December 21, 2022
by Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing
In this episode of Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing, Gianna and Maria speak with Russel Wurth, the Vice President of Marketing at Defy Security. Russel takes Gianna and Maria through his path of going from development engineer to cybersecurity marketer. Russel also dishes out some valuable wisdom on B2B marketing. Listen in to hear why mindmaps are better than Google docs, eight-minute presentations are better than hour-long lectures, and why Groundhog Day is the best movie for marketers.
[01:33] Russel’s start as an engineer and transition to marketing
[07:22] How to shift marketing thinking for B2B marketing
[09:33] Organizing messaging structure for customers
[13:28] Defy Security and the role of the company
[17:08] Pushing back on traditional marketing presentations
How did you get into the role of VP of Marketing?
Russell shares his background and transition into being the Vice President of Marketing at Defy Security. While working for a cloud startup company, Russel realized at a convention that there was something missing from the brand. It didn’t have to do with the colors or logo but with the messaging. After part of Russel’s job became communicating the brand, he gravitated towards marketing—and the rest is history. Russel says that communicating markitecture and technical information should come later, he found—and that, in marketing, you must be willing to adapt every day to changing problems and solutions.
“I realized it was more than the marketing we had experienced, which was, you know, logos and colors and some promotional items. It was 'what's our message? How do we get it out there? How does it resonate? How do we promote it through trade articles and analysts?”
What are some things that you did to turn this process from tech-focused to sales user-focused?
Russel says that to be a marketer, you don’t necessarily have to be a technical expert in the field. He emphasizes though that it’s useful to gain a grasp of concepts and language in the field to communicate better with clients. Marketers should understand some concepts enough so that they can easily explain them in a way that is easily understood. In other words, when selling to clients, Russel says that marketers should know enough about the field to carry out a conversation.
“I think the more that you can draw from industry data that's out there, what's the competition doing? How are they messaging? How can you be different, unique—that's where I think that partnership with marketing on the product technology side really can create some great outputs that really get some fruits of that labor.”
How do we get engineers to learn how to explain their product, their value proposition, and the benefits of the product in a language that everybody else can understand?
Engineers always experience marketing, Russel says. It’s translating the B2C marketing that we all know too well to B2B marketing that proves difficult. Most of the time, B2B marketing is less about appealing emotionally to potential customers and answering vital questions for their business. Russel continues, sharing that he has learned a lot from coaching engineers in marketing and by using the Socratic method, turns them into naturals at marketing.
“It's different for a business buyer… they buy for different reasons. Sometimes there's an emotional aspect, but most of the time, there's an aspect of ‘How does this improve my job, my role, help me get promoted, help me get a raise, help the company do better?’”
Replacing Word docs with mind maps
Maria asks Russel to let us in on some marketing-messaging secrets. A trick up Russel’s sleeve? Mind maps. Russel says that, while using software like Google Docs and Word is okay, a much more powerful tool for the first presentation is the mind map. Using mind-mapping software, Russel workshops with a product team by showing them the visual elements and different moving parts of a presentation. In doing so, he’s able to lay the groundwork for the more technical presentations later on.
“There's a further down the line where you need the proof of concept, the markitecture, the use cases, and the case study. So that mind map, especially now that you can share these tools very easily, it's very effective to share that in product with the product team and then iterate over that, after that kind of first workshop that you have with a few hours, laying some groundwork.”
Markitecture: markitecture, combining the words marketing and architecture, is technology or electronic architecture that serves the marketing process and is used for marketing purposes.
Spend some time with Russel on LinkedIn.
Check out Defy Security on LinkedIn.
Visit Defy Security’s website.
Follow Gianna on LinkedIn.
Catch up with Maria on LinkedIn.
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