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2021 Saas Marketing Capability Report: What a Difference a Year Makes.


2021 Serious about SaaS Marketing Capability Report

This is our second Serious about SaaS Marketing Capability Report. It brings together the findings and insights from a survey conducted amongst Kiwi SaaS businesses in late 2021. The survey allows organisations to benchmark themselves against their peers and gives insight into areas where more investment in capability is needed.


As with the inaugural 2020 edition, the survey is built around ten marketing pillars. They represent different areas of marketing, from strategic alignment to customer acquisition, to website performance. To complete the survey, CEOs and marketers in SaaS businesses were invited to rank themselves on a scale of one (being poor) to six (being great), based on an assessment of their own capability.


To follow are key highlights from the 2021 edition. You can explore the in-depth results in the full report or check out the infographic for a high-level overview.


Respondents profile


While the overall profile of the respondent sample was similar to 2020, there was a larger proportion of bootstrapped (38%) and VC-funded (22%) organisations.

2021 Marketing Capability Report - funding model

In terms of roles, there were fewer founders but there was a pleasing increase in the number of marketing and revenue leaders who responded.

2021 Marketing Capability Report - role

Overall ranking


This year has seen some dramatic changes in pillar ranking based on the percentage of respondents that scored themselves a five or six (highly capable) in these areas.

2021 Marketing Capability Report - pillar ranking

Top performers

Not surprisingly, Kiwis are attuned to their customers, supported by the top two ranked pillars from the survey. This is a very positive result and shows 46% of Kiwi SaaS businesses have a really good handle on who they believe their target customers are. While 41% understand customer retention (what their needs are and how to keep them).


Needs improvement

On the other end of the spectrum, customer acquisition is definitely an area where businesses seem most challenged. It comes in last position dropping three places with fewer organisations ranking themselves at the top of the scale (14% compared to 26%). This highlights the deep fundamental challenge of getting and keeping attention in an increasingly noisy market.


Having the right people, systems and processes in place also declined three places (24%). The increased competition for talented marketers to help drive company growth is creating a situation in which companies are finding it hard to hire and build the capabilities they need for success. This is also reflected in the ranking of the product marketing maturity pillar which comes in near the bottom, just before customer acquisition.


More insights


In the 2021 Serious about SaaS Report, you’ll find more insights and our best practice recommendations to help you rock your SaaS marketing. We encourage every Kiwi SaaS company to benchmark how they’re rating against each pillar. It's a great opportunity to review your own marketing capability and identify the levers you can pull to power up for 2022.


We also recently published a SaaS positioning matrix, grouping Kiwi SaaS businesses with distinct traits in marketing across four quadrants; Pressure Cookers, Hard Yards, Life Supports, and Easy Streets. Identifying which quadrant your organisation sits in will give you practical insights into what your capability should look like to win.


As always, feel free to contact us for an informal chat about how Proxi can support your business objectives; from acquiring customers, entering new markets, preparing for your next capital raise, to hiring your marketing team.