Game Changers Recap: Tips from Paddle CMO Andrew Davies on Marketing in a Changing Economy

Andrew Davies, CMO for Paddle, shared his methodology for crafting the right messaging, philosophy and team mindset for marketing in a changing economy. Here are the takeaways.

Seek alignment before differentiation

When setting the messaging and positioning for Paddle, Andrew focused on Paddle’s place in the market and how to align its product philosophy amidst that space. Deferring to human psychology, Andrew operates with the knowledge that we understand concepts better when comparing them to other, similar things. When determining Paddle’s positioning, he found how the fintech SaaS fit alongside other options in the market rather than diving right into how to position it against competitors. “If you can accept that you’re in a bucket, then you can think about differentiation,” he shared. 

Andrew’s approach to differentiation combines product value proposition with product philosophy, which he asserts are equally important to creating strong brand messaging. 

Armed with this combination, Andrew explains, “when we’re going up against a competitor who does a small piece of what we do, we can confidently and wholeheartedly take on that journey.” In Paddle’s case, he describes a differentiation message called “piecemeal to platform.”

In practice, the “piecemeal to platform” message looks like this. 

He starts with the product philosophy: Many fintech SaaS companies focus on helping their customers do a thing. Alternately, Paddle focuses on removing tasks.

Then follows with the product value proposition: Rather than the user building and managing their own tech stack, they can offload the process entirely. “We want to take the whole problem away … including risk and compliance and complexity.”

We’re all reaching and serving a new audience

Since Paddle’s business has grown and the economy has changed, he has found his target audience has shifted alongside it. “As you go up-market to larger businesses, you have to juggle ROI calculation and partnerships and ecosystem and implementation.“

In today’s market, Andrew explains, everyone is facing a new buyer. The CFO is looking at every proposal that’s coming in. “Everyone is serving a CFO whether they like it or not.” 

Andrew described an onus he feels to understand his customer base and their changing priorities. As the economy shifts, he warns, customers who neither feel heard nor understood will fail to find value in a product and eventually churn.

Aside from considering this new and changing audience, Andrew is focusing on building a learning community to nurture his next cohort of buyers. “All my customers are looking for go-to-market advice.” His current strategy is to add value to his customer base through education. And, echoing our recommendation to do one thing really well and distribute it in a variety of different ways, Andrew knows that what his customers want is similar to what his prospects want. Accordingly, the content he is focusing on in 2023 will serve two purposes: expansion and new business.

Weathering the economic downturn

“There’s nothing like a bad economic climate to galvanize teams into reaching after the same goal,” Andrew says. 

To weather the economic downturn, Andrew and his teams are focusing on improving efficiency and changing their mindset. Andrew is setting aggressive goals to ensure his customer acquisition cost (CAC) is more efficient in 2023. He will review which segments and which product lines are achieving the best CAC and modeling based on those tactics.

Finally, as Andrew is looking forward into 2023, he’s eschewing short-term motivators and investing in long-term strategies to prepare for when the economy rebounds. “I’m resistant to going down-funnel to focus on demand capture rather than demand creation.” 

Andrew predicts that only a certain subset of the market will make buying decisions in the next few quarters, so his team is focused first on acquiring users who trust Paddle’s educational content and are invested in Paddle’s online community, and then on very efficient conversion at the bottom of the funnel.

Andrew’s advice for 2023

  • Go back to the fundamental models.
    Understand the economics, the customer acquisition cost of your own business.

  • Don’t focus just on the next quarter.
    There are 2 timelines in marketing: next quarter demand gen and who you will sell to in the next couple of years. What will your reputation be in the next few years?

  • Bring our teams with us.
    People are feeling whiplash. We need to have clear conversations with our teams so we understand the reality of how we’re working moving forward.

Watch the full conversation with Andrew Davies, CMO at Paddle

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