5 tips for building a solid cybersecurity marketing strategy

It’s crucial to have a comprehensive cybersecurity marketing strategy. Read our top five tips for building a great one today.

Pranita Tamang
6 MIN|November 5, 2019
Illustration man sitting with giant smartphone with shield icon

The market for cyber security products and services is highly competitive. So, to ensure that your expertise and solutions stand out from the crowd, you need an excellent cyber security marketing strategy.

The cyber security landscape has changed in recent years. In 2019, a slew of data breaches, exploits and backdoor hacks have compromised the data of hundreds of millions of users.

Hackers broke WhatsApp’s defences and installed surveillance technology on people’s phones, travellers licence plates and images were stolen from US Customs and Borders and 11.9 million of patients’ medical and financial data was exposed due to a Quest Diagnostics Breach – just to name a few.

Business owners are beginning to wake up to the reality that their organisations are at risk and are seeking out ways to better protect their IT infrastructure.

Cyber security is now being regarded as business-critical – a situation which has led to more opportunity for businesses selling cyber security solutions, as well as more competition than ever.

At Fifty Five and Five, we work with Microsoft Partners to help market a wide range of cyber security services and products. Over the years, we have worked closely with our clients to figure out what works and what doesn’t. In this post, we highlight five ways for Microsoft Partners to develop a cyber security marketing strategy which will generate leads and boost profits.

How to build a solid cyber security marketing strategy

There are five key tips to developing a cyber security marketing strategy. These are:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Providing education
  • Gaining trust/showcasing expertise
  • Creating a sense of urgency
  • Taking away the fear

Understand your audience

Understanding your audience is essential, and should be the first step for all marketing strategies. To do this well, we recommend creating some marketing personas.

A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Personas not only put a face to your target audience but also provide actionable insights to help you decide which strategies will work best, including how to communicate, which marketing channels to use and what kind of messaging will have the desired impact. You can learn more about creating personas for marketing here.

If you are selling to smaller businesses, you need to resolve problems facing smaller businesses. For instance, writing blogs which focus solely on the high-profile cyber security attacks affecting the Deloittes and NHS’s of this world may leave small business owners thinking: “Well, my company of 12 people probably isn’t at risk”. On the other hand, messaging such as: “43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses” will resonate with them more.

You also need to be clear about who your message is targeted at within these organisations. Create at least two or three personas to cover the different roles that you need to speak to. It is likely that you will need to target both the CTO and the CEO. But, at larger organisations, this may also include CISOs, risk managers and CFOs. All of these individuals will have different pain points and will need to be addressed in different ways.

Actions to take:

  • Research your audience
  • Create and use personas

Provide education

Every business needs cyber security, but few people outside of the tech world know more than what they see in the headlines. Education is therefore essential when it comes to a cyber security marketing strategy.

Many business owners read about cyberattacks in the news and are left asking: how does this affect my business? What are the dangers? How do I mitigate against the risks? Where do I start? A cyber security marketing strategy needs to answer these questions.

Another problem for marketers is that many businesses are complacent about the cyber security threat to their business. Part of the job involves explaining that the risks are huge and the dangers imminent.

Content marketing is key here. Create blogs and downloadable content (eBooks, infographics etc.) that seek to educate your target audience.

Actions to take:

  • Create informative digital content – blogs, downloadable content, webinars, video tutorials
  • Use other types of content – flyers, brochures to hand out to customers at events, adverts in print publications

Gain trust/ showcase expertise

When businesses make decisions about cyber security solutions, there’s a lot on the line – the average cost of a cyberattack is £2.9 million per incident. With the EU’s new data protection laws (e.g. the GDPR) coming into play in 2018, there is a further consideration that non-compliance can be punished with huge fines. Aside from this, there’s the risk of reputational damage, which can be just as difficult to come back from as any financial hit.

With so much at stake, business owners are taking care to find solutions they can rely on. Therefore, they need to know that they’re in safe hands.

You need to build trust and showcase your expertise. This doesn’t mean producing text-heavy manuals full of jargon and technical language. It means providing easy-to-digest explainers about how effective your products and services have been in protecting customers from cyberthreats in the past. Testimonials from satisfied customers and case studies that showcase success stories are the way to go. Bringing your blogs to life with real examples of your services, product or team in practice can work well.

Making content data-led is a great way to do this. Accurate stats, facts and figures can be effective in communicating your expertise. For instance, use attention-grabbing statistics for headlines and social media content, such as: “we helped 200 organisations stay cyberattack free in 2017”.

Actions to take:

  • Use stats, facts, figures, case studies, interviews with experts
  • Create authoritative whitepapers
  • Don’t use jargon

Create a sense of urgency

Unfortunately, many businesses do not see cyber security as a priority. One of your challenges is to convince them that they should.

There may be many different reasons why businesses are reluctant to prioritise cyber security. It could be down to complacency; it could be because they don’t fully understand the threat; it could be because they believe their core work is more important and want to focus their resources towards that end; it could be simply down to the expense.

Your job is to use your personas to figure out what messaging will convince your target audience that cyber security is critical – you need to create a sense of urgency.

But, of course, you must get your messaging right. This shouldn’t be an exercise is scare tactics. You don’t want to create a series of blogs that ends up terrifying potential customers rather than educating them as to the risks.

Actions to take:

  • Use your personas to find the right messaging
  • Avoid scare-mongering and stick to the facts
  • Use stats to outline the reality of the threat

Take away the fear

It’s important that you steer clear of deploying scare tactics to market your solution. It can be easy to slip into the fear-based approach when your product protects businesses from alarming outcomes – especially considering the bleak picture the statistics paint. For example, an estimated two million cyber attacks in 2018 cost more than $45 billion in losses worldwide.

People are emotional creatures and it’s important to know and understand these stats to tailor your content to hit emotional triggers. However, you need to keep customers comfortable throughout the decision-making process. Fear based messaging doesn’t affect behaviour in the way you’d want it to. Yes, you’ll grab the attention of the reader but rather than concentrating on your offering, they’ll concentrate on managing their fear. Then, reassure themselves that “It’ll never happen to them” or “come on, what are the chances?” Consider that their fear controlled and your product forgotten about.

It’s better to put a positive spin on your marketing campaign. You can’t hide from the figures and you’d be remiss to ignore them in your content. But you can offer up reassurance that the fears can be resolved. Your product just happens to be the perfect solution. The only fear you want your potential customers to feel is the fear that they’re missing out on the best solution out there.

Actions to take:

  • Steer clear of fear tactics in your marketing
  • The figures are scary, but put a positive spin on your content, painting you as the solution

Do you need help developing a cyber security marketing strategy?

Fifty Five and Five are a full-service digital marketing agency. We combine great marketing with an innate understanding of the Microsoft Partner Network. For more information, get in contact with us today.