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Insights for Marketers Making Podcasts and Video Shows

Marketing Showrunners covers the movement of marketers making shows to build brand affinity.

By: Molly Donovan on December 19th, 2019

Show Spotlight: “Snacks” by Robinhood

I won’t lie: I first clicked with interest on the Snacks podcast link in our master list of branded podcasts and shows because I was hungry.

My chip- and trail mix-fueled dreams were quickly dashed. Snacks is a podcast from financial services company Robinhood that presents “digestible” (i.e., snackable) financial news in under 20 minutes every weekday. A little different than my initial expectation, sure — but, as I soon learned, not at all disappointing.

Hosted by finish-each-other’s-sentences former college roommates Jack Kramer and Nick Martell, Snacks is a podcasting success story. In 2012, the hosts founded MarketSnacks, a daily newsletter focused on making business news digestible, interesting and even — dare we say it? — fun. They added a daily podcast to that daily newsletter in 2018, and Robinhood acquired MarketSnacks and launched Snacks with the same concept, frameworks, and hosts earlier this year.

Snacks is exceptionally well-received, with an average of 4.8 stars on nearly 4,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts. But why? What makes this show — which doesn’t break any news, feature a celebrity host, or interview any tantalizing guests — good

We’re breaking it down in this Show Spotlight.

What it is

Snacks is a quick (i.e., sub-20 minute) podcast that unpacks the day’s top three business stories. Its two hosts, Jack Kramer and Nick Martell, adopt a highly polished conversational format. It’s a testament to their rapport that I actually can’t tell how scripted the show is. The hosts so naturally play off one another and insert so many jokes and asides that the show feels authentic, even when it sounds scripted.

Jack and Nick met during their freshman year at Middlebury College, and they started creating the content that would form the launchpad for Snacks when they were both working in finance in NYC in 2012. They were frustrated by business news that was too erudite, too boring, too long — too inaccessible for people like them: people who wanted business news that felt like it was tailor-made for their fast-paced generation.

The show is produced but not overly so, complete with a proprietary legal disclaimer rap (seriously) and upbeat music that signals segues. It’s released every day the market is open, which means you can already listen to a whopping 180 episodes.

Who it’s for

Snacks has a distinct millennial voice and bent, but it’s certainly not just for millennials. The show is for anyone short on time and high on interest in financial news — and it’s especially well-loved by people with a millennial sensibility for fast dialogue, dry humor, and pop culture references. The show does something few businesses do well: it makes historically dry topics feel interesting and engaging without overcorrecting and heading into dangerously condescending territory.

Fans of the New York Times’ The Daily will love this, as will readers of TheSkimm and Morning Brew.

Why it works: 4 takeaways

1. Chemistry

Several factors contribute to Snacks‘ success, but none more so than this one: the inimitable chemistry between the hosts. Whether or not you like the tone and pace of the show (and it’s definitely not for everyone), you’ll appreciate the authenticity of Jack and Nick. In every episode, they’re dissecting topics they actually care about — and have cared about for the better part of a decade. They’re real-life friends, and that relationship elevates the conversation for listeners. They implicitly understand one another, and that makes their jokes funnier, their pep more endearing, and their flow smoother. If it takes 10,000 hours to master something, Jack and Nick are well on their way to mastering the art of pithy and insightful conversations with one another about business news.

2. Community

It’s a good thing Jack and Nick have such a good thing going, because practically all of the show’s content rests on their shoulders. Despite this, they do something small but clever throughout each episode, which makes the listener feel like they are part of a greater community: They address the listener by name. 

I don’t mean by real name. They don’t say “And listen up, Molly, you’re gonna like this.” But they do constantly invoke the unseen “Snackers” to whom they speak. “Oh, Snackers, we’ve got to talk about the product cycles of technology,” they say, or “Snackers! Third final story check.” This invites the listener into the conversation, calls upon them to pay attention when they might be zoning out, and creates the feeling of scale — of multiple snackers listening in tandem.

3. Consistency

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again (and probably again, and again, and again). Consistency is an important element of good marketing. Customers want to know what they’re getting from the brands with which they engage. That means they seek consistency of experience, of voice, of feeling, etc. Snacks gets that — and reflects consistency at multiple touchpoints throughout the show.

For example: the hosts begin every episode the same way: by introducing themselves, announcing the date, and declaring that this given episode of Snacks is the best one yet. It’s a short, cheeky gag, but it situates the listener in a place of familiarity. It’s consistent.

The show also maintains a consistent vibe and purpose. For example: the show’s legal disclaimer is delivered in the form of a (pretty funny) rap. That totally gels with the show’s mandate: to share digestible business content that’s both interesting and fun.

Just as the hosts follow a formula to open the show, they apply the same structure to the close of every episode as well. They wrap with a summary of the three main stories and their key takeaways, plus a final “snack fact of the day.”

The show is exactly what it says it will be: daily episodes of casual-feeling but still insightful business news breakdowns, which never exceed 20 minutes. This consistency can make snacking an easy daily habit for listeners.

4. They get listeners to the end 

What’s the golden rule of podcasting? Say it with me: get listeners to the end. Snacks has a clever segment that likely helps do just that. The hosts end each episode with a “Snack Fact of the Day,” submitted by a different Snacker each day.

Snack Facts are a short, fun signal that the episode is nearing its end — and a reason for audiences to continue listening up until the very end.

Listen to the show below

Seeking more inspiration for your show?

Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Head over to the world’s biggest list of branded podcasts and video shows, which we update regularly. While you’re there, bookmark it. You’ll want to keep coming back for more inspiration.

 

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On the last Friday of each month, we share 1 big new idea to help marketing execs to challenge the status quo, and a roundup of the best stuff we created or found for making great shows.

A somewhat accidental marketer, I’m first and foremost a writer. I’ve spent a decade working with global brands to craft on-target content and streamline complex ideas into clear (and even…exciting?!) language. Now, I get to spend every day immersed in content and strategy here, as Managing Editor of Marketing Showrunners, at my company, Molly Donovan Content & Communications. I’m thrilled to be a part of this community of eager next-generation marketers and marketing showrunners.

Reach out! molly@mshowrunners.com

Comments

  1. Claudio

    Great review we love jack and nick. I obtained an MBA about 30 years ago and I work in the engineering field. Their show covers three entertaining case studies that feeds my financial interests

    Reply

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