Ever since ion interactive was acquired I’ve been encouraged to write about how we acquired new customers. Last week, after more than a year of that prodding, I finally got my SaaS Marketing Guide eBook out. It’s basically my idea of SaaS marketing 101 — with the concepts, assets, and channels that drive capital-efficient reach and acquisition in a content-centered, buyer-controlled world.
ion grew from $0-$10M+ ARR — from cashflow — using this data-driven mindset of assets and channels.
In my 11+ years as CEO/CMO, our customer acquisition cost (CAC) rarely exceeded our initial contract value. In most quarters, our CAC ran between 50% and 75% of our first-year recurring revenue. That’s the definition of capital-efficient SaaS customer acquisition. In the first nine years of that run, we accomplished that CAC with marketing generating 95%+ of the leads (little to no outbound effort). Over the last two
SaaS Marketing eBook Structure
Part of the reason it took more than a year for me to get these 27-pages out was that I agonized over how to organize and present the information. In the end, I kept it super simple, which is good, I hope.
SaaS Marketing Concepts
In my recent advisory work, I’ve come to appreciate how divergent and nascent digital marketing, content marketing, and especially SaaS marketing still are. The terminology is only consistent in its inconsistency. Even conceptually, there’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation that serves to cloudy already perpetually changing waters. That experience over the last year — with growth-stage SaaS companies between $1M in ARR and $50M+ in ARR — led to the first section of the eBook being dedicated to defining the fundamental concepts and terms. I hit a little of everything from funnel stages, to prospect and customer marketing, to ideal customer profile (ICP), attribution, and marketing technology. It’s just a few pages, but it helps frame the rest of the content.
SaaS Marketing Assets
I boil everything down to two sets of building blocks that come together in capital-efficient SaaS marketing: assets and channels. So the second section of my SaaS marketing eBook is building blocks and the first half of that is dedicated to the assets that marketing can make. Each asset category (and in many cases subcategory) is discussed and then I added summary tables to help compare and contrast use cases, required resources, relative value, and measurement opportunities of these assets. All in all, I profile 21 types of assets that can be utilized to tell your story across the buyer’s journey.
SaaS Marketing Channels
All of the content assets in the world mean very little without efficient distribution. I discuss eight broad organic and paid channels to distribute your assets. Again, I look at them through the lenses of use cases, relative value, and measurement.
The Art & Science of SaaS Marketing
To me, the art of SaaS marketing is pairing assets and channels to most efficiently generate demand. Of course, that art is driven by the science of measurement, testing, and a culture of continuous improvement that ties it all together. Governed by the science of testing, assets and channels come together to deliver authentic, compelling, targeted stories to the right people at the right time. A quality journey amplifies rather than obfuscates
I hope you find my SaaS Marketing Guide eBook valuable and useful as your SaaS executes its world domination plan.