Experts Share Startup Advice for Cloud and Cyber Security Marketing Success
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Is there anything better than breakfast at Tel-Aviv port on a warm, summer’s day?
Yes. Enjoying breakfast at Tel-Aviv port while learning invaluable startup marketing tips.
A select group of CEOs and CMOs from cyber and cloud startups had the privilege of enjoying exactly that.
Microsoft Ventures and Marketing Envy hosted a breakfast at Kitchen Market, where guests were invited to gain insights and learn marketing strategies from industry experts. While enjoying their morning coffees, sipping champagne and sampling a delicious buffet, our guests listened to Navot Volk of Microsoft Ventures, Dror Liwer of CoroNet, Rona Segev Gal of Tel-Aviv Partners and our very own, Amit Lavi of Marketing Envy.
With such helpful advice presented by our esteemed speakers, we decided to share some of what we learned with you all.
The next Accelerator batch opens its doors in October and Microsoft Ventures’ newly appointed Accelerator CEO in Residence, Navot Volk, provided some pretty good reasons for eligible startups to sign up.
Marketing Envy have been mentoring with the Accelerator program for years and have nothing but praise to give for the infrastructure and support provided to startups. Run by a highly dedicated team, it is a four month MBA crash course for startups that Founders can only gain from.
Building Your Startup Brand
Dror Liwer, Chief Security Office and Co-founder of CoroNet
Dror shared his personal marketing journey with CoroNet, a cyber security firm specializing in cellular and Wi-Fi communications security. New to the cyber market, Dror’s tips were perfect for any startup looking to pave new roads.
Sell the problem not the solution - Many startups in the cyber and tech world are three steps ahead of the game. It is for this reason that they are faced with the challenge of marketing their product to potential users who aren’t even aware that the problem or gap in the market exists.
The solution is to craft a story that sells the problem your target users face, before establishing yourself as the solution. This is what lead CoroNet to coin the term commjacking, a combination of Communication and Hi-jacking.
Build a strong PR and Marketing team - Building a strong brand and story is useless if your startup isn’t publicizing it. PR is the most effective form of marketing for a startup budget. Releasing articles on popular online news sites can trickle down into smaller news outlets, blogs and social media pages; a good PR story can keep you in a the public eye for a long time.
When deciding whether to outsource or keep your marketing and PR in house, Dror suggested outsourcing as the best way to cut costs until your startup grows enough to warrant its own marketing team.
Hot tip: Don’t get caught up by industry buzz. If a piece of industry news is not completely relevant to your company, it’s best not to comment or engage with it.
Events - get it right - Presenting at events is important, but you need to choose them wisely. Don’t agree to speak at a conference unless you are a keynote speaker - it just costs you unnecessary time and money. More importantly, make sure you put your team’s ego aside and send the best speaker. If the CSO is a better speaker than the CEO then send him/her. You need to send the best person to represent your company,
Prepare a doomsday backup plan - If you are ‘selling’ a worst case scenario, let’s say, the fall out of a specific type of cyberattack, make sure that you have a communication and company plan of action for what you will do internally and say externally when such an opportunity arises. You don’t want to be caught out if something major happens and then start scrambling for something meaningful to say about it.
Selling it Right - From the VC Perspective
Rona Segev Gal, Co-founder of TLV Partners
Rona has many years of experience as an entrepreneur and investor in the hi-tech world. Her marketing and sales advice comes from hearing hundreds (or thousands) of startups pitches.
The Merge - As the startup world continues to grow, product management, marketing, sales and customer success are no longer separate elements of your company. Startups need to understand that these elements have merged . For the Entrepreneur, this is easier, but it also requires building a strong team and staying focused at all times.
Product/Market Fit - No matter how innovative your product is, a startup can not succeed without having in depth knowledge of the market and how the product can serve it. Your branding, story and marketing strategy is all centered around getting your product/market fit just right.
Hot tip: Check, check and check again your target market. Getting your target user wrong is a disaster waiting to happen.
Sorting Sales - The wrong sales representative can ruin your startup’s chances for success. Always make sure that your sales rep is from the country you are pitching your product to and don’t forget to take your user’s personalities into the equation. However, early adopters and CTOs, particularly for security and SaaS products, are going to want to hear about your product from your technical team, not your sales guy. They want to get excited about new technology with the Founders, not with the hired help.
We are all a little different - Some startups need direct sales, some can rely only on online marketing and PR and some need all three. Don’t forget that every startup is a little different and will create their own success in a unique way.
Building Your Marketing Strategy
Amit Lavi, Co-founder & CEO Marketing Envy
Amit Lavi delivered his suggestions on how to build the best marketing strategy for a SaaS or cyber startup.
Strong messaging - If you don’t build your home with strong foundations, it will crumble. The same goes for messaging. All your marketing will rely on strong messaging. You need to be crystal clear about the problem that your product/service addresses and the solution you offer.
Build the right website - Clarify what you want people to gain from and do on your web site. If you want people to learn about you, you need lots of content in as many formats as possible. If you want people to learn a little and call you for a demo, you need very strong calls to action. Place your call to action wherever you can, use pop ups and continually encourage people who have visited your website to join your email list.
Hot tip: Make sure to ask as many people as possible to read through your website before it goes live. Spelling mistakes and typos will not be treated kindly.
Quality content - Blogs should not be about selling your product, rather use them as an opportunity to create a brand personality and address your users needs and thoughts. If you haven’t got anything of quality to say - don’t say anything at all. No content is better than poor or irrelevant content. Once you have created a blog, don’t forget to repurpose it. Turn it into a slideshare or infographic or simply change the title/image and re-pump it through social media. Check out our blog on Repurposing for more ideas.
Engage on social media - Make LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter your startup’s best friend. But don’t simply focus on the number of followers. Make engagement your KPI. Choose 1 or 2 people per week to engage with through these channels. This can lead them to reciprocate by sharing your content and connecting with your company… ultimately, this translates into high quality followers.
Hot Tip: It’s not just about your startup’s social media pages. Make sure your CEO and team members are also active on social media - this is the best way to sell your brand.
Hot Tip #2: They don’t have to do it themselves, use aliases.
Marketing automation - You aren’t expected to be everywhere at once. Marketing automation tools are the best way to save you time and also make it easier to track your numbers and engagements. You also don’t need to spend a fortune -- Mailchimp, Zapier, Salesforce and Buffer can carry some of the more specific workload and are not overly expensive.
Stay tuned for our video of the event and you can hear it all for yourselves...