This month, to mark National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), we’re featuring interviews with cybersecurity marketers. Last week we profiled Grace Bergen, SLED Marketing Manager at CrowdStrike. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Amy McCarthy, Senior Manager, Federal Marketing at FireEye.
Amy is responsible for translating the work that FireEye’s threat hunters do as they identify the latest Advance Persistent Threat groups, turning these threat events into compelling stories and putting them to work to connect engagement to demand.
Read on to learn more about her career and her insights on working in marketing and the security industry.
Modern Marketing Today (MMT): How has cybersecurity marketing changed since you’ve been working in the field?
Amy McCarthy (AM): I’ve worked in the cybersecurity marketing field for three years and a lot has changed in just this short period of time. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t see a disturbing headline about Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups, ransomware attacks and new additions to TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) that are being deployed.
Typically we see schools, healthcare providers, and commercial organizations come under attack, but we’re starting to see more federal agencies being targeted. Because it’s our job to not just keep pace, but stay one step ahead of the bad actors, FireEye invests heavily in innovation and acquiring best of breed solutions that give us the most comprehensive understanding of the threat landscape so we can protect our customers.
Each innovation and acquisition builds on the sophistication of the FireEye solutions and adds to the story that we tell as we educate our prospects and engage our customers. It also helps me evolve as a marketer as I have the opportunity to not just ‘sell a product’ but introduce a robust and resilient solution.
MMT: How has 2020 changed your strategy and tactics?
AM: Like most federal marketers, my original 2020 plan included several live, in-person events. When the pandemic hit, I made some changes and invested in programs with new and existing partners to produce content that would support goals at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. The rapid cancelation of events and change-up in strategy also presented us with the opportunity to bring some top-level government speakers into our webcasts and online events, which wouldn’t have been possible if 2020 had rolled-out as planned. These new investments keeps our brand and value proposition in front of prospects and customers and enables us to continue educating our audience.
During this time when we’re all missing face-to-face events and meetings, video collaboration tools like Zoom, Teams, and WebEx have been crucially important to create a more engaging experience. I incorporated more video webcasts and podcasts into our content strategy and I’m currently developing a series of customer-facing videos that will cover product updates, tips, and insights.
While these strategies and tactics were adopted out of necessity during the pandemic, many have performed extremely strongly. I see us continuing these efforts in 2021.
MMT: How do you cut through all the noise in the cybersecurity space to connect with customers and prospects?
AM: As we all know, the market quickly became saturated with webinars; Zoom fatigue is definitely real! But I learnt a great deal from the FireEye Virtual Summit 2020 about what can keep a remote audience engaged.
The summit was a three-day, multi-track event where participants could hear the latest news from the frontlines of cyber conflicts around the world. Over the three days attendees heard from FireEye experts as they discussed strategies and tactics, best practices, research and analysis to better prepare for and respond to malicious threats and attackers.
During the FireEye Virtual Summit, we offered exclusive access to:
• Strategies for protecting your most valuable assets.
• Insights to help you understand potential attackers.
• Guidance for developing both high-level strategic plans and proven tactics.
• In-depth information on the latest threats and defenses for core infrastructure.
• Case studies that model best practices.
We saw record breaking attendance when compared to our previous in-person summits and we’ve had the added advantage of being able to offer the event on-demand. Overall this event helped us continue to connect with prospects and customers despite the lack of in-person of opportunities.
MMT: What role does content marketing play in connecting with customers and prospects?
AM: Content marketing is vital to our success from the top of the funnel, all the way through to the customer nurture process. Nobody wants to be sold to, so if we can lead with strategy, tell compelling stories, and build immersive experiences we can make those important connections with our customers and prospects.
As the buyer’s journey has evolved over the last few years it’s been essential that we get the right content to them at the right point in time. As well as written content, we’ve started doing more video podcasts for both thought leadership and technical coverage to ensure that we’re meeting the buyer with a content format that works for, and engages, them.
MMT: Any final thoughts?
AM: All of us are bombarded by so much information today that everything begins to sound the same. With more and more digital content publishing, syndication, conversation, and distribution channels it’s important for marketers, and especially cybersecurity marketers, to find strategies and tactics that differentiate their message. We’ve found that focusing on Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategies enables us to take a message and position it uniquely for a federal agency. In doing so we can address the challenges they’re currently facing and guide them to a more robust and resilient security posture.