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Peter Cohen, has more than 25 years’ experience developing and implementing successful customer acquisition strategies for technology companies, including IBM, Lotus, Constant Contact, Buildium and Progress. He specializes in the unique challenges of marketing SaaS and cloud solutions. He publishes a blog and newsletter entitled “Practical Advice on SaaS Marketing.” Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 11 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Spend First, Think Later: A Bad Idea for Software Marketing

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When it comes to putting together a marketing plan, there are lots of reasons to spend first and think later.  The "spending" I'm talking about is spending on marketing programs like PR, events or collateral.  And the "thinking" is about developing a compelling value proposition and messages.  One reason why marketers spend first and think later… it's more fun.Spending money on a clever promotional video, a tradeshow party, or a new ad campaign...  that can be fun.

But thinking about a value proposition… that's not fun.  That's hard work. 

Eat your broccoli first

Spending before thinking is more fun... but it's backwards.  You need the value proposition in place before you can do any of the fun stuff.  It's like you need to eat your broccoli before you eat dessert. You need to know who you're selling to, what problem they're trying to solve, and why they would buy a solution from you instead of somebody else.

And you need to express that value proposition clearly, concisely, and consistently.  You need to do the hard work to answer these fundamental questions before you start spending on marketing programs.  (Or you can hire someone like me to help.)Because until you have a well-articulated value proposition in place, it's difficult to get much value from the other stuff.

You can spend lots of money on programs to deliver your messages:  PR, search engine marketing, videos, a website, tradeshows, etc.

But it won't buy you much unless you have a compelling message to deliver. For software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies in particular, that's money wasted… money that you can't afford to waste.  (See "SaaS customer acquisition:  Feed it or starve it?"  Eat your broccoli first, then you can have the pineapple pie!

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


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