I dare you to name five early-stage SaaS companies that advertise on TV — Pied Piper doesn't count. The truth is that not many do, but Slack does. Slack CMO Bill Macaitis shared the reasoning behind his TV advertising strategy at a recent talk at RocketSpace. It's worth noting that he was also the guy behind the commercials for Zendesk, too.
Here are three key takeaways about TV and video advertising from Macaitis's talk:
1. Disrupt Go-to-Market. Tech companies are all about disruption. Technology is changing our lives in so many ways. "Why would we use a 40-year-old playbook when we're not using 40-year-old technologies?" said Macaitis. There are so many different mediums marketers can use to reach their audience today — think about how you can reach your audience most effectively. Think about channels you can use that your competitors wouldn't even think of using. Aside from Slack's ads, another perfect example is MailChimp's campaign on the Serial podcast.
2. Consumerization of Enterprise Marketing. A golden rule in marketing is that you can't be everything to everyone — targeting the right people, with the right message, at the right time is the key to success. However, Slack does sell to nearly everyone. All kinds of industry verticals and teams use Slack—sales, devs, PR, even teams at NASA's jet propulsion lab. "Advertising was a great, very effective way to get our message out in front of millions of different people. Something that has worked really well — helped accelerate our awareness and our business," said Macaitis. "Marketing's goal is to help accelerate that overall growth, and not only looking at new people but existing users." Buying behaviors continuously evolve, but at the end of the day, you're selling your technology to a person that is going to use that technology. Slack's not the only app that makes it easy for people who work in the enterprise to quickly and easily get started with its app. Trello and Dropbox are other examples — so the consumerization of B2B marketing makes sense.
3. Advertising Metrics. Macaitis is all about metrics. His video and TV advertising campaigns are definitely not a vanity play. When it comes to these campaigns, Slack is measuring everything from aided recall, unaided recall, sentiment, visits to its website and more. It even tested local ads in Austin, Denver, and Seattle, and it ran control groups compared to other similarly sized cities. So while Slack's audience is vast and TV advertising seems like a broad channel to market to the masses, it doesn't mean you can't measure its effectiveness with your target audience. On and offline measurement tools and tactics continue to improve and help marketers determine ROI.
A parting thought: TV advertising certainly isn't cheap, but given the ability to microtarget, it might be more feasible than you think for your startup. Be sure to have a solid understanding of your target audience before you go down this path of experimentation. If you haven't seen the commercial, check it out: