In this blog, we will discuss BigPanda, a leader in Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOPs) software market. The reason for picking BigPanda is its persistent and consistent marketing to win its audiences. With that stability and consistency, the B2B startup BigPanda has turned into a unicorn ($1.2B) in 2022. You can also refer to the AIOPs market study and vendor assessment by GigaOm, where BigPanda is cited as the outperformer, outbeating players like Microsoft, BMC, Microfocus, etc.
We studied their marketing tactics and found what they have done in the last 7-8 years. They developed content, maintained a perfect cadence of producing content, and finally used creativity on the existing content to increase their impact on their audience in various channels. As a result, their product was chosen over any customers and adopted faster. You can refer to BigPanda’s G2 Crowd review.
Brief about BigPanda
Assaf Resnick started BigPanda in 2012 after working as a principal investor at Sequoia Capital for six years. In 2010, AI and ML were already a hot topic, and there were use-cases everywhere, including in IT operations.
AIOps is a competitive market with participation from small and large vendors
Along with BigPanda, there were at least 50 companies, such as Stackstate, Digitate, ITRS Geneos, OpsGenie, etc., that tried to grab a share in the AIOps market. Although there are large players such as BMC, Microfocus, IBM, Cisco, Broadcom, etc., involved in the market, startups like BigPanda and Moogsoft made it big.
The secret mantra of BigPanda success — Good Product Marketing
Immediately after the 2 years of founding the company and establishing product-market fit, BigPanda raised $7M in series A from Mayfield Ventures in 2014 to expand its growth. Immediately after the money was raised, they started creating content to increase brand awareness. In fact, their first blog is about fundraising itself, and the second blog was about how their engineers are using Ansible for continuous delivery (a completely unrelated piece to their business). But eventually, in 2014, they picked up the habit of creating and promoting content across channels and increased their content velocity year-on-year. They did product marketing well by producing content frequently.
To put into perspective, the increasing number of blogs and videos prepared in the last 8 years are mentioned below.
BigPanda video content velocity trend (Sources: Bigpanda Youtube channel)
(Note: We did not take the number of webinars into account. They have more than 60 webinars on their website.)
The above graphs on blog and youtube videos represent their content generation activity in the last 8 years. And suddenly, in 2022, the number of content they are producing has skyrocketed. The simple reason is that BigPanda realized early the changing dynamics of the new age selling.
BigPanda hired the best product marketers in the Silicon Valley between 2016-2019
BigPanda hired Peter Chargin as VP of Marketing and Product Marketing in 2017. Peter would go on to change the brand of BigPanda in the next two years. Under his leadership, BigPanda developed a clear differentiation against its competition, created a unique position in the AIOps category, and generated many assets required for digital marketing and field marketing. During his tenure, their marketing team has overachieved the target of generating qualified leads from various marketing channels.
Peter’s team of product marketers did a fantastic job of creating adequate content for different target personas- CXOs, DevOps, IT Ops, and SREs.
Before we jump into the content for the user journey, a big shoutout to Stephen Smith (Director of Product Marketing), Anirban Chatterjee (Sr Director of Product Marketing), and Mohan Kompella (VP of Product Marketing), who are responsible for creating a variety of educational and engaging content.
With product marketing’s relentless efforts, BigPanda has produced content (refer to their content hub) on various AIOPs-related topics such as Event Management, Incident
Management, Monitoring, Noise Reduction, Root cause analysis, Triage, etc. Now, these are not just random topics but sub-processes in IT operations where the Ops or NOC team would spend countless frustrating hours ensuring service availability of production systems. In a nutshell, the topics were the pain points of their target audience.
The content created around the topics killed two birds:
- bolstered their brand in the Google search (refer to Fig C), and
- helped the demand-gen team to nurture their leads effectively.
Fig C: BigPanda Google trend
Exceptional branding exercise by creative product marketing in 2019-2020
Yoram Pollak joined the BigPanda product marketing team in 2021. One would certainly praise the way Yoram blended creativity and product marketing to build exceptional brand recall. Between the years 2019 to 2021, on top of existing product marketing content, Yoram created two attractive content streams— magazines and comics— to provide a distinguished user experience.
At BigPanda, Yoram created IT Ops Pulse magazine by taking existing content and refactoring them to engage the DevOps team and CIOs about the IT operations journey in the industry.
Look at the awesome magazines and catchy titles of some of the magazines from ITOps Pulse.
Yoram, an amazing storyteller, was also responsible for understanding the pain points of IT folks working at the Network Operating Center (NOC) and creating wonderful comic strips called HardNOClife.
BigPanda has almost 36 magazines and 65 Hardnoclife comic strips. Great for social media as well. They have 17,826 followers on LinkedIn, and it is certainly not bad for a niche B2B company with 300 employees.
Result: BigPanda is valued more than 15X its revenue
As per BigPanda’s press release, it is growing almost 150% year-over-year, but the revenue is less than $100M. Even if we optimistically consider the estimated revenue to be $80M, then the company is valued at $1.2B, 15 times more than the revenue. Apart from the market lucrativeness, the valuation of a company depends on two important factors— brand’s ability to deliver the promise and the market perception of the brand.
The second factor, market perception of the brand, hugely depends on content produced by the product marketing team. And companies like BigPanda, who understand the value of product marketing, crack it early before it is too late.
Key Takeaways from BigPanda’s Success
BigPanda has some pretty atypical product marketing techniques that have turned them into an impressive SaaS powerhouse in the AIOps market category.
Here are the 5 key takeaways for B2B marketers:
- You can’t just make a product and rely on salesforce for generating revenue—leverage marketing to build content immediately after you ensure a product-market fit.
- Build a fantastic product marketing engine responsible for content creation along with sales-enablement
- Ensure you are generating content on various topics and for different target personas. Also, pay attention to content forms such as blogs, videos, etc.
- Measure the impact of the content on business. And accordingly, swarm your efforts on the cadence of content generation.
- Once you have the content pool, focus heavily on refactoring and reusing the content using creativity. Creativity will help you to increase followers as well as reach.