The same old cyber story doesn’t cut it.
How many times have you heard the words zero trust at a conference from various sponsors? Dozens of times probably. We see the same words touted over and over again, the same terminology, and the same brand imagery. How about those “bad actors” cloaked in hoodies? Scared? Trembling in your SOCs? We won’t point fingers at particular vendors or blame cybersecurity product marketers for not trying hard enough to be different, but unoriginality is the grim reality of our space.
One can argue that this kind of “consistent” messaging encourages comfort. Zero trust is important after all. And those anonymous hackers in hoodies can be quite menacing underneath their bulky garments, causing millions of dollars in cyber-damage with just one successful attack. And don’t forget the immense intangible repercussions of diminished brand value, customer trust, as well as the immediate political and socio-economic backlash one must face after a data breach. As both privacy and safety conversations shift more to the mainstream, it’s no surprise companies end up splurging on their cybersecurity directly after a breach. This of course is when emotions are tense and a decision must be made. And now, corporate boards are being held responsible for not obliging to their fiduciary duty. That’s a lot of pressure. But this is all great news for B2B cybersecurity product marketing.
Imagine if one could activate the emotional rollercoaster cybersecurity decisionmakers experience during a data breach much earlier in the buying cycle. And simultaneously tie these feelings to a cybersecurity product? B2B product marketing for cybersecurity does not have to be stuffy, cold and boring. Neither does it have to be based on psychological manipulation. Effective messaging in our extremely noisy B2B world is about understanding and crafting a unique product voice that naturally conveys a brand personality that makes buyers feel like buying. Creating a unique brand voice comes from developing a strong brand DNA.
An Emotional Injection: Enhances Your Basic Cybersecurity Product Marketing
There hasn’t been a lot of creativity in cybersecurity product marketing because B2B marketing is short term and focuses on ROI. Examining the brand on a deeper emotional level is usually a long term strategy more often seen in the consumer realm.
For the cybersecurity product marketer thinking short term, this usually means delivering leads. It’s efficient to produce basic marketing assets, syndicate this collateral through a lead generation campaign and get highly targeted and segmented contacts, and ultimately validate oneself along with the demand-generation team with a respectable conversion rate.
Considering the cost of most vendor solutions, investing in such a content syndication strategy usually pays enormous dividends. Closing just one deal from a content syndication campaign gives a 10X return.
And we’ve seen the results speak for themselves with repeat business requesting content for syndication across our proprietary publisher network of over 1 million B2B cybersecurity decision-makers. It’s a great business model. But it’s not going to be enough to maintain supremacy in the crowded cybersecurity space forever. Thousands of vendors are claiming to be bigger, faster, and stronger. And all of them are creating various forms of product collateral and trying to syndicate it to those valuable decision-makers. So what does it take to increase that conversion rate, to really deliver more results from your marketing collateral?
Some of the vendors we provide advisory services insist on playing a game of catch up on features, trying to outshine the competition on technicalities. We’ve seen this rarely works for a company that desires to become a unicorn.
Injecting the Cybersecurity Brand DNA
Creativity and true differentiation in a cybersecurity product’s marketing collateral is all about establishing an emotional connection between product and buyer without any doubt, regret or concern. This kind of seamless communication is challenging for most B2B marketers used to the traditional tactics. Traditionally the environment lent itself to the copy and paste mindset. It’s usually much more efficient to use a competitor’s product collateral as a base and build from there.
As Steve King, our Director of Cybersecurity Advisory Services explains:
“Most vendors’ similar descriptions look identical to cynical CISO and InfoSec influencer buyers who now fully believe that most product claims are bogus and many are simply re-positioned to match Industry Analysts’ latest pivot on a particular segment.
Or worse, their messaging is tied to one or more industry trends of the moment. Sometimes the messaging is so ardent and self-possessed that it ends up as a word-salad, bereft of any meaning at all to anyone, let alone their targeted audience.”
Case in point:
[Our solution] empowers DevOps to seamlessly deploy natively zero-trust workloads across cloud-native, hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
Creating a brand personality, let alone one for a cybersecurity product from scratch takes immense dedication. And the resulting DNA has to be effortless, organice, not some cookie cutter replicate, slightly plagiarized from a competitor .
Cybersecurity Product Marketing strategy is more about the principles of building long lasting customer retention at its core. Your product’s brand personality must create the right emotional connection with your target buyer.
It’s human emotion that is deeply involved in decisions. As this Wired article so succinctly puts it:
‘Feelings provide the basis for human reason—brain-damaged patients left devoid of emotion struggle to make the most elementary decisions.”
And there are so many hints in our world on how to do this if you start looking at the right situations that can trigger an emotional response on one’s target audience. Thinking strategically to the core. We’ve seen how consumer brands like Nike and Apple focus on emotion in their product marketing. Just Do it. Think Different. These mottos have been engrained in our minds. We can’t avoid them.
But how does a brand’s DNA relate to tangible actions? What can be done immediately in terms of product messaging? Simple. Instead of focusing on the technical specifications of your product and service, think of the emotional outcomes. Some of the more simple but important ones are: cost savings, increasing revenue, and improving the customer experience.
Demonstrating consistent knowledge growth and trust in your area of expertise catapults vendors to the forefront of decision-makers’ attention. It creates a stickiness that gets referrals, respect and recognition across the community.
The brands that stay on the leaderboard not only think differently but act differently in their cybersecurity product marketing strategy. And at the end of the day it’s providing the best solution for customer problems and being remembered. Not in a tombstone kind of way, but more of a statue that stands tall above the cyber citizens you are protecting.
Getting to “monumental” status takes some intense brainstorming and positioning to really differentiate your special product qualities from the rest and it’s what we do on a day to day basis with our clients.
Understanding Your Cybersecurity Product, Begin With Strength
When security is in the name of your product category, one knows it’s all about operating from strength. But strength means different things to different people. To many, when they describe something as strong, it’s because of other underlying characteristics. If you would define strength from an objective perspective it literally means the capability of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure. But anyone assessing a product perceives strength in a deeper way. Why exactly was this product able to withstand the force or pressure? In your product positioning sessions you need to roll up your sleeves and start slicing up
- Courageous: Going where no other vendor wants to go, attempting to tackle problems that others are too weak to attempt.
- Flexible: Offer options other vendors can’t accommodate or feel are not important for their bottom line.
- Patient: Provide a narrative so buyers feel comfortable in their decision not just a forceful closure.
- Non-Judgmental: Never look down on other vendors in the space, for those who are strong do not need to validate themselves by degrading others.
- Kind: Allow buyers to explore the virtues of the product at their own time and place, and freely provide all information requested.
Operating from strength means conducting an in-depth analysis of not only what your product does best but what your customers like the most about it. Focus groups and surveys can provide personal insights that can be quickly attributed to your messaging. It’s this in-depth analysis of product performance in the real world that can demonstrate what is the most valuable most high value your brand can offer and what will resonate
Understanding Your Cybersecurity Product Weaknesses
No cybersecurity product or solution can do all things for everyone and it’s critical to understand what your product can’t do well. Unless you want your product to be called a swiss army knife, doing many things moderately well but none exceptionally ends up weakening your company vision.
Understanding Your Cybersecurity Product Opportunities
Like the rear view mirror disclaimer, objects seem closer than they appear. Your competition is never far behind you and it makes sense to have a periphery view of what your competition is up to. For example, a competitor in financial distress may allow you to fulfill that customer need. How is your product going to fill that need. No pun intended but your audience wants to feel “secure” despite the tumultuous times.
Understanding [marketing] Threats to your Cybersecurity Product
Swimming with sharks. Have you lived to tell the tale? The professionals do it all the time and don’t get bitten. It’s all about understanding what can hurt you and prepare for it, by adjusting your marketing behavior and equipping yourself with the right tools. Threats can easily be managed if you have the right mindset, tools and preparation. And those professional divers who go to swim with sharks without any equipment have actually prepared very diligently in their behavior and attitudes, perfecting every single outcome and planning their defenses against it.
True Product Readiness (Forward-Thinking) Accelerates Growth
They say strategy is nothing without execution. But how do you formulate a proportionate mix of both to move forward. What we described earlier was obviously business school 101 SWOT analysis. But it needs to be carefully applied to the cybersecurity product space. In order to do this you need to have the ability to not only think like a CISO but understand the entire CISO ecosystem, the mind map of stakeholders who will be deciding if your product is right for them.
It’s this detailed view of the world beyond the CISO that makes us different. We can precisely advise on how to market your cybersecurity product in the most efficient, targeted and caring way.
If you’d like to craft your own brand DNA, we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. CyberTheory provides a permanent fixture and marketing support system to build a powerful cybersecurity brand to handle this evolving B2B decision maker landscape.