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In: SaaS

The role of the marketing team within SaaS has stretched from simply awareness and creating interest, to guiding customers much deeper into the funnel.

The scope of marketing activities has broadened significantly. The most sophisticated marketing plans today deploy at least nine disciplines, ranging from content marketing, to evangelist recruitment, to customer lifecycle marketing, to cohort conversion analysis. B2B marketing has become radically more complex.

In a world where applications are delivered via cloud and distributed across billions of Internet-connected end-points, we’ve seen barriers to entry, adoption and innovation compress by an order of magnitude or two, if not crushed altogether. Compound this by advances in application and data portability and the implication for technology vendors competing in this global, all-you-can-eat software buffet is that customers’ switching costs are rapidly approaching zero. In this environment it’s all about the best product, with the fastest time-to-value and near zero TCO. And it’s this second point – time-to-value (TtV) – that Lenny Pruss wants to dig in on a bit because it tends to be the one glossed over most often. And, of course, Time-to-Value is applicable to any product and market, not just SaaS.

As the SaaS revenue model evolves, so are the metrics that SaaS companies use to monitor their growth. After all, if the metrics you’re using don’t reveal the most accurate picture of your business, what’s the point?

An excellent blog post that looks at the high level goals of a SaaS business and drills down layer by layer to expose the key metrics that will help drive success.

What I find interesting is that the SaaS financial model seems to be a simplified version of what some other industries use. Coming from the semiconductor business (which is also 90% software these days), all this is pretty much identical, except you have 10-5000 products you are managing at different cost/price points, different customer acquisition costs, and different churn rate issues. Am I missing something here?

I also don’t see any mention of the time-value of money or reserving a portion of annual contract income to cover a percentage of customers that decide to leave before their annual term is complete.

So where are all these personalized ads everyone keeps talking about? You know the ones – supposedly tailored to you and you alone.

Looking forward, with the processing power available in the Cloud and now also inside phones and TVs, there is the opportunity to delivery truly personal ads to each individual viewer.

Seeing a car ad? How about seeing the car in your favorite color and interior style instead of the one chosen by the ad agency?

Do you say “pop” instead of “soda”? Have a Southern accent? Use “colour” instead of “color”? How about modifying audio and text to reflect your dialect and accent to make you feel more comfortable.

While the way ads are created and distributed would have to change, consumer engagement would likely increase substantially.