Welcome to DRMG, Welcome to SaaS Brand Strategy

Today, every day is early days in the tech industry, as disruption continues to force the rethinking of conventional means of doing business, including marketing. The same spirit of soul and service that powers consumer brands can power SaaS teams so they can own the brands that drive demand.

By
Mike Geraci
|
February 5, 2021

In 2001, 14 ski bum/entrepreneurs stuffed into a sparsely-furnished (and heated) warehouse in Heber City, UT were panning for internet gold with a little idea called Backcountry.com (ne Backcountrystore.com.) The bootstrapped, barely breaking even crew knew that to compete with well-funded start-up competition like Fogdog and Planet Outdoors, as well as REI, they had to be different.

Two of those 14 were Dustin Robertson, hired in 1999 as the company's fourth employee and first in charge of Marketing, and Mike Geraci who had recently launched a PR firm. As the “marketing department,” Dustin and Mike were in charge of “different.” It was still the early days of ecommerce and the rules were there were no rules.

It was an intense, immersive, and real-time experiment and education on the new art and science of internet marketing, on a bootstrap budget. This meant marketing had to matter and had to be measured–a directive today’s tech CMO’s can relate to. 

At that point, Backcountry’s annual sales were under $1 million. Ten years later, Backcountry.com was a $350 million category leader. Growth was rooted in how Backcountry’s brand embodied and celebrated the pure pursuit of passion behind the sports and the products. When the competition was chasing status and sales with legacy media buys, we were selling soul, selection, and service to our community. 

In 2007, Backcountry.com was bought by Liberty Media Group. 

Fast forward 15 years, Dustin went on to apply those lessons as CMO of Vegas.com, CMO of Drip.com, President of Grow.com, and co-founder of Caddis, a D2C eyewear company. Mike merged his PR firm and moved on as Chief Strategy Officer at MercuryCSC, then brand strategy consultant.

In 2019, Dustin as CMO of Drip.com brought in Mike to rebrand and reposition the brand in the hyper-competitive marketing automation category. 

Recognizing the marketing-as-usual was necessary but insufficient on its own, they once again applied the risky way/safe way approach to B2B SaaS, leaning on the Play Bigger playbook of category creation with some secret sauces of their consumer brand marketing expertise to establish the ECRM category for Drip. 

This experience confirmed what they had seen coming for a couple of years: B2B companies will need to apply consumer brand marketing strategies to their traditional B2B playbooks in order to differentiate themselves in crowded, well-funded, and continually evolving markets. 

But how do you meld consumer brand strategy with SaaS sales culture? That’s the question and the opportunity, as SaaS businesses look for ways to stop competing on the same terms, literally and figuratively.

Last year, we repositioned and built categories for nine other B2B SaaS companies. Today, we’re formalizing the framework, toolkit, and playbook we developed throughout 2020 as a little idea we call DRMG, the first SaaS Brand Strategy system.

Today, every day is early days in the tech industry, as disruption continues to force the rethinking of conventional means of doing business, including marketing. The same spirit of soul and service that powers consumer brands can power SaaS teams so they can own the brands that drive demand.

Welcome to SaaS Brand Strategy. Welcome to DRMG. 

Dustin & Mike

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SAAS BRAND STRATEGY STARTS HERE

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