Chief Audio Officer


Rise of the Chief Audio Officer: The Missing Ingredient to Unlock Power of Audio Advertising


Oxford Road, the leading independent audio advertising agency, recently released its white paper on thought leadership, ” Chief Audio Officer: The Champion Every Brand Needs to Win in Audio.”

The report guides how to harness the under-appreciated value of audio’s use as a tool for marketing by focusing on it with extraordinary dedication. It also includes insight from the top marketers who fulfil the position of “Chief Audio Officers” (CAOs) within their respective organizations and have seasoned professionals: Nick Karrat (CMO, Tommy John), Shane Pittson (VP, Growth & Acting CMO, quip), Corey Eng (Senior Growth Lead, Shopify) (CAOs) at Shopify, and Morgan Ainsworth (Growth Marketing Manager, Indeed). Chief Audio Officer also provides information and commentary from Stew Redwine (VP of Creative Services), Giles Martin (EVP Strategy and Research), Spencer Simonson (Media Buyer and Planner), Steven Abraham (President) as well as Dan Granger (CEO/Founder) at Oxford Road.

They make a case that audio can be a transformative marketing opportunity for their company’s channels and how it is essential to have a specific role in maximizing the benefits of this unique channel for marketing. The whitepaper shares the hard-earned expertise on effectively managing and advocating for audio in all its nuanced formats (radio streaming, podcast, radio) while addressing issues and delivering outcomes.

“A Chief Audio Officer works at the inside Center of Excellence. They’re accountable for communicating the audio system’s capabilities to the other marketing team members,” observes Morgan Ainsworth of Indeed.

Why should companies be paying to pay attention? In the beginning, the industry of audio-based advertising is projected to reach $17.5B by 2023. The white paper says, “While only 39% of Americans believe in the statement ‘most people can be trusted,’ 70% of podcast listeners mentioned feeling a sense of companionship or connection with a podcast host.”

According to the newspaper, the degree of trust more than justifies an Executive Director of Audio. “Audio stands in a class with its peers. There’s more work to be completed,” says Corey Eng of Shopify. “You shouldn’t be relying on the vanity metrics of audio as they’re not an accurate performance indicator. It is necessary to take things further.”

Although the phrase “Chief Audio Officer” may seem like a novel concept, this report illustrates several top marketing executives’ effective use of audio strategies, no matter their title, to take their brands to new levels. From podcasts and radio as well as streaming media, the potential for amplification of the audio experience is clearly shown. The power of developing relationships with hosts in direct contact with their listeners is unparalleled in marketing.

“Genuine endorsements are distinctive. It’s the most effective channel for consumers and the one that is most defensive to the company’s brand,” explained Nick Karrat, Tommy John’s CMO. “That’s why the audio channel is unique, and live endorsements within audio are the crown jewel.”

The white paper claims that the rise and success of Chief Audio Officers are the next steps towards giving audio marketing the vigour it requires to drive transformational growth for brands and the entire industry.

“For many brands, audio is an afterthought or a box to be checked in media planning,” says Granger. “But for those willing to recognize the difficulties and dive into it, it could become their weapon of choice to acquire new customers in a large size. The new study we’ve published explores this idea in depth and calls for a specific role to ensure growth in this channel. This isn’t about changing the name of an existing position, but rather understanding that audio requires a spokesperson to help the brand navigate and take advantage of its unique opportunities.”

Stew Redwine (VP of Creative, Oxford Road) insists that “when your favourite audio host adds a personal connection to the product or service being advertised, they unleash the maximum power of audio.”

In today’s world of impersonal digital marketing, What makes audio different from other forms of advertising is the connections built between hosts and the curious, enthusiastic people, allowing the channel to reach its potential to its fullest. Nick Karrat says it best: “Whether it’s on podcast, terrestrial, or satellite, you’re dealing with relationships and people.” To gain the most out of those connections between the host and the audience, it is necessary to have an Audio Chief to connect all of it.


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