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SaaS Marketing Best Practices

Do you work in SaaS marketing? If so, check out this video and post. So you can level up on targeting, positioning, thought leadership, branding, connecting the dots, and tying marketing investments to business growth goals.

 

  1. Know who you're marketing the software product to -- Identify who your most important buyer personas are. For a software startup, lean into your early adopters' success and who you've built the software product for. So yes, there's a very symbiotic relationship between product management and marketing. For more established software companies, ask yourself which categories of buyers tend to be most successful with your software and are most profitable to your company.
  2. Position your company as experts and thought leaders -- Regardless of what your software product does, you're almost certain to face competition, perhaps even hyper-competition. To successfully differentiate in a digital buyer's journey, where buyers do most of their research and shortlisting before they're willing to meet with someone from your company's sales team, your company and key company stakeholders must be seen as experts in the industries you sell to. The best way to do this? Publish and distribute helpful, educational thought leadership content that answers your target personas' most pressing questions and provides advice on their top-of-mind goals, plans, and challenges.
  3. Build and invest in processes to create and distribute thought leadership content at scale -- Many software companies are over-invested in traditional marketing and sales campaigns --- from the 2010s -- with rapidly declining effectiveness. Today's empowered software buyer does a ton of research on their own -- using search engines, review websites, social media, podcasts, videos, and webinars -- to inform their purchase decision. If your software company is still stuck on the playbook from 10 years ago, you likely need to rebalance some resources out of your sales organization and into your severely underfunded digital marketing and product management organizations. (Consider too whether some of your talented sales team members could be retrained/repositioned as fantastic digital evangelists/content creators or product managers/product marketers.)
  4. Invest in your brand to protect against marketplace commoditization -- In a digitally transformed world, there's good news: you can likely sell globally to many more markets than made sense even five years ago. However, some bad news? You'll also now face global competition from places where the cost of living is much lower. And if you're in a hot category, you'll also likely have to compete with some very deep-pocket competitors. Your best defense against all of this: You can't just build a great product anymore that solves a huge problem. You also need to have a spectacular customer experience. And build brand loyalty that extends from marketplace awareness to prospects to customers to highly-loyal customers.
  5. Connect the dots between your business model, unit economics, and marketing investments -- When it comes to marketing software, many startups and scale-ups often gloss over the relationship value creation (why their business model exist), pricing power, average client lifetime value (LTV), and what their company can afford to invest in with marketing -- especially client acquisition costs (CAC). At a basic level, an enterprise software company selling $100,000+ subscriptions and professional services can afford to invest way more into marketing than a company selling $29/month SaaS. Remember, regardless of whether you're creating great content so you can get found organically on a search engine results page or buying paid search or paid social ads to get more visibility on an eBook or webinar landing page, you have all kinds of competition. The stronger your business model and unit economics, the stronger your war chest will be for winning competitive battles for attention.
  6. Get realistic and self-aware about your marketing investments -- If your software company is new or you've historically shied away from making significant investments in content creation and content promotion, chances are there are multiple companies in your space that have a multi-year head start. They already have search engine authority, email subscribers, social media followers, case studies, and a lot of cash to invest into growth. Yes, your company must play in this space as well to become or remain relevant. However, it's unlikely that you're going to achieve what competitor "X" has been doing for the past five years in five months -- even if you could invest super-aggressively right out of the gate. Aside from observing competitors' websites, resource centers, and social media feeds for thought leadership assets, spend some time on LinkedIn Sales Navigator to understand each competitor's marketing team composition -- both in sheer headcount and roles.

 

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