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Lay of the Brand Podcast Episode 14: How to Market to CISOs with 7-Eleven & T.E.N.

by | Nov 10, 2020


Most people in cybersecurity know that marketing and selling to today’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is not easy. They have an unprecedented amount of work and conflicting priorities on their plates, making it extremely difficult for anyone, let alone a vendor trying to sell them something to grab their attention. 

To reveal how B2B cyber security companies can better reach elusive CISOs, Merritt Group partnered with Tech Exec Networks (T.E.N), an information security networking and relationship marketing firm to survey leading CISOs to find out what influences their buying behavior and triggers the sale.

In our latest Lay of the Brand podcast, Sujeet Bambawale, CISO of 7-Eleven and Marci McCarthy, CEO and president of T.E.N look into our survey results and tell us what CISOs really want to hear from marketers. 

Here are highlights of our conversation. Click below to listen to the podcast or visit


Michelle Schafer, Lay of the Brand: So as you know, our survey showed that 64% of CISOs rely on peer to peer communication to make buying decisions, but what are some other sources that are important to CISOs, and how do you find them? 

Sujeet Bambawale, CISO of 7-Eleven: Sources of information, and I think that your report called these out very well, that I certainly look at are blog posts. I’d like to take a minute to describe my workflow on how I get to that blog post. The most popular kind of blog post that gets my attention is the threat intelligence blog post, which means there is a threat hunting team or some sort of intelligence team within perhaps a vendor organization or a security vendor organization that has found and contributed to finding malware or finding and busting some sort of cyber criminal group.

Abstracting that and stepping a few steps back, I think what influences me the most, and leads me to a blog post is something that is done for the information security community as a whole. I have found that I have been more and more interested and attracted to community based posts like threat intelligence, women in security, and other community engagements like that, which then say hiring has gone up, diversity has gone up, and just adding to the intelligence value within information security. Those are the kind of blog posts that get my attention, and then if they lead me to that solution provider’s specific solutions, specific product, that happens organically. 

Michelle Schafer: That’s great to hear. For the longest time we’ve seen many vendors put out their own threat intel blogs, and I think that information sharing aspect has been so huge for the cybersecurity community for a very long time. So it’s really good to hear that that’s what you’re looking at very closely.

Marci, did you have any thoughts on blogs or different types of marketing materials that you’re seeing CISOs really like or pay attention to?

Marci McCarthy, CEO