Jeff Yoshimura is the master of SaaS stories. He was at Salesforce during the “No Software” picketing days, spearheaded a similar “#SubscriptionEconomy”effort at Zuora, and is now serving as VP of worldwide marketing at Elastic. In this panel, he talks brand-building with Jason Lemkin.
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In a nutshell:
- Brand-building takes time; don’t punish someone for a lack of immediate results.
- Think outside the box and have fun.
- Tie your product into a broader story.
A: They got their first 100 apps by setting an aggressive internal goal: 100 apps in 60 days. They treated the app exchange like a brand, and never gave it secondary status.
Q: How did you do marketing at Zuora?
A: They had some fun with it. They picketed outside of an Apple launch as SaveOurPress.com and got some good media coverage about the idea of a subscription economy. The name, though, was a little hard: sales reps had to teach pronunciation on every call.
Q: Any tips for brand-building?
A: First, no company or experience is the same. Second, brand-building takes time – how many people knew of Salesforce before 2008? Don’t fire someone because you haven’t gotten quick results – just keep iterating. Finally, hire the right team.
Q: How do you draw the line between end users and clients for stories?
A: At Elastic, they don’t really care – they just want as many user stories as possible.
Q: Is it okay to hire a rookie for the marketing team?
A: It’s fine to hire someone with 2-3 years experience; they don’t necessarily have to be proven.