At Bowery Capital we spend a substantial amount of time investing in the next generation of vertical software businesses. We’ve made bets in companies like Fero Labs (manufacturing), Transfix (trucking), CredSimple (Healthcare), and MomentSnap (restaurants). We care about the themes and drivers of success in vertical software and put out an annual report on the ecosystem called Opportunities In Vertical Software. One of the more attractive qualities we find in these vertically oriented SaaS companies is often times an easier approach to marketing. The verticals usually involve less competition and less public relations noise. Below are some learnings from our experiences in building a successful vertical SaaS marketing effort.
1. Accept The “Pay To Play” In Vertical Markets. Vertical SaaS marketing strategies usually entail some form of paid media. You need the trade publications to cover you to build relevancy and a brand. Many of the founders we interact with balk at the fact they have to pay to get into a trade publication. This is one of the only areas where we recommend biting the bullet and paying for coverage given it truly is one of the only access points. Understanding that these publications survive on paid placements and paid interaction is necessary. Founders that don’t play this game and work within the system are usually in for some trouble and slower growth.
2. Infect Your Vertical With Logos. I don’t mean your own logo here, I mean getting the logos of your customers out and into the public as quickly as possible. Once you land customers get moving. Build case studies quickly and share with prospects. Add logos to your website for brand extension and power. Pay for some coverage talking about the success of your relationship with an influential customer. Most of these ecosystems are small with prospects and buyers all talking to each other and knowing each other. The minute you start to build vertical SaaS marketing momentum within this channel and become the talk of the town the quicker the industry will move to adopt you.
3. Use The Conference & Trade Show Circuit Aggressively. The conference and trade show channel is well worn in most areas of SaaS. However when it comes to vertical SaaS marketing this can likely be your best lead generating channel. Pay for a speaking slot or booth to build your brand and relationships. Get some coverage at the venue. Host a party or dinner with some of your prospects. Leverage the fact that you are the shiny new thing and people likely want to work with you.
There are many more ways vertical SaaS marketing tends to work in the wild, however these are three we consistently come back to in our day to day.
If you liked “Building Your Vertical SaaS Marketing Muscle” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts from the Bowery Capital Blog.