At Verbatim, we don’t consider ourselves an outsourced content shop. We’re your first head of content. While editorial is our strong suit, we often find ourselves in a position of advising early-stage founders on their broader go-to-market motion.
Over the past quarter, companies from pre-seed to Series B have been getting hit hard by constricting markets. In this context, we’re often asked which GTM levers are the most cost-effective – and we typically give the same advice across the board. We dive into:
- Why startups should be as judicious as possible with marketing spend
- Getting the highest ROI out of your marketing channel mix
- How great content delivers direct and indirect returns
Marketing ROI Matters Now More Than Ever
As we covered in our Q2 Update, the current state of the markets has created a massive tightening on early-stage venture funding.
Almost every founder who’s raised a round is essentially cutting all external vendor contracts, whether it's freelancers, paid performance agencies, or PR firms. You name it.
Additionally, many are cutting internal teams. When internal, recession-driven layoffs occur, marketing team members are usually the first to go.
Unfortunately, these efforts aren’t limited to preserving runway by cutting down on burn. It's also getting harder to secure new funding.
Founders are asking themselves: “How do I maintain GTM efforts in a cost-effective way?” Taking this even further: “Which GTM levers have the highest ROI from a revenue lens?”
Your Options for Organic Growth and GTM
For B2B SaaS companies, there are three main levers you can pull for GTM efforts, whether you’re working in-house or with external contractors:
- PR – External placements to drive awareness
- Paid Media – Through Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Internally Produced Content – Value-add content aimed at tactical storytelling
As a content studio, we’re naturally advocates for editorial. At the same time, we’re big supporters of paid media or PR in the right scenarios — as long as there’s clear ROI.
Here’s what we’ve been advising companies.
Use PR for Initial Awareness
PR can be incredibly effective for getting your first 3 or 4 media hits for credibility.
It’s similar to how, in building organic content rooted in social proof, you can leverage client logos across testimonials, email campaigns, and even externally produced pieces.
For PR, we recommend working with a firm as you launch for 1–2 months. Spend time chasing 3–4 great placements, and then use those logos forever across different marketing channels.
After that point, your returns start to diminish pretty quickly. Given the market conditions, continual PR likely isn’t the most cost-effective way to acquire new leads.
PR firms are great for driving initial awareness and social proof. So, use your PR efforts to get into Forbes, the WSJ, Fast Company, TechCrunch, or wherever your ICP spends time.
Once you’ve accomplished this, it’s probably time to move on.
“If you’re at a Series-C company or larger, your team will not get the resources it needs if you cannot prove that your content generates revenue.” - Tracey Wallace, Klaviyo