October 19, 2022
by Breaking Through in Cybersecurity Marketing
We’re joined this week by Jason Cenamor, Founder of the CISO Society, to talk about the community he’s focused on building for fellow CISOs, as well as his extensive background in cybersecurity events. Events aren’t always an easy topic for cybersecurity marketers looking to make the most of their marketing budgets, but Jason has the dirt on all things events; the good, the bad, and the downright scary. Looking to spot an event red flag before it wastes your time and money? Jason is your guy!
[00:00] Introducing Jason Cenamor & the CISO Society
[05:50] Transitioning from cyber event management into community building
[15:59] Noticing best event strategies & prioritizing transparent event vendors
[24:16] Understanding the value of custom curated events and targeted invite lists
[32:27] Building events better to provide value and community in cybersecurity
[41:59] Getting the best price from event vendors, no matter who you choose
Did you envision your career would shift towards community building, content creation, and networking?
Until recently, Jason didn’t consider his career path would’ve evolved and shifted into a focus on the CISO Society. Originally started as a side project, the CISO Society was born from Jason’s passion for building community and putting on hybrid in-person and virtual events. When the Society took off and continued to grow larger under Jason’s care, he realized more and more of his passion and energy belonged with the CISOs he was working with everyday.
“I started the CISO Society as a side project, because obviously, what's better than to start developing a network of CISOs that I could get access to for real market intelligence when I'm working with these advisory boards.”
What are some noticeable green lights of a good event vendor for cyber marketers to look out for?
While Jason dives deep into the red flags of bad cybersecurity event vendors, he also reassures us that there are incredible events out there. Jason recommends his favorite companies, including the always consistent Evanta, but more than that, he gives us advice on what makes a good cybersecurity event. Unsurprisingly for cybersecurity practitioners, transparency in invitees and agendas signify an event vendor is much more trustworthy.
“I think the key is how transparent the event company is going to be with the information they give you. A typical tactic of some event companies is to password protect their attendee list. In my personal opinion, all that does is show that you have something to hide.”
What are the event vendor red flags we should worry about?
We want the dirt on what makes an event vendor a waste of time or resources, and Jason delivers with a list of red flags. From password protected invite lists to calendars full of unpromising events to not giving money back, Jason has seen the worst of the worst in events. Despite the scary practices in place, Jason is happy to report that many of these elements are on the outs in the cyber world as we continue to call companies out and hold them accountable in groups like the Cyber Marketing Society.
“That is such an important question for any vendor to ask: How are you forming the agenda? Because that shows how much they care about the CISO experience or not. If they don't care about the CISO experience, they're not going to have a good audience.”
What sort of content makes a good event for CISOs?
Many of the event vendors Jason discusses with us have been approved not only by his own experience running events, but by his fellow CISOs in the CISO Society. But what really makes an event worth it for a CISO? Why are they showing up, and how can we help them show up more? Jason explains that CISOs thrive in a collaborative environment and don’t just want pitch after pitch of standalone presentations.
“CISOs actually provide more value in collaborative roundtable discussions, right? That will always be my recommendation. It's great to stand up and to do your thing, but it's better to be part of a conversation and then say, ‘Can I come to your office and do my thing?’”
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