Is My SaaS a Painkiller or a Vitamin?

Sep 19, 2023

Hello fellow entrepreneurs and SaaS enthusiasts! Today I want to discuss a framework that has helped me refine the positioning and marketing of my SaaS product. The concept is simple yet profoundly powerful: is your SaaS a painkiller or a vitamin?

Painkiller vs. Vitamin: The Basics

A painkiller is a product that solves an urgent, critical problem for the user. It's something that your target market needs immediately to alleviate some form of suffering. Painkillers often see quicker adoption rates because they address pressing issues.

A vitamin, on the other hand, is a nice-to-have. It adds value but is not necessarily essential. It improves the life of the user but may not solve an immediate, pressing problem. Vitamins often need a longer runway to prove their worth.

Why This Matters

Understanding this framework is vital for a few key reasons:

  1. Messaging: If you know you're a painkiller, your messaging can be more focused, urgent, and tied to solving specific problems.

  2. Sales Cycle: Painkillers often have a shorter sales cycle because they solve immediate needs. Vitamins may require more nurturing and customer education.

  3. Pricing: People are often willing to pay more for a quick solution to a painful problem, while vitamins may need to compete more aggressively on price.

My Development Journey: An Example

When I first started developing my SaaS, I believed I was creating a painkiller. The more I developed and started doing customer interviews, however, it became apparent that what I had was a vitamin. It added value, but it wasn't an urgent need for most.

This realization was essential in shaping how we approached our MVP, marketing efforts, and overall strategy. We shifted from emphasizing immediate relief from a particular problem to discussing the long-term value and incremental benefits our software provided.

Questions To Ask

If you're unsure whether your SaaS is a painkiller or a vitamin, here are some questions to ask:

  1. Is your solution tied to a specific, timely problem?

  2. Do your potential customers express a sense of urgency?

  3. How much education does your market need to see the value in your product?

  4. Are users willing to pay a premium for your solution?


Determining whether your SaaS is a painkiller or a vitamin can offer invaluable insights that can influence everything from your development priorities to your marketing strategies. There’s no right or wrong answer; both types of SaaS can be extraordinarily successful when approached correctly.

That's it for today! I'd love to hear your thoughts and whether your SaaS is a painkiller or a vitamin. Share your experiences and let's learn from one another!