SaaS Marketing Trends for 2023: The Rise of AI and ML

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From AI-powered personalization to wild obsession over user retention, the SaaS marketing landscape is constantly shifting – and we’ve got the inside scoop on what’s next.

You see, SaaS companies are constantly pushing the envelope, striving to offer their customers better, faster, and more seamless solutions.

As a result, your SaaS marketing strategy must be dynamic and adapt to these changes lest you become obsolete. 

And as cliche as it may sound, the start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to refocus and stay ahead of the curve. By knowing the top SaaS marketing trends for 2023, your B2B SaaS marketing team can plan and prepare for long-term growth and success.

So, get ready to elevate your marketing game as we discuss six trends that are shaping the future of SaaS.

1. AI Will Drive SaaS Product Marketing

Whether we like it or not, the role of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been increasing in product marketing and beyond. The AI software market is expected to reach over $250 billion in 2023 and over $1,000 billion by 2032. These figures leave no room for speculation and suggest that AI will drive SaaS product marketing.

Delivering data-driven marketing campaigns is essential for ensuring their success. AI can process more data than human marketers do. We can all agree on that. Combined with ML (Machine Learning), AI can optimize marketing campaigns to skyrocket your ROI.

Personalization is a must these days. AI can help you segment your customers based on user behaviors, for example. It can proceed to use behavioral and real-time data to create highly personalized messages crafted for each user. Participants can receive personalized marketing messages that they actually want to read.

Moreover, AI and ML can analyze your data and predict which prospects are likely to convert. That group can be sent personalized emails with relevant offers to influence their buying decisions. Not only that, but your sales team may also receive automated emails with a list of leads that are close to converting for follow-up.

With the help of automated marketing tools, marketing teams can ensure that customers get the right message at the right time. 

With ML, SaaS business owners can also adjust pricing depending on the changing supply, demand, and competitors’ prices. Adapting dynamic pricing packages will help SaaS businesses increase their profit in low- and high-demand times. 

2. Feature Marketing Will Go Mainstream

Feature marketing has been one of the leading SaaS marketing trends for some time now. It will get even stronger in 2023. Feature marketing is an effective way to attract new customer bases and provide means of incentives for existing customers to stay with your brand. 

SaaS is an industry with plenty of room for quick changes and improvement. So, companies in this field constantly work toward evolving their solutions. In feature marketing, adding a new feature to your current SaaS product is an opportunity to promote the new feature as an additional incentive for customers to stay with you. 

For this strategy to work, your company has to have a good understanding of the product-qualified lead profile. Once you’re in it, you need to constantly gather clients’ feedback to work on new features and updates that the customers need. This tactic will support the ever-changing customer demands and will ensure your product retains its competitive edge.

Dropbox is a prime example of a SaaS company utilizing feature marketing. The company believes that every feature of its product deserves its web page. The screenshot below shows how a user can see all the key features of the product in the menu:

Once they click on a chosen feature, they land on a new page to learn all about the attribute, plus read the related FAQs:

But how will you know what your customers need? It’s pretty simple, actually. Ask them. Make it easy for your users to give feedback. Listen to what they say, good and bad, and implement changes if possible. 

The chances are that if one user has reported an issue, more clients will have the same problem. Offering a solution to that problem will give your SaaS company a chance to sell the product to similar audiences while retaining its users.

Here’s an email invite to a survey from Email on Acid on its platform.

Any new feature that needs adding to your website creates an opportunity to add high-value new content to your web pages. Make it SEO optimized, and watch your website attract even more qualified traffic. 

3. More SaaS Companies Will Embrace Usage-based Pricing

In 2023 we’ll see SaaS companies embracing usage-driven pricing strategies. Usually, In the competitive SaaS market, your product’s price directly influences the buying decision of your potential customers. 

In the usage-based pricing model, users are charged depending on their usage. This way, you can attract customers with fluctuating usage needs.

The usage-based, or pay-as-you-go, pricing model has been especially popular among cloud service providers. It then started making its way into SaaS conference discussions, and soon afterward, more SaaS players adopted it. In fact, 56% of SaaS companies were charging usage-based pricing models in 2022. That’s an increase from 27% back in 2018. 

Shopify has already introduced usage-based pricing models, among others. It offers its clients modular pricing based on component usage.

Why is this preference popular? It’s a flexible option allowing customers to explore how to use your company’s services naturally without spending more money than they need to. This can be a game changer, especially if you notice that price is an important factor among your target customers. 

Customers get billed at the end of the cycle a usage-based charge of what they actually consumed, as opposed to a flat subscription pricing fee charged regardless of how often they used the service. 

Usage-based pricing allows for paying for products depending on how people use or consume them. The customer can start at a low cost. Attracting more customers to this scheme means securing a monthly income. The price is directly tied to the value a customer receives.

During the usage-based period, you can present your brand and other products to the customer. You can then build trust and nurture users to convert them into fully paying customers. 

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to promote usage-based pricing to your leads and then work towards upselling them to give the users more value while generating more revenue for your business.

4. Native Advertising To Become More Popular

Native advertising is part of paid advertising. Your ads should match the look, feel, and function of the media format they are displayed in. The aim is to have the ads fit natively and seamlessly on the web page the user is looking at.

This native look makes the ad not appear like a regular ad, so it doesn’t disrupt the user’s interaction with the page. You’re showing the user promotional content, but unlike display, or banner ads, it’s not annoying.

Native ads often take the form of recommended content on websites. So, if a user is reading an article, it can appear below or beside the blog post. 

Here’s an example of a subtle native ad from PayPal (in the red box) placed alongside other articles on the Entrepreneur’s site.

Native ads may also appear on social media channels, like Facebook or Twitter, as part of users’ news feeds.  Another popular way of showing native ads is on Google search results pages. Those can be the search and promoted listings at the top of the page or in the sidebar.

In your native advertising strategy, make sure to serve the ads on relevant platforms, i.e., areas where your target audience hangs out. Additionally, deliver relevant ads that will resonate with your audience.

5. More SaaS Companies Will Use Unbundling Strategies To Increase Conversions

In 2023 unbundling strategies will be adopted to satisfy customers’ ever-increasing demands. 

Although the additional features of any software are usually great, not every prospect needs them. Enter the unbundling strategy, where you break the products into smaller parts that solve a specific problem. 

The companies have to unbundle their products and let users build their packages. You give customers a core model priced at the base price. Then, they can choose to add additional features they want to use. 

Making this option available satisfies users who only want to pay for the features they actually use. Who wouldn’t like that?

We’ve already seen SaaS companies like HubSpot take the lead on this. The company has unbundled its products into multiple “hubs,” allowing customers to only pay for what they need.

Unbundling will have an impact on the price of the product. Companies will have to come up with the minimum price they will charge their customers for solving specific problems instead of buying all the services at once.

When SaaS businesses focus on solving a particular problem, B2B marketers can promote specific content and deliver them to particular target audiences. Product unbundling narrows the focus of your marketing messages. Your content must be more specific and targeted. This increases the chances of conversions. 

Unbundling brings a lot of new content needed to educate prospects about your products. Creating How-tos, demo videos, and webinars, publishing them online, and then promoting them through social media, email campaigns, etc. That’s a lot to work on in 2023.

6. More Focus On Customer Retention

SaaS companies are going to obsess over customer retention more than ever before. As the competition grows, looking after your current customer base is crucial. 

New customer acquisition is pricey and time-consuming. That’s why one of the most vital rules in the SaaS industry is to retain customers and build loyal relationships with them to avoid costly customer acquisition costs. 

You can increase customer retention by giving your users an outstanding customer experience. This is another area where embracing AI would help, as it can improve user experience through conversational AI.

Here’s a handy overview of how a SaaS company can improve customer experience:

Offering a great customer experience will grant a constant improvement in customer satisfaction. This will lead to better customer retention and revenue increases. 

Write user-centric pieces of content and stories. Make your digital marketing focused around the users.

The below newsletter from Canva proves that the company likes to keep its customers engaged and at the center of its campaigns. The company creates fun design challenges, among other initiatives, just to entertain its users. 

Meet your clients on social media. Be active on Facebook and Twitter, where customers like to ask questions and seek help. Promote new products and solutions. And create a thriving community for your users.

Wrapping Up

A new year usually brings new trends to look out for. The SaaS industry is no different. 

In 2023 mind the influence of AI in SaaS product marketing. You should also focus your marketing efforts on feature marketing and unbundled products and introduce usage-based pricing models. Promote SaaS products using paid native ads and put an even greater focus on customer retention.

Now you know the SaaS marketing trends to look out for in 2023. Double down on these to stay ahead of the competition.

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