Defining Your Ideal Buyer Personas Is Your First Step to a Successful Cyber Security Marketing Strategy

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As the cyber security industry continues to rapidly grow and diversify, the cyber security industry landscape has evolved into niches, from consulting firms that can help large businesses with strategic guidance to software solutions and technologies that address the most specific types of attacks. Cyber challenges span nearly every industry, from large retail firms, to banks, to governments, to consumers, which means addressing the threats takes a variety of solutions tailored to a variety of use cases.

Because there is such diversity in the cyber security industry, there is no guaranteed sales formula that works for every kind of business. Every client and potential client has different needs, and buying habits are ever-evolving. The strategies that work for large, multinational corporations fall flat when applied to small businesses.

Your sales message needs to be tailored to fit the priorities and challenges of your specific ideal buyer. Therefore, a great way to craft your marketing strategy for your cyber security product or service is to create cyber security buyer personas for your ideal and not-so-ideal customers.

Why Build Cyber Security Buyer Personas?

In today’s fast-paced, constantly-evolving digital age, constructing buyer personas has become more important than ever. They provide generalized ways to think about and strategize for your ideal clients. Tailoring marketing strategies to specific clientele can often amount to a guessing game, but buyer personas can narrow your marketing message, saving your time and theirs.

Personas help you develop a common lexicon about buyers, streamlining communication company-wide. Buyer behaviors are frequently changing, and customizable buyer personas allow businesses to roll with those changes, rather than be flattened beneath them.

What Are Buyer Personas?

The phrase “buyer persona” is frequently used in the realm of inbound marketing, and really can be applied to any industry. Cyber security buyer personas are fictitious, generalized representations of your ideal clients - CISOs, CTOs, CPOs, etc. The purpose of creating cyber security and CISO buyer personas is to help marketers better understand the major players they need to sell to. The more marketers understand about the priorities of the potential customer, the easier it is to tailor the message to specific concerns and behaviors of different groups.

How Do I Create Cyber Security Personas?

Creating buyer personas is not a guessing game. If you assume you know what a customer wants, you will waste your time and theirs playing trial and error. The strongest buyer personas are crafted with thorough primary market research, the kind that comes directly from the source.

Use data collected from your current client base through surveys, polls, and interviews to formulate insights about potential clients. Secondary research, the kind that may require sifting through articles, news feeds, and government documents, is equally important. This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Following relevant hashtags on social media. Which cyber security methods are CISOs talking about?
  • Demographic research. What is the average age, title, income, location, educational attainment of your ideal client?
  • Competitive analysis. Who are the comparable cyber security companies that may be standing in your way? What makes your services better?

Start with only a small number of buyer personas and create more as is suitable for your cyber security marketing purposes. The first two may be the perfect amount, or you may end up with twenty, depending on your marketing strategies and your ideal clientele.

How Can I Use Cyber Security Buyer Personas?

Hone Cyber Security Marketing Strategies

The most basic application for buyer personas is to develop a deeper understanding of your ideal clients and use it to hone your cyber security marketing techniques. For example, instead of sending the same email marketing campaign to everyone in your contact database, segment your lists by buyer persona to ensure each one is receiving an email that appeals directly to their concerns. If buyer persona #1 is known to respond better to visually saturated emails and buyer persona #2 responds better to text, you can tailor your emails to yield the most possible leads.

Curate Persona-Driven Content

Honing cyber security marketing strategies is only one of several applications of buyer personas. You can also use them to create different web and social media content. For example, if your goal is to target more enterprise-level clients, rather than SMB clients, create buyer personas for the top roles, like CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) and CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers). If you find that these buyer personas respond better to straightforward, data-heavy content than generalized, image-heavy content, curate blog posts, social media content, videos, case studies, and other targeted content to match those buyer personas.

Sift Out Negative Personas

While a buyer persona represents your perfect client, a negative persona is designed to represent who you do not want as a client. These might be companies that are too advanced for your services or students who are only engaging with your cyber security marketing content for research purposes. Creating negative personas allows you to exclude these unwanted customers from your contact database, resulting in a cheaper cost-per-lead and cost-per-customer over time.

What Should a Buyer Persona Include?

While different persona aspects may be more or less valuable depending on your business goals, there are a number of information brackets that should be filled in. These often include:

  • Background: Unique job title, career path, family, education
  • Demographic: Age, gender, income, location
  • Identifiers: Demeanor, communication preferences
  • Goals: What do they hope to accomplish in terms of cyber security?
  • Challenges: What obstacles hinder their cyber security priorities?

These cyber security persona elements are only a few categories of information you may gather from market research. Use these and other qualities you deem necessary to include to flesh out common arguments from potential customers and what exactly you can do to accomplish their cyber security objectives.

Dive Deeper

Since every cyber security marketing strategy is different, each buyer persona will require specific research to get at the core of who you want to reach.

To help you get started, we created an ebook including sample B2B cyber security buyer personas and templates for crafting personas unique to your cyber security marketing strategy.

Learn how to ask the right questions for your business, format persona research, and use buyer personas for content creation, lead generation, and honing marketing techniques.

Download the B2B Cyber Security Buyer Persona Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I effectively segment my existing contact database to match my newly developed buyer personas?

Effectively segmenting your contact database to match newly developed buyer personas involves a careful analysis of your contacts' behaviors, preferences, and engagement with your content. Begin by reviewing past interactions and transactions, considering factors like job titles, industries, content downloads, and webinar attendance. Use this information to categorize contacts into your personas, employing marketing automation tools when possible to streamline the process. Remember, the goal is to align your communications more closely with each persona's interests and challenges, thereby enhancing the relevance and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Can buyer personas evolve over time, and if so, how frequently should they be updated?

Buyer personas can and should evolve over time, reflecting changes in the market, technology, and customer preferences. It's advisable to review and update your personas at least annually or whenever you enter a new market or launch a new product. Staying attuned to industry trends and customer feedback is crucial for maintaining accurate and useful personas. By treating your personas as living documents, you ensure your marketing strategies remain aligned with your target audience's current needs and challenges.

What are the most effective channels to reach each buyer persona identified in the cybersecurity space?

Reaching each buyer persona in the cybersecurity space requires a nuanced understanding of where they spend their time and how they prefer to consume information. For technical decision-makers, consider leveraging detailed whitepapers, webinars, and technical blogs distributed through professional networks like LinkedIn or niche cybersecurity forums. Meanwhile, C-suite executives might be more accessible through thought leadership articles, case studies, and executive briefings shared on platforms like LinkedIn, via email newsletters, or at industry conferences. Tailoring your channel strategy to each persona ensures your message resonates and engages effectively.

How can I measure the success of my marketing efforts tailored to different buyer personas?

Measuring the success of marketing efforts tailored to different buyer personas involves setting clear, persona-specific objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) at the outset. These might include metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and ROI for campaigns targeted at each persona. Utilize analytics tools to track these metrics across channels, enabling you to assess performance and identify areas for optimization. Regularly reviewing these metrics against your goals will provide insights into how well your content and channels are aligning with the needs and preferences of each persona, guiding strategic adjustments as needed.

What are the common pitfalls to avoid when creating and using cybersecurity buyer personas?

Common pitfalls to avoid when creating and using cybersecurity buyer personas include making assumptions without data, creating too many personas, and failing to use personas in your marketing strategy. To avoid these pitfalls, base your personas on real data from market research, customer interviews, and your CRM. Limit the number of personas to keep your marketing efforts focused and manageable. Finally, ensure your content strategy, channel selection, and messaging are informed by your personas, making them central to your marketing planning and execution. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can leverage buyer personas to effectively target and engage your key audiences, driving better marketing outcomes.

Whitney Mitchell

Whitney Mitchell

Whitney is a natural leader with a knack for creating something out of nothing. She’s helped dozens of brands gain greater recognition for their causes and products in the digital world. Whitney’s experience doing literally every job Beacon offers, from graphic designer to operations to web developer means she’s not afraid to roll up her sleeves and dig in when it comes to helping Beacon’s clients build the future of business.