Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Join Me at SaaS U in Austin

I'm extremely honored to have been chosen to serve on the faculty for this event.  I sure hope some of my Silicon Valley colleagues can join me and the rest of the SoftLetter Faculty and Staff in Austin for this incredible 3 days... Enjoy SaaS U for the first 2 days, and then join me for my positioning workshop.  Use the code below for additional savings...

Softletter's SaaS University: Marketing, Selling,
Infrastructure and Financing Conferences, 2012

Since 2007, Softletter has hosted the industry's most comprehensive series of conferences on SaaS. Conferences have been held in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Washington, DC. New markets, opportunities, and obstacles are opening up as the software industry shifts towards the Cloud and a computing environment that provides 24/7/52 availability, communities of customers, and customer service and support issues that transcend anything ever seen by firms in the on premise, client/server markets!
SPECIAL SAVINGS FOR KJR Friends and Associates : Now SaaS University comes to Austin, Texas, February 28/29th, March 1st. Register to attend at www.softletter.com. Save $100 off the Early Bird pricing with coupon: KJRSAVE100. Coupon courtesy of KJR Associates.

MY saas product positioning workshop - March 1st

Poking Through the Clouds: A Workshop That Builds Powerful, Sustainable, Breakthrough Positioning
This workshop will unlock your hidden positioning strengths, free you from your preconceived notions and put you on the path to accelerated revenue and market success. Using methods that have been proven to deliver results for SaaS and software providers in multiple market segments, we will rapidly develop powerful customer centric positioning. With your offerings and market challenges as our canvas, we will paint the picture of your breakthrough, market winning proposition. Facilitated by Ken Rutsky

SaaS University Program Overview Feb 27 and 28

·       28 Sessions
·       Six Keynotes
·       Five tracks, including main, sales and marketing, infrastructure, finances and transition
·       Complimentary Wine and Appetizer Networking Event
·      Two full days

Keynote Speakers

·       Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite Inc.
·       Roger Sippl, Chairman, Elastic Intelligence (founder of Informix, Vantive and Visigenics
·       Sharon Mertz, Gartner Research Director, SaaS, CRM, Russian Software Markets
·       Merrill R. (Rick) Chapman, Managing Editor and Publisher of Softletter & Conference Chairman
·       Jan Aleman, CEO, Servoy, B.V.
·       Patrick Fetterman, Vice President, Plex Systems, Inc
·       Kevin O'Brien, Senior Director, ISV & SaaS Strategy for Worldwide Alliances and Channels, Oracle Corporation

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Delivering Breakthrough Marketing: Viewpoint, Value and Velocity

Most CEOs I talk to have a jaded, if not skeptical view of marketing.  While they recognize the importance of marketing to their long term success, they have a hard time understanding and measuring how well marketing is doing.  And while more mature organizations have a good handle on very well tuned marketing metrics and measurement, the question is still always out there.  With the advance in marketing automation, new channels of communication, and the avalanche of marketing data now available, marketing has evolved, in many CEOs view, from a black art, to a black science.

Hidden behind the dashboards and metrics lies a more fundamental problem.  In today's hyper competitive, global, instantaneous market, where buyers and consumers have nearly unlimited access to information and each other, the fight for attention and share has become a treadmill of constantly faster speed.  With the proliferation of social media, and competivite solutions in even the most specialized market segment, we need a new Breakthrough marketing formula to feed the machine.

Simply put, we need a new model for getting noticed and getting bought.  To achieve the highest breakthrough possible, we need to get great at Viewpoint, Value and Velocity. We need to move to Converged Viewpoint, Unique Value and High Velocity.

Viewpoint, Value and Velocity Converge to deliver breakthrough

Let's look briefly at each of these elements, what they are, and why they are needed.

Viewpoint is a framing of the market in the context of your uniqueness.  The uniqueness of your team, your capabilities, and your vision.  Some call viewpoint thought leadership, some vision with a capital V, and some brand. 

Why is Viewpoint critical? Without a doubt, we live in a world of data and information overload. But often overlooked is the aspect of information over-availability.  As anyone who use Google knows, the challenge is not in finding an answer or result, but it is in finding the right or most helpful one.   What does this mean for marketers?  Let's take a look at one small experiment.  In November of 2011, KJR Associates examined a sampling of companies from the Andreeson Horowitz venture portfolio; Here's a screen grab of that set:

We then examined the websites of each company and determined its "market category":
Finally, we did a Google search using the a quoted market category name and looked at the quantity of search results returned.  This is displayed here:

Market Categories
Google Search Result for Specific Results

So, as is clear from above, and totally consistent with our intuition, it's a CROWDED marketplace for products and ideas.  Even in very niches market segments, we have hundreds of thousands of results returned.  The ONLY way to be noticed in this market is to provide something different, a UNIQUE and RELEVANT viewpoint. 

In order to define Viewpoint providers must tap into the macro trends that impact their customers, as well as the discontinuity they offer to meet these trends.  In my related post on Viewpoint, I walk through an example of this process.

So while Viewpoint is critical to getting noticed, Value is critical to getting into the buyers shortlist.  Simply put, Value is defined as the intersection between your unique capabilities express as business benefits,  your customer needs, and the missing capabilities of your key competitors.   This is shown with a simple sketch:

This unique Value is then articulated in forms such as competitive positioning statements, messaging, market segmentations and product feature benefit charts.    Then when combined with Viewpoint, I can tilt the market in my favor.  This process is further discussed here.

With ViewPoint articulated and Value defined, the last piece of the puzzle is to deliver high velocity programs, those that deliver high quality leads across the buying lifecycle.  Marketing Velocity = DE**2, or simply put:  

Velocity = Delivery X Engagement X Experience

High velocity marketing is strong on message, meaning it effectively and creatively communicates Value within a powerful market Viewpoint.  High velocity marketing uses appropriate Delivery channels and investments that meet buyers whereever and whenever they are in the buying lifecycle. More and more so, this is about delivering compelling experiences, as I have blogged about extensively.  Lastly, high velocity marketing is fueled by high levels of interactivity and engagement.  Gone are the days of depending solely on complex whitepapers to explain solutions.   Vehicles like live demos, interactive assessments, and engaging video case studies are now a must. Velocity is further explored in this post.