Ruoting Sun, Vice President, Product Marketing at Recharge Payments chats about shifting product marketing trends and what aspects marketers need to focus on in today’s business climate:
Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Ruoting, tell us about yourself and your role at Recharge…
I’m Ruoting Sun and I am the Vice President of Product Marketing at Recharge, a leading subscription management solution helping ecommerce merchants of all sizes launch and scale subscription offerings. Recharge’s subscription billing and payment management solutions are designed to help merchants grow by increasing revenue and customer lifetime value while reducing operating costs and churn. Today, Recharge powers subscriptions for more than 50 million subscribers across 15,000 merchants, including fast-growing brands such as Geologie, Keap Candles, Dropps, Bokksu and Verve Coffee.
I lead the Product Marketing function at Recharge, where my team is responsible for articulating Recharge’s value and differentiation in the market. We do this through a number of ways, such as enabling our front line teams (such as sales, partners, support, customer success) with the necessary knowledge and tools to help our customers, building strong partnerships with our industry peers to bring more valuable integrations to market, and creating a place for everyone in the Recharge community to engage in ecommerce discourse.
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We’d love to hear more about your core product marketing practices at Recharge and what fuels your fundamentals?
At Recharge, everything starts with understanding the customer: from how we build our product to how our teams engage with our customers. From a product marketing perspective, that means deeply understanding customer needs and requirements, and tying the value of our product to those needs.
Too often, people get over excited about the capabilities of their technology and think that’s what separates them apart from the competition. While this is true to some extent, those capabilities have to be presented in a way that makes a meaningful business impact for the customer. This is something that we regularly reinforce at Recharge.
As a platform, how has Recharge added value to end users and businesses? In what ways do you see subscription management platforms boost end growth for teams and businesses today?
The last few years in ecommerce have been defined by remarkable growth rates, with a new wave of both brands and consumers embracing various subscription experiences. In 2020 alone, Recharge saw the number of total subscribers grow more than 90% year-over-year, and the rapidly-growing global subscription market is projected to reach $478 billion by 2025. This has certainly been accelerated by behavioral shifts in consumer purchasing as a result of the pandemic.
What we expect in 2022 and beyond, building upon what we saw in 2021, is a continued momentum driven by subscriptions that provide stability and predictability for both consumers and brands. Consumers are increasingly familiar and comfortable with the subscription-based model and have deepened their relationships with their favorite brands and embraced the predictability and convenience of having exactly what they need, as often as they need it, delivered to their doorstep. Brick-and-mortar and ecommerce businesses both continue to look for convenient ways to offer “subscribe and save” options to customers, and are more focused than ever on customer retention, extending the lifetime value of existing customers, better forecasting, and improved management of inventory and cash flow.
Can you share a few thoughts on how you are seeing subscription trends change and what type of strategies will become more prominent in the future?
I think there’s a real focus on increasing customer lifetime value right now, especially as the advertising landscape shifts toward more privacy-centric data sharing practices. While it’s difficult to know what the long-term impact of these changes will be, the immediate effects have been clear.
It has been significantly more difficult for small businesses to identify and attract potential new customers as a result of limited ad targeting; and we are seeing a shift in strategy from new customer acquisition to expanding the lifetime value of existing customers. Subscriptions, and the ongoing relationship that merchants have with their shoppers, have become a key part of this customer retention strategy. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.
If there’s 3 do’s and don’ts to share with product marketers in B2B, what would yours be?
Take the time to deeply understand your customers and what is important to them. This will help tremendously in crafting your stories and messaging that resonate with customers and differentiate you from your competitors.
Think through the shelf-life of your messaging and make sure it will be relevant for some time. Building market perception and awareness takes a long time, and constantly changing your stories will confuse your customers about what it is that you really do.
Take the time to be thoughtful about your pricing and packaging strategy. Understand how your customers use your product, the business value that it provides them, and how that ties into how they pay you for the value.
DON’T underestimate how long it takes for your messaging to stick and perpetuate throughout the market. Oftentimes, it takes years for customers to know your story as well as you do. Don’t assume this is a one-and-done job. Important things are worth repeating.
DON’T become the default product evangelist in your company. Usually, the person who creates the narrative knows it best and can tell it most convincingly. Resist the urge to be the storyteller again and again. Your job is not to be the lone evangelist that everyone relies on in the company; it’s to empower everyone else to articulate the same value. It’s the only way to scale.
DON’T be afraid to take an iterative approach to messaging your value proposition. Do the customer research, understand why customers are using your product, create stories around it, test it on small groups, get feedback and adjust. Do this over and over again. No one gets it right on the first try.
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Take us through some of the most memorable B2B product marketing experiences you’ve come across in the last few months.
Young, product-led companies have a tendency to over index their sales pitch on technical capabilities. This often takes an internal, employee view of why the product is valuable to customers. Oftentimes, they’re frustrated when this pitch falls flat on the customer. A large part of why this happens is we as humans have a tendency to assume that the thing we care about most is also the thing that everyone else should care about most. Rarely is this ever the case, but it’s so prevalent in sales and marketing efforts. Your customers care about running and maximizing their business, and as a vendor, you must realize that you only make up a small part of that goal.
When I joined Recharge, we shifted how we talked about product value from feature speeds and feeds to customer outcomes and business impact. This had an immediate and significant impact on our sales productivity, in terms of how long it took us to win business, the types and sizes of customers we were winning business from, and our average sales prices. It was a fun reminder of how powerful a crisp and resonant message can be in winning your customers’ business.
Recharge is a leading subscription management solution, helping ecommerce merchants of all sizes launch and scale subscription offerings. Recharge’s subscription billing and payment management solutions are designed to help merchants grow by increasing revenue and customer lifetime value while reducing operating costs and churn. Today, Recharge powers subscriptions for more than 50 million subscribers across 15,000 merchants, including fast-growing brands such as Geologie, Keap Candles, Dropps, Bokksu, and Verve Coffee. Recharge is a remote-first company with more than 500 team members across 15 countries. For more information, visit https://rechargepayments.com/
Ruoting leads product marketing and technology partnerships at Recharge. His team is primarily responsible for how Recharge positions itself in the ecommerce industry. Ruoting leans into the expertise of technology partners on the forefront of ecommerce to help shape and inform product and go-to-market initiatives. Ruoting brings over a decade of experience having previously led similar functions at other high-growth technology companies such as Duo Security and Barracuda.
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