In 2017, big tech contracts will be won and lost on cybersecurity.
This is why.
In 2015, TalkTalk was hacked by a spotty teenager. It was fined £400,000 for failing to adequately secure customer data, and the regulator reported that “TalkTalk’s failure to implement the most basic cybersecurity measures allowed hackers to penetrate TalkTalk’s systems with ease.”
The brand subsequently haemorrhaged 101,000 customers and £60m in sales. Big news at the time; but as businesses add more tech to their already precarious stacks, inevitably, they add more opportunities for criminals.
To counter this threat, businesses are increasingly involving tech experts (CIO / CSO / CISO / CTO) in their buying decisions. That leads to one conclusion for B2B tech marketing: play off the fear, and put the cybersecurity sell front and centre in their campaigns.
Positioning Your Brand
In November, Phillip Hammond stood up at a Microsoft conference and announced a £1.9bn investment in the National Cybersecurity Strategy.
The government’s words, but delivered from Microsoft’s platform – an astute strategic move from the software behemoth.
Similarly, this video from Google:
“Your adversaries focus their time and energy on finding weak spots in your systems that they can exploit. At Google, we design systems and processes specifically designed to thwart adversaries.”
Note that neither of these efforts are part of a direct product sell: rather, both brands are seeking to mark themselves out as thought leaders in cybersecurity.
This doesn’t necessarily require flashy events or big-budget influencers. Thought leadership via PR, content and social media is an excellent way to position your business as a cybercrime-conscious brand.
Your Product Offering
The cybersecurity sell doesn’t just apply to specialist cybersecurity businesses.
Cybersecurity Ventures, a Silicon Valley research organisation, lists the following brands amongst the 500 biggest global players in the field:
This list shows the business landscape changing, as brands which traditionally resided outside the tech space move to provide tailored cybercrime defences for their existing clients’ industries.
Facebook, meanwhile, continues to nurture its developer community with the launch of Threatexchange. Nominally for IT security professionals, this social network is marketed as a B2B product to the businesses that employ them.
Scale this approach for your own B2B tech firm. Whether it’s a product division, a product, or a product feature, ensure you’ve got something to offer for today’s cybercrime-savvy tech buyers.
Your B2B Tech Buyer
Awareness of cybercrime is growing across all industries.
76% of retailers say they’re facing more security risks than they can handle. 73% of major global businesses report that cybersecurity features in board meetings at least quarterly. PwC research indicates this concern is mirrored across sectors, with 53% saying they’ve become more fearful of cybercrime over the past two years, compared to 48% in 2014.
Crucially, PwC’s respondents are your target market: 75% senior decision-makers; over 50% at large global corporations.
These people have both a personal and professional stake in defending against cybercrime. JPMorgan reassigned their CSO Jim Cummings following a data breach off the back of a social campaign. Target fired its CIO and CEO after their own scandal in 2013.
With new EU regulations due 2018 set to raise a dizzying £122bn in fines on businesses for security on breaches – a 90-fold increase on 2015 – the responsibility not to be an easy Target weighs ever more heavily on your buyer’s mind.
Increasingly in B2B sales – and particularly in the case of high-value contracts – it’s becoming standard practice to customise marketing and sales collateral for different individuals’ business interests.
Steve Morgan, founder and Editor-In-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures, offers this tip on selling to a CSO / CISO / CIO: “skip straight the pain”.
He goes on to explain that this buyer is more interested in the cybersecurity sell than in your core product proposition, so be sure to prepare marketing and sales collateral which answers this buyer’s specific needs.
This filters down to your creative style.
Look at these three landing page hero images for Blackberry’s, IMB’s and Deloitte’s security services divisions.
One a communications services provider; one a technology manufacturer; one a business consultancy firm. The three look like peas in a pod, talking the talk of cybersecurity through forbidding colours and imagery.
This is your expert tech buyer’s (visual) language. Weave it into your campaigns.
Playing off fear in advertising is a delicate art. It can be done badly; but if the fear is of a genuine and present threat, and if your product solves that problem, it would be imprudent not to flag it to the relevant buyer.
For B2B tech buyers, cybercrime is the genuine and present threat.
Your product can either be part of your client’s defence, or a new vulnerability. Either a swinging gate for an insurgent generation of cybercriminals to siphon off customer data and company finances, or a secure, robust tool which helps to preserve the trust of customers, investors and directors alike.
By building your campaign around your buyer’s interests, positioning your brand and your product accordingly, and reflecting this understanding in your creative, you’ll stand a good chance of winning contracts based on the cybersecurity sell.
Find out more
Work in tech? OLIVER counts both 3M and Atos amongst its clients, supporting advertising and marketing efforts across a full range of channels, and also getting hands-on in bids and tenders.
Contact Robert and discover how an OLIVER in-house agency could help market your tech brand.
Robert Green, Managing Partner, Inside Ideas Group
Robert has sat on the board of Inside Ideas Group since 2009, overseeing all aspects of business development and marketing.
He started his career at Haymarket and has over 20 years’ experience in building creative and marketing services solutions for the likes of Starbucks, PepsiCo, Vodafone, BMW and other global brands.
Robert’s career has spanned the UK and USA, including a stint at Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom. He now oversees global business development for Inside Ideas Group.