June 27, 2019

They’re Not Paranoid, They’re Security Pros: Successfully Finding and Marketing to the IT Security Audience

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Security IT professionals, as a target customer, are likely the most difficult target market to reach.

These pros know the value of their own data. They know that their data can be sold and that access to their professional and personal data could pose a security threat to their companies. Most IT professionals go to great lengths to thwart marketers at any turn.

These are the pros that have multiple email addresses: one for spam, one for online purchases, another for personal correspondence, and a bonus email address for social media. They have a Google Voice phone number they use to screen their calls—if they give a phone number at all. You’re lucky if you can find the most basic employment data for these pros on LinkedIn because they avoid recruiter outreach. So how do you market to this cautious crowd? How do you access this audience when all they want to do is hide from you?

Most marketers will try to sell you on a new, super-sneaky way to access IT pros: aggregated intent data or the latest data scraping software, perhaps. But you can’t fight paranoia with more sneakiness. Instead, you’ve got to build trust with your audience and let them come to you. Try these 4 ways to get your product in front of those paranoid IT security professionals.

Just the facts, ma’am

We love to fill our marketing websites with value-add copy meant to entice readers to sign up for demos or free trials. Website copy is important, but IT pros want your spec sheets. They want to know whether the tool can handle the business they’re going to throw at it, and they want to know how your tool will scale with business growth.

Invest in clear, up-to-date information sheets that give specifics so teams can match their needs with what you offer. Companies often keep this information close to their vests, reserving it for sales collateral or gated content, but your unwillingness to share product specs

  • Could signal that you’re ashamed of your stats and therefore don’t want to make them public.
  • It could signal that the marketing team doesn’t understand or care—however untrue that actually is—enough to publish this information, showing a lack of understanding of the target market.
  • It could signal to IT pros that your company as a whole doesn’t document or communicate well, which would make solving problems down the road difficult.

Instead of unintentionally sending the wrong message, be up front about your product’s capabilities, make them easy to find on your website, and integrate them into your website marketing copy.

Why it works

Security professionals aren’t opposed to marketing that actually gives them actionable and useful information. When your website and marketing content gives them what they want to see, the IT pros are more likely to find you, seek you out, and let your content through their security protocols. It’s a responsibility and an honor. Make sure your marketing content keeps the promise of usable information.

Teach experts with expertise

We marketers spend much of our days breaking highly technical concepts into manageable content for a wide audience, so our first instinct is to translate for the masses. For this audience, forget about the masses and concentrate on the niche. IT professionals spend their day parsing and writing highly technical documentation, so they speak fluent jargon.

Vocabulary matters because it shows the reader who the writing is for. If you want developers and security professionals to read your article, why would you write it for a general audience?

If failing to release detailed product specs signals that you’re ashamed of your product’s capabilities, failing to speak the developers’ language signals the content isn’t for them—at best. At worst, it can signal that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Use it to your advantage by speaking their language in these places:

  • Marketing website copy
  • Customer-facing documentation
  • Thought leadership content
  • Lead generation assets
  • Webinars, how-to videos

You should also not shy away from learning some code or bringing in a pro from your own team to write the most technical pieces. Your target audience wants to know that you have experts building your product, so get those experts out in front of the audience.

Why it works

By speaking their language and providing useful content, you build brand trust with this suspicious audience. You want security pros to associate your brand as helpful and knowledgeable. They’re more likely to purchase a solution from a known brand with an airtight reputation than an upstart they’ve never heard of.

Knowledge is power

Developers are voracious learners. They have to be, in order to keep up with the changing landscape of their field. Tap into this need and attract new interest in your product through free education.

A lot of companies offer webinars through their site, write informational blog posts, or put lots of attention into building customer-facing documentation. All of that is important, but those assets generally speak to the leads you’ve got, not the ones you want. To build your top of funnel traffic, try some of these ideas:

  • Send speakers to conferences where they can present on a topic of relevance to your product and your industry.
  • Co-market a webinar with a complimentary brand. Both companies will benefit from the increased marketing reach.
  • Write informational articles and white papers on a high-interest industry topic, and syndicate these articles through reputable channels.
  • Invest in how-to video content to share on social channels.

Why it works

If you approach marketing assets with the intent to educate first, you’ll attract many more loyal fans than if you open with the hard sales pitch. Build trust first, offer the sales pitch later.

Go to where the eyes are

Tech pros tend to spend time on high-value news resources that aggregate informational articles from around the web. Use trusted content syndication programs via email and telemarketing and the right types of social media to find the attention of security developers.

Content syndication through outsourced email and teledemand programs have a couple of advantages.

  1. They use another company’s sourced dataset to find your target audience, giving you access to millions of contacts that remain hidden to most marketers.
  2. Your teledemand and email syndication marketing partner gauges the lead’s interest in learning more about the topic, and can often do this without associating your brand name until interest is assured.

If traditional social media channels like Facebook and Twitter don’t attract the right audience, try your hand at building an audience of readers on LinkedIn, Reddit, Spiceworks, and other social media sites specific to those with interests in tech. As with any social network, do your research into what kinds of content normally gets shared there, and always read the community rules carefully before posting.

Co-marketing opportunities like webinars and event sponsorships are great opportunities to put your product in front of different audiences that might not otherwise find you. These are great one-off partnerships that can gain you a lot of leads.

Why it works

Marketing to IT security professionals is a complicated game of hide and seek. To expand your audience, you have to go to where they are, building a trustworthy and knowledgeable brand. Social media, content syndication, and co-marketing opportunities leverage the trust of the crowd or third parties to break down some of the barriers IT pros use to protect their limited attention.

Another high-reward way to make new contacts is to find a marketing partner who understands your audience and speaks to them every day. TechnologyAdvice works with brands to find their target audiences and increase demands. Contact us today to learn more about our programs.

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