The cyber security industry is diverse and expanding. According to a recent industry research report, the market for cyber security solutions is expected to top $165 billion by 2023.
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. The cyber security industry landscape has therefore 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.
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 buyer personas for your ideal and not-so-ideal clientele.
Why Build 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. In terms of cyber security marketing, buyer personas are fictitious, generalized representations of your ideal clients - CISOs, CTOs, CPOs, etc. The purpose of creating 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 Buyer 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 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 the 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 buyer 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.
Here’s a quick look at what your finished buyer persona guide could look like:
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.
Whitney Parker Mitchell
Whitney is a highly sought-after B2B online marketing expert with more than 12 years of experience leading marketing and communications teams in a variety of organizations, including nonprofits, small businesses, tech startups, and large global corporations. She’s helped dozens of brands gain greater recognition for their causes and products in the digital world.