By: Stacy Willis
Stacy Willis

Cyber Security Marketing Strategies: How Technical is Too Technical?

cyber security

Cyber security marketing is a delicate art that requires a constant awareness of and attention to your audience. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of the technical details of your product or service, confusing your potential customers and making them miss the bigger picture. But if you don't provide enough information, you risk omitting important details that might have been a selling point for your prospects.

This dilemma prompts the question: How do you find the appropriate level of technical speak in your marketing message? Just how much is enough, and how much is too much?

Why You Should Care

Striking the right balance in your marketing is of the utmost importance. In order to be considered a thought leader in cyber security, you need to show off your technical chops. Everything that you say or write will be evaluated by both technical and non-technical stakeholders at your prospective clients' businesses.

You want to find a way to make it clear to the technical guys that you "know your stuff," but you also need to get your message across to nontechnical decision-makers without speaking over their heads. This means that a "one-size-fits-all" approach is probably not the right way to go.

Step 1: Identify Your Personas

The vast majority of stakeholders at your prospects' businesses can be organized into various cyber security buyer personas. These characters might include people such as risk managers, chief information security officers (CISOs), IT experts and nontechnical executives like the CEO, CFO and COO.

Free Resource: B2B Cyber Security Buyer Persona Templates.

Your first step in refining your cyber security marketing should be to identify and define the personas who work at your prospects' businesses. If your company is like most cyber security outfits, you likely target either larger enterprises or small and medium businesses, but not both. Larger organizations will generally have roles and personas that are different from those of SMBs.

For each persona that you identify, make sure to also define its level of technical expertise. For example, IT stakeholders, such as risk analysts, would be rated as highly technical, whereas the CEO persona would likely be rated as highly nontechnical.

Step 2: Tailor Your Message

Once you've identified your personas, you need to tailor your marketing message individually for each one. For example, CEOs usually find arguments about the potential costs of a data breach persuasive and are attracted by information about cyber security solutions' return on investment. However, this line of reasoning would generally be inappropriate for IT stakeholders and other technical experts, who are already aware of the risks posed by cyber security threats.

Write out a value proposition for your company, and for each of your services, that's specific to each individual persona. Adjust the level of technical speak and detail appropriately for each level of technicality that you've defined.

Step 3: Design Content

After understanding how to tailor your message to different personas, it's time to put your ideas into practice. Begin designing specific pages and content with a persona and goal in mind. If your target audience is risk managers at a large enterprise, for example, your content should explain how your cyber security solutions will help them quantify risks and justify spending on risk management services.

You should never create content for "everyone" if you can help it. The old saying "you can't please everyone" is doubly true when it comes to marketing. Before you start writing a piece of content, make sure that you know who that content is targeting, and always write with the right tone and message for that persona.

Step 4: Set the Tone

Although tailoring your message is one of the most effective marketing techniques, you can't do it all the time. You'll still need to produce content such as web pages and brochures that have a more general audience.

General marketing materials are necessary when you aren't able to identify the audience for your content and, therefore, need to make your appeal as broad as possible. For example, the main parts of your website will likely have a general audience because the visitors are anonymous.

Free, On-Demand Webinar: Cyber Security Marketing Strategies and Lessons From the Trenches

When creating your general content, you need to set a consistent tone that's knowledgeable yet approachable. Your general tone will be very dependent upon the technical level of your various personas.

Try to strike a balance. Don't speak over anyone's head, but be prepared to provide plenty of detail for the technical part of your audience to dive into if they so choose. Explain any acronyms you use, and provide links to additional information.

On your website, this is really easy. Keep the tone less technical on the main pages but provide lots of hyperlinks to the nitty gritty details for the techies to click on.

Know Why You're Doing This

Sure, it's fun to geek out about how great your cyber security solution performs under this or that circumstance, but don't miss the forest for the trees. It's very easy to get lost in the details without giving people an idea of what the impact will be to their business.

Never forget why people care about the technical details in the first place. Your audience is evaluating your message on their own terms to understand how it will benefit them and their bottom line. By tailoring your content and adopting the right tone, you'll stand the best chance of achieving a successful marketing campaign.

cyber security persona templates