Marketer’s 2019 guide to cybersecurity marketing challenges

Marketer’s 2019 guide to cybersecurity marketing challenges
Photo: Jonathan Borba

The way businesses and individual users view cybersecurity has been changing lately – fortunately, for the better. Leaders in their respective industries are slowly beginning to understand that cybersecurity is not an “outer layer” of protection. Cybersecurity is part of a strong business from the ground up – and only then it can work wonders.

Despite this welcomed, albeit slow shift in thinking, many businesses still treat security as an afterthought and allocate small budgets for protection. Many are not aware of the dangers they face – for example, cyberattacks on small businesses were up by more than 400% in 2018, and more than half of overall cyberattacks targeted small companies. Yet, these businesses invest an average of $500 in cybersecurity – on a yearly basis!

This poses a serious challenge for marketers tasked with helping cybersecurity companies reach their customers. In this guide, we’ll address the most common problems in cybersecurity marketing and the ways to overcome them.

Setting the tone with your target audience

Cybersecurity isn’t simple. Sure, most of your customers are able to recognize the most basic clickbait malware, but very few of them know how to spot a more advanced attempt at hacking. On top of that, they often don’t understand how certain activities they take for granted expose them to cyberattacks.

If they don’t understand that, they are hardly going to understand how your tool works, what differentiates it from competitors, and why it is worth their money or trust.

Content marketing is a great way to explain to your customers how things work when it comes to cybersecurity. How you’re going to do that depends largely on your target audience. Before devising cybersecurity content strategy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I aiming to raise awareness among individual users, or do I seek to sell this solution to businesses?
  • Are these businesses small, mid-size, or large enterprise?
  • How are these businesses going to use this solution?
  • What is their level of expertise?

If you are targeting individual users, your content should be simple and straightforward. No matter how complicated the topic is, it is an absolute must to present it in a simple, relatable way. Metaphors are always a great way to explain things to an audience that isn’t very well versed with the topic on hand.

If you’re targeting businesses, their expertise may vary based on their industry. Somebody who owns a small online-store probably doesn’t understand the intricacies of coding and exploiting on-page vulnerabilities to plant malware. In those cases, keep things simple and explanations graphic.

On the other hand, if you are selling solutions to IT experts, you will have to step up your game. For them, explaining the basics just doesn’t cut it. These people are fully capable of making informed choices by considering the way you measure against your competitors. In this case, establishing thought leadership is a good idea to impress your target audience. Write informative content about the latest news and technologies, consult experts and authority figures, and don’t be afraid to write more complicated content. Here’s an interesting blog post about “How to verify website authenticity”

Selling yourself but remaining realistic

Another challenge with cybersecurity marketing is setting and adjusting expectations among your customers. For starters, you should be upfront with the fact that there is no such thing as 100% security. There is always a chance that your defenses may be breached. The selling point is that your tool minimizes the chance of cyberattacks.

cybersecurity marketing challenges laptop office work
Photo: Canva Studio, Pexels.

In the previous section, we explained how you can communicate the value of your cybersecurity solution. In this one, we address the importance of transparency. It’s easy to embellish things a little when you sell shoes or beauty products. However, promising something you can deliver in cybersecurity can destroy your business and reputation.

Customizing solutions

Sometimes, it is hard to communicate the value of your cybersecurity solution because it has multiple uses and a wide target audience. In those cases, your marketing strategy may feel like you’re shooting blanks into the void.

If that’s the case, segmenting your audience is the first step towards making yourself heard. Using cyber intelligence tools such as website categorization from Whois XML API, you can easily analyze your website visitors and build actionable, real buyer personas. Using this same tool, you can also compile a list of websites and webpages that are relevant to your product, your buyer persona’s search queries and interests, and plant ads for your solution across the web.

Another great way to customize your offer and target the right audience is to generate leads using pop-up windows with a sign-up form or quizzes. These pop-ups can be positioned on your homepage or blog posts with good traffic.

Quiz, as a form of interactive marketing, is a great way to spark your customer’s interest, motivate them to share valuable information with you, and help you fine-tune your offer based on customer’s needs. Quiz with a headline such as “How safe is your website?” or “Find out which defenses your website needs” will help you categorize your leads into several groups and target them with highly personalized email campaigns.

Convincing customers that the price is worth it

Finally, advanced cybersecurity tools don’t come for free, and more importantly, they often don’t come cheap. If we take into account the “$500 annually” stat from the beginning of our story, selling the price of a product is the greatest challenge for cybersecurity marketers.

If you follow the previous tips, you may be well on your way to convincing the customers that investment in your solution is worthwhile. Of course, you don’t want to turn your brand message into a doomsday prophecy. However, very few cybersecurity providers capitalize on pretty grim stats when it comes to cyberattacks.

Their number keeps growing, the methods are becoming more sophisticated, and at the same time, more and more sensitive data is stored online. The crucial point of solid cybersecurity marketing is helping your customers understand that no matter how small their business is, it is vulnerable to attacks that can single-handedly destroy everything they’ve built.

Conclusion

As a cybersecurity marketer, think about yourself as a hacker. Understand how your customers think and exploit the vulnerabilities of your competitors. Things have nowhere to go but up – as the demands of cybersecurity industry keep growing, there will be plenty of opportunities for new cybersecurity solutions and the ways to advertise them.