But for the first bill of the year, I make it a practice to look more carefully. Under this annual scrutiny, I saw that my January land-line phone bill included a $6.99 charge for "inside wire maintenance." It's insurance that covers me should hungry squirrels nibble on the phone wires inside my walls. Yes, I know I'm paying $84 a year for something that's very unlikely, but that's not my point.
At the time we moved to this phone service provider about 15 years ago, I made a conscious choice to purchase "inside wire maintenance." And once per year when I scrutinize the bill, I ask myself again, "Why am I paying for this service ?," and I make a conscious choice to renew.
From time to time, you should ask yourself this same question about your marketing programs: "Why am I paying for this?"
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers are spending a lot on marketing. Why? What are they getting for their money? What should they expect?
Let me suggest a few answers:
- Marketing helps revenues. Effective marketing should have a positive impact on winning new business or keeping existing business. In fact, if marketing isn't driving revenue, either directly or indirectly, don't pay for it.
- Marketing tells your story. Good marketing people can clearly explain what your company makes and why people should pay you for it. This story - your value proposition - is different from explaining how your product works.
- Marketing helps you win positive recognition and generates trust. People buying SaaS solutions in particular need to trust you. With a SaaS solution, customers are not just buying a product; they're buying a promise, a promise that you'll deliver services over the life of the subscription.
- Marketing accelerates the sales process. Effective sales enablement tools - a web site, presentations, collateral, on-line demos, case studies, etc. - move prospects toward a purchase. And they should do it more cost-effectively than, say, a direct sales force working without marketing support.