Nearly 150,000 workers in the U.S. tech sector were laid off in 2022. And the reality is that many companies can continue operations with smaller headcount indefinitely. So it stands to reason that 2023 will see other tech firms following suit—slashing staff to send a signal to shareholders that profits matter and preservation of cash is critical.
As the tech industry continues to respond to rapidly-changing market conditions, CMOs face a number of challenges, but also opportunities to grow and rise above. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the past year’s biggest pain points, as well as some of the more exciting trends that are shaping the industry at large.
Let’s start with one of the most obvious—customer acquisition and retention. The impact of the sagging economy over the next 4-6 quarters will likely include logo churn, a reduction in new business and overall seat contraction as headwinds force growth projections to slow—so attracting new customers and retaining existing ones will be mission critical. That means delivering a high-quality product while effectively communicating the unique value of your product is key. CMOs must find new and creative means to engage their target audience in authentic and differentiated ways.
CMOs must also demonstrate the value of their products to potential customers in the form of selling points that matter most to them as individuals. This requires a clear understanding of how to address customer needs by blending pain points and solutions—specific to role, industry and segment —in a clear, compelling and differentiated way. Updating audience research, augmented with deep segmentation and profiling is a great way to stay in touch with the unique needs of your audience in order to speak to them in their language.
Finally, CMOs must be willing to continuously learn and adapt to changing market conditions—all happening at break-neck speeds. Some recent shifts worth mentioning include:
AI and machine learning: With the advancement of tools like OpenAI, HuggingFace, Weights and Biases, and DeepAI, the widespread adoption of these tools will mean additional pressure to augment and differentiate your offering. And with the free and easily accessible ChatGPT, this technology is now in the hands of the masses, further adding to the challenge of credibility and differentiation for more established firms.
Remote work: The pandemic has led to an increase in demand for SaaS tools that enable remote collaboration, communication, and project management. Understanding this trend and considering how you too can leverage remote work to reach new customers and build relationships with existing ones will be critical in the coming years.
Data privacy and security: Forbes reports that governments around the world are stepping up efforts to protect the data privacy of citizens. Predicting that by 2023, “65% of the world’s population will have personal data covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10% in 2020.” That means you should be transparent about how customer data is used in marketing efforts. By being proactive and responsive to customer concerns, CMOs can build trust and establish themselves as responsible stewards of sensitive customer data.
Personalization: With the increasing availability of customer data, many SaaS companies are using deeper, more meaningful levels of personalization to tailor their products and marketing messages to the needs and preferences of individual customers. Some examples include:
1) Brands are starting to take a truly personalized approach with customers—going beyond using customer names or recommending complementary products based on previous purchases, and are now creating unique, one-to-one experiences.
2) Using predictive personalization, AI can be used to analyze customer data and deliver personalized content, including customized recommendations, unique web and landing page experiences with personalized calls to action, and email campaigns tailored to the customer based on their behavior.
3) As technology advances and data sets become larger, personalization will extend to longer customer journeys, allowing marketers to create personalized experiences throughout the entire customer journey, rather than just at specific points.
It seems the SaaS industry is in for a bumpy year, so being aware of these market shifts, and leveraging them to your advantage can make the difference between hitting your goals and missing them.