Fixed That For You (FTFY for short) is an original podcast from Segment about solving challenging problems with data and algorithms. It was an ambitious storytelling project and a completely new medium for us (we had never done a podcast before), but we wanted to tell stories about data that anyone could understand and relate to. The podcast is hosted by Cara Santa Maria (NatGeo, Bill Nye Saves The World, Talk Nerdy podcast, The Skeptics Guide To The Universe) and features fascinating stories and deep dives into the iterative problem-solving process of engineers, software developers and everyday people who are doing incredible things with data.
FTFY is also intended to raise brand awareness for Segment and position Segment’s brand voice within the tech community as knowledgeable, friendly, and matter-of-fact. We aim to be a leader and trusted expert on relevant topics, such as data and privacy, and to bring this to a broader audience with the podcast.
Our goal was two-fold: to increase our overall brand awareness outside of Silicon Valley, and to create compelling content marketing that listeners found informative, educational, and even eye-opening.
Through FTFY, we wanted to tell unique, innovative stories about solving problems using data and algorithms. While our target audience is engineers, developers, and data scientists, we also had to make sure that these stories could be understood by everyone.
We knew finding data-centric stories like this and then telling each story would not be an easy task. As a result, we partnered with Pacific Content, a leading podcast creation agency, to help create the show. Our storytelling improved with the creation of each episode. With new insights learned, we were able to go back to previous episodes to ensure storytelling quality and consistency. Episodes feature unique stories about people using data to: create an artificial pancreas to limit the daily impact of diabetes; predict and write the next best-selling novel, train AI to create original works of art, create a plant-based burger with data hoping to avert an environmental disaster, help a blind man realize his dream of running the NYC marathon, and more. Each episode is a dramatic retelling of the entire process from the initial challenge, to identifying the problem, through the up-and-down trial and error process, and finally arriving at an inventive solution.
The FTFY podcast has resonated with listeners with an engineer-type mindset who genuinely want to fix problems (of all types, funny, strange, serious). It can be technical and sometimes complex but still relevant to a mainstream audience as each episode is told through a digestible narrative around facing challenges, overcoming them, and facing new obstacles and prevailing. The episodes showcase inspiring, positive stories about the ways in which technology and data are used to help people that don’t ignore existing issues with data but shine a light on productive use cases, which was the primary objective.
We also exceeded our goals and in the end, for episodes that were 20 minutes long each, we averaged a listener retention rate of 17 minutes. This means on average that we were holding the listener’s attention, uninterrupted, for 85% of the episode. We also averaged 8,734 downloads per episode with a total of 74,572 episode downloads (including trailer). The podcast was consistently placed in the“Top Podcasts” section of Apple Podcasts. FTFY as a series was also named a 2019 Webby Award Honoree in the “Best Branded Podcast” category, which is only granted to top 20% of all submissions and recently recognized as “Branded Podcast of the Year” as part of Adweek’s 2019 Podcast of the Year Awards.
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