This post is based on our podcast episode with Riikka Söderlund. Riikka is a SaaS marketing expert and the CMO of Katana, a Tallinn-based startup that has raised over 50m€ in funding. You can watch the entire conversation here.
1. Measuring what’s working
Attribution has been all the rage for a long time, with many tools and services promising to help companies answer the age-old advertising quip “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Riikka highlights the importance of a holistic understanding of attribution, rather than relying only on software tools or simplistic models. A deep understanding of the business model must be the starting point. Factors such as buying persona, average contract value, buying cycle length, and number of touchpoints have a huge impact on how performance should be measured.
Before attribution can even become relevant and a tool for better marketing decisions, there needs to be a proper understanding and alignment on the calculation of key metrics such as customer lifetime value (LTV) and customer acquisition cost (CAC).
It’s also crucial to understand the purpose of various marketing initiatives and measure the performance accordingly. For example, the objective of a social brand awareness campaign is very different from a search ad campaign.
2. SaaS metrics that matter
There are several key metrics that are important to track when it comes to SaaS marketing.
The lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio (LTV:CAC) is crucial, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus for growth-oriented companies. For example, at Katana they shifted from tracking free trials to closed-won customers, reflecting marketing’s impact on the entire customer journey and its role in generating monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
Riikka also highlights the importance of churn, as it affects LTV and overall business health. She points out that marketing should be involved in the entire customer lifecycle, including re-engaging lost customers, to prevent churn and maximize revenue generation.
3. Choosing her next marketing role
After leaving her role as VP of Marketing at Smartly.io, Riikka was looking for her next job. To help narrow her options, she came up with three criteria.
First, she wanted a company with a positive culture, where the management is genuinely commitment to its employees and the overall mission. Riikka points out that this is often preached, but seldom practiced.
Second, Rikka looked for a role where marketing was a key business driver. She wanted a position where she wouldn’t have to constantly justify the role of marketing but could instead focus on contributing to business growth
Third, she wanted a company where the available resources matched the desired outcome. Riikka highlights the unrealistic expectations often placed on marketers to achieve ambitious growth targets without corresponding resources.