Marketing and sales strategies ebb and flow with macroeconomic changes, generational shifts, and advancements in technology. Anyone who has worked in-house on a marketing team for several years has seen these changes — what worked a year ago isn’t performing as well, pivot, see better results, plateau, pivot again.
For the past year, SaaS churn rates have been continuing to rise (and they’ve been climbing since 2020/2021), but there’s a predicted plateau coming. What’s been contributing to these changes? We’re seeing a few things.
Why are marketing goals and strategies changing?
SaaS marketing teams are experimenting with new channels for growth. 91% of B2B SaaS brands using product-led growth (PLG) planned to increase their investment last year. But, growth strategies alone aren’t enough. Brands we work with are seeing that traffic-based goals are no longer as relevant, and generating leads needs to be looked at differently than driving product adoption.
Growth vs. brand — which one is more valuable?
Growth strategies like product-led growth help marketing teams see the holistic user journey. It’s not just Who did we bring in through marketing campaigns? Or How many new users did we get?, but Which channel is bringing in the strongest cohort of users with the highest lifetime value (LTV)?
But brand is just as important. There’s so much competition in the SaaS world, and what makes a product stand out is the brand behind it and the trust that the solution will be worth the investment. Dmitry Shamis, VP of Brand and Creative at SEVENROOMS recently shared, “Your brand is the identity behind your product and GTM and CS and sales and ultimately why your customer buys (and sticks around). Invest in your brand today because soon enough it’ll be the only thing that truly differentiates you from your competition.”
In order to bring in users and get them to become loyal members of your brand community, you need to invest in both growth through strategies like PLG and brand and content marketing.
MQLs vs. PQLs — How SaaS marketing teams are measuring success today
Marketing teams aren’t being goaled on leads or marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) alone. It’s not enough information to measure how many people marketing can bring in the door. Companies are looking at the long-term value of customers brought in by certain marketing channels, the activities that signal a high-value customer, and customer retention and loyalty programs to maintain users for the long run.
Here are some of the ways that SaaS marketing teams are measuring the success of their content marketing programs.
Net promoter score (NPS)
Look at the net promoter score of prospects, leads, or customers by the channel that brought them in, or channels they interacted with most prior to becoming customers. For example, if a cohort of high-NPS customers are also regular newsletter readers, that channel is likely valuable to maintain. When Octadesk transitioned from sales-led to product-led strategy, their NPS increased by 25 points.
Which channels drive product adoption? And which features within your product are the most-used by superusers? If you find out that customers that create a team are more likely to become long-term, loyal customers, promote signing up as a team in your marketing materials.
Lifetime value (LTV)
According to a report from LemonStand, sites that use content marketing have 6X higher conversion rates and higher customer LTV than those that don’t. Content marketing builds ongoing relationships with your audience, including customers and prospects, that drive product loyalty that translates into higher sales.
Customer retention rates
Content marketing has been proven to have a positive impact on customer retention, and product-led content can help customers become more loyal to your brand. And repeat customers are more likely to have a higher average order volume and repeat purchase rate.
Product-led content marketing combines trust-building content with CTAs to promote product adoption
In addition to improving conversion and retention rates and generating high-intent leads, product-led content marketing campaigns have incredibly strong ROI. Here’s why.
- Provides multiple channels of entry for interested prospects
For SaaS marketing to be successful, brands need multiple channels for users at different stages of the decision making process. If a website visitor is meeting your brand for the first time because they found a cobranded guide that they found helpful, they may not yet be ready to try out a product demo. But, they might be more than happy to sign up for your newsletter or download another guide.
- Creates time to build trust
The SaaS sales cycle takes 84 days — if a free trial ends at 7, how are you reaching your audience of potential buyers? With content marketing campaigns and valuable research reports, prospects can build trust with your brand over time until they’re ready to make a decision.
- Drives targeted product adoption
Product-led content is valuable content for a targeted audience that strategically drives readers to product features, demos, or free trials. When we worked with DoorDash on their annual Restaurant Online Ordering Trends report, more than 5% of viewers then engaged with the product after reading. Industry reports can bring in net new contacts to the product and re-engage existing customers for upsell opportunities.
- Shows more specific intent for audience segmentation
When a reader downloads a piece of content through a more traditional content marketing flow, like a landing page, they show their intent, enter your ecosystem, and gain trust with your brand. The DoorDash restaurant trends report campaign led to nearly a quarter of viewers downloading the report and showing interest in a specific segment of the DoorDash product suite.
- Can be repurposed for multiple teams and goals
Content marketing and product marketing teams are working with lofty goals and reduced budget and headcount. The latest B2B marketing budget survey from Integrate found that 38% of marketing leaders are dealing with budget cuts and 40% are facing challenges with headcount cuts and staffing. The same survey revealed that growth targets are increasing and “impossible”.
But — valuable, data-driven content campaigns give marketing and sales enablement teams months of fodder for blog content, email marketing, social media, PR, and growth marketing. The product team can also work with content marketing to pair reports and long-form content with actionable product CTAs that lead to optimized product landing pages.
Create product-led content campaigns that drive sustainable results
Product-led content campaigns like industry trends reports bring value to your target audience while establishing trust with your brand. They resonate with executive-level audiences and help decision makers get buy-in for your product.
Looking to develop a research report for your brand? Reach out for a free consultation.