3 Core Areas to Focus on in Your Cybersecurity Demand Generation Strategy

For B2B marketers, industry expertise is growing increasingly important for engaging and converting target audiences. So, a key component of effective demand generation strategies involves tailoring initiatives to the industry rather than simply adhering to generic B2B best practices.

The need for bespoke demand gen strategies is even more critical in cybersecurity. Given the competitive nature of the cybersecurity market and the intricacies of offerings and target audiences, marketers need to know who the target audience is, where they are consuming content and media, and how their offerings fit into the conversation.

The right demand generation strategy can differentiate your cybersecurity brand and ultimately help build a robust sales pipeline. However, the foundational elements of your strategy need to be solid in order for your digital marketing efforts to make an impact.

Identify the Right Audience

Personas matter to marketers. But in cybersecurity, it’s even more important to precisely define the personas you are trying to reach. Is your target audience C-suite leaders like a CIO or CISO? This C-suite audience is very different from a more technical stakeholder like a network architect or engineer and would warrant a different strategy to target them effectively.

When developing personas for demand gen tactics, consider factors that enable more refined targeting. Establishing parameters like company industry, job titles, seniority and company size helps narrow down your target audience. 

Similarly, you need to understand the industries you want to target. For example, the financial services industry may be more cautious about adopting cloud-based vendors, requiring a longer nurture cycle. By clearly defining your target industries, you can improve your ability to design a campaign strategy that resonates with industry stakeholders.

Additionally, the more refined and specific your targeting, the more effectively you can manage your advertising budget. Your competitors are targeting similar audiences, so precise targeting across various demand-gen platforms increases your chances of reaching the right people. If your organization already has target lists of companies or contacts, such as attendee lists from previous industry events, you can achieve even more precise targeting on platforms like LinkedIn.

Know Where to Reach Them

Once you’ve identified your target audience, you need to determine how to reach them. Where are these users active? Where will your message resonate most? Where will you see the most success in prompting your audience to take a desired action?

Assess the Competitive Landscape

One of the first steps in developing your paid media strategy is to research your competition. Understanding which platforms your competitors are advertising on and then differentiating between where they’re “paying to play” versus organically promoting their content can inform the direction of your strategy. The goal of this exercise is to identify which competitors are doing well and where your brand can differentiate itself through distinct messaging, ad types and content.

As a B2B cybersecurity marketer, consider asking yourself the following questions during this analysis:

  • What associations, events or publications are your competitors sponsoring or running advertising with?
  • What types of ads are they running, and how is their engagement?
  • What content are they serving in their ads?
  • What messages are they conveying? 
  • Who is their target audience? 
  • What keywords are they bidding on? Pro tip: use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to assist you.

Conduct Platform Research

In addition to analyzing your competition, explore various paid platforms to uncover opportunities to best reach your audience.

Consider your ultimate goal. What are the business objectives driving your paid initiatives? For example, if raising awareness is your primary goal, a platform like LinkedIn, which offers multiple creative ad types, may be ideal. On the other hand, if your goal is web conversions, Google Ads may be the best place to start. 

Based on the personas and audiences you identified, build initial audiences within the platforms to ensure your audience lives there. Use LinkedIn’s targeting features to review audience size, and use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush to determine if the keywords that are important to your brand and audience have search volume. Platform research may also uncover additional opportunities, but keep in mind that different stakeholders within your target organizations may be active on different channels.

Remember, determining where to reach your audience is an ongoing process that does not end at the onset of your initial strategy. Continuously observing and exploring the competitive landscape and evaluating how your ads are resonating based on performance is critical in order to pivot channels or tactics quickly.

“Understanding the competitive landscape is fundamental in the cybersecurity space — ongoing competitive research will help you stay relevant. If your competitor is in a specific keyword space, your audience is probably in that space, too.”

Izzy Koumjian, Paid Media Manager

Craft a Relevant Message

When crafting engaging messaging for your cybersecurity brand’s content or ad copy, focus on your target audience’s viewpoints and pain points, rather than being overly promotional. In cybersecurity, where prospects are looking for a partner to entrust with their security infrastructure, anticipating and addressing concerns upfront is especially valuable for building credibility and driving conversions. 

Different target audiences within an organization will have different pain points, needs, and priorities, so your messaging should be tailored accordingly. For example, you may want to target managers by focusing on product uses and outcomes, while messaging focused on business outcomes will resonate more with C-suite or operations audiences.

“Keep the messaging simple and clear. Cybersecurity is a complex space that is constantly changing. You want to make sure the message you are communicating appeals to those who might not know all of the industry jargon.”

Allie Bernene, Senior Paid Media Specialist

Establish What Differentiates Your Brand and Product or Service

It takes more than technical specs to stand out in the cybersecurity market. Your messaging must convey why your solution is not just another option on the market, but the right choice for your specific target audience.

Here are just a few topics a cybersecurity brand can address to demonstrate value in its ad copy:

  • Competitive and/or Industry Gaps: What are the issues users may have with their current cybersecurity solution or partner, and how can your company solve them? 
  • Superior Customer Support: Reliable customer service is a powerful value-add that can motivate a prospect to choose your cybersecurity solution over the competition when your technical product or service specs are similar. 
  • Ease of Adoption or Integration: As company systems grow more complex and require flexibility and compatibility to avoid operational disruption, leaders will be looking for the most streamlined cybersecurity solution for their needs. 
  • Compliance: Compliance is top of mind across industries like healthcare, government and finance. With regulations constantly evolving, showcasing your ability to maintain compliance standards and help clients stay ahead of new regulations can demonstrate your value as a long-term cybersecurity partner. 
  • Credibility: Highlighting awards, partnerships or associations that lend credibility to your brand can leave a positive impression as prospects research their options. Cybersecurity is a high-stakes investment, and credibility is everything.
  • Testimonials and Case Studies: Shining a spotlight on successful outcomes is another effective way to build trust and demonstrate your capabilities. Why? Because case studies and real-world examples help prospects visualize how your product or service can work in industries or situations similar to theirs.

Influencing the Buyer Journey With Content

B2B buyers require significant nurturing until they are ready to talk to a sales rep. A recent study from 6sense showed that buyers refrain from engaging with sales teams until they are at least 70% through their research phase. 

So, to position your cybersecurity brand and establish credibility while keeping prospects engaged, it’s important to promote top- and middle-of-funnel content that nurtures them through the buyer journey. This can include assets like white papers, eBooks, blogs, and webinars that establish your brand as a leader in the industry or help educate prospects on more complex aspects of your cybersecurity service or product. 

You may also want to consider promoting industry reports you collaborated on or sponsored to demonstrate your brand’s expertise in a specific area. This can establish a need for your product or service and position your brand as a credible cybersecurity resource during the research phase.

Demand generation in the cybersecurity space is a massive undertaking. You need to focus on the foundation of your strategy first — understanding who you’re targeting, where to reach them, and what to say — to generate business outcomes. 

By pinpointing your audience and addressing what matters to them, you can stand out from the competition and build a successful long-term strategy. 

Get in touch with our team of demand generation experts to learn how we can help elevate your cybersecurity brand with strategic paid media. 

Author Note: This blog was co-authored by Katia Svarovskaia, Senior Paid Media Manager, and Anastasia Warren, Senior Director, Paid Media. 


Share This

Read Next

Want to know more? Let’s talk.