Don’t fall down a giant homogenous cybersecurity hole
What does it take to survive and grow in a hyper-competitive market like cybersecurity?
First up, it’s hard, but not impossible. Here are five things to think about, inspired by one of our podcast guests. Get ready to differentiate your cybersecurity marketing and attract the attention of security leaders.
- Embrace the hunter and gatherer mindset of your buyers
- Emphasise collaboration and partnership
- Say goodbye to gibberish, hello to clarity
- Beat screen fatigue with creativity
- Break free of what’s expected – make it work for your brand
If you’re a marketer in cybersecurity, are you a glass-half-empty or half-full kind of person? The cybersecurity market throws up some pretty mind-boggling numbers when it comes to growth. From 2018 to 2021 it grew 300%, and is expected to have an annual growth rate of 12% from 2023 to 2030 🤯.
On one hand, this means there is a trending increase in security spending. Good news if you’re targeting security leaders as you could expect budgets to bump up as well. On the flip side, it’s not easy to gain traction in the industry as there are so many vendors and you run the risk of drowning in a sea of cyber sameness.
So, what does it take to survive and grow in a hyper-competitive market like cybersecurity? To differentiate cybersecurity marketing, here are five things to think about.
1. Your buyers are hunters and gatherers
Cybersecurity is the only industry where no single vendor can absolutely guarantee they’re going do the one thing you want as a buyer, which is to keep them safe. There are various forms of protection but there isn’t one single piece of technology that does everything. So, this forces buyers to effectively become hunters and gatherers prioritising their investments.
We spoke to Alan Cohen, Partner at DCVC in our Changemakers podcast, who said “they’re connoisseurs of an array of solutions. What I see very few marketers do, and I think is important, is to
“lay out how your technology fits into the scope of everything else they’re doing.”
As a buyer, you’re putting software on your endpoints. You’re using multifactor authentication to prove your identity. And you’re putting firewalls or segmentation. You’re doing all these things. If you want to grow quickly in cybersecurity, you have to lay out what your technology does in the context of the other things you’re doing, as opposed to them making them figure it out.”
2. Play nicely with others
With a bit of creative thinking looking at things from a different angle, you can start to differentiate. In PwC’s Annual Global CEO survey, Joe Nocera who is the leader of their Cyber & Privacy Innovation Institute says “ultimately strong companywide cybersecurity operations can build trust within companies, stakeholders, and consumers, becoming a competitive differentiator.”
This is gold dust if you’re a marketer. Too often in cybersecurity vendors are looking at things from their perspective in a siloed way. Like we have the answer, we’ve solved ‘X’ problem. And that’s great, but as Alan says “sometimes the overarching statement is the one that hurts you and go-to-market the most.” Think about:
- What can your customers count on you for?
- What am I relying on you to do for me?
- And how does that fit into that architecture?
You can then flip it and be saying these are the five things you must do. We’re taking care of boxes one and box two for you, and here’s how it fits with the other boxes. Don’t make them assemble everything their selves. Get back to a little bit to the human nature of being a problem solver as opposed to a solution.
But you also can’t just say it. You need to show it in a way that goes beyond complicated IT infrastructure diagrams. Your brand needs to convey openness, approachability and collaboration through words, imagery and every other touchpoint.
3. Lose the gibberish
Cybersecurity has the worst syntax. Marketers need to write and speak in plain sentences to their customers. It’s so easy to speak in buzz words, especially with the more niche elements of cybersecurity, but it alienates people and makes it hard work.
Dave our Business says companies fall into the trap of saying we do API security, we secure your APIs but miss why they do it and the benefits. Why it helps their audiences do their jobs better or have more peace of mind. Far too many companies just put a badge on it and what they do, and their competitors do the same.
If you’re a start-up, it’s potentially even more damaging as that just plays to the incumbents. As Alan says:
“If it all sounds like gibberish, you just might as well buy it from somebody you know, is not going out of business, and you trust.”
It comes down to thinking about people as people. Then as buyers, then as technologists, and then as organisations.
4. Death by screen
Remember you’re dealing with an audience that is looking at screens all day long and they are beaten to death. Attention spans, familiarity and distinctiveness are all problems here. Firstly, there is an opportunity to be more human. Cybersecurity isn’t really about technology – it’s about people. You need to try more emotive content, show empathy and acknowledge the difficulties they are facing.
Heck, you can even chuck in a bit of humour like Blackberry did to translate the technical side of security to something more relatable. They found out through research that their customers viewed their own staff as more of an accidental threat than an outside hacker. So they decided to have a little fun with it to evoke emotion into something that can be at times very dry and to break through a sea of sameness.
Use creative thinking to discover something that’s an evolutionary or provocative point of view and that’s a very human point of view.
5. Don’t fall down a giant homogenous hole
It’s easy to fall into a serotype look and feel that’s expected in B2B tech marketing, particularly in cybersecurity. We get that cybersecurity is largely invisible, but it’s also not people in hoodies and padlocks.
To get the attention of those weary eyes, think about your visual language and the way you express your brand through design. Think colour palettes, image styles, fonts, iconography, logos, and animation.
There is a license to experiment here to differentiate. Once you have something unique to you, it makes your brand and content recognisable at a glance. By keeping your branding consistent, you can develop a sense of trust and stability among your audience – which are pretty useful sentiments for a cybersecurity company.
If you’re a glass-half-full person, this is an exciting time for you to sell to a huge growing market. If you’re a glass-half-empty person, this is great, but you’re getting squeezed in a crowded marketplace.
Either way, differentiating your cybersecurity marketing becomes more important. Work out the opportunity for you and how to make it authentic, distinctive, and memorable. Granted, it’s not easy. But if you want more of that growing pie, you don’t have a choice.
If this has sparked your grey matter and you want a fresh perspective on B2B cybersecurity marketing, then speak to us.
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