Changing the World of B2B Marketing with Terminus' Jillian MacNulty
This week, Jillian MacNulty discusses multimedia content and how it fits in everywhere. Jillian is the Content Marketing Manager at Terminus, where she has a video series, The Roof. This series was born during the pandemic to help bring back polished video content combined with an authentic speaking element, to grab people’s attention. Listen now to learn how Jillian has built not only a community and audience, but a fan base, and how she made a climbing into a dumpster a successful video!
Jillian MacNultyContent Marketing Manager
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to season six of the Casted podcast, where we are back with more of our very own users. Why? Because by becoming a Casted customer, it's pretty clear how committed you are, not only to podcasting as a key piece of the future of your marketing efforts, but also to the bigger picture of how all those shows and all those episodes and all that content fits together into your full blown, integrated marketing strategy. So these customers, these marketers really are the most forward- thinking brands that are harnessing the perspectives of experts within their own podcasts. And then they're ringing them out. They're amplifying those interviews across all other channels. They're practicing what we preach here at Casted and I want you to hear all about what they're doing, why they're doing it and how you can do it too. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema. I'm CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and the only amplified marketing platform built specifically for B2B marketers. And this is our podcast. Today's guest is no stranger to getting a little messy in the name of good marketing. You'll hear what I mean in the interview. In this episode, I'm talking with Jillian McNulty from Terminus. And to say that she's a person who's changing the game of B2B marketing might be a bit of an understatement. Terminus is no stranger to changing the game for B2B marketers, but also to really amazing multimedia content, just look at their podcast, Flip My Funnel and their very successful videos called The Rooftop Series. And the secret behind it all, a deep desire to drive authentic connection with their audiences. Love that. That's right, Jillian is speaking my language. So listen and find out how dumpster fires, rooftops and leaning into an authentic era of marketing is helping Terminus and Jillian fill the community of loyal raving fans.
Jillian MacNulty: Hello, I am Jillian McNulty. I am a content marketing manager at Terminus and our current podcast lineup is the Flip My Funnel podcast with the wonderful Sangram and more to come on that end.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's good. Well, Jillian, I am so excited to have you here because you all at Terminus are doing really cool stuff with audio and video and just kind of how you're using it all together to not only share thought leadership, but also to really build excitement among your fan base. And I use that term very explicitly, fan base. I mean, because it's not just your customer, it's not just your audience, you're really building fans with what you're doing. So I'm excited to learn more. I want to get behind the scenes and see what you're doing, why you're doing it and how it's working for you.
Jillian MacNulty: Thank you. That's the dream as a marketer, right? To have someone to refer to like people who can see your content as a fan base, that's woo. That's good stuff. Thank you. You're boosting my ego right at the beginning.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I think you're doing it. I think you're doing it. So why don't you tell me a little bit about kind of, let's start really big picture and say, how do you view really multimedia rich content as part of your strategy at Terminus? Where does it fit together in the whole integrated picture?
Jillian MacNulty: I think the cool part about what we're doing at Terminus right now is that genuinely the multimedia content fits in everywhere. So I joined the company about six- ish, well, all right, COVID time, it's probably eight- ish months ago at this point. I don't know time anymore.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Feels like yesterday but also 10 years ago.
Jillian MacNulty: I know. But when I joined, we were kind of in a moment of, okay, I know that my team hired me on to focus on video. And when I came in there was immediately such a need and an outreach from every area of the company being like, awesome, you're the video girl now, can you help us out with this? So it was coming from product, it was coming from customer, it was coming from sales. It was coming from everywhere that there was this want and need to have a video and a digital component, which has just been awesome. So as much fun as it is for us to do the big splashy brand stuff that we do, me getting in a dumpster and us doing The Roof series and all these cool kind of top of funnel things. That's one thing I love about Terminus is that really it fits in everywhere and we've been having so much fun with it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, and you can tell that you're having so much fun because you can actually see it and you can see the ideas that have come to fruition. And I love that you're kind of building in public, right? You're sharing the notes that you and Justin Keller are like, what if I got in a dumpster? Which I feel like we need to explain, you didn't just get in a dumpster. This was an idea that turned into a big campaign. So tell us more about this dumpster fire.
Jillian MacNulty: I mean, honestly, with Justin and I we always kind of joke that one of us throws out a crazy idea and then the other one builds on it and builds it until it just escalates and we get to the point where we have to do this now. Uh- oh. We've gotten to a point where we just have to do it. So it did start out with us being like... We knew, I think going back doing The Roof series, that kind of came to fruition because we were like, you know what? It's in the middle of this very, very strange period in not only the world, but in B2B and in content where it's like all of a sudden, all the video content you're getting is over Zoom, which is still great and still gets the point across. But there was a kind of polished component that was missing. But then kind of juxtaposed to that, there also was this element of we can't afford to not have this real talk anymore because everyone is in this gutter of the world right now. And we're not going to mince words and we're not going to pretend like everything is great and everything is normal because it's not. So that's kind of where The Roof was born of is this weird juxtaposed idea of like, well, we need some good polished video content because that's going to get people's attention and people are going to go, oh, whoa, I forgot we didn't have this for the past year. But then also that real talk element. So we had so many people reaching out and saying like, oh, it's been so cool to have these unscripted, really raw, really real stuff that you would only have in your marketing slack channel conversations through The Roof video series. And so kind of playing on that we were like, how can we just tell it like it is more often because clearly with 2020, I mean, we were incredibly fortunate to have a very, very good year as a company with our sales and with our customers. We did very well in 2020 and we realize how blessed and fortunate we are for that. And we were like, how can we spin this in a way that's like, we don't want to sit here and brag about how great we're doing, but we more want to say like, this is what 2020 has been and we've been lucky enough that our customers are seeing the positive in this and using us in a way that's working in this crazy environment. And so Justin said 2020 has been a dumpster fire. And we were like, oh, it is. And then it kind of just escalated from there of well then what if we lit a dumpster on fire? And then I remember the slack, he was like wait, what if you got in the dumpster? And he immediately reeled it back and was like, nevermind, nevermind, that's too much to ask of you. And I was like, I'm already finding-
Lindsay Tjepkema: You're in the dumpster.
Jillian MacNulty: I'm already looking for a dumpster as we speak. You cannot suggest these ideas to me, I will do them immediately. So that's how it came about. And we jumped on it immediately. We partnered with a great production company here in Indy that helped us literally scout a dumpster and we filmed on a 30 degree day in the freezing cold and had just so, so, so much fun. So it was great.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's awesome. So I guess moral of the story here is to let yourself, even in B2B, regardless of what you do, allow yourself to be creative, allow yourself to take chances, do the things. Follow through with the idea. Break the playbook and just go be authentic and know your audience and get out there and try new things. Right?
Jillian MacNulty: 100%. And that is quite literally our team sat down at the beginning of this year and said, okay, what do we want from our team this year? And what do we want kind of our drum beat to be? And we kind of just all came to the conclusion that we're like, we want to do stuff that no one in B2B has done before. Whether it's a weird concept for a video series or a podcast where we're interviewing different creatives from industries outside of B2B and putting on this kind of creative bootcamp. All these ideas that we have this year are kind of baseline for them. Is anyone doing this in B2B yet? And if not, let's run at this as hard as we can and be the first to do it. And then in a little bit of an ego way, we kind of were like, we want everyone copying us.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And I think too, how's it all working? So it's one thing, I can hear the naysayers being like, yeah, it's cool that you can go do cool things. And you have Tim Kopp as CEO who is the CMO, right? So you have that as a thumbs up, you have Sangram as one of the founders, you have a lot on your side, but I'm sure, I'm guessing, you still are held accountable to what's it doing? What are the results? You don't get to just get to go do cool, fun marketing things. So tell me about that. Tell me how it's all working and how you're using it all? Kind of what's the bottom line look like?
Jillian MacNulty: That is such a great point, which first of all, I do have to say having Tim Kopp as a CEO is a marketer's dream. Our team could not have a bigger advocate for us at the company than Tim Kopp. And the fact that he's our CEO is like, oh my gosh, it really is a big reason why we're able to do so much, which we're so fortunate for. But along that same vein, going back to like The Roof, which is our real talk video series, that was something that I pitched within my first month of the company. And so we didn't have budget or buy-in for me yet because I was still proving myself. And so we said, we're going to get this done really scrappily, and we're going to make it what we want it to be right now. We will prove it out with viewership and numbers and then we'll get more buy- in and I mean, honestly Lindsay, that's exactly what happened is we filmed that all ourselves. It's just me and Justin up on our Indy offices roof with a DSLR camera that we already have and one of our iPhones and a gimbal. And we shot the whole season ourselves within a couple of afternoons spread out over the first couple months that I was there. We had our video agency edit it, that we already had a retainer with them, so it didn't require any more money. I don't think we ever put any money behind it for ads or anything. We just put it out there and pushed it as hard as we could internally to get a wider audience. And I mean, the numbers that we saw were really, really, really great. And the feedback we got from people was incredible. And I think we are lucky to have Tim as the CEO who, one of his mantras is brand drives demand. So we didn't necessarily have to go back to him and go, look at the exact ROI that this video series is driving. Luckily, he's in the mindset where it was plenty to him that we had over 60,000 views on The Roof series within its first three months. To him, that was by and enough where he's like, this is absolutely worth it. Now we can keep investing in more expensive videos like the dumpster fire. So we would not have had buy- in for that had we not kind of scrappily just gone for it with The Roof.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. That makes sense. And I think it's important for people to hear that. Even a company like Terminus, that's doing really big things, you had to kind of go prove it out yourself with the stuff you already had. Right? Use what you've got and you had the luxury of having some resources and some might have to not even have the DSLR camera and not have a video agency on retainer, but there's still things you can do. There's things you can do to prove out concepts and to be authentic and to capture those real conversations and to use them in ways that will resonate with your audience.
Jillian MacNulty: And I think there has to be an element, we're very lucky to be on a team that all of us definitely have this element of humility of, hey, if we put this out there and it doesn't do well, we'll figure something out and we'll make it better and we'll do better work. And if it goes well, we're still going to improve and we're still going to change it and we're still going to go out there and put something better out next time. We're working on season two of The Roof right now and even though it went super well, Justin and I were like, yeah, we're not going to follow the exact same formula. We have to change it up because that's just who we are. And we want to keep pushing and want to keep doing different things and we don't want it to get stagnant. So it's very nice too, that everyone on our team does have that kind of element of humility of going like, okay, we will do this ourselves and if it doesn't go well, there's always opportunity to change. And that's what I love about multimedia too, is that it's as much money as you can pour into video, audio production, all these things. There are also ways to get things done quickly and get things done authentically and well enough that you can kind of do whatever you want with it and it will live out there for as long as you need it to. And then you put something new out and it kind of gets shelved a little bit. It's just the pace. It's a fast paced kind of medium to work with it and that's why I love it so much because I'm a little ADD, so I'm all over the place. And I'm onto the next thing before I've even finished the other thing.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's true, but I mean, it's always being on to the next and creating new things and chasing that excitement for creativity, but also going back and using the things you already have and continuing to repurpose and refresh.
Jillian MacNulty: Totally.
Lindsay Tjepkema: We've talked about The Roof. Let's also talk about podcasting.
Jillian MacNulty: Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Straight up podcasting. That's something that, Flip My Funnel, Terminus, Sangram, that's been around for awhile. But tell me what your interaction has been. What's it been like for you since you got there and how it's working at Terminus?
Jillian MacNulty: I mean, I've never experienced a B2B podcast like Sangram and Flip My Funnel. It's just the community that he has built around his podcast, it's a masterclass in what a B2B podcast should be. It's educational, it's uplifting, it's built this community around itself because Sangram has put his heart soul into it. So it's been incredible to even just kind of sit back and watch that engine run and come in to Terminus and have our brand to be tied to that. It's been absolutely amazing. And I think the cool thing is his Flip My Funnel world exists in this community and it is tied to Terminus, but we also know that we want to continue working and do other podcasts. And I mean, something we've been toying with is the idea of almost juxtaposed to Sangram's longstanding episodes every day, incredible community. We're thinking of how to use podcasts to have that kind of same punchy, double- take effect that we do with our video. So we're thinking, can we do a limited podcast series? Do we want to just do this kind of crazy concept for a podcast, do it for eight episodes and then be done with it and move on to something else? It kind of plays into that whole, all of us have a little bit of ADD, jumping from thing to thing, but that's an idea we've been playing with. And I think there's so much room in the podcast space to build that community and build that audience. And that's something that I love so much about it. And I think we're almost trying to think of ways to flip the script a little bit too, of okay, we have this great kind of like you said, I'm so humbled by, but fan base with our video content we're putting out. How can we then almost create this, we joke about it, but this Terminus cinematic universe, where then you've got fans of The Roof and of our dumpster fire video and of our other things that we're going to be putting out this year and how do we have podcasts that kind of springboard from that. And how do we have conversations with people that were behind the scenes of those things that want to know how those things were made? I mean, I'll own up to it, I'm a huge fan of the Bachelor franchise. I absolutely love it. And I am so impressed by their whole like bachelor universe of how they have the TV show and then they've got these podcasts that spring off of it, and then they have these bloggers and then they have this whole fan base and community online. That to me is almost what I want our content output to look like, is that I wanted to all kind of tie in, but I want it to be spring boarding off of each other and each of them are unique and have their own kind of tone and voice. But ultimately at the end of the day, it all ties back to this Terminus cinematic universe that we're trying to build. And then also at the end of the day, that builds our brand, which is the ultimate ultimate goal of it all.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I think that's so true because you're, as Tim Kopp says, like you mentioned, brand does drive demand and the more energy you put into it, the more creativity you put into serving your audience. And it's not about playing algorithms, it's not about playing some search engine game. It's about truly creating valuable content that is entertaining, that is educational, that is engaging for your audience, knowing them well enough to create the things that they really are going to enjoy, that they're going to keep coming back and seeing what you're going to do next. And well, Jillian was in a dumpster fire this week, what's she going to do next week? And what's the thing that you guys did recently, I don't know what you're calling it but that had a look at all of your employees and how everybody was engaged and what working from home meant. And the pride of being part of Terminus. That's thought leadership too. That's sharing your culture. I mean, every single one of those touch points is building a relationship between Terminus and your audience and it's helping that decision to continue to, or decide to work with Terminus that much easier. And that is so important. And that's what we were talking about before we start recording, as far as you're building a base of raving fans, you're going beyond audience or connections or customer base or inaudible to say, how can we create a base of raving fans that want to be a part of what we're doing? And this rich multimedia that's serving the humans and being authentic, it's the tip of the sword for that.
Jillian MacNulty: Thank you first of all, all those things are so kind, but I think that's something that is so fascinating to me too, is that podcasting has always been known for the real authentic longer form conversations. And I feel like video has been known for the polished, put together. You invest a ton of money in this production company and these actors and all these things, and it's scripted and it's put together. And in my mind, I'm like there is such a middle ground there for both of those things. And I think that's why I love what you guys are doing with video podcasting. Some people might be watching us right now and I think, especially in this time of COVID that connection is so wanted. And it's what we were going for with The Roof too, where it's like we could have done this super scripted, super polished thing, but people kind of prefer to have it be more authentic. And so I see so much more crossover there and that mindset for me has come from just listening to our audience and listening and reading the comments that people put on our videos and taking that feedback and realizing, oh, we're getting all this positive feedback on The Roof series and on the dumpster fire and on these things for different elements. For The Roof, it's the authenticity, quick paced snippet, something I can consume while I'm scrolling. For the dumpster fire, it's for the humor and realness and authenticity, and also just kind of WTF-ishness of it all and really listening and realizing... Oh and then also going back to what you were saying, the Terminus, we are Terminus video, people were like, this was an incredible look into your culture and I've never seen a video like this that just was so concise and quick that showed the heart of your company. And so listening to that feedback and taking into account and going, okay, we can kind of draw from all three of these very different types of videos and different types of feedback that people just want connection. And people just want to find a common ground in a community and they want to laugh and they want to feel seen almost by the content they're consuming. And marketers are smart, especially because for us it's one of my favorite things ever is marketing to marketers because you can't get away with anything. They know when you are trying to write a blog for SEO. They know when you're trying to create a video that is going to end in a inaudible, you can't get around those things with marketers-
Lindsay Tjepkema: But they also appreciate really, really good content.
Jillian MacNulty: Totally.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, yeah.
Jillian MacNulty: Which I've noticed too. So sorry for that long rant. At the end of the day, I think listening is so important and there's nothing that we ever put out that we don't look intensely at the analytics, read the comments. We have a whole folder of basically feedback that we get from people that we screenshot emails, we screenshot comments, we throw them in this folder so we can pour over them and go, okay, what are people saying about this? Let's find the connection. Let's be detectives for a second and connect these dots and figure out what our audience is craving and how can we better work that into our strategy over the next couple of months?
Lindsay Tjepkema: I really hope that in, what this last year and all of the good, bad, and otherwise that's come from it, I hope that one of the positives that's come from it is that let's stop the hustle. Let's stop the grind of trying to game the system and get ahead and just create great content that serves the audience. And it's crazy. When you think about everything that you just said, because you're so right. How do you create a relationship with a human? You go, you get to know them, you listen and you build relationships, you build trust. I mean, that's exactly what this is. It's sharing who you are, listening to who they are and serving their needs. I mean, it's listening and you guys are doing a great job with that. And I hope that that's something that we'll see more of as we move forward into 2021 and beyond.
Jillian MacNulty: I feel like we're in a little bit of a B2B Renaissance right now, as far as marketing goes, which is so awesome. And it's just so fun to be here. And I'm having an absolute blast just seeing how, like you said, all the crap of the past year has really changed how we think about everything. And I think that is for the best for us creatives. I think it really is giving us a second wind and a realization that at the heart of this it's not about gaming the system, it's not about how many leads you can get from this video. It is about creating those connections and those connections pay off in the end as customers because they trust you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's true. I mean, don't get us wrong, instead of leads, not saying leads don't matter, it's saying no, create really great relationships and that will turn into customers and customer loyalty and brand loyalty. Okay. So as we start to wrap up, because I know we can talk about this all day, what kind of advice do you have for other marketers who might be listening, who want to do what you're doing, who are eager to be more creative, but they feel like they might be stuck in that, yeah but everything I do has to have a mathematic equation about what it's going to generate, which is important.
Jillian MacNulty: Absolutely.
Lindsay Tjepkema: What advice do you have about how to do what you're doing?
Jillian MacNulty: Gosh, I think honestly it's a balance because as fun as my job is at Terminus, it is quite literally my dream job. And I'm doing just ridiculous things day after day in the best way, getting in dumpsters and figuring out... On meetings with people about how to create a show with puppets in it and weird stuff like that. So we're doing the craziest coolest stuff, but then at the same time, I also am working on an e- book about cookies and how that's changing right now and how people need to be ahead of the game on that. So there's a total balance. And I think that balance comes from setting aside time for your creativity and setting kind of that time and space to go okay, I'm going to create something really cool that I want to do. And I think could be kind of experimental and get it out there and see if people enjoy it. And then at the same time, being able to balance content that you know your sales teams need and your customer success teams need and talking to them and asking what they need and providing really intentional, helpful content that will end up being a lot more lead generating, at least that you can attribute directly. Then some of the more top of funnel, crazy fun, loud, creative stuff, it's a balance. And even for my job, being the person at the company that is typically doing the wild, crazy stuff, I still am very involved in creating that mid funnel content for our sales team and talking to customer success people and asking what the customers need and brainstorming what we can do on that end. It's a balance. And to be honest, the more that your mid funnel kind of content that's going to help your sales team and your customer success teams, the better that content does, the more license you're typically given to do the really crazy creative stuff. And you're given a little more budget, they're typically inaudible you can kind of prove out like, hey, well, I did this e- book that is doing very well and the sales team is finding it helpful in it. And it's got a lot of good feedback. I want to give us a little more money for me to hop in a dumpster or do something crazy over here. So I think it's all about the balance.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Another thing, I'm the student of Tim Kopp on this episode, but I know another thing that he said years ago was your most important audience are your first audience, your internal audience. And that's so true. And it's so important what you just said, because I think it's easy for outsiders to see all the cool, fun things that people like you are doing, or other companies that are doing just cool, fun, creative things. And it's important to remember that you're also doing the less fun things and not to diss on them, but the more standard, more mid funnel or bottom of funnel or things that are less fun and creative and exciting, less new and different, it's both right? Because you have to serve your internal audience and you have to do the things that are known, the things that are proven as you are given more and more license to your point, to try the things that are new and different. So it's an important reminder. You're not going to magically get a job where you get to do whatever you want. I mean, it's both right? You have to continue to serve your internal audience and your external audience as you prove things out.
Jillian MacNulty: Totally. And I think I was lucky. I mean, you're good friends with Stephanie Cox, who was my old boss at Lumavate too. We started out very, very small, very scrappy tech company. And that's where I learned everything about marketing. And that's where I learned that, oh, you can do cool stuff while you're also working your butt off on other things. And you also can do it on a very, very, very tight startup budget, early stage startup budget. And that to me is invaluable. So I know what it feels like to be at a company that is scrappy and starting out really, really small. And we still, I think put out some pretty cool stuff while I was there. And it's just been a very cool... I do recognize definitely my privilege though, at Terminus, not only of the resources that we're given, but also, like you said, being a student of Tim Kopp and being a student of Justin Keller, my boss, I mean, I'm in a school of brand right now and I could not be luckier to be among these teachers, these gurus.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That is absolutely true. But listen, I mean, think about all the people who learned from you today. So thank you for everything that you've shared. Thank you for everything that you're doing. You're inspiring a lot of people, myself and everybody here at Casted included. So thanks for sharing and thanks for being a part of our show today, Jillian.
Jillian MacNulty: Thanks, Lindsay. It was so great to chat with you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's our show. Thanks so much for listening and for more from today's guest and some pretty amazing content that they've inspired, visit casted.us and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest on all things amplified marketing, B2B podcasting and a lot more.