It’s time to rethink cybersecurity marketing

Gayle Kennedy B2B Branding, Creative Covenant, Technology

What hinders cybersecurity marketers from doing their jobs well? And what can be done about it?

If you’re a cybersecurity marketer, you’ll know that the industry is heavily populated by multiple companies purporting to solve endless cybersecurity needs.

Crafting messaging that cuts through this quagmire is no small feat. This challenge is compounded by the fact that many marketers are hindered from doing their jobs well (largely unintentionally).

What are these hindrances, and how might they be overcome?

Hindrance 1: The cybersecurity vocabulary

In an industry that is highly technical at its heart, it is easy to resort to words that – although compelling in nature – are meaningless, overused, or readily taken out of context. Phrases like ‘next-gen’, ‘machine learning’, ‘automated threat hunting’ and ‘cyber kill chain’ all contribute to the homogeneity of cybersecurity messaging, and limit your ability to explain what a product or solution can actually achieve.

Overcome it by: Striking these buzzwords from your style guide. Use storytelling to penetrate the uniqueness of a company and its offering. Put the customer at the centre of the narrative about your product or service – how does it help them sleep better? What does it give them more time to do?

Hindrance 2: Who’s briefing whom?

As cybersecurity companies evolve and grow from plucky start-ups into larger entities, marketing is often one of the last teams to be developed, with sales being established first.

This often correlates into sales directing the messaging for marketing, as the sales team is the most well-versed in the product or solution. However, this can mean that marketing is charged with selling the product of an unknown brand at a time when it’s crucial that the brand is established  with the C-level.

Overcome it by: Giving marketing the time to establish the brand, its core messaging, and its target audience (and accept that this might have a different slant to the sales narrative).

Hindrance 3: Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

Very few companies offer the silver bullet that covers all cybersecurity issues in all eventualities. And yet, this is what is often at the heart of many campaigns and messaging.

At best, this means that some companies offer sweeping generalisations that belie the actual benefits of a product or service.

At worst, it means that companies – advertently or inadvertently – insert false statements into the market.

Overcome it by: Supporting an ecosystem in which marketing is the nexus of multiple teams, from sales to technical and threat-related research to delivery and customer experience.

Marketing is in a golden – and, indeed, befitting – position to lead collaborative working practices between other teams in the business. If done well, all relevant areas of the business become rightfully integral to the company’s overall narrative. This then elevates the work of research teams and the learnings from those who are delivering the product or service to customers, and creates the right environment for devising creative solutions to a range of challenges – for example, where in the sales funnel leads are going dry.

Do some of the problems we’ve listed above resonate with your current or past experience? We’d love to hear your story.

Listen to our podcast, Marketing Cybersecurity: Accepting You Have a Problem, in which we and our guests explore these issues and how to tackle them in greater depth.

Gayle Kennedy

Head of Storytelling

Author and 2021 winner of the Brand Narrative Specialists Award, Gayle is a true wordsmith and storyteller, capturing the TOVs of both Velo and our clients. With a love for jazz and a bluesy singing voice, Gayle is happiest up a mountain or wild swimming in a river – in all seasons.