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Oxford Road’s Dan Granger Makes Case For Brands Having A ‘Chief Audio Officer.’

Dan Granger, the CEO of the audio advertising agency Oxford Road, says the idea of a chief audio officer may seem “absurd” to a lot of marketing departments considering for many, audio is “an afterthought.” But in a new white paper, Granger suggests that audio is a “secret weapon” for some brands and the appointment of a chief audio officer inside a company could rally internal stakeholders and overcome objections to investing in the media channel.

“Audio is at a crossroads,” writes Granger in the report. “New technologies—like AI, synthetic voices, dynamic ad insertion (DAI), and programmatic buying—make audio more dynamic, digital, and targetable. However, we must not sacrifice the bespoke and profoundly personal nature of the channel that gave DAI its power and influence. Chief Audio Officers must take ownership and preserve what makes audio special, using technology as an accelerant rather than a replacement.”

Oxford Road stops short of suggesting its clients go so far as to name a chief audio officer. Instead, it recommends they put a brand’s audio advertising under a single person to get the most out of the medium.

The report – titled "Chief Audio Officer: The Champion Every Brand Needs to Win in Audio” – takes a roundtable format and is largely made up of brand executives at companies including Tommy John, Quip, Shopify, and Indeed, as well as several Oxford Road staffers, discussing best practices and their experiences with using audio advertising.

Morgan Ainsworth, Chief Growth Officer at Indeed, sees a chief audio officer as functioning like an internal center of excellence. “They're responsible for communicating how audio works to the rest of the marketing organization,” she says. “They also have to translate audio’s distinct definitions and metrics. For example, the difference between a baked-in audio ad versus a DAI ad or defining pixel-based tracking for streaming audio.”

The paper also touches on the ongoing concern of measurement, and the need to close the gap between podcasting and other digital media.

“With podcasts and with audio more generally, you’re basing your metrics more on projected impressions or reach. There’s less of a surety in exactly what you purchased, and so you need to have more confidence in the results,” says Quip VP of Growth Shane Pittson. “With audio, there’s less of a clear bellwether for performance. Post-purchase survey results are key. You need to get a strong representative sample from customers to understand how they heard about you because not everyone's going to go to a vanity URL.”

Nick Karrat, CMO at Tommy John, says his background as a computer engineer comes in handy as they use various datapoints to measure which touch points impact brand response. “We take those different models, then we triangulate. We get a directional sense of how TV versus audio, versus paid social, versus paid search, versus display, versus catalog, versus direct mail are all working,” said Karrat. “We prioritize the second purchase, lifetime value, and the Net Promoter Score. All those longer-term metrics are more valuable when discussing endorsement channels—audio endorsement channels in particular.”

The paper also features marketing executives’ tips for audio newcomers and where they think audio will fit into the media diet in the future.

Download a copy of the white paper HERE.

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