By Exec Edge Editorial Staff
AvePoint (NASDAQ: AVPT) provides the most advanced platform for SaaS and data management to optimize SaaS operations and secure collaboration for more than 8 million cloud users. This week, the company launched a new ad and brand awareness campaign, #SaaSInStyle – which makes the link between technology and culture in the age of hybrid work.
Exec Edge sat down with Dux Raymond Sy, AvePoint’s Chief Brand Officer to talk about new campaign and the future of B2B tech marketing. You can view AvePoint’s ad here: https://www.avepoint.com/instyle
Exec Edge: Can you explain AvePoint’s new ad and marketing campaign? What is SaaS in Style?
Our new ad is an abstract narrative on the link between technology and culture. As software has become a lifestyle for hybrid workers, we are portraying our software in the same way that a designer would sell a streetwear line. During the pandemic, the rise of hybrid and remote work pushed AvePoint’s solutions into the spotlight, as companies relied heavily on the Microsoft Cloud, and collaboration tools like Zoom and Slack.
However, as the lines between work and life are blurred, sometimes it’s hard to tell if we are working from our homes or living in our offices, and we are now using software in the same way that we use our favorite consumer brands. #SaaSInStyle evokes a desire among the audience and best represents the level of sophistication we strive for as a brand.
Exec Edge: AvePoint is a 20+ year old company, that went public in last year – does this campaign represent a shift in the way the company raises awareness for its solutions?
Successful brands are aspirational, memorable, and consistent. Before we went public, AvePoint did an internal audit, and realized we wanted to elevate our brand. For 20 years, our marketing initiatives primarily focused on demand generation. As a public company, we are equally investing in brand to expand awareness and credibility.
This ad is just one piece of a year-long brand elevation project for AvePoint. Brand visibility is very important to us at this phase of growth. We believe investing in our brand awareness and credibility will help attract new customers, partners, and talent – all of which contribute to the growth of our business.
Exec Edge: More broadly, from an industry perspective, how are you thinking about B2B tech marketing and branding? What’s changed in the last 3 years?
The pandemic has greatly impacted the relationship that workers have with technology. It’s no longer in the background, or solely managed by IT – technology doesn’t simply happen to employees. Workers are all so reliant on technology, particularly in work-from-home environments, and this means that SaaS companies must think beyond the traditional IT buyer.
Employees are already beginning to think about technology in the same way they think of consumer brands, having certain preferences depending on how they go about their work day. In turn, B2B technology companies need to take a more holistic look at their audiences, and realize how their solutions are enabling the actual end users, which has become basically every hybrid worker.
Similarly, we’ve learned that even the traditional IT buyer is not only reachable via traditional marketing channels or within the confines of the 9-5 workday. Today it is more important than ever to market to the human, and reach them wherever they are. It’s beyond B2B – it’s business to humans (B2H).
Exec Edge: The idea of SaaS as a ‘lifestyle’ for hybrid workers is core to the new campaign’s messaging. Do you think end users will drive demand for SaaS vs. the IT department?
It is less of one over the other. I think both end users and the IT department will drive demand for SaaS, and that’s because SaaS is booming. In 2022, companies will spend over $172 billion on SaaS solutions to power modern work. That’s because these solutions are easy to set up and enable self-service (reducing burden on IT), and they help companies work smarter, not harder. We see the three pillars of the campaign as:
SaaS gives us the potential to transform data into information. The average enterprise has over 210 cloud collaboration tools in use, but most of the time, the data within these apps sits in silos. Hybrid workers need to be able to take that data, and use it in harmony, and keep it secure.
Too many SaaS apps can be overwhelming, but with guardrails we can unlock productivity. 80% of employees today use collaboration tools. Microsoft Teams has over 270 million daily active users. With everything from Teams to Slack to Salesforce, it can be hard to know which tools to use when, especially when collaborating with external teams. Businesses need to make it easy for employees to do the right thing.
Multi-cloud and multi-SaaS can increase risk, and protection is needed. There’s been a 30% surge in cloud-based app usage from 2020-2021, and that will likely continue to increase. But many companies do not have proper security and governance policies in place, leaving them at risk for malicious threats, ransomware, and/or accidental data loss. With the average cost of a global data breach at nearly $4 million, this is a risk businesses cannot afford to incur. Businesses also rely on third parties like Microsoft or Google to protect their data, but there are limitations to what they can provide.
Exec Edge: This is AvePoint’s first ad – can you talk about how you approach the creative process and risk taking?
Successful B2B brands are meeting their customers where they are today, and that’s outside of the confines of their “work hats” or their “9-5 persona.” The concept of marketing to humans has been around for a few years, but B2B brands are still not adopting it. That’s because the perceived risk is too high, and because they haven’t tried and don’t have a comparable benchmark.
We did a cohort study where we identified our key audiences. Then, we broadened our scope to accurately reflect these individuals. We see this as a controlled risk with only potential upside. We will be held accountable to measuring brand awareness, engagement, and advocacy. Risk becomes more palatable when it can be measured. Our culture supports this growth mindset – we take risks, we learn from them, and we continue to get better.