The Marketing Network March Meet-Up: How User-Generated Content, Community, and Vendor Collaboration Can Drive Demand in Cybersecurity Marketing

At the March Marketing Network meet-up, Helen Curtis and Sharon Dunne shared insights into the power of user-generated content, peer community building, and vendor collaboration that can help you scale up your cybersecurity demand generation.

We kicked off by looking at the 2024 innovations in marketing and were delighted to share that many of them have been covered in the Marketing Network meet-ups.

  1. Personalised marketing strategies – Join us in April.
  2. Interactive content and experiences – Coming soon.
  3. Innovative use of social media – Check out December’s replay here.
  4. Embracing new technologies – Check out November’s replay on AI here.
  5. Community building and user-generated content – Check out March’s replay on Community here.
  6. Sustainability and purpose-driven marketing – Coming soon.
  7. Cross-channel integration – Join us in April.

We then delved into an award-winning case study that involved multiple cyber vendors, supporting an overarching theme around secure thinking and utilised partner MDF, subject matter experts, and content to support not only a holistic marketing plan but also launching an in-person CIS club “The Morris Club”.

Five takeaways from this case study were:

  1. Importance of Peer Community Building: The case study emphasised the role of community building in marketing, particularly in the cybersecurity sector, as a means to engage and educate the audience in a collaborative environment.
  2. Leveraging Vendor Partnerships: The case study with Exclusive Networks and Fujitsu demonstrated the value of incorporating multiple vendors into marketing campaigns to enhance content richness and diversity, which in turn boosts the campaign’s effectiveness and reach.
  3. User-Generated Content: It highlighted the opportunity of involving vendor subject matter experts in creating user-generated content, which can significantly amplify a campaign’s authenticity and credibility.
  4. Peer Recommendations: Stressing the impact of peer recommendations in B2B buying decisions, with a notable statistic that peer recommendations influence more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions, underscoring the power of community endorsements.
  5. Strategic Simplicity: The case study demonstrated that by taking a programmatic and systematic approach to multi-vendor marketing campaigns, it can be both simple and allow strategic integration of vendors into campaigns.

Sharon Dunne then shared a very successful case study all about fostering a community of cybersecurity professionals on LinkedIn. This initiative, a collaboration with Thales, saw remarkable growth, achieving a 51% increase in membership and a fourfold increase in engagement, showcasing the potential of digital communities to drive engagement and brand visibility.

Five Key Strategies for Building Digital Communities:

  1. Targeted Engagement: Starting with specific target accounts and verticals, the project focused on cultivating a space for professionals to engage, share content, and seek advice. This targeted approach ensured the community remained relevant and valuable to its members.
  2. Content Strategy: A mix of engaging content, including polls and industry reports, kept the community active without resorting to hard selling. This balance maintained the community’s educational and informative nature.
  3. Community Management: The role of a dedicated agency in managing and moderating the community was crucial. This ensured the environment remained friendly, informative, and free from unwanted sales pitches.
  4. Promotion and Outreach: Leveraging sales teams and encouraging community members to engage and share content helped in promoting the community and increasing its visibility.
  5. In-Person Events: Transitioning from a digital to an in-person community, the project organised events that fostered real-world connections, further strengthening the community bond.

The initiative not only increased brand visibility for Exclusive Networks and Thales but has also become a valuable resource for cybersecurity professionals seeking up-to-date information and networking opportunities.

A closing discussion on lessons learned focused on the importance of starting small and focusing on quality engagement over quantity. Building a community requires effort, dedication, and, ideally, external support to manage and moderate effectively. However, the rewards, as demonstrated by the growth and engagement of the cybersecurity professionals’ community, are well worth the investment.

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