should I think that shift is really important, because that just opens up a completely broader perspective of what marketing can actually do and how you can do it. Advertising. Above the line advertising or below line advertising is just one way.

Richard: Yeah, I think that's right. And I you know, I think that there are some products that are so spectacularly innovative or visually arresting that you just need to show them to a customer. And that is the marketing and I think Apple for many years, starting with the iPhone, you know, had that in spades like they, they could just show a customer, these beautiful devices, and the customer would seek them out. Or, you know, I remember when the iPhone first came out in 2007, being on a plane and watching a customer who had one, give a live demonstration to eight other people that were curious about it. And so I think that in some cases, the product is just so magnetic, that people are curious, and that feeds the marketing. But to your point, you know, over the last couple of years, we've seen sort of the mattress wars happening, and all the different ways that you can buy a bed. And at the end of the day, it is a bed and an end. It's a very high quality bed. And it's wonderful. But I think the real innovation was in distribution and in the purchase experience and the delivery experience. And of course, you can't really advertise that as your product, right that it's a mattress, but we're going to change everything about how you buy it, that's what's going to make it different. So you know, they build tremendous brands, they've created great commercials that put themselves out in front of customers in very meaningful ways. Very similarly, like there's been a renaissance and razor blades and how people purchase razors, which is also about, you know, how you buy them, not necessarily whether they're of the same quality or differentiated in the end of the product. And so, I think that you know, you're 100% right, when you think about as a challenger coming into a category or trying to create a category which I think everyone aspires to do to a certain age. stead, you know, it's understanding where that differentiation lies and helping customers understand why you know, you're worthy of their consideration. In a space that may be very crowded or where the status quo may appear to them to be serving everyone. Well, you can only challenge something where there's dissatisfaction, it's very, very hard to convince people when everything's working, and everything's going well that they should change their habits or change the status quo in some profound way. Sort of if it ain't fix if a broken don't fix it.

Eric: Such a good segue into the first question, but I can't I can't move off of this yet. Because clearly, this is going to be one of those conversations where we did not need the scripts, or the prompts at all. But I think just to go back on two things real quick, the mattress Wars is fascinating to me, one, how they came up. But then also one of the things that we are studying, and we're trying to understand in the work and in the research that we do our Bible is what makes successful challenger brands. Because whenever a category is created, whenever a category is disrupted, there are a slew, particularly when venture money was flowing a little bit more freely of new entrants into the space, these challenger brands, but challenger is a statement of intent, saying I'm going to disrupt or create a category, and very few of them actually succeed in becoming the new incumbent in resetting what the category is or what it means. And the mattress wars, for sure is a big part of that Eve over here that went into administration, Casper, that I don't think he's doing so well anymore, I think purple is still doing okay. But going direct to consumer from a distribution standpoint, completely changed the game of that category. From a marketing standpoint, we did we cover that we looked at Casper, and everything that they did to be so heavily data and performance driven in the machine that they built around that business. And it was fascinating. And they ran into trouble down the road. But I think, you know, back to the very beginning of kind of where we where we went with this. And when I was saying of best marketing is a great product, but you really need true product market, product innovation and marketing innovation, to drive hypergrowth and fulfil the potential of the business. And just on the Apple point real quick. Yes, 100% truly innovative, you know, completely stood out, particularly back in the day. For people who kind of remember what phones used to look like, before the iPhone came out. It was it was it was groundbreaking. It was completely a new category. At the same time. They're one of the biggest advertisers out there. Every new product launch also comes with millions and millions and millions of dollars spent with advertising agencies and TV commercials and beautiful a billboard campaigns and magazine ads and all this stuff. So it is interesting that the marketing, innovation and spend complemented the product innovation and spend to create the dominance that Apple has right now.

Richard: Yeah, I you know, I think it's it's very interesting to look at Apple's advertising. And, you know, even though Steve Jobs has passed away and gone many years now, that strategy hasn't really changed. You know, when you look at their advertising, when they launch a campaign, it is brand spend, you know, and it's continuously just waking the market up to say something just changed at Apple comm take a peek. And they have such a powerful and magnetic brand. And it is synonymous with so many with innovation, that people come, I would say, you know, when was the last time you really saw a commercial or an advertisement, where they were making a product based appeal, you know, or even comparing themselves to anyone else. They just don't, you know, it's literally they turn the music on and have somebody dancing on the screen. And you know, okay, I've got to go to apple.com Something just happened here.

Eric: And and Sam- sorry to cut in. But Samsung and Google are completely the opposite. It's all product in their advertising product features. They're chasing it in a big way.

Richard: Yeah. Because I don't think I mean, if you just look at Android versus iOS as a category, I think the promise of iOS is just plug in and we'll we'll make it all work. It'll work seamlessly. You don't have to think about it. You don't have to be technical. I think the promise of Android has always been you can granularly customise it, rebuild it. It's open, do whatever you want with it. And so I think customers have different expectations. And you're seeing two different cohorts there. Surprisingly, though, you know, I think that when it comes to Apple as a tech company, still many people don't think of it as a tech company. You know, I mean, I think that they feel as though it is entertainment, it is art, it is culture, it is so many other things which which, by the way, in fairness, now they are they have Apple studios, and they're getting into the media, business and whatnot. But I just think from the very beginning, you know, Steve Jobs had a vision to set that brand in the direction that says we're out On the side of creators, artistic people influencing the culture. And those people don't dwell on their tools, they dwell on what they create with them. And certainly like for the more scientific or computer minded cohort, they like the tools. The tool is the fun customising the tool is the fun. And so I think I'm not really in a position that both both, you know, cohorts are doing very well, they're selling lots of product. But it's just interesting to see how, with something at the end of the day, that's a phone or a tablet, something you could argue that they all have comparable features, they've managed to create two very different tribal populations of consumers simply with how they've chosen to present themselves.

Eric: I'm so curious to get to ask you a question that's off script. So we don't have to go here, if you don't want to talk about it. I know, we haven't even gotten to talk about what you're doing as CEO Tunein yet. But you know, having spent time Chief Product Officer at Audible, Head of Product Management at Amazon, I just be so curious, given your experience, I don't know what it was like a PlayStation or other roles that you've had. But you know, these companies that our, to us kind of an extreme example, Apple, Samsung Apple being so brand, I guess led but product led as well brand oriented, in terms of how they build and how they get people to buy Samsung, much more product. You know, Amazon notoriously, and in the work that I've done with them as a service provider on the advertising side. So product data, you know, of course, there's an element of brand, particularly when we worked on Amazon Prime Video and trying to build that up relative to Netflix, etc. But did you feel it? Like what was the difference that you felt if there was one being in a product and a senior product role at companies that were more product led versus companies? If there have been any that have been more brand LED? How much of a difference did that make? Whether positive or negative?

Ricahrd: Well, I you know, I think it comes down to first principles. And I think that you know, where a company has achieved a certain level of success, they all at some level, whether product lead brand lead, you know, depending on who you talk to, there can be arguments about what the company actually is. But I think the brand is, is puresense, just a distillation of some core principles that have to be true, no matter what the company does, whether they're hiring a new employee or launching a new product, this is who they are, you know, and sometimes that's aspirationally, like, who we hope to be today. And tomorrow and 10 years from now, some of it is, you know, what's gotten us to this point, and it's a distillation of those values. But But I think, those core principles of Aaron from a product perspective, you know, the, the reality is, every company that I've worked at, that's achieved that kind of success, and that scale, it has been the lens by which we look at all product innovation. So, you know, Amazon, you mentioned, you know, where, you know, I had a great experience working at Amazon Studios. And then later in my career, you know, with Audible, the lens for everything in those two endeavours was, we want to be the most customer centric company on Earth. And so if we were going to approach creating original content, what would that mean? And for us at Amazon Studios at the time, it was, how can we use all the data that we have from our customers to create meta entertainment products for them? How could we create an open door where they can co create with us and help tell us what kinds of television shows and movies they would be interested in? And when we created things, how could we put it out to a large community of our Amazon customers to get feedback? In the case of audible, it was very similar, you know, people saw audiobooks, as you know, these 2995 audio products, or even worse, like 10 CDs that they'd order that would get delivered to their house and said, Hey, I like storytelling, but I'm not sure that the economics or you know, the delivery mechanisms for this content really work very well. And I think with Audible, you know, it has become the home of audio storytelling at a level that you know, even the founder, Don Katz, I'm not sure would have appreciated but you know, his value align very well with the values of Amazon, which were, let's put the listener first you know, I think he believed you know, there's, there's a group or a cohort of people that are readers, you know, that enjoy reading novels or, you know, nonfiction books, but everybody loves stories. And if you can build a product that makes storytelling accessible to anyone, whether you're a reader or not, that there's a huge market for that and I think all Apple is proving that out. But all the innovations in both companies started with this this view of who is the customer? And what are our values there? I would say that there are other companies that I've worked at in my career, who maybe haven't had such an illustrious outcome that don't have those values, like a lot of times product starts with, well, what are the economic goals we're trying to achieve? Or what is the p&l Tell us? And so brand and product are not co creation activities. A lot of times brand inherits whatever product or business decisions have been made, and then has to sort of smoothed over the rough edges. But I would say it at Sony and Amazon, hopefully it at Tuneinas well. These two things are very closely married to one another, and they inspire one another.

Eric: Yeah, it is, it is interesting, because, you know, again, going back to kind of what makes really what makes high growth businesses successful. And what are the similarities between a lot of the challengers that do well, and very few of the incumbents, like Amazon, maybe what Disney is doing with Disney plus in their whole reinvention into a new, a new way that their category is growing. But it really does come down to having that clarity and alignment internally of what those first principles are, because at the end of the day, values are just how you make decisions. Yeah, and every company has them. But not every company has them like an Amazon does, where everybody knows what they are. And even at scale, people make decisions on them. And that and that's, that's what's easier to do when you're small. When you're 50. People, even when you're 250, people, you can get that just by sheer, the sheer reality of being able to talk to everybody being able to wrap your arms around the entire organisation, but it's very, very few businesses that have been able to actually keep that discipline around those first principles, particularly ones that are so so critical to growth, like being customer centric in the way that Amazon does. So I think that that is fascinating.

Richard: Well, I do agree with that. I mean, I would also say, you know, Steven Spielberg has a quote about filmmaking, which I think is very appropriate for brands as well. He says that, you know, great movies are stories that begin and keep beginning. And I think great brands are the same way. I don't think that there are three act play, I think that they continue to roll and the story evolves, and it feels new and fresh with every milestone. And when you talk about sort of Challenger brands, you know, just the purpose of this conversation. I think it's been boiled down in sort of this trite answer of, well, what problem are you trying to solve? It's more than that, like the great challenge, or brands are on a missionary pursuit to change a part of the world. Like, it's fundamental. And it's not a problem, like a problem is sort of a small thing. It's a revolution that they're trying to sort of pick up. And I think, the bigger that missionary pursuit, the more precious it is, the more successful those brands are, you know, I, I would say that, like, I think about brands like Uber, you know, and the early days of that, and, again, whatever you might think of Travis Kalanick, it was very clear that he saw everything that was broken about personal mobility in an urban setting. You know, you for those of you that I mean, it's a revolution that started in 2008 2009. So it's not really that long ago. But there's a cohort of people that probably don't remember life before that, you know, you'd be in the city on a Friday trying to catch a cab and good luck, you know, or you get off on an aeroplane, you'd be looking for a taxi, you'd stand in line for 30 minutes. And then basically have somebody cheat you out of affair. I mean, this was such a common view of the way these things worked, that they were tropes in movies and television, you know, watch the metre broken metre like, and I think the entire industry of how you became a taxi driver in a metropolitan area, was rife with, you know, sort of accusations of how do you get tokens. There's patronage for Ed, like, very opaque in terms of understanding it. And I don't think that they've solved all those problems. But I think and he said this, you know, in the interview, which I thought was fascinating, so I was watching, you know, Casino Royale, the James Bond movie, and I saw this picture of a phone with a map on it, following a car, and I thought, Oh, my God, wouldn't that be amazing if you could just hail a cab that way, and you could go ahead and see a car coming and delivered. You could feel like James Bond, you know, getting into it and just leaving and that feeling to me would be amazing. And I don't know whether he set out to say explicitly, these are all the things I'm looking to fix about taxes. Is in fact, I think he probably said, Look, we're a transportation logistics company, I don't even consider myself in the same category with them. But whatever, like God into his brain that he thought this is going to be cool. I want to build a missionary pursuit around this. It inspired, and it's incredible. And as they rolled out Market to Market, he was able to go ahead and enlist incredibly aggressive and talented people that wanted to see this vision become manifest along the way. And you know, now they've expanded into so many different areas with logistics and transportation. But I think that, that desire to not just solve a problem, but radically change the status quo for people create a world that, you know, once your product is in market, and it succeeds, the world doesn't look the same as it did when you started. That's, I think, the air mark or that your marker, say of great challenger brands, and really what it takes. And I think if you are somebody who starts off in a place that says, Well, you know, there's a very specific and sometimes slight difference between what I'm doing and what somebody else is doing. I don't, I don't think startups can can get to escape velocity, splitting hairs, or even being marginally better than what's available in the market. They have to be revolutionary to get the attention, the investment, and sort of the the mindshare that's needed for them to get to escape velocity in their growth. And I think that starts with defining the mission in a way that, you know, feels revolutionary, right from the start.

Eric: So I want to ask you, so now 30 minutes said, we've gotten through the icebreaker question, but I love it. I feel like we could do the four hour podcast, honestly, just on whatever we feel like talking about. But I know we don't have that much time. So talking about Tunein. , I want to ask you a specific question, and then use that as a jumping off point to a broader question. What is the mission forTunein so everything you just said about having a mission, you know, that does kind of grab people and kind of paint a compelling picture of the future. And then within that, obviously, the the category of audio, but I mean, it'd be open to how you define it now, because it's changed so much in the last 10 years, traditional players that are massive, you know, it's been a massive industry for a long time, new players coming in platforms that are coming in democratisation of content creation, how does Tunein fit? And so what is the mission? And then how does tuning fit into the audio market? Space?

Richard: Yeah, yeah. So, you know, I think audio tends to get sort of lumped all together, I think that, you know, where we play is really in the live audio space. And, you know, I'll ask you a question to start, Eric, what is what do you believe the most valuable audio company in the world is in terms of revenue, and profitability today, their audio company in the world

Eric: I would imagine a traditional radio broadcast company.

Richard: So close, close, Sirius XM, is the most valuable audio company in the world. So radio, but not the traditional ones. Yeah. And they operate just in North America. And they had to build, you know, a network of low orbiting satellites and put OEM hardware and cars and everything to go do that. Radio, traditional terrestrial radio is about a $40 billion category globally, so very healthy, about 10 times the size of podcasts, you know, for instance, in terms of revenue that's achieved. And I would argue that from an economic perspective, much more profitable. But I think that, you know, radio, whether it be satellite or terrestrial has kind of lost its lustre. And a big part of this is, you know, it's still kind of locked in its analogue form. You know, radio is very market specific, very geo specific. And, you know, this idea of aggregating it, making it easy to find and bring it into the digital world has been very difficult because of, of the fragmentation of it. And so, you know, our mission is a business, like what we think about 24/7 and our reason for being, you know, is to reinvent radio for a connected world, and to be on not just, you know, an app or a website, but 250 Different connected devices that would support audio to be in every next generation vehicle on the planet. And not to have just your local radio station, but have every radio station from around the world tuned in has over 100,000 of them. And, you know, when I say that, you know, it's really getting to a place where we believe we can be the fulcrum for a very large industry. To jump into digital, and do it in a pretty profound way, you know, only 10% of radio listening right now is digital. And so we see a big opportunity in that. And it's the same sort of opportunity in some sense that Netflix saw with film and television, as it crossed over into streaming. And probably the same sort of opportunity that Spotify saw with streaming music, as it as it realised, like physical ownership of media was gonna was gonna start to die out. But radio as a category is very different from those two things. It's very different from film and television. It's not streaming music, and it's not podcasting, either. And so having real expertise and focus on that category is powerful. And for us, you know, radio, when you when you survey customers, and you ask, Well, why do you listen? What What's it about what's valuable? Actually, the number one responsive, they give his companionship, like I turned it on in the morning, I listened to it in the car, it's in the background at work, it keeps me company throughout the day. And so we know that we're starting in a place where people's connection to what we do and what our broadcasters do, is more emotional than maybe even they realise, which is great dirt to be digging in, you know, when you're trying to build a challenger brand. But that's that's where our focus is as a company. And you know, for us, we certainly have a lot of listeners, and the platform's grown tremendously. We've got about 80 million monthly active listeners on the platform today, globally. But it's still just day one. We're still getting started.

Eric: Still have some of that Amazon language India say that the day well, I'm thinking so going off from there, you said in our prep call, you said something that actually stuck in my head. And I've thought about it a few times since then you said, people don't change for more good. They only change for much better. Yeah. So what does that mean, at Tunein? And I'm sure there's part of it. That is the product. I'd also be curious if that guides or has an impact on any of the marketing that you do as well.

Ricahrd: It does. And I want to, I want you to keep me honest here, because I've said some things, but I want to make sure that I can illustrate that that reliving some of the ideas that I've said here. So. So I'll give you an example. In the early days of radios, foray into digital, walled gardens were all the rage, every radio broadcaster group would build its own app and have its own website. And it would intrigue customers to come and listen on those digital surfaces. And they were parentally disappointed that more people weren't listening digitally. And they started to sort of as he would make the conclusion, well, maybe people don't want to listen digitally, maybe this isn't what our consumers want. And what started to happen during the pandemic, was, people's behaviours changed. And they looked at Digital a lot more closely. And what I think you'll find there is, it wasn't that customers didn't want to listen digitally. The value proposition of saying, All of I've heard stations or all of Odyssey stations or cumulus stations have a single app was better, but not good enough to get people to change their habits. What gets people to change their habits is, oh, I'm going from one app that has a very limited selection to another app that has everything. Like if you look at Netflix, for a long time, the view was they had everything you would want to watch in streaming, if you went to Spotify, or Apple Music or than Amazon music, they have everything theoretically that you would want to listen to Audible, they have every book that you would want to listen to. There hasn't been anyone in radio that's offered that value proposition. Then the second pillar of that is, it should be everywhere that you want to listen. So why do I have to be locked into an Android app or an iOS app, when I drive a Tesla, or I have an apple home pod or an Alexa at home? It should be everywhere that I want to listen, and it should be ubiquitous. That was another big challenge for the broadcasters. And I think, you know, as tooting has scaled, and especially during the pandemic, when the world kind of reset itself a little bit. You know, we've been able to demonstrate that. That is what changes consumers habits, like not incrementally better, like oh, it's convenient, I can listen on my phone, but I can listen to anything I want on any device that I want is where you need to go. And I think it's true for for any other category that you want to disrupt. You know, I think you mentioned Casper before a big fan of their brand and their company as well. I think if they had just said hey, we've thrown up a website and If you don't like the experience of shopping in a store, come and buy one from us. Isn't that better? And people would assume I'm like, I guess it's okay. But they said, No, it's got to be much better than that we need to have a risk free trial, we need to have white glove delivery, we need to talk about the mattress and the product to help you understand why it's different. And there's nobody who I think could mistake if you went to a traditional retail store to buy a mattress, the amount of education satisfaction, ease of the CASPER delivery process, versus the traditional one, it's just much, much better. The iPhone, everybody had a cell phone, Nokia was the king of cell phones, at that particular point, what Steve Jobs put into the customer's hand was something that took a generational leap, in terms of what a phone could be, and what it could do. And certainly, when he created this notion of an app store, and invited the entire software development community to participate, the things that have come out of the iPhone, and just that platform of you know, mobility. I don't think anyone could have imagined, you know, but much better. Certainly not about, you know, how big the keys were, what the industrial design of the box look look like, a significant innovation engine sort of baked into it. So you know, that that's kind of what I think about, you know, when when we talk about much better, and coming back to what we were talking about before, I think the product is the marketing for tenon right now. And so, you know, as we have customers coming to the platform, you know, a lot of our customer acquisition is organic. And it comes from the fact that they're looking for radio stations online, and they find us. And so right off the bat, they're primed, I didn't mark it to them, like, Hey, do you want to try this experience, I intercepted while they were searching for this experience, you know, that's what our marketing does. And when you come into the product, I think that we've spent a lot of time focusing on features, and affordances that help you explore this enormous catalogue of content in ways that, you know, you may not have thought about before, but are utterly delightful when you get into them. So for instance, you know, we've had 100,000 radio stations on a platform for years. And one of the questions that I got as CEO coming in was, how do I find them all, like thinking that there was going to be like a list that you could go through all of them. And of course, we have like search and browse and all the things that you would expect in a digital media app. But this year, we said, You know what, both to help people understand and to make that experience of discovery much more joyful and simple for our customers. What if we integrated the directory with a map, and with a pinch of scroll swipe, you could go around the entire planet, and see every radio station that we have here, it's almost like Google Earth for radio. And we launched on the web first. And then we subsequently rolled it out for iOS and for Android. And it has sent a more powerful brand message about what Tunein is, is a platform that any ad that we could ever take out than any positioning document that we've ever written. And so, again, that's a place where I think the product is the marketing, and anyone who experiences it, and it's, it's interesting, as you boil it down to the data, as well, I would say, if we did a focus group, you know, and someone who's experienced that they'll be able to articulate what Tunein is, is a platform. But then, you know, with my product add on, I say, what happens when they have that experience, they listen twice as long, they're more likely to go ahead and subscribe. They certainly are more likely to be a net promoter for our platform, all the right health metrics that you want to see about a first run experience for a customer come out of that part of the product. But the product is the marketing in that way.

Eric: But at the end of the day, there is no distinction to the customer. It's just we on this side of the fence to talk about product or marketing, but even for us in our consumer lives. The product is the marketing. So I really liked that. And yeah, just hear you talk about it. You know, you asked me to keep you honest, it does seem like you're being honest, because I'm looking down at what I jotted down about your mission of reinventing radio for the connected world. And just that example of the Google Earth for connected radio, I think is a great path for that. We talk a lot about authenticity, in brand strategy in brand development, building a brand that actually pays off what you are as a product, but also as a company. And I think keeping that gap, really having no gap having the product be the marketing and the marketing being product is for sure. The Northstar rich. This has been an amazing conversation. I feel like we are just getting into it. There's so many more chapters that we could write but I I'm going to let you go before I do one last question to tie things off. What is one thing people should do differently? After listening to this episode?

Richard: Why I've been so verbose, I'm going to say two things. One, think about your mission. And don't just think about problems that you're going to solve. Think about how you're going to change the world and change the status quo. And to and maybe most importantly, be able to substantiate that in your product, not just in your marketing. And I think you're off to the races. You're going to win big love it.

Eric: I think I think we should get more product people on here. I'm really I'm really liking this perspective on things. I mean, of course, it's you, it's Richard. But also I just love having a product perspective to complement them.

Richard: Well, you know, the marketing guys never invite the product guys to come on these podcasts are. So that's why it's such a if you listen to the product guys podcast, the way we talk all the time.

Eric: We're gonna reach across the aisle. We're gonna bring product and marketing together for all and for one.

Richard, thank you so much for your time. Thanks, Eric.

Richard: I appreciate it too. It's fun.

Eric: Scratch is a production of rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us check out we are rivals.com If you want to connect with me, email me at Eric at eric@wearerival.com or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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