Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feeding the content monster

Marketers beware!

There's a ravenous beast on the loose in marketing land, and it's hounding us mercilessly - days, nights, weekends & holidays - with an insatiable craving. "Feed me. Feed me. Feed me."

This beast inhales tasty blog posts for breakfast, devours hearty white papers for lunch, and feasts on entire websites for dinner. And in between meals, it snacks on a bottomless bag of tweets.

The name of this voracious beast - the Content Monster.

Cost-effective marketing requires lots of content

Cost-effective marketing, the kind that's essential for software-as-a-service (SaaS) success, demands content... and lots of it. Paid search, email marketing, PR, and other tactics can be very effective at building visibility and luring in prospective customers.

To work, though, they need a steady diet of content: white papers, webinars, video presentations, tweets, blog posts, press announcements, newsletters, presentations, comments on LinkedIn discussion groups, and whatever other bons mots that we can concoct.

There's an insatiable demand for content - a monster that needs to be fed.

A couple of ideas about how...

Watch your customers

One great advantage of the SaaS model is that you can, and in fact must, pay attention to what your customers are up to. You can learn a lot from them. See what they're doing with your solution and understand how they are using it to improve their business. You can pass along your observations and insights that may be helpful to others.

One note of caution: Sometimes it's best to share these observations about customers anonymously or in aggregate so you don't violate any particular customer's confidentiality.

Re-purpose your content

When you explore one substantial idea, make the most of it. Push it out through multiple media. An extended discussion covered in a white paper can also be presented as a webinar, which can be publicized via a press announcement. Bits of it can be doled out in a newsletter and through blog posts. Like an efficient and cost-conscious chef, let nothing go to waste.

Revisit good ideas

Just because you explored an idea once, doesn't mean your can't revisit it. If a topic was well-received 18 months ago and it's still relevant now, examine it again. Update it with a new angle, squeeze out a new insight, or garnish it with a fresh example.

OK Content Monster, you can go off and digest this tid-bit for now. I'm sure you'll be looking for more soon.

Creative Commons License

This work by Peter Cohen, SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Girl from Ipanema and the SaaS value proposition

The girl from Ipanema and Spinal Tap were stuck in my head - an unusual soundtrack that continuously looped through an entire weekend.

You know how that happens with a song. You catch a fragment in a supermarket or an elevator. And then without warning, there's a smooth bossa nova swaying through your brain and you can't turn it off.

As for Spinal Tap, an announcer on Sportscenter used the phrase, "he turned it up to 11." That set off the memory of spontaneously combusting drummers, a ridiculously tiny Stonehenge replica, and "it's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

When songs or movies pop into my mind, it's tough to get them out. Sometimes what works is to go directly to the source - listen to the whole song or watch the entire movie. Fortunately, that's easy to do now.

Thirty seconds and 99 cents later, "The Girl from Ipanema" was playing on my iPod.

A couple of clicks on two different remotes, and I navigated my way from Sportscenter to Netflix on Demand to watch "This is Spinal Tap."

What I want, when I want it. Instant gratification.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) offers this same kind of instant gratification for information and applications.

Sales compensation information, marketing program ROI data, job applicant tracking, or an email newsletter service...all are just a click away.

Using SaaS applications like these, you can quickly get to whatever's on your mind or on your to-do list - anytime, anywhere. All you need is a browser and internet access.

There's lots of value in this instant access.

Too often though, the SaaS value proposition is focused on the cost advantages. But there's so much more to SaaS than that.

Make instant access part of your value proposition. Explain the benefits and advantages of solutions that are easily available anytime, anywhere.

Instant gratification... customers will pay for that.

Creative Commons License

This work by Peter Cohen, SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.