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in the gray 

Examining the not so black and white nuances of copywriting, branding, and business. 

  • Writer's pictureVictoria Gamlen

B2B SaaS Marketing Isn't Broken, It Was Built This Way: Part 1

Updated: Mar 10

Why B2B SaaS marketers being horrible at their job isn't an isolated event.

"Push." Santa Barbara, CA (2017)

Corporate jargon, ebooks, and gated content were all once pushed by B2B marketers. Many of those berating them now would have been singing their praises in 2010.

But the issue isn’t marketers on the Internet. Those will always exist.

The issue is that companies and founders are listening to them instead of addressing one of two underlying issues:

1. They don’t know their target audience.

2. They don’t actually have one.

For number two, many B2B SaaS companies are based on a “good idea” instead of actual demand. They’re a solution in search of a problem that few, other than the founder, are interested in solving.

Even if you could name just one or two B2B SaaS companies that did what the iPod did to the Walkman – i.e. generated demand for something that wasn’t really a “problem” – there are 25K SaaS companies in the world as of 2022. So this .008% data point supports my argument.

But how could that be?

Monosyllabic Missing Vowels Company X just got the biggest Series A, ever, from Douglas Fir Ventures (DFV).

“Who cares that they don’t have customers? DFV just gave them $50M!”

You have to understand that DFV didn’t invest in Company X because they believe in them. DFV invested in them because they know they’re probably going to fail. And that’s okay.

Because out of the dozens of other companies they also invested in, they only need one to take off to see an ROI.

(Raising capital can be a great thing. But you must know the rules of the game. The house always wins.)

After being handed a check, almost like clockwork, “growth at all costs” kicks in.

Put another way, investors become the customers. It’s nearly impossible to avoid. Sometimes, you don’t even need customers to get a check, just an idea.

For the bootstrappers building for an exit, the 5-figure MRR usually becomes their holy grail, not solving a problem for people.

In both scenarios, marketing then becomes “hard.”

Most B2B SaaS marketing isn’t bad (i.e. doesn’t drive revenue) because it’s boring. It’s bad because it never had to be good.

No other industry struggles with things like positioning, messaging, or creating content quite like B2B SaaS because no other industry could get away with not actually making money.

Until now.

While people stepping out of the “boring marketing” echo chamber should be a good thing, it’s not. Because they’re stepping straight into the “corporate jargon banning” one.

It’s still an echo chamber. And echo chambers are blinding.

Everyone is talking about how B2B marketing is broken but they’re not asking why.

If they did, they’d see very quickly that it’s not broken at all. It was built this way.

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