Shake up your SaaS strategy: 3 insights from our first episode of DPDK Talks
Today, we're premiering the first episode of DPDK Talks, our new series about everything digital. We’ll be discussing tactics, trends, and tips to inspire you and offer practical solutions for all things tech, creative, and design.
Our CEO Pim van Helten and copywriter Catherine LeBar’s first conversation was about digital sameness in the SaaS industry. They explored what digital sameness looks like, what causes this phenomenon, and effective solutions for SaaS brands to stand out.
You can watch the whole chat here, in the video below.
Looking for the CliffsNotes version? Here are the three most important takeaways:
1. SaaS brands are falling victim to “digital sameness”
Digital sameness is this phenomenon where everyone is doing the same thing online. Most SaaS brands are trying to solve the same problems as everybody else in the industry, using the same tech stacks and the same tactics. So, what happens? Their products and ideas became virtually indistinguishable.
All these brands are starting to look alike in their design, too. Lately, most SaaS companies seem to favor a similarly minimal aesthetic with ultra-simple logos, solid colors, and sans-serif typography. They all use the same website layouts featuring stock photography and illustrations. With every brand looking and acting the same way, customers have little reason to choose one brand over another.
2. Fighting digital sameness requires a multi-pronged approach
A lot of this sameness is caused by the fear of failing to keep up with both competitors and customer demands. SaaS marketers have a lot of pressure to perform for their boss or drive results for venture capital investors, so they keep a laser focus on data, pipelines, and lead generation. As a result, many brands look at what everyone else is doing before making or deciding their move.
You should always start with defining your brand first - who you are, what you stand for, why you’re in business, and what makes you unique and valuable. To establish genuine differentiation and customer connections, you must develop a brand and value proposition that resonates with people.
With that in place, there is a big opportunity to explore differentiation through your visual identity. Your brand colors, typography, logo, and graphic style play a big role in how you are perceived. Right now, everybody pretty much looks the same - so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You can easily move away from stock photography and illustrations with creative and cost-effective tools like design systems.
Finally, make your user experience a focal point. User experience is often overlooked and undervalued in the SaaS industry, because everyone’s overly concentrated on implementing the latest tech trends. A lot of SaaS brands make the mistake of not investing in their interface design because their developers can, in theory, do it all themselves. But it will always pay off to focus on delivering the best user experience possible.
3. Differentiation should not be your brand’s primary goal
Simply being different for the sake of being different isn’t enough to build a successful brand. There are many ways in which a SaaS brand can try to be “different”, but you need to be different in a way that’s relevant to your target audience. They are the ones whose buy-in you need.
What customers want is brand authenticity. They want to see that you are true to your unique brand culture and value proposition. In order for customers to actually care about who you are, it’s important to consistently align all of your marketing efforts with your mission statement so that you appear reliable and trustworthy. The SaaS industry in particular is so oversaturated that if people don’t feel they can trust you, they will start looking for brands they feel they can trust.
Brands delivering “different” experiences that don’t fulfill customers’ needs or align with their own promises will draw momentary attention but ultimately become forgotten distractions. To avoid getting lost in the sea of white noise, opt for creating a genuine brand experience.
There are many ways SaaS brands can combat the current impulse to follow the masses. You’ll have to fight the battle on multiple fronts, but what will matter most is how you use your creativity and define your brand. Forge your own brand identity and build affinity with your audience through bold designs and authentic connections.