3 things cybersecurity startups can do to reinvent business amid COVID-19

Date: 05 Mar 2020

COVID-19: It’s here. It’s real. And it’s threatening the survival of startups. In this ICE71 Mentor Series webcast, Thibaut Briere, founder of Growth Marketing Studio, shares 3 actionable tips for cybersecurity startups to survive the coronavirus pandemic.


1. Work on your brand

Tell the world what you stand for by sharing the “why” of the work you are doing. This is especially important for startups. “It links back to the values of the founders,” said Thibaut.
Be very human as a brand. Reach out to people even if it wasn’t for business. Engage your customers, partners, suppliers, and employees. Thibaut said, “You could ask how the coronavirus situation has affected your contacts.”
Communication builds trust and top of mind recall that will pay dividends later. So get on the phone or connect with people through different channels like Slack and WhatsApp.

2. Uncover opportunities

Dedicate time to look for more opportunities. There are a few ways you can do this.
Diversify. “Cybersecurity startups tend to focus on one narrow part of the market. You need to diversify,” said Thibaut.
Are you a unicorn or cockroach startup? Unicorns are fast-growing startups. Cockroaches survive even in the most unfavourable conditions. If you are reading this, you are likely a cockroach startup. You need to be doing something different, and doing many things to sustain your business.
Reach out to your existing customers and try to see how else you can be of service. Find out other problems besides the one you already helped them solve.
Think ecosystem and partnerships. Search for good partners and join forces with them to meet a broader customer demand. You may not always have the solutions your customers need. More established or bigger security companies might.
Continue hanging out with other members in the ecosystem even if there were no business. Be interesting to your partners and customers. Good opportunities will come along the way.
Test new business ideas.The essence of growth marketing is about bridging sales, marketing and product. You run as many experiments as fast as you can, doubling efforts for ideas that work and shutting down those that don’t,” said Thibaut.
There are many online tools you can use to test your ideas but it’s tough. The complexity isn’t so much a technical one but in whether anybody needs more variety or new solutions.
You could reverse engineer problems you want to solve. For example, you can build a website landing page where you explain the problem you want to solve. You can run ad campaigns for testing, and generate website traffic or collect emails from your landing page. Then ask things like: “How many emails did the site capture?” or “How many people clicked on my ad?”. With sensible data, you could build a new business line that provides another revenue source.

3. Think ahead

It’s important to continue lead generation even during this COVID-19 period. Startups tend to lack a structured way to reach out to prospects. A purely digital approach is possible for generating leads when you can’t meet customers as often as before.
Thibaut suggests automation to increase cold outreach, especially for B2B cybersecurity businesses involving long sales cycles that can take up to two years. It’s important to generate demand now for the months ahead. He points out usage of LinkedIn: “You can enrich LinkedIn profiles with automated outreach and scale up your lead generation.”

He also recommends beefing up content marketing: “Educating people about cybersecurity is important as it’s a very technical area.”

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