Recapping Our CISO Engagement Research

Research Reports

We see a lot of research reports as we are sure most marketers do as well. We write quite a few of them ourselves. On topics ranging from brand storying to personalized video experiences.  ABM to Influencer marketing. Cyberwarfare to ransomware.

We just published the result of a large research project we helped underwrite that focuses on the value of intent data. This report was created from our recent, exclusive media partnership with Cyentia Institute, led by Wade Baker, a founding author of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

While we realize that many (most?) marketing decisions are made in an echo chamber that plays back most of the confirmation biases we all share, we all claim we take data into account.

I Don’t Know. Faster Horses?

Steve Jobs famously opined that people have no idea what they want and only upon seeing or holding the thing will they be able to see the possibilities the thing can make in their lives. Henry Ford was convinced that if you surveyed folks, what you might have learned was that they wanted faster horses.

We ran a survey for where 90% of respondents indicated that their cybersecurity resources were adequately trained, while 3 questions later, we learned that 50% believed that it is very difficult to hire skilled cybersecurity practitioners.

Faster horses?

One of the great values intent data provides is that it is simply data – not spun magic – just data. Its value is that it tends to place a quiesced blanket on those three, four, five or more executive opinions in a room enabling the one with the loudest voice to dictate the direction of the marketing campaigns. “The data don’t lie” has been used so many times to quash opposition, I am surprised we don’t have a working counter-measure.

Maybe, “No. It don’t lie, but it does contradict.”

Data Science

”In God we trust. All others must bring data.” This quote, made by W. Edwards Deming, refers mainly to the importance of data measurement and analysis when doing business. In IT, like in business, data analysis is equally important. Thus, for the last decade, we have been talking about Data Warehouses, Big Data, Data Lakes and lately Data Science. Data Science has become an IT discipline by itself and one of the hottest things you can become these days is a Data Scientist. If you don’t trust me, ask our very own Chase Anderson who runs our Data Science department and through his team of 30+ scientists, produces a heavy load of analytics all day long.

The marvel of cybersecurity rests in its ability to self-generate content topics – watching Law & Order always reminded me how easy it must have been for those writers and producers to come up with criminal content just by reading the front pages of any newspaper every day. But cybersecurity takes this to a brand new level. The trick is in its capture.

Where Does It All Come From?

Because of our unique relationship with Information Security Media Group (our parent company), we have access to all of the data ISMG tracks and traces on our 1.25 paid subscriber network – we also have an exclusive 1,500 CISO, opt-in members-only community called the CyberEdBoard constantly reflecting their trending issues with topics of global interest. And now with the growth of, we have definitive intent data on what CISOs and IT professionals are thinking and which topics are intriguing from an internal defense point of view.

There is no such thing as too much data by the way – marketers, media and news organizations, bloggers, movie producers and even the general public – everyone is creating cybersecurity content of all types, all the time and disseminating it to everyone – there are some key practices to keep in mind:

  • Don’t underestimate the value of legacy content, especially when presented within larger content repositories. It behooves you to include inbound links to your own website and landing pages to take advantage of residual traffic.
  • Don’t wait for a newsworthy security incident (example: Okta) to start content marketing as interest rapidly wanes. Instead, have a rapid response system in place to not only create content to capitalize on incidents but also ensure you have an outlet to disseminate content just as quickly.
  • Take advantage of evergreen security incidents (example: cyberwarfare).
  • Create a cadence of content aligning your messaging with that topic (hint: align your content with the buyer’s journey).

Active, Data-Driven Content

Content marketing is most effective once you understand the specific type of content that would be most of interest to a specific target audience.

Draw intelligence from the widest data set available. This doesn’t necessarily come from your own campaigns.

Strive to educate each persona/job title on the topic that’s of interest to them and tap into communities of interest.

Always use a data-driven approach to match persona, topics and tactics for every campaign you run for every product you support. Even and maybe most especially for those about which you have strong beliefs. Sometimes the most aggressive confirmation biases making the most noise are your own.

And finally, even though the cybersecurity industry has been around now for arguably 25 years, this hasn’t changed:

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines… The manufacturer who dedicates their advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for their brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.” – David Ogilvy

Steve King and Julie Jordan, CyberTheory – Marketing Advisory Services 
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