June 22, 2022
by Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing
We invite Jennifer VanAntwerp, Principal at JVAN Consulting, to talk about taking the challenge of cybersecurity marketing by the horns. Her secret weapon? Kindness. Jen shares stories with us about her marketing journey to becoming a consultant, explains her development of the 10 Commandments of Kindness for Cybersecurity Marketers, and reminds us why communities like the Cybersecurity Marketing Society are so important for marketers and for the cybersecurity industry as a whole.
[02:12] Explaining Jen’s background in automotive marketing and healthcare, as well as connecting those industries to her newer roles in cybersecurity
[08:36] Breaking down Jen’s 10 Commandments of Kindness for Cybersecurity Marketers and revealing which commandments feel most important for the industry currently
[18:34] Taking the challenge to develop handouts and merchandise beyond cheap plastic pens and unoriginal assets that don’t leave an impact on your audience
[23:40] Avoiding falling into the marketing trap of FUD: fear, uncertainty, and doubt, which is especially common in the cybersecurity industry
[32:08] Wrapping up Jen’s commandments with reading the room, avoiding common lies in marketing, and connecting better with our cyber community
You’ve worked in the automotive industry and in healthcare, what have you seen from those two industries be applicable in cyber?
Jennifer VanAntwerp has a very impressive marketing resume, including work in the automotive industry and the urgent care side of the healthcare industry. We were curious about differences, especially with Jen being relatively new to the cyber marketing world. The biggest difference, which we’ve actually discussed previously on the podcast, is the skepticism of the cybersecurity audience. Cyber professionals are already worried about the online threats we see emerge every day, but they're also skeptical, sometimes, of the tactics marketers use and the buzzword-y, almost meaningless language we can fall victim to.
“There's always a new element or facet of cybersecurity that you can go into, but I would say the biggest difference between cybersecurity and the two other industries that I worked in, is the audience. Our audience is very, very skeptical. We've almost trained them to be.”
What do you think are the pros and cons of being a generalist in marketing?
With Jen having experience outside of the industry, she considers herself more of a generalist in her cybersecurity marketing tactics. She’s entirely willing to admit that she’s not the most technical marketer of the bunch. Although this presents a well-rounded mindset for the companies she consults with, she acknowledges that there may need to be an extra set of hands to do some technical explaining or a lot of extra time to do her research. There’s always something new to learn in cyber marketing, but it’s important to point out that it can be overwhelming, which is one of the reasons Jen developed her 10 commandments.
“It's a blessing and a curse. It's a good thing, because I can see the big picture, do a lot of the strategy elements, and understand what levers to pull, but with some of the levers, I might need a specialist to assist in that regard.”
Can you tell us about which of your 10 Cyber Marketing Commandments are the most important and why?
With these 10 marketing commandments, Jen shares all the basics of not only being a good marketer, but also being a good human in the cybersecurity industry. One of the most important commandments is the first of the 10, which is to respect your audience’s time. Everyone is busy, with a lot on their plate, and not acknowledging that in your marketing tactics not only can annoy your audience, but it can be a waste of time for you, as well. If your audience doesn’t have the time for your current strategy, you won’t get through to them.
“That's one of the things I love about the Cybersecurity Marketing Society, is that it is a way for us to share ideas and do that coopetition thing. Even though we might be competitors, we can still share ideas within the space, but I feel like it's a good chance for us to have constant reminders of what not to do.”
What is so special about commandment 10: give back to the community?
Although all 10 commandments offer lessons to be learned for our fellow cybersecurity marketers, commandment 10 emphasizes community and the importance of giving back. This can be traced all the way back to Jen’s mother, a passionate volunteer always lending help to her community. She’s been incredibly influential on Jen’s opinion of community, and the Cybersecurity Marketing Society has given Jen one of many opportunities to give back. From volunteering to donating, mentoring to offering someone a shoulder to cry on, your community needs your help, and the 10th cyber marketing commandment says just that.
“I ended it with that one, because I feel like that's the one that's going to keep going on forever. It's like commandment number 10 lives on for the rest of time, because those little acts of service within your community, they spread tenfold.”
Spend some time with our guest Jennifer VanAntwerp on LinkedIn.
Read Jen’s original 10 Commandments of Kindness for Cybersecurity Marketers.
Follow Gianna on LinkedIn.
Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn.
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