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If you had a chance to read our last blog in our “Marketing to the CSO” series, we’d like to continue the journey of helping security marketers better understand and reach the CSO buyer.  This is a continual pain point we hear in many client discussions and one we’d like to help you solve.

In order to really reach the CSO, we have to better understand the CSO. So before initiating marketing programs and PR campaigns to reach the CSO, we need to take a step back and ask, who is this CSO? What makes them tick? What do they like and dislike? What’s motivating them and influencing their buying decisions? What keeps them up at night? (probably a LOT given the state of global cyber threats).

So we did what we do for clients when we begin planning for a major campaign, we created a “buyer persona” on the CSO that aimed to answer the questions I posed above. This persona identification is an essential component that often gets overlooked in the rush to outreach but is critical when it comes to developing foundational messaging, positioning and storyline development that hits at the core of the individual you want to influence.

What did we find out by digging deeper into understanding the CSO buyer? Some things you might expect and some may be more surprising. We found that CSOs:

  • Absolutely hate being pitched “security perfection” because they don’t believe such a thing exists;
  • Will be “all ears” to anything that is proven to stop cyber threats, help the lives of their employees and not kill their budget – all while keeping the company “out of the headlines”;
  • View their role as not for the faint of heart given that they combat on a daily basis serious, well-funded adversaries ranging from organized crime, to nation states to radical fanatics – all of which want to do harm to their organization;
  • Are usually frustrated by the lack of budget and time available for strategic security planning, as well as the lack of qualified security talent required to tackle these issues.

Sound like a long day at the office?! It does to me but overcoming these challenges has meant “rock star” status for some in the cybersecurity industry.

For more on the CSO Buyer Persona and tips on how to market to the CSO, check out our new eBook, “Reaching and Understanding the Chief Security Officer Buyer.” Look out for our upcoming blogs in this series on what we heard directly from CSOs about how to market to them and our rankings of the top influencers to CSOs.


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