Updated: May 22
What are cyber influencers and how are they changing marketing tactics?
Over the past decade, influencer marketing has grown from a niche market segment to a broadly accepted approach to engaging with potential customers. And it’s not just tick-tockers and YouTube media personalities. Today's influencers bridge nearly every secretary and industry and are dictating buying trends wherever they go.
Cybersecurity, more so than almost any sector, has cultivated its own brand of social media influencers who are changing the way many think about cyber solutions, mitigation strategies, and the broader conversation of cyber risk management.
While in the past sales may have taken the front seat in bringing new products to light, today’s discerning cyber buyer isn't interested. They seek expert insight, unbiased opinions, and the stark truth unfiltered through the lens of traditional marketing copy or lame promises that will never come to fruition.
What makes you a cybersecurity influencer?
Mimicking the diversity of specialties in cyber itself, there is no cookie-cutter definition of what makes a cyber influencer. Ranging in experiences, work backgrounds, and geographic reach, the persona of a cyber security influencer can be complex to pin down, but many have the following traits:
The practical and technical experience gained through industry experience
Ability to communicate complicated technical concepts to a broad audience
Relatable to the average user
Timely and consistent with their social media output
These factors, combined with an active and engaged social media presence as well as the ability to think about market needs over product placement, result in the right blend of practical cyber advisor and market truth sayer, particularly when utilizing a content sharing platform. Additionally, influencers can join a speaker network which can further enhance the speaker's ability to join various cyber events and webinars.
Market trends and compelling statistics
According to recent research from the Influencer Marketing Hub “from a mere $1.7 billion in 2016, influencer marketing is estimated to have grown to a market size of $9.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to jump further to $13.8 billion in 2021.”
The astronomic economic weight driven by the influencer economy can't be ignored. From how potential buyers seek out expert opinions to how they alter the POC process, the role influencers play in the traditional marketing ecosystem is expanding by the moment.
The Digital Marketing Institute reflects a more stark image. “49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, 40% had purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.” notice the terminology, consumers aren't passively viewing influencer recommendations, they actively seek and depend on their guidance.
Consumers have quickly shifted their trust and purchasing power towards the recommendations of perceived industry experts. While for some this may seem like a logical step to sort through the never-ending options and often unrealistic pitches, for the marketing community the consequences are not nearly as cut and dry.
Within a cyber community already suspect and technically versed, the importance of influencer marketing takes on even greater importance. More so influencer marketing increasingly forces a significant reassessment of marketing strategies and how to engage potential buyers.
Evolving with the times has its risks
Do you remember high gloss brochures that took 8 months to create? Did customers ever really care about them? Did the stress of the process make a noticeable difference in sales?
In the face-paced, instant knowledge-sharing world we all live in, these avenues just don't make as much impact. More often then not customers, and cyber buyers in particular are seeking the reliable voice of a trusted advisor.
While many in the traditional marketing camp will voice the praises of old-school sales copy and avenues of engagement more in line with the early 2000’s, today’s discerning cybersecurity prospect has little time or interest. Furthermore, with a 50% annual increase in estimated market size since 2016, it's hard to argue with boots on the ground.
What should I do now?
In order to understand and entice a segment, you must evolve to meet their needs. In practice, that means appreciating the value of influencers, their reach, and how they can be utilized to improve brand visibility and industry respect.
To tap into this market, you must realize the importance of your output of value-added content and leverage it to bring visibility and brand recognition.
Ditch the pitch and get respected thought leaders behind it and create conversations. These voices realize the need to focus beyond a product toward industry risk and appreciation of market pressure points.