In marketing, there was a time when more = better. By casting a wide net, marketers hoped to pull in as many leads as possible. More leads, more traffic to the website, more content — what could be better?
The underlying idea was this: Increase the number of possible “attempts” to increase your chances of success.
With this “More of Everything” philosophy, marketing playbooks suddenly become over-abused, blogs became content farms, and companies started to over-measure and over-optimize commoditized best practices.
Marketing acts like a giant pendulum.
What worked a year ago may not work today. What’s working today may no longer work a year from now. In the era of SaaS and digital products, opportunities get saturated, best practices become overused, everything suddenly becomes highly measurable, more predictable, and over optimized. Things that we relied on become less effective over time and its efficiency fades out.
Everything in marketing is doomed by this rule. Continue reading
By now, you’ve probably already seen this image from Scott Brinker.
It gives you a realistic idea of how rapidly the marketing and sales technology landscape has evolved over the last 5 years and how tough the competition has become.
Every product that is able to affect the customer’s experience is — in some way competing.
However, as marketing technology’s power and ubiquity have grown, its strategic importance has not diminished. Modern marketing teams – more than ever – find their sweet spot on the boundaries between the technology domain populated by algorithms, systems, data, and the human domain populated by creativity, psychology, and brand.
Lately, I’ve been wondering how much of this marketing technology wave are customer ops teams really exploiting? In what proportion do they really use this new abundance of SaaS? And what is the speed of adoption of these new technologies?
While growth in marketing technology follows an exponential curve, organizational changes happen on a logarithmic curve.
This essay is a deep dive into the causes that hinder most companies from fully exploiting today’s technology abundance and the approaches that might solve some of today’s problems.
Sometimes marketers trick themselves and fall in love odd definitions. You’ve probably heard that “help is the new selling,” as if it’s something new. But is it, really? Isn’t this what salespeople have been doing since … ever? Isn’t “helping people” at the core of selling? In thinking about this, I’ve had a chance to think about how the role of sales is changing.
Something has changed and it’s continuously evolving over time, only it’s not the helping per se. What has changed is how salespeople help.
I’ve recently come across a number of articles that claim that “customer experience is the new marketing.”
After reading those words over and over again, a little idea started to whirl ‘round in my head.
I am a firm believer that good marketing focuses on what the potential user already wants to do, not on something that you want them to do. With this in mind, how is this “customer experience” idea something new?
Well, in fact, it’s not new at all.
Customer experience is actually the old marketing. “Old” not because it’s no longer cool but because it’s at the core of fundamental marketing practices. Retail and consumer marketing introjected this idea, not yesterday, but years ago.
All metrics are shortcuts. When we’re faced with uncertainty, we use metrics to break our problem down into simpler, tangible pieces that we can understand.
Metrics are simple proxies that allow us to transform difficult questions into empirical, demonstrable ones.
When we’re faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without even noticing this subtle substitution. This is what economists call an availability heuristic — a mental shortcut where we use what we already know, rather than complete information, when making a decision.
A few weeks ago Hiten Shah explained in a new interesting post why the most successful SaaS companies of the future will focus on usage, just like Facebook. In the write-up, he goes very deep into his explanation bringing examples of world-class SaaS companies like Trello, Slack, and Dropbox that are all building their strategies around this consumer-oriented product approach.
He predicts that this is how the next generation of SaaS will look like.
While I was reading Hiten’s post, I immediately recalled a frugal email conversation I had last month with Patrick Campbell, CEO at Price Intelligently.
Patrick briefly introduced me to the definition of what he calls “anti-active usage” products.
At the beginning of every startup, the most helpful data usually isn’t quantitative; it’s qualitative. You can’t measure very much in the early days for the simple reason you just don’t have enough data.
Analytics products like Google Analytics, Hotjar or Mixpanel won’t help you understand what problems your users really need to solve or what features you should prioritize after launch. At this stage, the only way for you to have a reasonable perception of the needs and the trends is to go out of the office and talk to people.
But when companies start to grow, they rapidly orient from a qualitative to a quantitive data collection approach. Which means they quickly start paying more attention to statistically significant numerical data than descriptive data, usually harder to analyze.
In his annual letter to shareholders, Jeff Bezos wrote:
Big trends are not that hard to spot (they get talked and written about a lot), but they can be strangely hard for large organizations to embrace. We’re in the middle of an obvious one right now: machine learning and artificial intelligence.
We’re probably not yet in the middle. We’re just getting started in shaping up the next industrial revolution with AI. This post is a deep dive into the why and the how Analytics and Marketing SaaS products will use Artificial Intelligence (AI).