How to Optimise Your Marketing Strategy
Between COVID and the boom we’ve seen in recent years in B2B SaaS investments, SaaS companies need to reframe their marketing for efficiencies, sustainability and growth—your GTM needs to be smarter.
But most respond to this pressure by amplifying the volume of their messaging; both the competition and the saturation of marketing channels have increased correspondingly. On the organic side, marketers feel pressured to be active on as many channels as possible, resulting in messaging that’s too broad in its approach—and less focused than it needs to be to reach target audiences. Further, the rising consumerisation of digital channels has made paid advertising lesa
Recently, I was advising a company that was spending 30K a month on Google and LinkedIn Ads, but they were hardly getting any closed revenue; it wasn't even linked then to brand building—a sunk cost. As I’m seeing that these results have become increasingly common, I put together a few thoughts on how I’d recommend companies approach marketing strategy.
#1 Shift to Measuring Programme-Level Customer Acquisition Costs
Rather than measuring your customer acquisition costs (CAC) for your whole business, I suggest shifting to measuring programme-level CAC. In part, that’s because company-wide CAC can be quite complicated to work out. But it can also act as a quick metric that tells you whether or not a marketing campaign is working. If you shift away from measuring the CAC of the holistic business and towards tracking it on a programme level, you get insights more quickly. Then, you can either stop spending money on an underperforming campaign or invest more money into one that is working.
Ultimately, if you wait until these impacts are reflected in the business-level CAC, it can be too late to make changes.
#2 Invest in Conversions, Not Just Demand
I’ve been speaking a lot lately about the importance of brand building (i.e. top of the funnel), but it’s just as important that you invest in some middle-to-bottom-of-funnel activities.This is especially true of content campaigns. When companies launch content strategies, they often focus on top-of-funnel content like thought leadership or SEO blogs. Content is rarely focused on the middle and bottom of the funnel, but actually, this type of content can be quite useful in terms of conversions.
Think about the user journey of your prospects. If they get lots of top-of-funnel content, but then there’s nothing to support remarketing through the middle or bottom of the funnel, how are you going to continue to engage them? How are you going to keep them in the funnel until they’re in more of a buying position? Content for the middle and bottom of the funnel is often neglected, but it can make a major difference in the effectiveness of your programme.
#3 Launch New Programmes Iteratively
This is another area where I’m seeing companies fall short. Many want to invest in ‘big bang’ 12-month campaigns, but doing so can leave you in a vulnerable position—especially if you’re a younger company or one without a track record of marketing success. Rather than rolling out lengthy, sizable campaigns, most companies would be better off launching smaller campaigns iteratively using shorter sprints. Doing so enables you to capture performance data more quickly and to react more decisively to what’s working and what isn’t.
This can save you a significant amount of time and money compared to locking yourself into ineffective long-term campaigns.
#4 Design an Operating Cadence for Metrics
Getting closer to your metrics increases your ability to catch underperforming campaigns, programmes, or initiatives more quickly. That’s why I recommend selecting metrics on a quarterly basis and tracking them every week.
You need both leading and lagging indicators.Examples below.
- Website Traffic
- Linkedin Engagement
- Blog posts/engagement
- Number of webinar/event attendees
- Number of leads/pipeline volume: this is the most used leading indicator.
- Campaign ROI
- Cost per Lead
- Client Lifetime Value
- Conversion Rates
- Pipeline Contribution
- Marketing Mix ROI
Create a system that allows you to understand the flow-through of the funnel.
#5 Build a Minimum Viable Audience
Finally, I’ve been preaching about this for years, but I want to emphasise here the importance of building a minimum viable audience—that is, figuring out what your core ideal audience profile is and designing your brand building around it. Despite what many marketers think, you don’t need to build an audience of 10 million people to have a successful brand.
In 2008, veteran marketer Kevin Kelly argued that the nature of technological innovation means successful businesses can be built on audiences of just 1000 true fans (Li Jin of Andreessen Horowitz suggests 100 true fans might be sufficient). Regardless of the specific number, their point is important. In nearly all cases, focusing on a smaller pool of people who can become engaged and passionate about your product or service is better than aiming to reach everyone—and it’s doable if you focus on giving your audience great insights into the problems you can solve for them or teaching them how to do things better.
With that in mind, highlight examples of people who could be your 100 best fans and build your brand or content strategy around them. Think anti-scale rather than scale in this context.
And then, once you’ve proven that you have a sense of what’s working and what people are engaging with, you can double down and increase the velocity of your campaigns to capture a bigger market. Start building a small, engaged audience who are passionate about you, then build out from there.
A BONUS THOUGHT
Last week, in a MasterClass session, I added two more buckets to this list.
They are:#6 Think about GTM ‘PLAYS’ rather than PLAYBOOKS
#7 Fewer channels, contract your GTM and narrow the focusI'll detail the specifics of these next week.