How Intentional Podcasting Becomes a Brand’s Marketing Strategy with Zylo’s Meredith Albertson and Nicole Wood
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to the Casted Podcast, where we focus exclusively on our customers brands who know the value of delivering high quality podcast video and written content that their audiences truly want. And on this show, we will hear from the most forward thinking brands delivering and discovering how to harness the power of conversation and amplify their content marketing in a range of formats and channels and how they build integrated marketing strategies around podcasting and video. They're practicing what we preach and we want you to hear about what they're doing, why they do it, and most of all how you can do it too. I'm Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and co- founder of Casted, the first and only amplified marketing platform for B2B podcast and video content marketers. And this is our podcast. Not that long ago, written content was very effective at bringing an audience to a brand. All you had to do to get your sales qualified opportunity was to create a beautiful and informative ebook and then push it live, capture an email address, and then nurture that lead. It's not the way it works anymore, not at all. B2B buyer behavior has outgrown those traditional channels. Audio and video provide faster ways for buyers to find out what a brand has to offer. Content marketers have had to adapt as well. Marketing strategies must be more dynamic and more agile. Podcasts and video content have become the most valuable part of crafting these new and successful strategies. And don't just take my word for it. So many brands that launch podcasts and video series as experimental side projects that have now become brands who intentionally set out to make those easy to consume channels as the chief drivers of their overall marketing strategy. That's what my guests are sharing with us today. CMO, Meredith Albertson and content marketing manager, Nicole Wood of Zylo launched their podcast SaaS Me Unfiltered with the goal of making the channel the actual source of all of their content by using a little something called Amplified Marketing or squeezing the juice, as some might say, you'll hear us say that a lot in this episode. Zylo gets a lot of mileage out of every episode by repurposing and reusing content in other channels. With a small but super efficient content team, Meredith and Nicole have helped Zylo to become a leader in the fairly new SaaS management category, and today they're going to tell us how they did it. They're going to tell us about what their podcast goals were from the get- go, how they determined the value of their content marketing strategy, and so much more. Hello everyone. I am Lindsay Tjepkema. I am CEO and co- founder of Casted, and I am here with one of our amazing customers, Zylo. I've got Meredith Albertson, who is the CMO, and Nicole Wood who is content marketing manager. So thank you so much for being here, both of you.
Meredith Albertson: Yeah. We're super excited. We've been looking forward to this.
Lindsay Tjepkema: This is going to be great. So we are going to do what lots of people do as they record a podcast and have a great conversation and just take it where it goes, but we're doing it live. And then we're also going to be recording it and sharing it and amplifying it of course. So to get things started, I want to hear a little bit about just the nutshell of what Zylo's podcast is. Tell us just a little bit about it and then we'll get into the origin story. So what is it your show all about?
Meredith Albertson: All right. Nicole, this is you're Queen Bee of SaaS Me Unfiltered, so I'm going to let you take this one.
Nicole Wood: Yes. Awesome. Yeah. So our podcast is called SaaS Me Unfiltered, the SaaS Management Podcast. And really the premise is to tell these unfiltered stories about those who are in the trenches of SaaS management. So IT procurement, finance professionals who are doing this every day and just hear their advice and real world stories and more on SaaS management.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That human connection. I love it. Okay. So that's what it is. How did it come to be? Earliest days, give me the origin story.
Nicole Wood: Yeah. So it was about a year ago from where we are now, and this was just a few weeks into my role here at Zylo. I think Meredith was new. We're just meeting for the first time thinking about all these ideas for the future. And one of those was a podcast. And I think we were both especially excited about it. And then as time went on, realizing this could be a really critical piece from our marketing strategy and hearing our customer stories internally, seeing our WINS channel pop up with some really exciting things all the time, it was a great opportunity to share their stories and really from their voice, from their perspective, and like you said, that human connection and connect the market and our prospects with those customer voices see it through their eyes. So that was where we started that more in the direction of what it's going to be. And also SaaS management is a really new area. It's a new category and Zylo's a creator of the space and a leader in the space, and we just really wanted to bring these stories at a larger scale and the podcast was a really great way to do that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, I agree. For sure, and it's a really great reason to do a show. I'm curious, since you started, since it was so early on and you seem really aligned strategically for what this show could be and why it should come to be, tell me a little bit about the role that it plays in your overall marketing strategy. It sounds like, and spoiler there we're going to get to some of the reasons it's been so successful is that I don't get the feeling from you all that it was something that was like, " Let's just try it over here on the side." From day one it's been pretty central. Tell me about that.
Meredith Albertson: Yeah, it really has. I think we can start with brand and really how important audio and video has been a part of that it's brand isn't a tagline. It's not just the logo, it's not just the colors that you have on a website. It's the conversation that someone has with your BDR at a booth. It's the conversation we have with a salesperson at a dinner. It's a blog post. It's the webinar that you start to get introduced to a brand and all these things encompass that brand strategy and to the individual consumer, all that's the same. So for us, using audio and using video as a way to, I think really break down a lot of walls and what is it? The third wall I think is the way a lot of people are filming these days. But we wanted to break that down and give people this understanding of what it was truly like to work with us, what our company is as people, but also hear about how are we really tackling these real world challenges, these expensive challenges with so many of our customers. So it's been just really incredible for us.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Agreed. And seeing some of the results that you've had, which we're going to get into it has been pretty incredible seeing what you all have done in a pretty short amount of time leveraging the show. So zooming out a little bit, you all at Zylo and what you have done is are such a great example of amplified marketing in action. And of course those are our words from our perspective, what amplified marketing is, and you have really taken it and made it your own. How does what you are doing at Zylo differ perhaps from more traditional B2B marketing as we've known it over the last many years? What do you think that you're doing differently? Do you think that you're approaching your strategy differently?
Meredith Albertson: I definitely do. I think that the B2B buyers are buying differently these days. They're talking to their peers, they are researching, they are going to conferences, they're reaching out to people in their associations that they're members of to understand how are their peers solving problems, what technologies or partners do they have to really solve these problems. And the days of just having an awesome content idea, putting together a beautiful ebook, putting that out on in the internet, capturing an email address, nurturing that and turning that into a sales qualified opportunity, those days are just gone. And our strategy is really agile. It's dynamic. We want to make sure that we're delivering the type of content, the research, the education that our audience needs, but also in the format that they need. Some people like audio, some people like video, some people want to read. And Casted has been such an incredible partner for us and that ability to really deliver that really dynamic approach that our Zylo marketing team is so passionate about.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, thank you. Appreciate that. I'd love to hear that. Of course. And I love, again, the way that you have embraced this approach. And we've just been so aligned from day one on, you're right, how B2B buying, how B2B brand development, that's changing that. That's been changing anyway. But especially in this 2020, 2021, 2022, whatever's coming in 2023? You mentioned Nicole little bit earlier about the importance of human connection all day every day. So the more that you can capture these stories of your customers and these real authentic perspectives and then use them, Meredith, to your point in many different ways that people can connect to, that's it. That's the essence of it.
Nicole Wood: That's how it works.
Meredith Albertson: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So on that note to tactically, we're love fest on the strategy. We all agree and you're seeing great results and I love what you're doing. How does it come to life? Does your team need to be different? Are the skills different? What needs to be different on your side as you're structuring a team and a strategy around this amplified marketing approach?
Meredith Albertson: Well, I have a little bit of a cheat answer here. But honestly, and this is one of the reasons I think just there was so much synergy with Casted from the start was amplified marketing and our terminology for it internally before we met, Casted was a little bit not as beautifully worded, but we called it squeeze the juice. And that was something that I feel Nicole as well as our senior director of content communications, Meghan Spork, who is just fantastic as well, we really connected on at the very beginning. I know I've only been with Zylo just over a year. This was what we wanted to do from day one. I was building a lot of the team from the ground up. So there was an opportunity to really structure that team with that in mind, with that at the heart of our strategy. So I don't know if I would've structured the team differently. However, I think our focus would've been different if we were going down this more traditional route. But I think, man, just the efficiency we've been able to drive this year, what we've been able to do with a relatively small powerhouse team, it's just been incredible and everybody was bought in from day one. This isn't coming from other organizations, talking about squeezing the juice or amplified marketing is not something that everybody is talking about. But just from day one, everybody was bought in, super passionate about what we're doing. So I don't know if I would've structured the team that differently, but definitely it was at the center of our model from the start.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, that's awesome. And one thing that I'm always curious about, so we talked about how you structured the team. Since you two were really aligned, was there a champion, was there the need for executive sponsorship, I think is a pretty heavy word that people use a lot, but who was involved in getting this started? How did you actually get it up and off the ground?
Meredith Albertson: Well, I think Nicole and I started talking about it literally the first time we met in person. And then Meghan Spork, who I mentioned obviously... So our little group, we were like, " All right. Can we pull this off? We believe in it, we know it's important part of our strategy, can we pull this off?" But I will have to say it was really across our organization a team effort. Our executive team throughout this podcast process has just been such champions and so fantastic. Our CEO, Eric Christopher just bought into the vision immediately was like, " How can I help?" I remember sitting in my office in indie talking to Cory Wheeler, who is one of our co- founders and chief customer officer. And I was like, " All right, Cory. So have this little crazy idea that we're thinking about." And I walked him through it and he just looked me dead in the eyes and he was like, " I love it, let's do it." And to have him, and he was so excited about it. And then Ashley Hickman, who is our customer success manager at Zylo, she was on board. I mean, just everybody has just from day one, really just been the champion across the board for the program that we're building here.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And how important do you think that is in... I'll stop there. How important do you think that is, having that buy- in from the start?
Meredith Albertson: I mean, Nicole, you want to take that one?
Nicole Wood: I think it's important. It's definitely a time commitment. So everybody needs to be bought in and know what the strategy is and what we're going for. And I don't think we would be successful today if we didn't have that, especially even our co- host and the time it takes to put that on.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I think that's something that we hear a lot and there's lots of different paths to success, but there is a difference when there's from the get- go as opposed to, we're going to go try this thing and then we're going to try to prove it. That works too. And I would actually say that's probably the more common one where somebody is like, " I'm going to go do this thing, I'm going to make this show and then I'm going to loop back and get buy- in." And that absolutely works. But I think there's a definite advantage, and I think that you see it with Zylo and how fast you've been able to escalate and mature and really see success is that you had internal buy- in from the start, which is something that's noteworthy.
Meredith Albertson: Well, I think part of it is well though is the goals that you set going on this journey. Our marketing organization is about driving revenue that is just, we want to drive opportunities for our sales team. So being aligned to back to when Meghan and Nicole and I were initially starting to meet on this, it's what are those revenue goals? How are we going to track success? How are we going to measure that this is really making an impact on the business? And we evangelize that along the way. And I think that that's also a really a key part to how really why there was such great buy- in partnership across the organization.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I would love to hear more about that. So as you got started with the show and said, " Okay. Here's what we're going to do, marketing's about revenue." I think that now more than ever, I think that's true for most companies right now. What did that determine what you measured and what you said, this is what success looks like for launching the show versus where you are now? Not quite a year later, but now that you've got some legs on you, has that changed or have you been watching and hoping for the same metrics from day one?
Nicole Wood: Yeah. I think it really was a phased approach. There's just different expectations from when you're getting started to the long term. And I think from a revenue standpoint, it's definitely a longer game. You're not going to put out three podcast episodes and bam, you've sold a whole bunch of money. But I think in the beginning it was really okay, are we getting traction? Are we really getting some listenership going? And then naturally making sure that we're keeping tabs on that as we go on. But I think ultimately now we're to a point where we're looking a little bit more closely at the revenue impact and what SQLs have been influenced by the podcast. Who's listened to it, even on the closed one side, what does that look like? Who's mentioning it in Gong calls and that kind of thing.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I would love to get more into that too, because one of the reasons that we're talking today is some of the results that you've seen and which is what so many brands are hoping for. It's like, "I want to do this show and I want it to do something for me and for the business." So how have you done that? And as basic as we can get, and then we can build from there. How did you even know what to look for and how has that advanced along the way?
Nicole Wood: Yeah. I think part of it was one of our other partners that we've used, they're called Hatch and they actually have an agency site as well, but they've been a really valuable resource on the production and had a whole course that I went through to really understand all the pieces of a podcast. So that really helped me get a baseline of what I actually need to look for. So that's where some of these metrics came in. Some of that was trying new things and having Casted insights to be able to take that to next level.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. Let's see. Let's go back. We talked a little bit about how the show came to be, who was involved, how you saw success so quickly with that internal buy- in. And we've started to get into starting to see attribution to revenue. So let's go back a little bit again and say, okay, creating the show, you've mentioned some of the team members that are involved in the buy-in that you had. How has the show itself started to evolve or even has it since that original vision and origin story that you had? Has the show largely stayed the same, or what tweaks have you made and how have you known which way to go, whether to stay the chorus or to make changes?
Nicole Wood: So I would say it's generally the same than from where we started, all that storytelling and trying to get into how people are managing their SaaS today. But really now we just started season two and really took that as a chance to get a little creative, maybe a little experimental, try some new things. So while we're still continuing with that interview process, we've added a new segment, which I'm super excited about. It's super fun. It's like a hot take segment. So one of our colleagues gives us a hot take from a Zylo point of view on SaaS management, and we're really catering that to the guests. So whatever that persona, whether it's IT or procurement, tailoring it to them, getting their take on it in the actual episode. And we actually posted the other day of the video of it on social. So we're using it as a way to expand the content, amplifying the content.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So I live that.
Meredith Albertson: We actually did one live recording that. So we have industry annual conference as well called SaaS Me, which is where the SaaS Me Unfiltered brand name came from. So we actually recorded a live session from our conference, and that's going to be dropping as part of season two as well. So that was a new idea and new something to test out for season two as well. Very excited about that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Awesome. Okay. And that's one of the things that I wanted to get to as well. So you two were aligned from day one. You wanted to do a show, you wanted to get more human, you wanted to leverage all of these great relationships and customers that you have. You wanted to tell their stories. Awesome. That turned into a show you had internal buy- in. That's great. So one of the things that I've loved to see that is the difference maker that we talk about a lot with our customers and anyone who will listen is one of the mistakes that brands that podcasts make is they make a show, they publish a show, and that's it. And they publish it and then they want to grow the audience and they forget or they lose sight of the, why? Why am I doing this? And you all have never lost sight of the why. It's always been about that human connection, telling stories for the sake of being relevant to your audience, being more authentic with your audience and trying to reach them in different ways. So what I'd love to see is what you just mentioned, which is we have this content over here from this event or these other places that can fuel the show, and then we have the show that can fuel other things. You just listed off a bunch of them in a couple of sentences that you said. So you have this SaaS Me event that can feel the SaaS Me Unfiltered show. You have the SaaS Me Unfiltered show that with these hot takes that you use some behind the scenes content video, that you can use in social media. I mean, all of these, it sounds like you're constantly thinking of how can we use this content in other ways? And to me, that's the difference maker, and that is a huge part of why you're seeing such success. Tell me a little bit about that and what I think is coming so naturally to you all, it's watching figure skating, it looks really effortless, but you're probably really intent. It's like a lot of work. How has that come to be for you all and tell me what that thought process is? Because it seems like you're constantly thinking of new ways to interweave all of this content.
Nicole Wood: Yeah. I mean, it just goes back to our mantra of squeeze the juices that I think just comes naturally. But I think to your point, once we started the podcast, it just made that so much easier. It's one fueling the other, but we're coming up with ideas and we're like, " Hey, there's a podcast episode with awesome quote that we can use for that." Or, " Hey, somebody told me they had this call with this company and they had this problem, and hey, let's get them on the show and let's put a podcast episode about that." And even just into the written content, the transcripts that we get and Casted, let's create some blogs or let's create one from all the segments that we've already done. So it just so easy.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Once you're in it. So how long did it take you, and what did it look like to get from origin story to where you are now? Not just with launching the show, but getting to this? I mean, it's muscle memory. If you're always looking for ways to squeeze the juice, then you'll keep doing it as opposed to like, we got to have that squeeze the juice meeting. We got to go remember this, " What are we going to do?" Because it sounds like it's a team thing. It sounds like you are constantly thinking of ways, and then it's accepted too because it's not like, " Well, Meredith wants us to go squeeze some more juice out of the thing." It sounds like and if it's not, you're doing a really great job and making it seem this way. It seems like it's a team thing, it's accepted, it's known. Everybody knows that you're going to be amplifying everything. I imagine that it wasn't instantaneously like that. How did you go from we're going to launch a show and we're going to use it everywhere? And what did that evolution, what did that process, what did that growth and me and maturation look like?
Meredith Albertson: That's a great question.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Maybe it was really natural. I don't know.
Meredith Albertson: So again, I think I just passed my year anniversary at Zylo and-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Congratulations.
Meredith Albertson: Thank you. We were embarking on one of our biggest launches, one of the biggest data reports that we do every year called the SaaS Management Index, which is just this incredible report that is all about the data that we have from our customers. And I think we started there. Nicole, keep me honest here, but I think it was that conversation with that asset, and we started really to talk about this concept of squeeze the juice. And that report has, I think one report is now five different flavors for procurement, IT, for finance, for the enterprise. There's a webinar and there's blog content on that. So that was a really great project for us to all get to learn each other and learn that mantra very, very quickly. And I would say that, Lindsay, you mentioned that it really has permeated our entire team. So everything that customer marketing is doing, we're thinking about ways to amplify that content, everything that product marketing to digital and demand gen all the way, how can we feed our outbound team? It has really grown into something that all of us, I think really believe in and are really always thinking about it. So I'm sure at the beginning there was definitely some eye rolls about, " God, here comes Meredith with us, squeeze the juice thing again." But I definitely think it's become more part of our DNA.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And I mean the things that I hear about how you're using podcasting, how you're using SaaS Me Unfiltered, how you're using Casted in other ways, it's really interesting because that permeates, it goes from how do we use the show or this marketing thing in other parts of marketing, and then it's like, " How do we use this marketing thing in other parts of brand- building?" And then it's other parts of new business and then it's other parts of revenue, and then it's all throughout the business. So what are some other ways that you're using audio and video content, I guess perhaps Casted in because you all have gotten really creative with how you're using this stuff.
Nicole Wood: Yeah. I think we have, I don't know, six different collections now in Casted. Back we had one for the longest time, but really we call our talking head videos. So just really topical, quick hit videos, all of SaaS Me conferences in there. We have two years full of video content that we've been able to slice and dice, just like the podcast. So it's a thing that keeps fueling itself it seems like.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love it. That's so cool. So show is launched, you're rolling, you're squeezing all the juice from all the things. Did you have a moment that you knew that you were onto something? This is a thing, this isn't a little idea over on the side. This is fueling, we're squeezing the juice. We got a whole tree, we're squeezing all the juice from all the oranges. What were some of those moments for you two?
Nicole Wood: Meredith, do you want to go first?
Meredith Albertson: I remember exactly where I was. We had not launched the season. I had gotten the first our final cut of the first episode, had it on my phone, and I'm a big podcast person. I love to listen to podcast. So I was like, " All right. I'm going to put myself in the shoes of our listeners." I was like, " I really want to be authentic and go through this process." So got my phone, hopped in the car, I'm going to drive to Target. This is when I'm consuming my podcast. And played the episode, and it was our first episode with the former CIO, Brad Pollard at Tenable. And I got goosebumps, and it was not a long laborist episode. I think it was 20, 25 minutes. It was thoughtful, it was funny. I had learned stuff by the end of the episode and I probably got a little bit teary eye at the same moment of just, this was the magic we were looking for to bring... I mean, her customers are incredible, and to elevate those voices and have them just authentically talk about the partnership with Zylo and how we're really helping them solve these challenges and making an impact in their businesses. I still get a little bit just excited about it, but that was definitely... I remember sitting in that parking lot at Target and I was like, " This is it. This is what we were trying to do."
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's so cool. How about you, Nicole?
Nicole Wood: Definitely some of those same feelings. I think just being more tactical boots on the ground, there's been I'd say a few moments just throughout the whole process. And similar to Meredith, I mean, that was one of them, just hearing these priceless things from our customers and just even naturally bringing up Zylo in there, which is makes our hearts flutter a little bit. But then even to the Meredith's point on hearing the feedback from our customers. I remember there's one email that our host Cory forwarded to me, and this person, her listen to a podcast and was like, these ideas were great. I brought them to my leadership and now we're going to implement them at our company. And that just felt super validating to me that we were really onto something. And then even as we got toward the end of season one and we're starting to see the brands that were exposing to this podcast we're just incredible and definitely just keeps us building and building.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I wouldn't be a good CEO of Casted if I didn't say, " Wait, you could see the brand. Tell me more about how could you possibly see what brands inaudible.
Meredith Albertson: Yes, we can.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Tell me about this ladies. How do you see?
Nicole Wood: Yeah. So really those insights that Casted now has really, I mean, you can't really get that anywhere. That's like the layer that's been missing from a lot of podcasts, platforms that bring all that data to you, but can you see who's actually listening to it? How many people from that company are listening to it? So that's just been amazing.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. How do you use that? What does that look like on your side? How does insights come to play in your review of how the podcast is doing? How does that fit into your flow?
Nicole Wood: Yeah. So what we've been trying amongst the team is sharing some of the successes of the podcast. And that includes calling out some of these companies, these brands that are listening that whether they're customers or they're in our pipeline. And that's just I think really helpful for the broader team to see and everyone who's trying to contribute to that revenue goal.
Meredith Albertson: I'd say even as an additional layer of intent, obviously revenue in sales qualified opportunities are where the rubber meets the road and critically important. But for our BDR team, for them to be able to have that visibility into maybe brands they've been doing outreach to but haven't really responded, it is an additional layer of intent for us to be able to say, okay, well maybe we are making some traction there that we originally didn't think we were.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, for sure. Since we're talking about Casted, tell me more. Tell me about what are some of the things that you are able to do in Casted going beyond saying, okay, we're going to do a show. We've talked a lot about how amplification and squeezing the juice is so core to what you are doing to how you are building brand and actually growing the business at Zylo. How does Casted help make that happen? What are the even just little parts and pieces or things that you're able to do because it's there?
Meredith Albertson: I think one of the things in Nicole, I know you've probably got a list as well of, as much as I would love to think that everyone listens to all the content and reads everything that we put out there and watches every webinar.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Obviously
Meredith Albertson: Obviously. As much as I would love for that to be the case, that's not. People are busy, they just have a lot going on. So sometimes being able to directly share with our AE team, hey, you're looking for a success story, you're looking for something a customer has said that you have a prospect who has a specific challenge that they're looking to overcome and wondering if Zylo's going to be that partner for them. Being able to send them a link and have them go directly to that moment in the webinar or the podcast and hear that section, hear that customer specifically talk to that point, that's been huge. And that's really been just an incredible functionality of the platform that I know that our sales team loves it. So that's been really great.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's awesome. I love to hear that. Want to cut you off?
Nicole Wood: No, I'm sorry.
Lindsay Tjepkema: No, you're good. Go ahead.
Nicole Wood: Yeah, as Meredith said, I do have a whole list of things, but really just even from getting it up on there, this will be my shout out to Dion on managed services. This has just been incredible resource for us and allowing me to really focus more on the strategy of it and the content, which is amazing. Just down to the transcripts and getting all these disable pieces and the audiograms, I mean, that's clutch for squeezing the juice, getting it all out there in different ways, like insights, like I mentioned before. And the new thing that I'm excited about is the share center and being able to see a little bit more on how our efforts are getting that exposure for the show. One example is we have a player embedded on one of our landing pages that's part of a paid campaign and we saw our impressions soar like crazy. And now with having some of these trackable links, we're going to be able to see what's coming from social, what's coming from email, and what's the difference between the organic and the paid that we have going on. So super excited about that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's the idea. Can't wait to see you use it. Yeah. Okay. So thank you for telling us what you like Casted. I appreciate it. Thanks for sharing. Let's zooming out a little bit. Let's talk about the impacts that you've seen as a result of amplified marketing as a whole. So something that two were really aligned on, we were really aligned on from day one. You're about a year in to even being here at all, Meredith, but as far as all of this, it's pretty new but you're seeing results, I mean, tell me about the business impacts that you've seen as a result of saying from day one, we're going to squeeze the juice, we're going to take on this amplified marketing approach. How's that impacting the business? How's that impacting the outcomes of this strategy?
Meredith Albertson: Yeah. That's a great question. I mean, again, revenue is where the rubber meets the road. And we are still fairly new in our journey in the sense that it feels like it's three years, but literally it was May when we launched our first episode. And then I think the snowball effect took into place of SaaS Me, the conference and our webinars and our talking head videos and all of the additional ways we have been able to use Casted. Really being able to see sales qualified opportunities and close one business in Q3, appearing in the insights platform, knowing that the podcast and a lot of our audio and video content was a part of that was incredible. I will say that at a high level, we set a record as a business the first half of this year for revenue, and then beat that number by 30% in Q3 and SaaS Me Unfiltered, SaaS Me, the conference, all these things that we've been doing are a part of that. And it's a huge win for our entire team at Zylo, from our customer success team to marketing to sales and product. But definitely what we've been doing with the amplification of our content, it's a huge, huge part of that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, that's so cool. So cool. Okay. You said that that revenue is where the rubber meets to the road, 100%. And you've had great success, which is awesome. What ways are you able to actually pull the thread through? And as some of those insiders who have been supporters of the show from day one who were excited about the concept, what are you able to go back, I mean even tactically, and go back and say, because we hear about this all the time. It's like, " Yeah, I have support for the show in concept, but unless I can turn around and say this is what it's doing for the brand, this is what it's doing for the business, my budget goes away," especially now. So what's your answer to that and what advice do you have to other marketers that want to be able to prove that value back to the business?
Meredith Albertson: Transparency in reporting on it regularly? So I think there's two ways. So we actually have a scorecard that our marketing leadership team manages every week. And I want to say it's probably 20 different numbers on that spreadsheet but those are the way we're keeping the pulse of marketing's impact on the business. And one of those stats is around the podcast, it's listenership. How is the pulse of our podcast performing? At a higher level, we'll look to report on it every single quarter. So we're actually having this next week, but we have a team meeting with our marketing and BDR team and each of our different pillars within marketing, revenue marketing, content and brand and customer marketing all have a Q3 or whatever quarter it is, overview, how did things perform? What did we did that worked? What did we do that probably did not work? And we may want to think about retiring and after that meeting, that's something that I surface at the executive team level. So when I'm going over what are our plans for the quarter, there is always that look back. So we're very transparent about what are we measuring, what is the impact to the business, calling out the brands that are engaging with the content as well as how is that impacting sales qualified opportunities in close/won business.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's fantastic. Yeah, it's fantastic. It's good starting with the end in mind and being able to work backwards and saying, this is what we're going to measure every step of the way. This is what you can expect from us. And accountability in that metrics too. I think that that's really important. Yeah. Okay. So I've grilled you a lot. I think in summary, what advice would you give just generally speaking to other content marketers, other marketing leaders who either have a show and want to achieve this level of success that you have and are continuing to see or that are wanting to even get started? What would you tell them?
Meredith Albertson: Nicole, I'll let you start.
Nicole Wood: Yeah. I think I have really two. I think the first would be it's a longer game for a longer time to return and just stay committed and stick through with it. The other would be just get creative. This is a chance to do new things and each season gives you an opportunity to do that.
Meredith Albertson: I think two things I would hit on, for us, taking this approach and being thoughtful about this strategy was definitely a shift in thinking. So I think there is that element of making sure that the team is bought in. It's our sole concern of how many email addresses we captured this quarter and how many of them turned into MQLs. And that is a shift for some businesses and some marketing teams. So I think that really thinking about that, how can you educate and get the rest of the team and the company bought into that, your executive team is really important. But just the question we were just talking about is being very clear with your goals. What do you really want this program to serve? It may not be revenue, that may not be what you're trying to make an impact on. And you want to make sure that the goals that you're really striving for align to what your strategy and what you really want the outcomes to be.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love that. Yeah, I love that. Okay. So with that, I neglected to encourage the posting of questions in the Q& A. So anyone who would like to post a question, go for it. And in the meantime, one question that I see so far is what was one of the most challenging parts of getting your show launched in the very beginning? What are some challenges you ran into?
Meredith Albertson: I think from my perspective was we had so many ideas and they were great ideas, but they were all different. And Lindsay, I want to take a moment to give a shout out to you specifically. I remember as we were beginning our partnership and Meghan and I, and I think Nicole, you were on the line as well, and we were sitting with you and it was like, we don't know what we don't know in this moment. And you were willing to listen to all of our ideas, all the different takes and angles we were looking at approaching this. And your feedback and the support of just the entire Casted team throughout this whole process has just been, " That's incredible." And just want to thank you guys for all that as well, because I don't think we would've achieved this level of success without you.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Thanks. Well, and you're not alone. I mean, I've been there and a lot of our other customers have been there too, where it's... We talked about the difference from traditional B2B marketing and it's like, " I know how to do that." All of the playbooks tell me to do that, to write the ebook, and well, that's not wrong. I feel like there's something maybe better now. So yeah, thanks for that. And if anyone who is listening or watching is feeling like, I want to do this, but I don't know where to start, I think that's probably the most common feeling, which is like, we have so many ideas and I'm overwhelmed, but you're not alone. Okay. Here's another, what would you recommend to organizations who are at earlier stages of the maturity curve? So actually we didn't get specifically to the maturity curve, but in a nutshell, you all are a great example of this holy grail level five. This stage five, where getting started, you start at stage one where we have this idea, we think could be a show, we're going to record it. That's literally stage one. Stage two is like we're going to keep recording and maybe get consistent about publishing and maybe get into a cadence and a rhythm. Stage three is where a lot of companies are, where they have this show, they have a regular cadence and they're really focused on growing the audience. And quite often companies get stuck there because they don't realize that there's a stage four and a stage five, where at stage four you use that show to bring it out, to squeeze the juice and to grow the brand. And you all started there and then accelerated into stage five, which is saying, " Yeah, it's about the show. But beyond the show, it's about building the brand. But beyond that, it's about generating revenue." And you've been able to prove, as you mentioned, attribution to revenue, how you're fueling growth of the business. So that said, back to this question, what would you recommend to organizations that aren't quite there yet? And there's a second part of this question too, but as they're getting started and they're still at that developing a show, building an audience, what mindset or what advice do you think that they can take from you that will help them get to stage four and five? I mean, you all just went straight there.
Nicole Wood: Yeah. I think just starting small. For us, we have a question that we had always asked in an episode and it was called, " What is your oh moment and when you realized you needed SaaS management." We asked that at every time and use that as a way to form a blog post. That's one simple tactical thing that you can do. But I think you mentioned something earlier, what was it? It escapes me now, but just trying to... I've lost my train of thought.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's okay.
Nicole Wood: It'll just keep snowballing. The more you just practice that, it gets ingrained in your mind, and that's inaudible.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Starts to come naturally.
Meredith Albertson: I think that's a great piece of advice. I mean, we talked about earlier, we didn't start with podcast. We started with an ebook and building that mentality and how do we prove out the strategy with something we were more used to as a team. So I definitely think starting small and starting something that with you're already comfortable with. It made the podcast and all of our audio and video content just so much easier to think about.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Going through these stages, what level of awareness did you have of being in a different mindset and being in a more sophisticated mind space or of a higher maturity level? Did you have any awareness of that at all or were you just like, " No, this is how we're just going to do it?"
Nicole Wood: I mean, I think it comes naturally. I remember you putting out this maturity assessment. I'm like, " We can't be a five. This is just how we do things. This is just who we are."
Lindsay Tjepkema: Naturally gifted. Part two of the question before is, and we spoke a little bit about this in the conversation, but if there's anything you'd call out specifically, what are the benefits or specific ROI that you've seen in having that mindset of being really revenue focused from day one? This what we call stage five?
Meredith Albertson: Let's see. That's a great question. You guys are catching me off my game today a little bit. Can you repeat the question one more time? I want to make sure I'm getting this right
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. So what are the benefits to your ROI or what ROI have you seen from being at a stage five and I would say of having that revenue mindset from day one?
Meredith Albertson: Gosh, that's a really, really great question. I think the interesting thing has been to see it affect maybe tangential metrics that we weren't necessarily expecting. So website traffic to ability to increase the level of engagement with some of our digital programs and campaigns. To see the return in emails that were getting opened and engaged with on our BDR side. I think those were some of the, I think, surprising ROI and benefits that we've seen from the program, as well as just giving our voice and our brand personality on social as well. Again, so much of our brand is I think just our people and how we work with our customers and highlighting our customers. And we've really been able to do that with Casted and I think bring that voice in an authentic way and fully all the way through onto social. So we've seen a lot of benefits with engagement and with growth of audience there too, with just, again, just using the content that we already had in different ways.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So important. And we didn't even really get into that, which is using what you already have. I mean, we've talked about it with this whole squeezing the juice, but constantly going back and saying, " What do we already have that we can repurpose and reuse?" Okay. One more. Besides the podcast itself, which you're doing a lot, as you mentioned, you didn't even start with this mentality. But besides the podcast itself, what are the best performing pieces of content that are driven or amplified by the podcast? So as you're ringing it out, as you're squeezing the juice, what's one of your go- tos because it seems to work really well for you?
Nicole Wood: I feel like that's a tough one. I mean, there's definitely a few episodes that pop up in my minds that are, or you're still popular today. And I think it was actually two of our first few that we debuted on launch day. We're still just getting high engagement. And I mean, we've definitely made some margaritas out of the juice from those in all sorts of ways on our website and other content.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's cool. Very, very cool. Okay. All right. So I have one bonus question that's completely random. And we're pulling in a thread here that if you're watching today, you're getting a sneak peek at it. But everybody's talking about how brands need to think like media companies, that's not new. People have been talking about that forever. But what we are wondering at Casted, and what we're curious about is, okay, if you're thinking a media company, that doesn't mean it's a thing over here on an island. It's we're going to do a podcast and call ourselves a media company. It's got to be central to your overall strategy. And media can't just be a thing you do. It has to be part of how you grow. And to do that, I think you have to have a certain marketing DNA. There has to be something in you that, to your point that comes naturally. It was like, of course we're going to think a media company, because media is important. It's how you build human connections or something of the like. So my question here for you and for everybody that we're talking to in this season that we'll be doing something fun with later is do you have any background in performance, production, entertaining, shows where this like, yeah, we're going to get in front of people and we're going to do something that makes them engaged, would come more naturally than perhaps more traditional marketing?
Meredith Albertson: I was definitely involved in theater and plays when I was younger. At some point someone thought I could sing, which is not the case. So I don't do that publicly at all anymore.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I'm not going to make you sing, there's not going to be any singing than me.
Meredith Albertson: Everyone would drop off this very, very quickly. And I danced all the way through college. I was on the NC State Dance Team. So that was one thing I continued all the way through.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's amazing. That's so cool. All these fun stories that we're hearing here. How about you, Nicole?
Nicole Wood: Meredith is a lot more exciting than mine. I had some dabbling in a couple theater productions and some music when I was younger, but I have a little bit more experience on the design side, less on the production.
Lindsay Tjepkema: There's something here, I'm telling you. Everybody that I've talked to has had something, there's some predisposition to the art and the entertainment side of marketing, of brand- building that I'm telling you is going to fuel. And we'll know that as humans. But I think the more that it's part of your story. It's turning into something bigger amongst brands that are seeing the most success in establishing that human connection today.
Meredith Albertson: I think it absolutely shifts the way you look at things.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Me too.
Nicole Wood: Yeah, definitely.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Thanks for sharing your stories and thanks for being here today. We appreciate you and everybody who is watching or listening now should definitely, definitely check out SaaS Me Unfiltered. It's a great show and you're doing really, really cool things with it. And don't just check out the show, check out all the things that you're doing with it because you are definitely squeezing out all kinds of juice and making all kinds of margaritas. I love that. But thank you for being here today. Thank you both.
Meredith Albertson: Yeah. Thanks for having us. Thanks for everybody joining.
Lindsay Tjepkema: All right. Thanks everyone. Well, that's our show. Thanks for tuning in. To learn more about how Zylo is leading the way in SaaS management, be sure to visit zylo.com. And to discover all the ways that Meredith and Nicole are driving the bottom line with audio and video content. Check out their podcast SaaS Me Unfiltered. And to learn more about Casted and how we can help you visit casted. us and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest on all things B2B podcasting, amplified marketing, and more.
While some B2B brands launch podcasts and video series as experimental side projects, other brands intentionally set out to make those easy-to-consume channels the chief drivers of their overall marketing strategy.
Zylo is one such brand, and on this episode, CMO Meredith Albertson and Content Marketing Manager Nicole Wood share how they launched their podcast SaaSMe Unfiltered with the goal of building their overall marketing strategy around the show.