In this week's newsletter: 5 Marketing Strategies to Drive Growth in 2023
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Scale Smarter #208
by Edwin Abl

GTM teams are under more pressure than ever to deliver results. 

Here's my take on 5 unorthodox marketing strategies to deploy/manage (which don't fit the standard playbook for 2023)

Now, on to this week's ideas...


Hey, it's Ed, and welcome to the weekend. Thank you for reading the Scale Smarter Newsletter — a once-a-week briefing with ideas from me, SaaS GTM insight and mindset tools for everyday life. This newsletter aims to provide you with actionable information in condensed form.


1. The formula for "Narrative Alignment."

I have provided SaaS GTM advice & coaching to more than 50 start-ups & scale-ups throughout the US, Europe & Asia. The top challenge I see repeatedly is what I like to call "Narrative Alignment". The term refers to an outcome where the whole commercial team knows the vision, strategic narrative and sales story. It's a crucial pillar of building the marketing machine. If you are "not-aligned", you'll benefit from the process below to get back on track. 

The formula for "Narrative Alignment" goes something like this:

Know Your TAM, Category Position & ICP
1. What is The Problem You are Trying to Solve, and What's The Value 
2. Agree on your "Category Battle Strategy"

Create ICP Profiles
3. Search for Audience & Positioning Clarity
4. Build Out Ideal Audience Profiles
5. Agree on Value Prop & Segment Your Positioning Narrative

Scaling The Narrative
6. Test & Learn With Feedback 
7. Align ALL Teams on the Positioning "Narrative Alignment"

2. From the archives: 39 Moves to Survive (& Thrive) in a Downturn

You'll need to be curious (not about the negatives)  but about the reasons for optimism and opportunity. 

> TLDR: 
🟢 Manage losses 
🟢 Gain some ground 
🟢 Manage psychology 

Here are the thirty-nine moves.

3. Here is how to help your team out of a lull.

You'll want to set aside "normal" strategies around motivation (goal-setting, incentivising, tracking the numbers, and pacing for progress with milestones and deadlines) and focus more on managing their team's energy and understanding their employees' psychological changes undergone over the past two years. 



4. Your Website is Your Most Critical Asset

I'm not exaggerating - most startups & scaleups have a website as an afterthought. Please don't remember; it's what your early customers, investors and customers will check. You only have 30 - 60 seconds to form the correct perception. Make sure yours does not fail the "perception" test, which is, in short, credibility. PS: Don't click this if you see your website as a side project - that misses the point. 

5. SaaS Revenue and Pricing Models Are Changing.

Whether you are a CMO, CRO, CCO or C-1, you need to learn the fundamentals of pricing. I needed to dig into it more when working as an operator. The insight here is if you clearly understand your products/ services pricing model, you can effectively impact how you think about the marketing GTM and sales execution approach. If you don't, you often deploy the wrong system. The value proposition must connect to your pricing model. 

6. The Marketing Math Behind Scaling a SaaS Salesforce

If you missed this one a few weeks ago. Please do read. Why? Because it makes you rethink your model of building a scaling commercial org. It helps you work out the math behind marketing and sales harmony. 

• Key Insight: 
It would be a mistake to hire a swath of salespeople, assign their quotas and then fail to provide them with enough inbound lead flow to succeed. In that case, marketing would be the limiting factor in the business. I believe asking salespeople to generate leads in addition to closing them is suboptimal in most cases. 



7. Downsizing Your Goals

7. I have experimented with many productivity systems (you can read about them here). At the same time, I used several frameworks for goal setting, i.e. V2MOM and OKRs.... and always set too many goals. On the one hand, it's good to be ambitious, plan, and be clear on what you want to achieve. On the other hand, it could slow you down. It actually might make life too complex. It might be setting you up for failure. It's obvious, but it's hard to keep things simple. 

An alternate view is downsizing goals.

It made me reflect and wipe the slate clean. I will see if it has the desired effect. You might benefit from this thinking as well.

The takeaway is that goal setting is personal to us all; you must experiment and find what works for you. Good luck!




One more thing... Thanks for reading.

Enjoy your day. And if you like this newsletter and want to support it, forward it to a friend 🤝, tweet me 👏, or if you’re seeing this newsletter for the first time, you can subscribe here.



🤔 5 Marketing Strategies to Drive Growth in 2023

Between COVID and the boom we’ve seen in recent years in B2B SaaS investments, SaaS companies increasingly recognise the need to scale quickly. But as marketers respond to this pressure by amplifying the volume of their messaging, both the competition and the saturation of marketing channels have increased correspondingly. 

On the organic side, marketers feel pressured to be active on as many channels as possible, resulting in messaging that’s too broad in its approach—and less focused than it needs to be to reach target audiences. Further, the rising consumerisation of digital channels has made paid advertising less effective, even as costs increase. 

Recently, I was advising a company that was spending 30K a month on Google and LinkedIn Ads, but they were hardly getting any deals off the back of it. As I’m seeing that these types of results have become increasingly common, I put together a few thoughts on how I’d recommend companies approach marketing in 2023.

The five strategies to consider: 

1. Shift to Measuring Programme-Level Customer Acquisition Costs
2. Invest in Conversions, Not Just Demand
3. Launch New Programmes Iteratively
4. Design an Operating Cadence for Metrics
5. Build a Minimum Viable Audience

Don't read the detail. 

Keep doing the same thing for the rest of 2023 =)



Want Me To Show You How To Build A Marketing Playbook 1-ON-1?

Pitch: I'll give you proven playbook templates used by fast-growing teams and my experience scaling B2B marketing machines.

Take it for a test drive



This newsletter is my passion project. I hope it helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to learn at the pace needed to keep up. Many readers have asked about how we can work together. In case you’re interested, I do three things.

(1) DUE DILIGENCE: Demand Karma helps B2B SaaS VCs validate investments, benchmark capabilities, and supercharge the 100-day plan—companies love complex, customers love simple, and VCs love that we make it simple.

(2) GTM COACH: Retained advising at funded scale-ups. A simple monthly fee. Helping CEOs build a scalable marketing machine. I'll help you fix your biggest challenges.

(3) MENTORING: Monthly coaching for marketing teams, CMOs / CROs / VPs, revenue teams and CEO insights for solving GTM problems. 

If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit. 

Click here to schedule a call.
Copyright © 2023 Edwin Abl, All rights reserved.

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Edwin Abl · 32 Lavender Sweep · London, London SW11 1HA · United Kingdom