Cybersecurity started out as a niche sector — often overlooked by the public and quickly discounted and misunderstood — but today, it plays an essential role in underpinning our national security, economic growth, and personal privacy. Cybersecurity has become a large, high-growth and crowded marketplace, which to this day poses numerous challenges.
Cybersecurity has a newfound importance: protecting against attacks that threaten our way of life. In today’s digital economy, where businesses and workplaces depend on secure networks and connected devices, sophisticated hackers across the globe have borderless access to the platforms businesses operate on. In the past, the security threats were largely hypothetical and didn’t impact business’ bottom line. Now cyber threats have materialized to the point where they impact everything from data protection and privacy, to election results and how nation states conduct espionage.
So, while security has emerged as a gold-rush industry, it has also become more challenging for companies to cut through the noise and present themselves and their technology in a way that is factual and effective with a customer-first mindset. Here’s a look at how organizations can transform their marketing strategies with a few small changes.
Bypass the buzzwords
When it comes to establishing marketing best practices and processes, it’s important to remember your audience. Since nothing is 100 percent certain, making outlandish claims about a company’s products and solutions is a surefire way to lose credibility.
Authenticity is key to truly standing out in a crowded marketplace. Companies need to provide a unique perspective on the issue or challenge they are claiming their products can solve. Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to get specific with what their company does and to show business value beyond “better security.”
Put customers first
Establishing a successful customer program is essential in the security marketplace. All too often, companies will approach their marketing and sales strategy by spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD), as well as other extreme and sensationalized tactics.
Trust is an essential part of successful relationships. To build trust, vendors must adopt a customer-first model. By engaging with customers and developing a meaningful relationship catered to their specific needs, security vendors have the chance to learn first-hand the challenges customers are facing, the successes they’ve had, and the features and technology updates they’d like to see added. This inside knowledge can make the partnership stronger.
Security vendors should want to make their customers’ lives easier by providing them with the tools they need. As marketing professionals, it’s our job to communicate this in a clear and effective manner to current and potential customers.
Create compelling content
In the marketing world, one of our greatest assets is the content we create. Quality over quantity applies here, so focus on content that is highly relevant, personable and educational for customers.
Cutting through the fluff and delivering actionable insights via content is essential to the success of a company and its customers. One way to do this is to provide customers with relevant industry perspectives and best practices. Whether it’s offering up insight from the company’s CEO and CISO, or providing fresh research from the security team, keeping customers up-to-date and informed is key to not only their continued success, but to your relationship as well.
Protect customer data
With the pressure on marketing teams to do more with less and to demonstrate program ROI, marketers are eager for new technology solutions that will optimize their campaigns and help them work more efficiently and effectively. But these new solutions are not always without risk. And, new regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), can make matters more complicated, by ensuring that marketers only use consumer data that users have consented to sharing.
Marketers need to understand the importance of working with IT on security protocols when introducing new technology to the organization. This is hugely beneficial for the security of the overall business as well as its customers.
As CMO, part of my job is to make sure we are not creating more risk for the company, especially as marketing goes through its own digital transformation. Just as marketing teams partner with the sales organization, we also need to partner with IT to make sure we are reducing — and not adding — risk to the organization.
The cybersecurity landscape has become increasingly sophisticated and complex over the last few years, making it an exciting field to be in. With malicious actors using all kinds of new ways to execute threats against connected devices and enterprise networks, it can be easy for companies (and their marketing teams) to lose their voice in the shuffle. However, by boiling down marketing efforts to the bare basics — avoiding buzzwords, keeping customers’ needs and interests top of mind, and creating compelling content — teams can ensure their products stand out.