There’s a SaaS for That!
I am sure you all remember Apple’s trademark – There’s an App for That! I had a similar feeling at MarTech when I was looking through all the software. There were possibly a dozen solutions for any problem you could think of.
Whether it’s predictive intelligence/machine learning tools to do advanced attribution or content marketing, marketing project management, account based marketing, content performance management and tracking, event management or lead management, it’s all there and ripe for consolidation.
A Boon or a Bane?
This presents many solutions but also many challenges. It definitely provides the ease to tap into any of these solutions fairly quickly and configure your marketing operations stack to drive results. Of course, with an implicit assumption that you’d probably need a hefty budget approval, because most of these are B2B enterprise software.
Challenges mostly as a B2B software because it is not easy to differentiate and gain market and mind share from your customers. And, as I was hopping from one solution/software to another and asking more questions, this was becoming very clear. Just saying that WE are the best doesn’t cut it.
Nothing to takeaway from Marketing. I think all of these (barring a few) did a fabulous job at getting their message across. The folks on the floor were also decently knowledgeable to do a demo and show the tool for what it’s worth. But the problem runs deeper than marketing your marketing software.
Ripe for Consolidation by the Giants
I think we’ve already seen the rise of the Goliaths – Oracle, HP, Salesforce and others who have winged in the Marketing cloud under their fold and are eyeing to absorb more software. I saw a few of them on the floor focusing on the overall ‘Customer/Prospect Experience’. Undifferentiated and/or differentiated ideas as the case may be might be ripe for getting acquired by these bigger players as they are trying to make a more robust stack.
Key Takeaway for B2B SaaS Players – What’s the Way Forward?
It boils down to first principles. And there could be a few paths here:
What problem are you solving? Is it a new disruptive idea or something which people have already stirred the pot around? And if it is the latter, then angling is important. Either focused on a specific vertical/ solution by integrating the business pains you’ve seen from experience or secondary research.
Introduction of new components (perhaps other than software) in your SaaS story might introduce a stand out from the pack approach. If you want to introduce a crowd play and productize it as a solution instead of just another software may be?
The other way to handle this in the B2B space is with some sort of traction. Unlike B2C where user adoption becomes the primary approach to either raise capital or monetize for a growth strategy, B2B centric software play heavily relies on gaining beta customers, establishing value, really driving with price point for bigger monetization. But for the latter, a differentiated feature set becomes critical.
All in all, it was a good conference. I’d have loved to go today as well and listen in on some of the sessions. There were some good talks on Agile Marketing and how it differs from traditional agile. Some around the changing marketing experience landscape with digital and omni-channel and what it means to market to a customer in this space to provide that ‘superlative’ experience.