The holidays are right around the corner and you know what that means….time to map out your 2019 marketing budget! As many of us well know, it’s hard to get into the holiday spirit when sorting through spending priorities stands in your way. But before you feel like a Scrooge and your head starts spinning, take a step back and consider the big picture.
In an effort to put the happy back in the holidays and demystify cybersecurity marketing, we teamed up with T.E.N., an industry-leading technology and security executive marketing and networking organization, to survey more than 100 CISOs and uncover insights into where to spend in 2019. Searching for the answers to your biggest cybersecurity marketing questions? Look no further. We have the key:
1. Be Present at the Top Events, but Booth Displays May Not Be the Answer
CISOs find industry conferences to be one of the best ways to learn about security products and vendors, highlighting top ranking information security events like RSA® (44 percent) and Gartner Security Summits (33 percent) as key places to foster relationships and build trust. With this in mind, be sure to earmark a healthy portion of your cybersecurity marketing budget towards event presence. However, does that mean you should spend tens of thousands on an event sponsorship or a booth presence? Not exactly. It may come as no surprise, but the show floor may not be the best place for networking given the sheer volume of vendors and all the bells and whistles you have to compete with. As one CISO noted, “It’s good for peers to connect at industry dinners or on panels.” Therefore, we recommend considering investing in smaller, more intimate networking events where you can build real connections with industry influencers, rather than funneling money into a flashy booth display.
2. Say “No” to Sales Slick Sheets
More slick sheets mean more sales, right? Wrong! Turns out a fancy data sheet with a list of features and capabilities isn’t always the best way to seal the deal. In fact, when asked how they prefer to learn about vendor solutions and content offerings, CISOs placed little emphasis on marketing collateral (16 percent), but ranked case studies as the top choice (at 68 percent) and white papers/ebooks (which often contain use cases) came in second at 50 percent. So, what does this mean for your budget? Rethink developing yet another sales slick sheet to kick off 2019 and instead shift your emphasis and invest in your customer success/reference team to drive case study development and validation.
3. Drive Awareness in the Right Places If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if you’re spending marketing or PR dollars in the wrong media channels, is anyone hearing your message? The unfortunate answer is “no.” CISOs look to various sources of information to understand hot-button issues and industry trends, and it’s important to know what they’re reading and where they’re getting their information to know where to spend on marketing and PR. In our survey, online news outlets (70 percent) topped the list of information sources, with 86 percent of CISOs indicated their Board and CEOs look to The Wall Street Journal to get informed on cybersecurity. Rather than spending blindly, analyze what your target audience is reading to ensure you’re making a splash in the right places.
Above all, when it comes to cybersecurity marketing, research and relationships are key. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to reaching today’s CISO, so listening and learning are critical to figuring out the best way to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. If you do your due diligence up front, allocating your budget will be a breeze.
Still struggling to nail down your cybersecurity marketing priorities for 2019? Download Merritt Group’s latest report “Marketing & Selling to the CISO” and schedule a no obligation session with us to have your questions answered!