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Where are the Big Bets in Cyber PR & Marketing for 2021?

Posted by Michelle Schafer on Sep 30, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Cyber-blog

As we head into this final quarter of an unforgettable 2020, I’m starting to think about where cyber companies should focus their marketing in 2021. Ironically, experts argue that during a recession, marketing is the one engine you should keep investing in—so you can continue to drive your brand and sales pipeline. 

With constant threats, hacks and attacks, cybersecurity is an ever-growing industry where venture capital and marketing dollars have free-flowed for many years and 2020 is not all that different. Thousands of vendors now  make up this $173 billion market. While there may have been a few dips earlier this year—where some VCs cautiously pulled back investments to wait out economic uncertainties—deal flow is coming back and major market trends such as remote work are fueling more cyber spending.

Cyber Marketing is Noisy - Don’t Let Your Foot Off the Gas

So when it comes to cyber marketing and public relations, how can your company actually stand out? And where should you place your big bets in 2021? These topics came up during last week’s panel at CyberMarketing Con where I was joined by Tim Wilson, Editor of DarkReading, and Meredith Corley, Cisco’s Head of Security Communications, for a lively discussion on this very topic. 

One of the most interesting takeaways was that cybersecurity is a highly competitive, fragmented market where every vendor is vying for the spotlight. That’s why it’s crucial to not let your pedal off the marketing gas, especially if your company is in its early stages and still needs brand building and awareness. 

We also determined there really is no “one size fits all” marketing strategy in cyber. It varies based on where your company’s maturity lies. Are you an early stage startup coming out of stealth mode or a well-established market leader launching new products or services? No matter what the situation, you should employ a basic marketing program that includes the following: 

  • Clear messaging and positioning based on marketing research
  • Strong media and analyst relations (utilizing a balanced mix of paid, earned and owned opportunities to drive thought leadership and validation)
  • An active social media presence, leveraging Twitter and LinkedIn to reach your target audiences
  • Speaking and awards programs (you may have to invest in some pay-to-play opportunities here so be sure to vet them carefully)

Get Your Message Heard

While it seems obvious, it’s still an important point: every marketing program must be anchored by a strong message platform. Without it, your message will get buried or can easily be confused, especially if you’re using multiple spokespeople with media and analysts. Investing in messaging and public relations activities early on will give your cyber company a strong lift to help you get in front of potential customers or investors who can fund you to propel your business forward. 

Another intriguing and timely topic that our panel addressed is how your security company can be visible in this tough media landscape. While it’s tricky, it’s not impossible for public relations professionals to drive awareness for your organization and thought-leaders via earned media. You just have to be more creative than prior to the pandemic and tie your story into the current news landscape (think election, a breaking cyber attack, remote work/school, etc.) in a sensitive and thoughtful way. 

If your company has a threat research team, absolutely maximize that engine to create compelling content that can educate the industry on new threats and vulnerabilities (just be careful NOT to push FUD). Your marketing department should also need to be open to exploring paid media opportunities, which can guarantee consistent visibility and coverage. 

If your cyber company is currently mapping out your PR and marketing strategies, please contact me today at schafer@merrittgrp.com. You can also check out our latest report, Marketing & Selling to the CISO

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Topics: Security, public relations, performance marketing

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