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.  

  1. Embrace the hunter and gatherer mindset of your buyers
  2. Emphasise collaboration and partnership
  3. Say goodbye to gibberish, hello to clarity
  4. Beat screen fatigue with creativity
  5. 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.

Get more cybersecurity marketing insight

Interested in learning more about standing out in a crowded cybersecurity market? Visit our cybersecurity content hub.

Our Work

Matt Price
Senior Director, Creative

Matt Price is a creative leader with a career that has traversed award-winning agencies, high-performance brands, and innovative start-ups.

Fueled by a deep passion for cultivating dynamic creative teams and crafting distinctive brand experiences, Matt has earned a reputation for shaping and evolving brands across diverse industries. He currently leads creativity at TravelPerk.

Melissa Rosenthal
Chief Creative Officer

Melissa is an award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, focused on making the world more productive through best-in-class SaaS marketing.

Previously Melissa was the CRO/Executive Vice President at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture. For her brand work, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday’s “Changemakers.”

Prior to Cheddar, she led BuzzFeed’s Global Creative Team. Joining the staff in 2010, Rosenthal was a key contributor to the creation and early success of BuzzFeed’s branded content native advertising model.

Melissa Rosenthal
Chief Creative Officer

Melissa is an award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, focused on making the world more productive through best-in-class SaaS marketing.

Previously Melissa was the CRO/Executive Vice President at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture. For her brand work, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday’s “Changemakers.”

Prior to Cheddar, she led BuzzFeed’s Global Creative Team. Joining the staff in 2010, Rosenthal was a key contributor to the creation and early success of BuzzFeed’s branded content native advertising model.

Ari Yablok
Head of Brand 

Ari Yablok is the Head of Brand at Island, the Enterprise Browser. Before joining Island as its first marketing hire, Ari was the Head of Brand Messaging at Atreo, a B2B tech branding and marketing agency, where he crafted the strategic narratives, end-to-end messaging, corporate and investor decks, and brand identities for 50+ leading tech companies including Taboola, Similarweb, Gloat, JFrog, and Panaya. Originally from New Jersey, Ari lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel with his wife and six children.

Ling Koay
Chief Brand Officer

Ling is a fearless B2B marketer and a purposeful leader with almost two decades of experience driven by growing businesses through creativity, art, and science. Recently, she was named “CMO to Watch in 2022” by CMO Alliance. She has also led the Oneflow brand to be one of the “B2B Brands to Watch in 2022” alongside brands like Slack, Gong, and Tiktok Business.

Ling’s mission is to inspire humans to find and embrace their superpowers so that we can transform mediocrity into magic in our lives. Marketing to her is using ideas to change minds. Move the needle. Make sales easier. Being a mom of two kids under 6, marketing is essential to win day-to-day negotiations. Recently she gave up her CMO title to focus on the brand. Call her crazy, but marketing is the puzzle she needs to solve every day to make her life complete.

Buck Choate
VP Brand

Buck Choate is a distinguished brand and marketing leader that thrives at the intersection of strategy, stories, and ideas. As VP of Brand at Lacework, he spearheads brand management, activations, social and editorial content, and brand design. Buck has spent his 15+ year career working with iconic global brands like Microsoft, Intel, Fender, Walmart, Ubisoft, PepsiCo, and 7-Eleven.

Damien Correll
Creative Director

Based in NYC, Damien Correll is the Creative Director at Figma where he leads their Brand Studio. Over the past 20 years, he’s worked on both the brand and product sides (and some of the places in-between), Whether it’s running his own practice or working in-house at one of the largest companies in the world, he’s in the pursuit of great design by making the expected surprising, the strange familiar, and the accessible abundant.

Ben Long
Creative Director

Make fun stuff for people to enjoy. That’s why we all got into this in the first place. And if you can do that while delivering strategic and purposeful creative that meets brand goals? Now you’re on to something.

That’s what Ben Long has been aiming at for the last six years at Rubrik, leading the global brand team as Creative Director. Ben loves nothing more than when a team comes together to pull off something that’s a little risky and a lot unexpected.

Ben lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two kids, and a giant dog that’s way too big for his house

Steve Stone
Head of Zero Labs

Steve has over fifteen year’s experience in threat intelligence and event response with positions in the US military, intelligence community, and private sector. Steve held a number of roles to include threat intelligence, service delivery, and various leadership positions at Mandiant, FireEye, and IBM in the private sector. He is a frequent contributor and presenter in a variety of industry forums/conferences.

Wei Kee
Client Services Director
Shaped By

As Client Services Director at Shaped By, Wei Kee leads the team to deliver on the promises they make, working closely with clients to kick personal, team, and business goals.

A true advocate of good design and innovative creative solutions, she works hard to ensure a strong, unified dynamic between internal/external creative, and wider teams.

Wei subscribes to an empathetic and human-centric approach to developing deep relationships with clients near and far, always ensuring that the process to achieving business success is collaborative and enjoyable.

Outside of work, she loves to cook, eat and feed.

Tom Ovens
Creative Director
Shaped By

An ambassador of embracing the art of simplicity, Tom enjoys ripping things apart to delve deeper and explore meaningful ways to create authentic and impactful visual communications.

He loves leading the talented Shaped By design team to push boundaries, build recognition and make a difference for our clients. He is passionate about collaborating with his team, partners and clients to land on creative solutions that help fulfil personal, team and business objectives.

You’ll often hear Tom swooning over a new typeface he’s discovered, or discussing ‘Tittles’ (Google with care). In his free time he loves to disappear on his bike.

Jessica Bognar
Creative Director – Brand

Jessica is an award-winning creative leader at Salesforce with a track record of transforming teams and brands through strategic storytelling, humanity, and humor. For the past eight years she’s been an integral part of building the Salesforce brand. Her current role is leading Brand & Partnerships creative.

Aaron Poe
Head of Creative

Aaron Poe is a strategic Creative Director with over 17 years of experience branding and launching natively digital companies. His passion is building brands that are simple and timeless, striking the right balance of emotional connection and functional design. Currently, in his role as Creative Director at Zapier, he leads a multidisciplinary team of brand and digital designers within the global brand studio.

Jessica Rosenberg
Director of Brand Design

Jessica has 17+ years of experience helping brands tell their stories in differentiated and breakthrough ways.

Jess’s skills as a designer, creative, and leader have been shaped by working across notable companies in advertising and tech: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Twitter, Cloudflare, Mural, and Webflow. She’s just as passionate about coming up with the big idea as she is executing it. Jess recently joined the Design org at ONE finance leading the brand design function.

Jess lives in Austin, TX with her husband and four kids.

Rachel Gogel
Independent Design Executive

Rachel is a Parisian creative director, graphic designer, educator, and speaker based in San Francisco. She runs her own consultancy where her approach is informed by experiences both in-house and agency side. As a fractional design executive and queer leader, Rachel believes in fostering inclusive spaces that unlock human potential. She is committed to designing teams that build brands — with a focus on culture and technology. Over the last fifteen years, Rachel has led major initiatives at GQ, The New York Times, Meta, Godfrey Dadich, Departures, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

Currently, you can find her shaping employee experiences, coaching design leaders, building TV show pitch decks for public figures and media executives, and developing brand identity systems for academic institutions and startups.

Kaite Rosa
Senior Director of Brand 

Kaite Rosa is Senior Director of Brand at Axonius, where she leads the award-winning team responsible for creating a $2.6 billion brand in less than five years. Cited as one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity brands in history, Axonius has been named one of the most valuable private cloud companies in the world by the Forbes Cloud 100, along with numerous industry accolades.

A life-long writer, Kaite is passionate about using storytelling and creative concepts to define and build exceptional brand experiences. Her work on the campaign “Controlling Complexity”, starring the most decorated gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, has earned her two Telly awards.

Nick Farrar
Shaped By

Nick is the founder of Shaped By and has spent the last 20+ years in working with B2B brands. He has an in-depth understanding of what makes brands work, live and breathe and knows exactly how to maximise ROI for clients.

He is a passionate advocate for the use of creativity in strategic business thinking, and is well-versed in helping others tell their own story through design in a way that engages their audience.

Nando Costa

Nando Costa is a Brazilian-American artist-turned-designer with a wealth of experience spanning branding, motion graphics, and user experience design. As a design leader at Microsoft, he explores the confluence of traditional 2D UX, immersive three-dimensional environments, and the realm of generative AI technology.

Prelini Udayan-Chiechi
SVP Global Marketing

Prelini leads demand, growth, performance, operations, partner and regional marketing at Zendesk. Her responsibilities include driving all demand and growth for the company’s business in more than 160 countries globally across the entire demand funnel.

As well as being an accomplished public speaker, she is also a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. Her role as executive sponsor of Zendesk’s Mosaic employee community helps people of colour and allies at the company to embrace and celebrate their differences.