SaaS Companies Going Direct to Consumer via Media

Marketers across the world undoubtedly have heard the saying, “content is king” for the past several years. Content marketing in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s was the rage particularly as social media pervaded our iPhones. Marketing savants and guru’s like Gary Vee (who impressively has his own shoe line now) go one step further and claim “content is king, but context is God.” Regardless of how it’s framed: content, story, branding, narrative, and message have always been and always will be paramount.

One interesting trend occurring right now is how SaaS companies are turning into media companies. Yes, writing blogs and making infographics or constructing white papers or building case studies has been the status quo for awhile. Now, companies like MailChimp and Wistia are creating entire TV shows.

For example, Wistia is coming out with a brand new show aptly titled “BrandWagon.” The landing page makes you feel like you’re about to press play on a Netflix Original. The show pitches itself as a talk show for marketers. Why didn’t Wistia write another white paper, run another blog post, or start a simple podcast?

Watching a talk show is much different than a podcast. I listen to podcasts in a car. I read blog posts on a computer. I watch shows at home, most likely with a beverage. The state I’m in is much different.

Wistia is not the first SaaS company to make the strategic leap into edutainment…yes, that is a real word in Merriam-Webster. Local company, Mailchimp recently came out with a shower of original content called Mailchimp Presents. This content ranges from podcasts named “Going Through It” and “The Jump” to short films about unique small-business owners.

This programming is different; more entertaining and less sales-y. The risks are also higher. These shows are now competing with time usually allocated to Stranger Things, Ken Burns Documentaries, and anything new on Netflix. However, I believe there is an untapped market of millennials who want to be educated through entertainment in a business niche outside of blog posts and podcasts. Wistia and Mailchimp and Joe Rogan are on the leading edge. Talent recruitment, production quality, and of course, content will all be parts of the ingredients to make the special sauce taste just right.

In a world of data analytics and hyper targeting it’s refreshing to see a broad strategy of content creation come to fruition. Is it likely if I watch an episode of Wistia’s BrandWagon that I’ll become a customer or tell a friend about them? Who knows, but I do know one thing is for certain, I’ve already thought about it and written about it, which is much more than other video hosting companies.

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