Why SaaS brands need to have more sass

Written by:
Dan Salkey
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The growth of SaaS platforms has been almost immeasurable in the last 5 years. Well, not quite immeasurable. Thankfully someones been keeping an eye on it. Phew! Software as a service (SaaS) has been the largest and fastest growing market segment since 2019, with Gartner reporting a 2020 growth forecast of $104.7 billion for the industry. Businesses now spend 50% more on these cloud technologies than they did just two years ago, and they’re growing more reliant on them, too.

As software developers recognised the greater business opportunity in releasing subscription based products made possible by advances in cloud technology most of tech flocked to the model. You would be surprised to see an investment portfolio out of Silicon Valley, or anywhere else for that matter, that didn’t include a tasty wedge thrown into one or more of these companies. And hey why not? They’re good investments when they exit. Honey, Qualtrics and GitHub sold for a combined $19.5 Billion. That’s a lot of SaaS.

But the sheer amount of these products has led to a bland wall of sameness to the average joe on the street, or internet rather. Tech is often called a bubble in financial terms but I reckon it’s far more of an ideological bubble in the same way a middle class suburban town is. What I mean is that tech entrepreneurs are living in a Stepford Wives esque world of robotic blandness with consumers slapping their hands on the Simpsons style dome asking for a bit of personality for god sake.

When you read the websites and look at the design of the latest SaaS platform they all talk and look the same They all claim to have “revolutionised your daily calendar” or “Used X,Y,Z technical method to make sure that your boss knows you’re doing your work” It’s largely jargon filled, washed in blue (or some other safe colour) and communicates little about how the product is supposed to make you feel.

Yes I know these products are largely targeted at B2B customers, big companies who like big words and technical know how. But you know who signs up for the software subscription at said big company? Yep, Bingo, a person.

And people in the first instance want to know how a product or a service will meet their emotional wants and needs. That could mean making their day a little less stressful or it could mean making their virtual team feel that bit more social. Slack are brilliant at this by the way, from brand to product features. It’s likely a factor of their business starting in gaming before pivoting. Once you’ve grabbed people’s attention you can let the sales team and the product demo do all the technical talking for you.

A brilliant example of this and a SaaS platform that was far ahead of its time is Mailchimp. They’re the original SaaS challenger brand and when every software provider under the sun was trying to exude seriousness, safety and security what did Mailchimp do? They unveiled a man in a monkey suit as their mascot, readily ridiculed their own name to get brand fame and spoke to people like people in a category previously petrified to do so.

It meant they totally stood out from the pack of email software subscription providers and when they quickly moved into other forms of marketing they dominated those as well. They turned $700 Million in revenue as of 2019, to put that into context, Slack’s quarter came in at $133 million, and it was operating at a loss.

Every SaaS platform (regardless of application), whether it’s automating your emails, helping you plan your day or allowing you to send GIFs to your colleague MUST be more Mailchimp. They need to think about how their brand makes people feel first and foremost. How can not only our marketing communications but also every touch point of our product show that we understand our customers emotional wants and needs?

Do this, do it consistently and do it distinctively and your SaaS platform will be a whole lot more sassy compared to the rest.