Issue 116: Product as a Service
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

I used to think I knew the difference between a product and a service. Yet this is one of those topics where the more experience I get, the less I know.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a well-known model, but a misnomer. It's hosted software sold on a subscription basis. That's it. It's not "service" in the sense that most agency staff or alumni could relate to.

The service tends to come from one of two areas:

1) It's the cost of doing business. This is more common. It's when a company that's trying to sell software, which tends to involve higher margins with lower costs of scale, has to service accounts (often without charging more) because customers find it difficult to use the product themselves. 

2) It's an intentional upsell. A client pays more and gets added service beyond the basic account management. This essentially turns it into Product as a Service (PaaS). The service is the opportunity. It costs more to build this out but could help with customer acquisition and retention. 

For people like me who have worked on the product and software side but spent much more time at agencies or more broadly in a service industry, what we need to learn is the converse.

Agency-style businesses need to learn how to be in the SaaP business: Service as a Product.

It's a topic I've been learning about a ton this year as I've refined my own offering. Much of my education came from Focused Founder CEO Apoorva Pande, who helped me refine my own product offering, which you can get a preview of here on this new landing page I've started to test out.

All of this requires connecting parts of my brain and experience that don't usually intersect. On the agency side, every proposal is bespoke. You could pitch two identical-looking white bread companies, and one pitch would be all about how it's the aspirational white bread for the post-paleo world while the other one would be all about passing on traditions of intergenerational carbo-nostalgia. It's all just white bread.

With SaaP, you may still customize deliverables for different clients, but the focus shifts to how much you can keep consistent so that you can repeat the program and then scale it.

Consistency. Repetition. Scale.

These are not words that most service-centric people learn in agency school (there was no time to cover that after the 35-part series, "How to Fudge Your Timesheets and Make Them Look as Believable as Possible").

As I talk to others about SaaP (another peer who's been a helpful sounding board is Deepwater Strategies CEO Shawn Kallet), here are some of the questions that come up in conversation. If you're in the service business and looking to productize your offerings, ask yourself these questions. You'd be surprised how hard some of the most basic ones can be. 

1) What is your product? Hone your elevator pitch.

2) Who is the ideal customer? Do you have an ideal customer profile (ICP)?

3) Have you tested the product-market-fit where you match your product to your ICP? How have you tested it? If there's a disconnect, how might you change either the product or ICP?

4) How repeatable is your offering? How much of it can you replicate for others?

5) Who can help you deliver it? When I started consulting, I was of the mindset that I'd do everything myself. I've since started working with freelancers on-demand and will invest in this further. Your team, even on an ad-hoc basis, can include subject matter experts, tactical staff to deliver select components, project managers, virtual assistants, production assistants, and others. Who you need depends on your skills and product. While contracting or hiring others will eat into your costs, it may allow you to net higher margins as fewer of your own higher-cost hours are needed. The team also helps scale, and scale is the grail.

6) How are you selling this? Often, you'll say, "Word of mouth." That's terrific. Some people can become fully booked that way, but few can scale beyond their personal capacity, and most (myself included) wind up with too much bandwidth and too few billable hours. Word of mouth isn't usually enough.

7) What repeatable, scalable methods have you found to scale your product? If you talk to someone who figured this out, take great notes, and see what you can try yourself.

Are you in the SaaP business? What have you learned from it? How much have you figured out? I'm eager to keep learning and to keep sharing everything I can. Granted, reaching out to Apoorva or Shawn will get you even further along. I can also share more thoughts of what's gone into my own offering.

Those are a few things I've been trying to make sense of lately. What are you making of yourself?


PS: Check out the next SpeedUp events on Upstream today at 6pm EDT. 


I'm trying a new section with some quick recommendations and observations. Let me know what you think, and share any of your recommendations.

Reading: Dune by Frank Herbert -- totally hooked.

Listening to: The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe, which is eerily relevant when walking through Manhattan these days. Eerie: I just got to the part where, at a dinner party, a guest references Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" during a pandemic.

Watching: Cobra Kai is a damn near perfect TV show and relentlessly satisfying. Just finished it. I'm also most of the way through the final season of Homeland.

Tech: I'm trying out the apprentice-finding platform Acadium to mentor others and expand my team (see more tech in my regularly updated guide to 100+ resources

Moment of Gratitude: That the first presidential debate ended in under two hours. My god, that was exhausting.


This came from my friend Cory Treffiletti as he's been helping with this. I don't usually share such offers outright, but it's such a fun idea:
Missing conferences and events?  Miss getting a great "swag bag" and meeting new, exciting, innovative companies?  Then sign up to receive The Arkitektive!  The Arkitektive is a “swag bag” delivered in a box quarterly to your door.  Included are some awesome, eco-friendly, branded merchandise, curated by our staff and featuring some of the most interesting companies and products you’ve yet to hear of.  You get invited to a quarterly unboxing webinar, you get to meet the C-Suite and you can follow up on your schedule if it makes sense to have a virtual meeting and hear more.  It’s all the innovation and none of the risk, delivered to your front door.  Get signed up now and start getting your quarterly swag box in November. Apply at today!

Have you tried The Markup's Blacklight tool? Not my idea of a good time either. Brilliant journalism though. Here's what to do about it, with a nice plug for Brave.

Thanks to Don SteeleRachel Pasqua, Matt WurstJaimee KniffenWilliam AlvarezWendy Weatherford Marks, David Kohlberg, William AlvarezDuc Luan DamGina Waldhorn, and Mike Marzano for spreading the word recently. Here's your own personalized link, with more referral rewards for sharing the newsletter. Visit to see how you're doing. 

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Please send over any events you're hosting or attending, and I'll add them to the list. All events below are virtual, and all times are EDT.

Tuesdays, 3pm
-9/29: Anna Bager, President & CEO of Out of Home Association of America (OAAA)
-10/6: Katie Perry, VP Marketing,
-10/13: Lindsay Stein, CEO, Today I'm Brave 
Request access to RSVP:

9/24, 10am
From my friends at Zembula: "Customer emails that update at the moment of every open with the latest status of their shipment are becoming a key tactic for ecommerce brands. Key benefits include reducing expensive calls to their call center, increased customer loyalty, and delighting customers who increasingly want, and expect to know exactly when their packages will arrive at home. Join Robert Haydock, Co-founder and CEO of Zembula, and Diane Arthur, Director Of Customer Success of Zembula, in this webinar.

September 30, 6pm
Join the virtual 1:1 rapid-fire speed-meeting event to connect with fellow Serial Marketers, hosted by the Upstream app.

September 30-October 1
We’ve partnered with the Ascent Conference to help bring startups to the largest gathering of VC’s in 2020. Ascent is a 2-day fully virtual conference that provides founders from all sectors with access to the knowledge and connections needed to grow their companies and careers.
*General Registration
Register with code SERIALGENERAL to get in free.
*Startup Registration
Register with the code SERIAL95 for 95% off (plus the other 5% is refunded after the event)

October 1, 1pm 
Thanks to Michael Bendit for making this happen:
Are you looking for a new job or know someone who is? If so, please register for a free webinar on October 1st at 1pm ET on optimizing your LinkedIn profile for a successful job search, presented by David Alto of AltoAdvance. This event is co-sponsored by the Trusted Referral Network and Serial Marketers.

October 6-7
There are free passes, plus upgrades. "Everyone knows CMX Summit is the flagship event for the community industry. This year, we’re planning to bring together 10K community professionals from all over the world to participate in two days of facilitated discussions, powerful presentations, hands-on workshops, and interactive experiences."  

October 7, 6pm
First Wednesday keeps going strong. We have dozens of people RSVPing for this fun NYC tradition that is now open to anyone virtually. Len Bilello might even by you a drink.

October 7-9
I'm a big fan of NYCML, and this year's event is free: "This year's speaker line-up features some of the brightest minds in media and tech, including Tristan Harris, Andrew Yang, Nina Jankowicz, Cory Doctorow, and Jay Rosen. Through thought-provoking discussions, engaging workshops, and innovative demos, attendees will be at the forefront of change as we delve into the most pressing issues of this pivotal moment in history. Reserve your FREE tickets today! #BuildTheFuture2020"

October 7-9
"Everything you need to adapt and succeed in a digital world happens here. Join us online—it’s free for all."

October 8, 12pm
Via Reuters: In a marketplace full of noise and competition, brand experience can be the differentiator. Reuters Events is bringing together marketing visionaries to discuss, debate and plan how best to create a compelling brand experience. Join live and/or get full on demand access:

October 15, 12pm
Join the virtual 1:1 rapid-fire speed-meeting event to connect with fellow Serial Marketers, hosted by the Upstream app.

October 19-23
This is an annual event series by Kite Hill PR that is going virtual, and they always get a terrific speaker lineup. Register now!

October 21-22
"Teal’s Career Growth Summit is a virtual event aimed at helping professionals navigate their career growth. Over the course of 2 days, we’re bringing together established professionals and experts in the career space to run round tables, workshops, and virtual networking sessions to help you put yourself in the best position to find, land and grow in a job you love."

October 27-28
I'll be speaking at this one and am excited about the roster they've put together: "Soft Land Expo: USA Edition (SLEUSA) is a bi-directional event that will connect both international companies seeking to enter the U.S. market and U.S. companies seeking to internationalize to global markets with key agencies, resources, and service providers to support their success."  

November 5 / November 12
This group is amazing. Check them out. "We have a trust problem in the marketing and advertising industry. Over the past 15 years, as new distribution mechanisms like social, disciplines like content marketing, or initiatives like diversity and inclusion emerged, we silo’d. We continue to silo, not integrate–while we watch the world innovate. This compromises brand experience, and, in turn, threatens brand trust. Big Yellow Think Tank seeks to advance collaboration across brand experience. By leveraging this abrupt shift in the world, we will reimagine the way we work and serve brands. Big Yellow Think Tank is ready to set a new standard and we need your voice. Our first initiative? A virtual hackfest."  

November 19
"Each year, CMI produces our signature LGBTQ Marketing & Advertising Symposium (now in our 13th year) for marketing/advertising/communications professionals. The event is held in collaboration with, and hosted by Google NYC."


Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers for more. I've added some descriptions of top-secret searches there, and others have posted some leads too. 

Digital Marketing Generalist
Via a friend who posted this in Slack -- find her there or I can make an intro: "This new Digital Marketer role will support long-term, sustainable revenue growth in our core markets by planning and deploying all inbound and outbound demand generation activities for Duarte and optimizing multi-channel campaigns for the best ROI. While this role will report into the Director of Marketing, it will collaborate with a range of teams within the company—including product, sales, customer success and operations—to understand business requirements, offer informed recommendations, and provide proactive and timely execution."

Head of Acquisition Marketing
Remote first, then based in NYC
Via a friend there (happy to refer you): "With interest in the stock market surging among a new generation of investors, our community is growing rapidly. To support our ambitious goals, our team is growing and we’re looking for sharp, enthusiastic people who believe in our mission to fundamentally change the way people invest. In normal circumstances, we’re located in New York with an office in Copenhagen & Raleigh NC, but in these times we’re maintaining momentum as a remote team."

Chief Marketing Officer
This is from my friends at Hunt Club. If you're a good candidate for this, let me know, and I can refer you.

Coming in as a seasoned marketing leader, the future Chief Marketing Officer has:

  • Background in the B2C technology marketing space (music or adjacent industry is a plus)
  • 10+ years of management experience building & leading diverse marketing teams
  • Track record and expertise in building a premium brand with a focus in brand, content, creative, messaging & events
  • Vision with willingness to show up and get things done; operating as a strategic executer 

Founded a mere 90 days ago and backed by big players in the music and startup world, Mandolin is a live streaming concert platform for fans, artists, and venues that already has world-renowned musicians and over 10k users. With ticketing, merch sales, and other artists feature built right in, Mandolin is bringing live music back to the stage!

Manager, Creative Strategy Remote
This is from my friends at Hunt Club. If you're a good candidate for this, let me know, and I can refer you.

With experience owning the creative marketing strategy at a fast-paced or startup environment, the future Creative Strategy Manager has: 

  • 3-5 years of experience within relevant creative marketing field 
  • Ability to operate creative across multiple marketing channels including: Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit, print materials, newsletters, etc.
  • Expertise in direct response marketing
  • As a team leader, has managed a creative team in their past

Bright Cellars is a subscription wine experience that matches members with personalized monthly selections. By taking a data-driven approach to consumer tastes and personalization, Bright Cellars is engaging with customers and brands in a way that's new to the industry. Based in Milwaukee, Bright Cellars recently raised an $8.5M Series A led by Revolution Ventures.

Head of Alliances

This is from my friends at Hunt Club. If you're a good candidate for this, let me know, and I can refer you.

  • Having a successful history building partnerships function from scratch, the future Head of Alliances has:
  • 10+ years of experience in a business development / alliances role in the B2B software industry
  • Proven experience working and building strong relationships with BPO’s and software companies
  • Ability to operate as a business athlete – they have had experience with revenue strategy, operations, and strategic alliances
  • Extensive experience with a variety of structured deals that drive impactful revenue 

The patent-pending Conexiom solution was created by ecmarket, a cloud solutions developer. They're committed to offering the most advanced solutions to their customers. Over the past fifteen years, hundreds of manufacturers and distributors have turned to us and now rely on our technology to automatically process orders and invoices they receive from their customers and suppliers. Each year, millions of orders and invoices representing billions of dollars in transactions are automatically processed by their solutions.

Growth Marketer (remote)
Content Marketer (remote)
"Does the idea of building a platform that helps people make the best and most informed career decisions excite you? Then you should consider helping us deliver on our mission: enabling fulfilling careers by providing technology, content & support that travels with YOU from job to job."

Other job resources:

  • Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
  • Advisable: Get instant access to top marketing freelancers
  • AMA Job Board: Listings from the American Marketing Association (maybe you can also ask them anything)
  • Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you're okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
  • CareerList: Here's a form for companies hiring and a form for job seekers; here's the public list with tabs for both 
  • Content Writing Jobs: Content marketers, enjoy
  • CoronaHub: Jobs relating to the crisis response
  • Creative Women of Color: List yourself in the database and find talent, via Women Who Create
  • ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
  • GLG: Get paid to share your topical expertise; it can lead to some interesting conversations at a potentially decent hourly rate
  • Grace Blue Transitions: A portal for hirers and seekers with resources from this exec recruiting firm
  • The Hired Guns: An array of jobs in marketing and related fields at brands, agencies, and media companies
  • Hue: Amplifying voices of people in color working in marketing
  • Hunterz: A way for connectors to get paid to introduce startups to large enterprises
  • Lead5: A paid service for executive roles, plus intel on changes with companies and PE investments; you can try a risk-free weeklong trial to see if it's any good for your needs
  • Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
  • NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
  • One Club for Creativity: COVID-19 jobs Board
  • #OpenToWork: There's a channel in Serial Marketers where you can share what you're looking for
  • Pangea: Where you can hire college freelancers (and college students can get gigs)
  • Pocit: A platform connecting people of color with jobs in the tech industry
  • Startup.Jobs: There's a section for marketing jobs
  • TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
  • VC Job Boards: AlephEniac Ventures, PearSequoiaUnion Square Ventures
  • VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
  • Wanted: Wanted helps top talent in tech and marketing find a job at your desired pay. Plug in your salary, stay anonymous at first, and connect with companies that want to recruit you.
Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I'll share them.


Share your personal link.

David Berkowitz, publisher


100+ TECH RECOMMENDATIONS (updated semi-regularly)

BERKY'S MARKETING ENGLISH (now in hardcover)

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PS: Thank you so much for reading this.


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