3 Ways Marketers Can Confront Cybersecurity Head-On in 2019

It doesn't need to be as complicated as it has been

By taking cybersecurity into their own hands, brands can re-instill confidence amongst consumers. Getty Images
Headshot of Alex Bender

This year was a banner year for cybersecurity and, unfortunately, not in a good way. From massive data breaches, as seen most recently with Marriott, to highly-sophisticated malware campaigns to nation-state-fueled attacks, we’ve seen a rapid rise in threats, forcing brands to figure out new ways to protect themselves, their customers’ data and their public image.

While the continuous wave of incidents and events have been alarming, if there’s a silver lining, it’s that we’re paying much closer attention to cybersecurity as a collective society. Security ultimately impacts every company regardless of industry, and even if you’re not working directly with a security company, it should be top-of-mind.

It’s more important than ever for marketers in this industry to work collaboratively with their internal security teams and, more importantly, with their customers to craft cybersecurity-focused messaging that educates with information that will help them become more resilient and aware versus leading with technical speeds and feeds of the products they are trying to sell.

With a few small tweaks to their approach, cybersecurity marketers can better build consumer-brand trust and loyalty while spreading digestible awareness and education about this all-too-common problem. Here are a few tips for how marketers and brands can raise awareness around cybersecurity and make it more relatable in 2019.

Avoid overly technical jargon

One of the easiest ways for marketers to lose their target audience in any scenario is by pushing out messaging that’s overly complicated and unrelatable. To avoid this when it comes to cybersecurity, marketers should be communicating constantly with their respective internal security teams to get a grasp on the latest and greatest security trends and break down complicated issues into more understandable formats.

Savvy marketers can set themselves up for success by breaking down cybersecurity in an understandable and relatable way to re-instill confidence in their current and potential customers.

This is especially key when it comes to marketing to a business audience. If the language you use in advertisements or posts on social media is too technical, the message will be lost. The key is short, easily-digestible and relatable content that gets the underlying message across with an irreverent approach.

You can also leverage a more relatable business-to-consumer approach with 30-second and 60-second online and TV commercials. These short, condensed options force marketers to tell their story and get to the point quicker. In the time that you can keep a viewer’s attention, it’s important to address their business problems versus the speeds and feeds of your product. These commercials can be teaser videos via animation or vendors can engage high-profile actors and actresses from familiar TV shows if budget allows.

Earn that trust

Branding and advertising in the cybersecurity industry has to focus on earning the trust of both the security and economic buyers. Security professionals tend to not trust anything from vendors due to being burned by false claims like promising what their solution capabilities do and benefits that they help achieve. They also don’t like fear, uncertainty and/or doubt around what cyberattacks will do to their organization. Because of this, there is a need to not only break through to security professionals but also to the businesspeople within a company that might be part of the buying decision. In our roles as marketers, it’s important to help them fully understand the scope of these issues as well as the methods they can use to solve cybersecurity challenges.

Add humor

Cybersecurity is a serious topic but that doesn’t mean marketers shouldn’t use humor in their approach or messaging. Utilizing humor is a valuable way to make content more relatable, memorable, actionable and useful while also avoiding over-the-top fear-mongering. In fact, people who engage in interactive and humorous cybersecurity awareness training programs are 115 percent more knowledgeable about cybersecurity risks than others and 33 percent more likely to say they have changed a personal behavior in the past three months to become more secure.

Cybersecurity messaging coming from brands should include fun, appealing components as this helps to tell stories. Inject personality into your efforts, such as by using recurring, fun, recognizable characters. These slight tweaks can make all the difference in getting your message across in a memorable manner.

While today’s consumers often place the lion’s share of blame on hackers when it comes to jeopardizing their information, they’re now increasingly turning their attention to what brands are doing to thwart adversaries and keep their personal data safe. Savvy marketers can set themselves up for success by breaking down cybersecurity in an understandable and relatable way to re-instill confidence in their current and potential customers.


Alex Bender is svp of global marketing at Mimecast.