Blazing the Marketing Trail with Terminus' Tim Kopp

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This is a podcast episode titled, Blazing the Marketing Trail with Terminus' Tim Kopp. The summary for this episode is: <p>On this episode of Casting a Vision, Lindsay discusses the world of Marketing with expert Tim Kopp. Tim is now the CEO at Terminus, with experience as a CMO at ExactTarget and a venture capitalist at Hyde Park Venture Partners. Today, Tim shares his knowledge in marketing, highlighting the importance of who you work for and with; and why building relationships with CFOs can be beneficial. He also unlocks the secret weapon for CMOs. Hint: empathy is essential! He also lets us in on what he calls the blend of humble confidence, advice to newer marketing leaders. Tune in now!</p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><ul><li>Blazing the marketing trail in B2C and B2B 3:17 - 06:05</li><li>Where's the pipeline? 06:40 - 07:21</li><li>The secret weapon for CMOs 07:33 - 08:22</li><li>The importance of who you work for, and with 13:18 - 15:57</li><li>The VPs of marketing and CMOs are well equipped to be future CEOs 17:27 - 20:45</li><li>Having empathy for your buyers 24:42 - 26:23</li><li>The blend of humble confidence - Advice from Tim 34:30 - 36:53</li></ul><p><br></p><p>Related Resources:</p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Tim Kopp's LinkedIn</a></p>
Blazing the marketing trail in B2C and B2B
02:47 MIN
Where's the pipeline?
00:41 MIN
The secret weapon for CMOs
00:49 MIN
The importance of who you work for, and with
02:38 MIN
The VPs of marketing and CMOs are well equipped to be future CEOs
03:18 MIN
Having empathy for your buyers
01:40 MIN
The blend of humble confidence - Advice from Tim
02:23 MIN

Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm not sure the first time that I heard the title CMO but I do know the first time I was inspired by it. It was when I was sent a blog post about the many different types of CMOs and how a marketing leader could be most successful by harnessing their superpowers and hiring incredible people around them to reach maximum potential as a team and as a brand. Come to find out that's a lesson that's absolutely not only true for CMOs but for CEOs and other marketing leaders and other leaders as well. Welcome to Casting a Vision. I'm your host Lindsay Tjepkema. I'm a B2B marketer turned first time CEO and founder at a marketing technology SaaS startup called Casted. If I've learned anything in this new role, it's that it's unique. There really is nothing like it. It's all about getting incredibly, I mean incredibly comfortable being uncomfortable and staying confident in the midst of uncertainty. And the best way that I've found to do that is learning from others who have done it all before. Back to that blog post that really inspired me as a marketing leader and still encourages me today as a CEO. That post was written by Tim Kopp. He was CMO of ExactTarget and as it grew from startup, to SaaS unicorn and went public and got acquired by Salesforce for well over$ 2 billion, Tim was there and he went on to become a venture capitalist where he still invests and advises today at Hyde Park Venture Partners. But most recently he stepped into the role of CEO of Terminus. And as you'll hear in our conversation, Tim has been someone that I have took to for years. I've looked to him for wisdom as a marketer and now today as a founder and CEO. And although I have never worked for him, he inspires me in our conversations, always leave me feeling encouraged and motivated and ready to go bigger. Watch our chat today and I think that you will leave feeling the same way. Tim, thank you for joining me on the show. I'm really appreciative. I'm very glad you're here and I'm excited to talk with you.

Tim Kopp: Oh my gosh. Happy to do it.

Lindsay Tjepkema: All right, so let's start with going back in time. You're a CEO now, you're a VC now but once upon a time you were a marketing leader and really you, at least in my mind, you really kind of defined the role of a CMO and you were the one that I looked up to as I was a marketing leader, seeking guidance on how not only to lead my team but how to really lead my company's C- suite and how to think about brand. I would love to hear your thoughts, let's talk about how you blazed that trail and how you not only got the companies that you worked for but really at least in my mind, the rest of the world to really think about marketing and brands differently. Let's go back in time to that moment. What was that like for you?

Tim Kopp: I think what you're really saying is I'm old. No, look, I was really fortunate. I think a lot of people who grew up in B2B have this stigma for what B2B is supposed to be and you end up in this, I don't know, whatever set of weird habits we have doing webinars and this and that. I was fortunate to grow up in B2C. And so I spent my first seven years doing digital marketing at P& G, what a great place to go and learn branding and marketing. And so I was just super lucky in that regard and then at Coca- Cola. Same thing where I ran their global digital marketing. Just had great training on kind of the fundamentals of marketing but it wasn't marketing where the only thing people wanted to know is, where's the pipeline. It was the marketing and marketing drives those companies. Coke is sugar water and marketing. That's kind of what it is. And so after, the problem was I think I was probably too much of a risk taker for those cultures. I just like to push the envelope. And so it was at that time I started using more and more B2B marketing software and realized, gosh, there's a lot that could be done here. And it was actually, I guess, a lot of the credit to Salesforce, it was the first back when Dreamforce was like a little baby event. And I went to that and I was like, wow. It was kind of like when they were doing the no software and way back in the day. And so starting to think about switching into B2B. And so when I switched in, being a CMO in B2B was not normal. I don't know how many of us there was, but maybe a dozen.

Lindsay Tjepkema: I remember you telling a story that you told a friend of yours or something that they thought that they were chief medical officer.

Tim Kopp: Chief medical officer.

Lindsay Tjepkema: I thought you were in marketing.

Tim Kopp: Yeah, exactly. It was like, CMO was not a thing. It was just not a thing. A few B2C companies had it but not many in B2B. Most people were pretty sure they were making up a title and I was making up a job. And they were trying, maybe some of that was true. Started off at a company called Web Trends, which did web analytics, was kind of early in that category, competing against a company called Omniture. And then shortly into that journey, and I had been traveling a lot for these jobs and then got to know a couple of founders at ExactTarget. And they shared with me kind of the story. I was like, I didn't know they did software in the Midwest. This is pretty cool. And so got to meet Scott and the founding team pretty early on. And so got to join the CMOs. We can talk more about it as we go but I think it's just, I never had the constraints of what marketing was supposed to be, I guess. It was always just better understanding consumer behavior, thinking a lot about strategy and then just going for it.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Well and also, when you faced that, one of the first CMOs in B2B and I'm sure you're making up your own title, it sounds like you encountered some doubts and pushed back some naysayers, which comes with the territory in marketing. But how did that impact your vision for the role and what you saw kind of as the future of marketing at that point? Obviously it didn't stop you, going back in time and what you pushed forward, so was that just confidence? Was it ignorance is bliss? What was that?

Tim Kopp: Some of both probably. Some of both. And look, you come in and then you want things to be a certain way but then I think any CMO who is not attacking their numbers is doing it the wrong way. And so I got in, I had all these wonderful ideas and sales is like, yeah, great, but where's the pipeline? But seriously, where's the pipeline? What are we going to do? And then the other thing I realized is everybody thinks what's so unique about marketing is everybody thinks they're a marketer and they feel so free to comment on everything you do, good or bad. What about the website? What about this piece of copy? Why do we do this? Even the t- shirts. Everybody comments. Can you imagine somebody going into the CFO and it just doesn't work that way.

Lindsay Tjepkema: For Excel, but you're using Google Sheets, are you sure that's the right choice? Doesn't happen, it's not a thing.

Tim Kopp: I don't know what it is with my wiring. I viewed that as the coolest thing though because marketing could be everything. It really could and should be everything. And so I basically what I realized to survive in this world, you just have to be a ruthless prioritizer. You just have to be very clear on you can't do it all. There's just no way to attack it all. And so I'll talk a little bit about Scott Dorsey was my first boss as we went through this but we just stayed in touch all the time. It was just a constant game of trade offs. And I think if I learned one secret weapon through this whole thing, it was befriend your friends in finance. Get to know your finance team and CFO very well so they believe in the numbers. And so get in the trenches, help them understand the numbers because marketing is the only place. A CEO now, I realize that you can put in money but then you can kind of throttle it up and down. If you put money into R and D or engineers, you can't just hire and fire people every three months. But marketing, you can move it. Give me some new money, let me try some things. And so it was just constant experimentation, constant tinkering. But then what I realized, it was all about team. The magic of marketing, you can't just outsource all of it to an agency. Agencies can be great partners but you have to feel the soul of marketing. And so it got into this whole idea of what I call marketing from the inside out and realize the biggest job that I had was getting all of our employees, getting everybody who was close to our journey to be part of that journey. To jump in that machine and kind of go along with us. And so that's just kind of how I approached it. It was the belief in team people and kind of creating this movement.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I was going to say too, how did you literally and figuratively both, get marketing a seat at the table? There's so much pushback. There's my life I've been called a cost center. I've been literally cornered by a sales rep and told," I make money and you just go spend it." And that doesn't really change even as you rise as a marketing leader to literally have a seat at that table and be a part of the C- suite, was it those relationships? Was it working on those relationships, being close with the CEO, being close with finance? If not that, then what was it?

Tim Kopp: Well, and you got to see the tail end of the journey where it was all bought in. In the beginning it wasn't that way. I bet the team was six people, marketing really didn't have a ton of seat at the table and you have to earn it. Everybody's got to earn it wherever you go. How do you earn trust? You consistently do what you say you're going to do. And not over a period of a week, not a month, it's usually a year or more. These are the goals. This is what I'm going to do. And it's consistently following through on everything you say you're going to do. It sounds kind of hokey, but it was really a lot of trust. And I think where most marketers get themselves in trouble is their ambition or desire to want to please is greater than what they can actually deliver. And so it was, so you want to sign up for all these things and you end up doing 20 things with 5% of your time and you don't have a breakthrough. There's no big thing. It was coming in and then sequencing and then having a lot of discussion with our executive team, where do you want me to focus first? Really? Okay. We're going to focus on the numbers and I think if you can figure out how to come in, that's the thing that is most measurable and not debatable. And it helped that I was a finance major too. I just came in and had a huge focus on the numbers right out of the bat. And it was like, for every dollar you give me, we're going to give$ 3 back. If I got to go out and close the deal with myself, I'll do it. But it was whatever it took kind of in the beginning. And then I think it was people talked about, I didn't realize branding and demand gen were supposed to be run separate at first. To me, they're kind of the same thing. And the magic happens when it's the in between. Everything to me is with a demand gen mindset but in a way that could build the brand the most as you did it. And so that's why we did a big user conference that we called Connections. It's why we did a lot with partners. There were things that built the brand but they also had financial impact. It was using the word and a lot instead of or. Doing this and that and trying to knock out multiple birds with one stone.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. I want to go back in time again because thinking startup life, it's a whole vibe. It's a very different thing. But you were seeing at ExactTarget when it, and I think I read in some of your notes somewhere growing from 40ish million to 400 million. Obviously there was an IPO, there was two point something billion dollar acquisition by Salesforce. Like you said, we all saw the end of that. Going way back in time, going to when you had the opportunity to take the role or not, that was a moment for you. You didn't know that it was going to end the way that it did. You didn't know or keep going. That ship is still sailing. When you think back to that interview or that conversation, when that opportunity presented itself, what excited you? And let's talk about that first but then I also want to know kind of what scared you and what was scary to you about stepping into that role and could you do it and it's all good. Let's talk about what was exciting first.

Tim Kopp: Well, I think who you work for and who you work with is more important than anything else. I basically look at who's going to be my boss? Who do I get to work with every day? And can they make me better? Do they believe in me? And can they make me better? It was fundamentally, I was kind of out to find the best CEO and leader that I could work for, that I could work with and learn a lot. And a lot of people think it's best, marketers, I don't want my CEO to know a lot about marketing. But I actually think it's really good. If you have to convince your CEO the value of marketing, that's way harder than having a CEO that's engaged and wants to kind of push and shove and understand a lot of the dynamics of it and make you better. It was really, it was leadership, people, and then it was just chance. I love what you're doing. I don't know if I'd be any good at it. I don't know if I could do something at that early of a stage but you kind of find out what you're good at, what you're not good at. And then I found when it got as big as when we got bought by Salesforce, I didn't want to be in a 50, 100,000 person org. My sweet spot is finding companies around$ 25 million and then growing them quickly. That's what I love to do. I think a lot of times you just have to be really honest with yourself. This is what I'm good at. This is what I'm not good at. And so, as odd as it sounds, I think if there's a second trick in the whole thing, it's self awareness and not kidding yourself about it. And then if you're very clear on who you are, I just, I always had an ability to attract a team that was better than me. That's really what it was. And so the opportunity was big. If you can find a big market and then you can get the best team, you'll win. And then it kind of comes down to some luck and some sequencing and a number of other things. What was I worried about? It was like, I didn't live in Indianapolis and it was like, okay, you guys want me to move? Okay, if this doesn't work, really, what am I going to do? There's nothing else to go do. And I had two young kids at the time and I was the only income. It was a big risk at the time. Now it's like, oh yeah, SaaS. When we started, it was explaining to people the value of SaaS and what do you mean? And how does it work? And so it was a big leap of faith. We were primarily selling email to small businesses, a 150 people or so in Indianapolis. It was a pretty big, I think people thought I'd maybe lost my mind but it really does come down to leadership and being in a great market.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. If you're not doing something that's at least a little crazy, is it even a startup?

Tim Kopp: Life's too short not to.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Exactly. Exactly. We've we've talked before and obviously you were one of my first guests on the podcast that kind of started this whole thing back at Emarsys. We've talked about marketing many, many times before but one of the reasons I'm most excited to talk this time around is because as we've covered you're, in my mind, it's marketing legend and many people look up to you as this legendary CMO, truly. And now though, obviously you're in the CEO seat and your CEO at Terminus and as someone else who's made this leap from marketing leader to CEO on a much different level than you have, I want to talk about what that transition has been like for you. And there's been a few years between when you were CMO and now CEO and you've done some pretty cool work as a VC in between there. And I'm sure that's influenced some of this.

Tim Kopp: It helped.

Lindsay Tjepkema: And how you're taking this approach. But let's talk about what that's been like because it's been cool. And it's been for me, I think there's a lot of advantages of stepping into this role as a marketer, especially when you're living in this world of marketing technology. But I'm interested in what it's been like for you. What has surprised you in a good way? How has your marketing background served you? What's been your experience so far?

Tim Kopp: Look, maybe I'm a little bias but I speak from experience. I think the VPs of marketing and the CMOs of today are best equipped to be the CEOs of tomorrow. Doesn't mean all of them want to be. You just have to understand what you want to go do. But why? Because you get to see most of it. Your job in marketing is being a dot connector. That's so different than any other function. You get to understand the market, pricing, positioning. You almost have an excuse to do it. You can go out and go do a sales deal, be in a sales call, then go talk to a partner. You have more latitude than you probably do in any of the functions. Connecting dots. And that's really what a CEO has to do. If you can build a team, if you can connect the dots, you can pull it all together. And so I think those parts served me very well. It was just understanding markets, customers, what moved the needle. And then we took a pretty broad view of marketing at ExactTarget. We did everything from helping make a company go public, to culture, to all the things in between. That's the way it should work in my view. Marketing should be the heart and soul of the company that pulls it all together. And that's pretty unique. I don't think any other functions really get to do that. You really are equipped to go be a CEO. What is the different? You don't ever know everything and every function but you can get to the point marketing where you know most of it. And then CEO, it actually gets to be pretty humbling because it's hard. How can you be good at product and engineering and accounting and all the different functions? It really becomes more about knowing what questions to ask than it is knowing the answers is a big part of it. Continuing to build the team is a big part of it. But the weight and responsibility of just keeping as you feel now, keeping money in the bank, keeping the company alive, making sure that you can meet payroll for your people. And so I think the primary job of CEO as I see it is to cast vision, check, that's kind of the same as marketing, I think. You should be casting vision in both. It's really building a great team, which is also kind of the job that you have in marketing. The other one that's a little bit different that I think all the people on the podcast or all the people who are your guests I hope go do is go get some finance experience. I'm serious. You have to understand a P and L. You have to understand how the finances are. You have to understand for every dollar you put in, you have to make really hard choices because you're getting all these things rolled up to you and you can't do it all. And so understanding they don't teach you in school, they don't teach you anywhere. How do you manage a board? How do you go and do fundraising? How do you figure out how to this thing called a cap table where all. They don't teach you any of this stuff. And so, as soon as you get the opportunity, whether you have to be an advisor somewhere, asked to read the board decks, whatever you have to do, get your nose bloody on the financial side is my biggest piece of advice. And understand fundraising, understand markets, understand how to manage a board because ultimately that's who you end up working for is your board and making sure that they have the trust and confidence in you. You got to know your stuff, you got to know the numbers.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It's so true. A 100%. I think that's been, if I had to group it all into one place, people say," What's the biggest difference? And to me, it's, it's literally spending almost a 100% of my time outside of my comfort zone and learning all the time. But if I had to group what those learnings are, I think the vast majority of it has been finance related or board related or fundraising related. And that becomes so much of your life. And there's a huge crash course in it. But I think also where marketing comes back to support that learning is fundraising, is presenting, is casting a vision. And working with the board, working with them like they're an audience, they're your primary audience and investors too. And how do I approach them with information in a way that they need? Who is this for? Who am I serving? What do they want to know? Look at them as an audience and serve them as such and I know that's something I'm working on.

Tim Kopp: Yeah, so true. I think the biggest misconception is you think as CEO, you're kind of the boss and you always get to have everything your way. Less so than actually when you run marketing because in fundraising, you are going to get told, no, unless you're just some white hot exception to the rule and it doesn't. You're going to get told no more than 90% of the time. The best software companies, it's just no, no, no. It may have nothing to do with you. It may have nothing to do with the company. Most of it is not personal. It's just that's where the time in venture really helped me. It was understanding, no, they're trying to assemble a portfolio and they're looking at different asset allocation, the different segments and verticals. They're looking for different niches and you get told no being CEO way more than I thought you would.

Lindsay Tjepkema: All the time.

Tim Kopp: All the time.

Lindsay Tjepkema: By your team, by your investors, by the market. By the world.

Tim Kopp: It feels like almost an impossible job in that way because it was just this constant. You have more control of your own destiny in marketing though you don't think you do than you do in CEO.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true.

Tim Kopp: Yeah. It's really interesting. And you just, you have to also be able to learn to switch gears very quickly to go from a fundraising meeting where you were told no, to five minutes later now you're in front of one of the biggest prospects you're going to talk to.

Lindsay Tjepkema: But then you have to rally the team.

Tim Kopp: Then you're trying to recruit somebody right after somebody that you loved dearly resigned. You have to be able to switch gears and sort of compartmentalize better. I think it really helps build more of your EQ. And then it kind of gives you some context like, oh, that's why I wasn't allowed to do X, Y or Z. It is the ultimate form of dot connecting, I think.

Lindsay Tjepkema: It is. And that's also something that you don't realize until you're in it. I don't think anybody could have told me that. I think people who are listening now who are in this seat or have been in this position are they're nodding their heads right along with us. But those who are thinking about it or trying to relate, they're like, hmm. I wonder. Because nobody can tell you unless I walked you through my day and I'm sure yours is the same. It's like, okay, well I started meeting with this and then you add personal life around it. Especially now, and what we've all been through and how our personal life is so intertwined with work now, it's like, well, first I did this and then I did this completely other thing. And then I had to go change my clothes because I had to go present this other thing. And then I had to come back and change my clothes again. It's just literally changing. It's being a shapeshifter. But also, still being true to who you are and being true to the brand so that you have that human connection. it's true. All that said, how do you think your team, which we have the pleasure of working with and we love them and they love you. They love working for a marketer, CMO turned CEO. And so how do you think your team benefits or maybe not.

Tim Kopp: Sometimes not.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Sometimes not, but what do you think that your team's experience is because of your background?

Tim Kopp: Well, I think in our case it helps where I'm not selling government tax software, we're selling software to other marketers. And so being the ultimate persona that bought and sold a lot, I think it's kind of just the understanding, the empathy for our buyer is probably a lot of it. Understanding the secret weapon that kind of marketing can be when it's all working but then maybe the problem is sometimes the world changed. There's a lot of things you might think you know. And then just because it was that way, particularly when you put COVID and the backdrop of all the things that have happened in the world over the last 18 months, it's this sometimes your mind can trick you into thinking you know more than you actually do. It's actually trying to continue to bring that beginner's mindset think is one of the hardest things. But I would say just having a sneaky gut sense about the market, how to put together the pieces, what's going to work, what isn't going to work. And just kind of some of the instincts from having been the buyer in that. What they probably don't like is the same thing. Sometimes, maybe I know too much and where some things are hidden and what about this? And it's the constant poking. And so finding the thing I'm still working on is what's the right level of detail? Because I love getting into the detail of a competitive session or a deal or working with a customer but then also rising back up. And so it's just kind of that combination of breadth and depth. And so on my most stressful days, I probably have the tendency to wander straight back into the detail because I just, I love it.

Lindsay Tjepkema: And one thing that I found, there's a fine line between staying involved and staying engaged and being available and getting into the details with your team and accidentally parachuting in and being wait, what's happening? Somebody tell me what's going on?

Tim Kopp: Right, it's like you weren't really invited type of thing.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, it's like, I think we're good.

Tim Kopp: Yeah, right.

Lindsay Tjepkema: So why are you changing everything?

Tim Kopp: Yeah. I try to do the best I can with, I think I do have a ton of empathy still for what the job looks like because I've lived it and I know how hard it can be. I think if there's one thing that the team would appreciate, it's the empathy for what it looks like. Every scale, every stage is hard. It's different, but man, high growth in kind of the overall environment that we're in right now or low growth, any of it. It's hard running a technology company in a super fluid environment is double crazy.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Wait. You're having a hard time? This has been super easy for us. This has been so easy.

Tim Kopp: This competition has been the easiest part of my day.

Lindsay Tjepkema: This part's great. You mentioned one word, you said instinct and that's one thing that I am told a lot and I'm reminded to do a lot, which is look, you know more than you think you know, this company. And I was told the same thing when I had my first child, it was like, regardless of what information you get, regardless of what advice you get, take it, consume it, decide what you're going to say. Thank you, not for me. And remember that you are the one who knows that business literally better than anybody else. And so but that said, there is a lot to be said about going to trusted advisors, reading the books, listening to the podcasts. Talk to me about gut versus science and how much of what you do now is instinct because instinct is data. It's a lifetime of data all put together and your brain is the computer. What's that like for you? How much do you think you touched?

Tim Kopp: I know. I can't tell which one. What I can tell you is you continue to more finely tune your gut over time. Just trial and error, make a mistake, make a mistake. And it's just, I would say that in the end, you don't have time to wait on data is the problem. The world is moving too fast. Whether it's making a hire, that's a big one. How can you possibly get enough? You can do 22 reference calls but it's really going to come down to your gut. And so I think gut is more important than ever. In the times that things have failed or not gone the way I've wanted, I look back and say," Dang, I didn't listen to my gut. I knew this was the way it was going to go." And whether it was hiring somebody, whether it was not letting somebody go in time, whether it was idea for a marketing campaign, whatever it is, your gut, the more you finally tune it, it really does work. But I think the key to that is still trying to have some self awareness about what you're good at and what you're not good at. There's some areas I need a lot of advice. How do we want to raise debt? And what should our debt facility and debt? I'll listen to all kinds of advice on that because I don't know. It's pattern recognition, Lindsay, is what it really comes to. The more things that you can expose yourself to, the more quickly, the better. And so I have just become a huge believer in both context and curiosity. And the more that you understand how your boss is doing their job and what's on their mind, I think it can really serve you well. And I have now come to appreciate the value of just what goes into a board meeting, but then realizing your board members, with all due respect, any of them are listening, they don't know any better than you. They really don't. They just have their own advice and perspective. You just have to become a master filterer. You have to just listen to a lot of different opinions. Yes, I love the podcasts. Yes, I love the books. Nothing beats just being in a street fight and learning. Just getting into it and then being around other people that you enjoy being with. But I think it is, I think gut is 80% of it.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. I would agree. And communication, it's really this role what I'm finding is it's gut and communication. And especially being when you're in the CEO seat, people don't know what you don't tell them. You're talking about your board, literally they won't know unless you tell them.

Tim Kopp: Oh my gosh.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Or if they find out, which is not a great way for anybody to find out anything. But sure there's the numbers but they don't know the win or the story or why you hired this person or what your challenges are or what you're excited about or why you're dealing with this thing literally, unless you say it.

Tim Kopp: Tell us. Question for you back. Do you get so tired of repeating yourself? Because it's like, you have to, it's like, oh, I've said this before. And it's like, no, you can't say it enough. You said the one group in this one standup two weeks ago.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Especially when you're hiring, we're growing like crazy and it's so funny because somebody wanted me to actually put a meeting on my calendar and put Casted story. And I was like, okay. We talked and she was like,"Yeah, will you tell me how the company got started? Why did you do it?" I was like really. And literally it's like, I've said this probably a 1,000, 10, 000 times and that person had literally never heard it.

Tim Kopp: Isn't that amazing?

Lindsay Tjepkema: It is. It is. And I think that's another area where marketing comes in handy because we know it, once you're living it and you're saying the same story a billion times or talking through a message or there's something that you know the team needs to know. And literally you have to say it 56 times before it even starts to land. And we know that as marketers.

Tim Kopp: I think you nailed it. Sometimes that is what limits your speed more than anything. Sometimes you know exactly what to go do but how can you communicate it fast enough with enough people that kind of builds the shared context for what's in your mind to be able to go do that? And it's you're right, when marketing is done well, it's just like a huge tailwind that makes, it's just like the jet stream and everybody's in it. They understand it. There's the content and there's not the constant questioning of things. But it's just the constant repetition and getting everybody on the same page because two things I've always felt about marketing is both messaging and branding leak. If you're off, the reason people are so prescriptive, why does it have to be that Pantone color? Or we'd throw away a batch of t- shirts if it wasn't exactly the right orange because if you did that enough times, well then that orange can be slightly like this orange. Well then next thing you know, it's yellow. No, it can't be yellow. Things leak. That's why you have to be so precise. And then if there's one other trap I can see me or other marketers falling into it's changing things. We get bored with things before anybody else does because we keep repeating it.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Because we see them a million times.

Tim Kopp: But you've got to stick with it. There's not a great company that changes, well Google did with Alphabet, but you can't keep changing everything all the time. You have to stay fresh, you have to stay current. But if you're changing things all the time, you don't have the consistency.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Yep. And you're giving people whiplash inside and out. Before I let you go, there's people all different levels. Let's just assume that are listening but let's again, go way back in time to those kind of early in there, early new marketing leader that's facing naysayers that trying to get a seat at the table, pushing to be a priority, pushing for like, hey, brand needs to be a priority. What would you leave them with?

Tim Kopp: Yeah, I would say, look, what's so funny about, and I appreciate your kind comments on marketing. I grew up in a super middle class at best neighborhood in Cincinnati. I wasn't the Ivy League guy, barely grinded my way into UC, worked at University of Cincinnati. Worked the whole way through. I think a lot of this is just grind. It is just grind and consistency and persistence. And you have to have, I call it this blend of humble confidence. And it's really, you can find people get knocked down too quickly and start feeling sorry for themselves or you can find people who are just way overly confident. And so trying to find, I've just come to believe the more I'm in it, you just stay in the fight and you just keep working. You just keep working through it. Even the success stories that we've talked about with ExactTarget or whatever or even Salesforce. Look at the number of failed acquisitions, the fails of Chatter is what they had to do before they got onto Slack. You remember Chatter and the little chattering? That didn't work and that's okay, you stick with it. They had the right idea. It was just early. And so you just stick with it and then it ended up being Slack. I think the quality of team that you're with is everything would be the first thing I'd say. The second thing is just stay in the grind, stay in the fight, stay with people who make you sane, your family, your friends, hopefully your coworkers and staying sane and taking care of yourself is a big part of the battle. And then it's just this humble confidence. It's just a complete blend of curiosity, always working on things. But I think if there's one word that is not fully understood, it's empathy. Understanding that, if an investor says, no, there might be a reason. If a customer says, no, there might be a reason. But trying to put yourself, we forget about the customer, yourself in the mind of the buyer. And at the end of the day, most markets are fairly rational. Why are they buying? Where are they not buying? Why did they fire you? And so just having constant empathy for your people, your customers, for everybody who's around you. And then I think that's where the heart and soul of marketing and leadership really comes from is empathy.

Lindsay Tjepkema: Great. It's a great place to leave it. Thank you so much, Tim. This was wonderful.

Tim Kopp: Yeah, you bet. You're wonderful. Keep doing the great work and thanks for having me.

Lindsay Tjepkema: There you have it. Another episode of Casting a Vision. Check out Tim's blog that started at all, as well as links to other related content, other episodes of this show on the show page, which you can all find in our related resources. And if you like the show, consider sharing and takeaway with a friend. And I would love to know who else you would like to hear from as a guest. Thanks for watching.


On this episode of Casting a Vision, Lindsay discusses the world of Marketing with expert Tim Kopp. Tim is now the CEO at Terminus, with experience as a CMO at ExactTarget and a venture capitalist at Hyde Park Venture Partners. Today, Tim shares his knowledge in marketing, highlighting the importance of who you work for and with; and why building relationships with CFOs can be beneficial. He also unlocks the secret weapon for CMOs. Hint: empathy is essential! He also lets us in on what he calls the blend of humble confidence, advice to newer marketing leaders. Tune in now!

Today's Host

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Lindsay Tjepkema

|CEO, Co-founder

Today's Guests

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Tim Kopp

|CEO, Terminus