Here’s something we all know by now – marketing isn’t easy. Even if you have all the necessary tools, like stellar social media platforms, engaging content and a killer website, you’re going to face a number of marketing challenges. It’s still a constant hustle to captivate your entire target audience.
Now imagine trying to market in the cyber security space. Practically every business uses some sort of device or software, and they need to protect their technology from attacks and data breaches. But with a never-ending list of cyber security technologies, and a plethora of options to choose from when it comes to vendors and strategies, chances are your perfect client is going to have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right company for them.
So, like many tech-focused companies you’re going face a number of cyber security marketing challenges.
This means you need to stand out. Like Felicity on Arrow, you’re torn between solving some amazing security challenges—while struggling over wooing your “Oliver”. How do you do this? By overcoming challenges, showcasing your expert ability—and allowing what makes you unique—to shine. To help you do this, we’ve taken a look at some of the top cyber security marketing challenges our clients have faced, and shared some tips that will help you—and them—face them. Below are the first 4 cyber security marketing challenges along with advice on how to overcome them. We will discuss 4 additional challenges in Part 2.
The Marketing – Cyber Security Disconnect
Have you ever heard the expression “the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem”? This is the case with marketing, too. Cyber security is crucial to the success of a business, and so is marketing. In fact, along with sales, marketing activities are one of the only business areas that MAKE your firm money.
If your client isn’t aware you exist, and doesn’t know what you can do to save them, how are they going to buy from you?
We know that, as a cyber security firm, you protect your clients in some fashion against digital threats and attacks. But what makes your client want to choose you? Both cyber security and marketing have their customers’ interests in mind, but there sometimes seems to be a disconnect between what you provide, and the challenges that your client faces. And therein lies the problem.
This is key. When you first connect with a prospect, you must ALWAYS be able to understand their challenge, and how you position your service or product as the solution to that problem. If you’re only focused on what your solution does, but not the challenge your prospect faces—they may just see you as another cyber shop—or WORSE—they may never get to what you uniquely can do for them.
For example, one of our clients is a true innovator in the cyber security space. The founder of a cyber security firm that services both the government and private sectors, speaker at Blackhat, and creator of a number of cyber security technologies, he, like many innovators in the space, wanted to know how to get clients to understand the deep and custom work he and his firm does. Our answer—and this is the approach applied by any top marketing agency (internal and external) is to:
- Understand your customer’s basic and deeper challenges and unmet needs.
- Develop a common vocabulary so that you’re both speaking the same language.
- Position your service as the obvious solution to solving their problems, in a manner that leaves you as the ONLY provider of your unique solution.
If you have a disconnect between the services you provide and how you sell yourself to your market, this could gravely affect your business. Aligning your marketing strategies to the problems you solve for clients will be the most import thing you can do to help your potential clients better understand why you’re the right fit for them.
Reaching More Than Tech-Heads
Many cyber security firms believe that it is best to have a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as the target of their marketing strategy. The CTO knows about the cyber-defense needs, so the CTO will be the best person to reach about cyber security needs.
This is partly right. See, the problem with this line of thinking is that cyber security now touches every aspect of business, which means all decision makers and influencers within the company and any employees dealing directly with tech need to be informed, educated and trained on business cyber security processes. So when you market beyond the CTO, it not only improves conversions around cyber security, but also better helps you assemble a marketing strategy that will be well-received by all parties involved.
So what are some tactics to reach a bigger market? Well, providing information that is easily accessible to everyone is the first step. For example, free webinars are a great way to bring in your audience and show them that not only are you providing free information to people who are interested in your company or cyber security in general, but you’re also an expert on the topic and are able to provide this information based on your extensive knowledge.
Credibility: Stand Out From the Pack, But be Credible
Now that you’ve started thinking about marketing as it’s own entity rather than something that just has to be tacked on to your sales pitch, let’s look at a few things you can do to stand out from the pack. One of the most important things a cyber security company can do when trying to bring in new business is to be credible and deal in facts. Don’t be tempted to go for outlandish claims or embellish the truth. If you exaggerate your company’s capabilities, this can cause more harm then good.
Customers looking for quality security solutions are already trained to spot dubious selling tactics. Even if you get past them, they are unlikely to appreciate promises you cannot keep. An overly simplified example would be, if your security team is on-call only during business hours, don’t advertise to your clients that you offer 24/7 assistance. While this is obvious, you’ve certainly heard horror stories of more nefarious claims.
Another pitfall? Claiming that your software is unbeatable and can’t be hacked. While you may believe this is true, it’s a very bold claim to make. And you’re really just dangling a carrot in front of hackers. Hackers love a challenge, so don’t be surprised if they come after you if you make bold statements about being “unhackable”.
Another way to stay credible? Be specific. It’s easy to vaguely throw around some keywords that deal with cyber security. There’s FUD, APTs, Cloud, DDoS…and you can use all of that in your SEO if you want. But this isn’t going to help you build solid credibility. Get specific with what exactly you can do to protect your clients cloud server for example, and this will showcase the value of your company better than if you can’t provide specifics to go with your cyber security buzzwords.
Honesty goes a long way in dealing with customers. It builds credibility and trust, and this is basically an investment to bring in better clients. The more trust customers have in a business, the longer their loyalties will be with the company.
Validation: Customer Testimonials are a Must
Consumers love to see reviews and testimonials about a company before they decide to work with a company. Testimonials serve as proof that the company is legitimate. So, collecting, writing and posting testimonials are part of an important and compelling tactic to market your cyber security company.
Testimonials can range from a singular quote on your website, to an extended case study. They should include specific examples or methods by which your company exceeded the expectations of the client, and cases where your company provided outstanding service. With the current saturation of cyber security solutions in today’s market, confirmations of customer satisfaction and your company’s success showcases your cyber security company’s authority in the field.
Another reason why testimonials are important? Customers find it difficult to take the company’s own word for it. They need confirmation from others like them to inform them in their choices.
In terms of assessing needs for collecting and distributing testimonials, this needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy. Do a few customer case studies work better for your company or a variety of quotes? This depends on your company’s branding and size. But the strategy behind this needs to come from your marketing department. Marketing will be able to come up with innovative ways to solicit testimonials. For example, you could provide a special pricing offer to customers who agree to provide a public reference.
You can also do video testimonials which work great for both the customer and for you. This also gives you content to work with and edit, and you can potentially use this content not just for testimonial purposes, but for tie-in’s with your company’s blog, social media accounts and more.
Check back with us for Part 2 of this blog where we continue the discussion on cyber security marketing challenges and how to overcome them. What challenges are you dealing with and how are you handling them?