The First 6 Months of Your Cybersecurity Startup’s Marketing:
Creating the Marketing Plan

Congratulations! Your cybersecurity startup just got funded. You’re as excited as you are probably stressed. And rightfully so: You have about 18 months to make enough progress to get to your round A funding. That’s a blink of an eye. Now – what do you do with marketing?

In this blog post we will focus on the first six months. Whether you or another founder take ownership of the marketing, you bring someone in-house, or outsource it, here’s a plan to help drive the first six months of your marketing efforts.

Step #1- week 1-4

You need to move fast, but you must cover the basics first. That means aligning product, marketing, and sales to make sure you all talk about the product in the same language. It’s a fast positioning process that involves the key people in the company, with an end-result of a written document that describes the following:

Product Description – what does the product do?
Company Value Proof – why should you be trusted?
Differentiators – what your product has over the competition?
Value Proposition – what is your promise to the world?

For more information about creating a messaging hierarchy, check out our blog post about it.

Step #2- week 2-4

Understanding what your competitors are doing is crucial for building your marketing plan. Keep in mind that your competitors are (probably) established companies, and you really cannot compare a young startup to a competitor that’s been around for 5-10 years; you can easily check what they are up to lately, but not what they did when they just started. Don’t get discouraged – they were once just like you. Still, there’s a lot that you can learn:

  • How they position themselves – what they say about the company and product, and who are they targeting?
  • What are their most important marketing channels – what do they invest their marketing budget in?
  • Keywords
  • If and how do they use analyst firms?
  • Is press relations an important factor in their mix?
  • How are they using content?
  • What events do they attend and sponsor?

Tip: There are many tools that can help you do the research, some are free and some have free trials. Similarweb and SpyFu are good places to start, but there are others.

Step #3 – week 5-8

Start with the goals. Ensure you are in line with sales and management, and be realistic. Ideally, there is a marketing budget frame. Marketing can become very expensive, so it is better to know in advance the budget you need to work with.

The marketing plan should include a detailed 6-month plan, and then a high-level plan for the following months.

Here’s a sample marketing plan structure we work with:

  • Goals
  • Competitive research – insights and conclusions
  • Plan overview – aligning each goal with main marketing activities
  • Month-by-month detailed plan
  • Events calendar (link to events folder with additional information)
  • High-level editorial calendar (link to a detailed content plan)
  • KPIs
  • Budget
Tip: You don’t need to wait until week 8 for execution to start. Remember it’s a short runway – 18 months! You can’t afford to lose 2 months just planning. There are some activities that can start right away, like certain sales enablement pieces.

 

More on what should be delivered in the first 6 months of marketing in
Part 2: The Marketing Plan Blueprint.