064 | How to Have a Conversation with Your Market | Tony Anscombe | ESET | Studio CMO
Are you having a conversation with your market or merely making noise?
B2B brands—including HealthTech solutions—must invest in their brands. Expecting your inbound marketing and direct-to-customer approaches to distinguish you among your competitors will result in missed goals.
Who speaks on behalf of your brand? Who is attractive to journalists and others observing your marketplace? Do you have a brand evangelist? Tony Anscombe, Chief Security Evangelist for ESET discusses modern brand communication on this edition of Studio CMO.
About Our Guest
Tony Anscombe is the Chief Security Evangelist for ESET. With over 20 years of security industry experience, Anscombe is an established author, blogger and speaker on the current threat landscape, security technologies and products, data protection, privacy and trust, and Internet safety.
His speaking portfolio includes industry conferences RSA, CTIA, MEF, Gartner Risk and Security, and the Child Internet Safety Summit (CIS). He is regularly quoted in security, technology and business media, including BBC, The Guardian, the New York Times, and USA Today, with broadcast appearances on Bloomberg, BBC, CTV, KRON and CBS.
Technology only communicates to a certain level. To reach the depth you need with your end-user, you must engage and educate. —Tony Anscombe, ESET
Sometimes, the very last thing you need to communicate is your product. Do you:
- know your customer well?
- talk about the challenges facing your industry?
- understand the threat landscape?
- connect problems to solutions?
How does the role of brand ambassador or brand evangelist propel you forward?
How do you calculate the ROI of a role like this?
Links Discussed on This Episode
John Farkas (00:00):
Brand building means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And so often in our realm, we are so tightly tied to the product, so tightly tied to wanting to make sure we, we get a quick conversation and close a sale that we lose sight of the fact at much of what goes into a person’s buying decision. And the kind of verticals that we talk about are multidimensional. It involves a lot of different factors. And in many cases, the emotional component, how people feel about something, how they’ve experienced a brand goes a long way toward the decision that they end up making. It’s really rare that the best technology decision in healthcare wins the day. Often, it’s how people are engaging in the context of the market and how they are moving people relationally toward the sale. It’s a big conversation, and that’s what we’re gonna be talking about today on Studio CMO,
Mark Whitlock (01:24):
Welcome to Studio CMO. You’re listening to the podcast where we help HealthTech marketing executives work on market positioning and demand generation programs that will change not only the lives of their patients but of the course of their companies as well. My name is Mark Whitlock. I’m alongside one of our account directors at Golden Spiral, the agency, which brings you Studio CMO, Anna Grimes. Anna, we’re glad you’re here and we’re glad to be spreading your name and personality all over the internet through this podcast.
Anna Grimes (01:55):
Wow. Okay. Thank you. It’s nice to be here.
Mark Whitlock (02:00):
And John Farkas, the host of our podcast is the CEO and chief storyteller for Golden Spiral. And John, we created this podcast for the listener. We created it for them because they have problems and questions and challenges, and we wanted to bring solutions to them, right?
John Farkas (02:15):
We’re a marketing agency and we provide services. And at the end of the day, we would love for anybody that has a great solution in the HealthTech space to work with us. But we know that that’s not just all it’s about. We know that it takes relationships. We know it takes context. We know it takes the development of a relationship and intentional installments in that relationship before people feel like they can take the next step before, or they have an understanding and a context of what it means to move with us in the context of a relationship. And we get it. And so we produce a podcast and we talk about things that are of value hopefully to our audience. And that’s part of the work that we do as ambassadors. It’s important for us to connect the dots. And that’s why I’m excited about who we have with us today, because that’s what he does all day long.
Anna Grimes (03:11):
Tony Anscombe is the Chief Security Evangelist for ESET. He’s got 20 years of security industry experience, is an established author, blogger, and speaker on the current threat landscape, security technologies and products, data protection, privacy, and trust and internet safety. And in his role as really the brand ambassador for ESET, he is regularly quoted in security tech and business. This media like the BBC, The New York Times, The Guardian, and of course, on broadcast appearances on the Bloomberg, CBS and CTV. So welcome, Tony.
Tony Anscombe (03:49):
Thank you. That’s uh, that’s one hell of an introduction there, Anna. Thank you.
Anna Grimes (03:54):
Well, you’ve done a lot
John Farkas (03:55):
And you’re doing your job. So that’s part of what we wanted to talk about. Yeah. So Tony, we’ve had similar conversations before, and I think it just makes sense to look at this again, help me understand as ESET looks at your position. They’re investing, obviously I’m assuming they pay you a salary and how would you describe your job? What is it that you are looking to do every day?
Tony Anscombe (04:20):
So, firstly, I need to go and check that they are paying me a salary. I didn’t realize I should be looking for that. Now on a serious note, it is an investment by the business. And I think to a certain degree, cybersecurity is an interesting market because somebody can provide your product to secure a device, but actually it’s how you use that also then makes it secure. Technology only goes to a certain level. Actually the remaining level is about engagement and education of the end user to remain safe as well. So that kind of helps make my position relatively cost effective for a business, because you need to do that final piece of engaging with your customer and educating your customer to help them finalize that piece of security technology that you’ve provided them. I will say I spend the majority of my time, as you said, as that external face, that brand ambassador, I do have a small piece of my time I do spend actually talking to other technology companies as well. So I, I kind of keep our relationships going with some of those other big technology companies that you’d expect us to be doing business with like Microsoft and Google.
John Farkas (05:35):
So your role isn’t directly tied to sales. It’s a step or two removed. Is that a fair statement?
Tony Anscombe (05:44):
Often when somebody asked me to give a presentation or to come on a podcast, the very last thing that I need to talk about is product. It’s actually talking about the industry, the threat landscape, and talk about the brand. And you can talk about some of the research we do as a security company. And if you wrap that message in the right way, somebody’s naturally gonna come and look at your products because they’re gonna be interested in that thought leadership position. And actually on occasion, I will, you know, a product or I will mention the ESET brand because it’s important. Sometimes if you’re talking about a specific cybersecurity issue and it’s important to turn and say, and, you know, make sure you use a cybersecurity product such as ESET. But actually what I want from my position is I want cybersecurity, our everybody. And if somebody chooses to go and use somebody, else’s, that’s good too, because actually cyber security is a community approach. Hmm. You know, as long everybody needs to be secure for security to be there for all of us, of course, I talk about ESET, I talk about our great research and I talk about some of the things we do, but very rarely do I, I get into the nitty gritty of what our product actually delivers.
John Farkas (07:00):
Yeah. So you’re spending a lot of your time talking about the why, you know, why cybersecurity, why, why does this need to be important? Why do we need to consider this component of things as we move toward the horizon of whatever audience you’re talking about? Is that a fair assessment?
Tony Anscombe (07:21):
It is. And I’m actually gonna go back to something Mark said, right at the start of this podcast, “remember who your audience is.” There’s an importance here that I see way too many people, right? Uh, for themselves and not for the real right. Or they deliver audio for themselves and not, not for the listener. And I can give you a great example. In fact, just this week, there was a vulnerability recognized in a Microsoft product in the print spoiler, and it’s a vulnerability called print nightmare. And I was on ABC News in San Diego this week. And I purposely avoided every acronym that’s out there because the technology industry is full of them. In fact, every industry is full of them, right? Because you have to understand who is watching ABC News, delivering something that they need to understand the interviewer should. Then I have to explain what the person on their show just said, right? And it’s also making sure you understand who the audience is for what it is you’re talking about. Obviously cybersecurity is a complex subject as is HealthTech, by the way that brand ambassador part is making sure you understand the audience and how to deliver a message. They understand.
John Farkas (08:39):
Yeah, that’s super important. And it’s critical to remember. And any time we’re in a marketing conversation for a technology solution, we are asking somebody to move from where they are in a way of doing things to a new way of seeing the world to a new way of addressing a problem. And so much of that journey is understanding why understanding what it is about the world that we need to see differently. And Tony, that’s a lot of how I see your work. I mean, you are working with people to illuminate how they need either world different than they do right now. Much of what I know you fight is ignorance. And you’re working to help educate and move them from where they are right now to the world that they need to exist in and be aware of. And so that why question is really central and an important part for anybody in marketing, technology, marketing, a new way of doing things to see. And so how do you help people across those bridges?
Tony Anscombe (09:45):
I gave a presentation to a group yesterday in Southern California. And the second slide in my presentation was the internet is good for you because the next 40 slides told you how bad it was. And it’s important to have context, isn’t it. And it’s important to take somebody on a journey, but not let them forget where the end result is, right?
Tony Anscombe (10:08):
Because the end result typically is something positive. So if you’re delivering, you know, a HealthTech solution in, then hopefully you are looking at a good patient outcome, but on that journey, maybe 10 steps that seem like you’re selling life insurance. And you’re the dismal life insurance sales guy sitting there going, “You know, what are, what’s gonna happen to your family when, when you are dead” and we need to get out of that negativity and learn and how to speak about things, not in that harsh way. And the other, the other big factor in there is actually to use example and make examples personal because everybody understands a personalized story. So for example, have I been a victim of a data breach or the answer is yes. Which ones and why? When you stand up, somebody is understanding your story and you’re taking them through the journey yeah. With you and you are then delivering a solution at the end of that journey that has a good outcome.
John Farkas (11:10):
Mm. And it’s really important to lead people along that because it, it’s important to paint a picture of hope and you’ve done it several to times and the interactions we’ve had in the past where you’ll say it’s important. We not look at it this way. We need to look at it this way. You know, we, we, we need, you’re helping people on the bridge. Here’s where we are. Let’s not look at it that way. Let’s look at what we need to do to see something change in a way that needs to ultimately happen.
Tony Anscombe (11:37):
You often see companies negatively talking about competition. That’s another thing that is a no-no in my book. When you are talking about your own brand, this is not about talking about somebody else’s brand and saying, they’re not as good as yours. Somebody can make their own conclusion about your brand. It being the best, uh, by you talking about your brand, you don’t actually need to tell them how bad somebody else’s brand is. And that’s so common. You are, you know, especially here in the us, in fact, um, you see a lot of advertising saying, you know, we’re 50% faster than this, or we’re of our nearest competitor. It’s like, I don’t need to know that. Yeah. What I need to know is how good you were. I didn’t, I didn’t need you to put down the competition
Anna Grimes (12:21):
Well, and it also takes you down that road of talking about product feature, product, feature, product feature. And nobody wants to hear that they can go to any other website offering the same product and at all the product feature information they want, but it’s really the role of the brand ambassador to sort of shape the narrative for the company and make sure that narrative gets out to the market.
Tony Anscombe (12:46):
Absolutely. And it’s to have that thought leadership viewpoint of not just where are you today, but where are you going and to be tomorrow? What is it that you need to be thinking about when you make the decision of buying a product or a service today? Yeah. I want to know that actually in a year’s time, the product and service is still gonna be delivering exactly what I need because somebody is giving me the vision that they’re thinking ahead of where I am, right?
John Farkas (13:12):
Yeah. That is a really a critical part. When you can give people that gift, when you can help them into an understanding of what’s likely to happen and the things that they need to consider that will give them an advantage that will help them succeed better in the world that is to come, that’s a real gift and talk about becoming more valuable brand when you can help people into that kind of understanding and help them future proof, their world. That’s awesome. And
Tony Anscombe (13:43):
When you give a presentation at a conference or such like it’s often that a number of the audience will come and directly talk to you as you come off that podium and grab your attention. It’s that moment when somebody turns around and says, “I’d never thought of that.”
Anna Grimes (14:00):
Oh, that’s great.
Tony Anscombe (14:01):
“That’s an interesting perspective.” That’s that’s when I know I just did my job. Yep.
John Farkas (14:07):
So Tony, I know, I know. I mean, I’m hearing it ring in my ears because I’ve heard it many times, many different ways. Lots of people are going to be asking the ROI question. How do you measure return on Tony’s salary on? And certainly most of the companies out there that are listening to podcast are not gonna hire a full-time brand evangelist, but we’re talking about any investment that you’re making, that doesn’t have any relational investment you’re making in the market. Right. Any time you’re working to expand the value of a brand in a way that doesn’t have a super direct tie to a sale that day. And so that’s what we’re talking about. How, how do you address the ROI equation there, Tony, and how do you help people into an understanding of what it means to invest in a brand in that regard?
Tony Anscombe (15:02):
I think there’s two parts there of one is around brand marketing generally. And then there’s how do you justify having somebody like me sitting on the payroll, being an evangelist and how do you, you know, what’s the, how do you judge that ROI? Well, of course there is “share of voice” because evangelist should be out there and should be seen in the press as a thought leader and should be how mean journalists come to them for good thought leadership and have the right relationships, you know, with the media radio, press TV, et cetera. So there is the obvious metric of, is our share of voice going up and is this person delivering on the message that we all them to deliver or where they’re taking us. So there’s that obvious metric. However, that’s always a really difficult and subjective metric as well. And I say that because I can say one thing today that appears in 10,000 articles tomorrow, because it was a something cool to say, but then I could produce an article that gets published in one publication that’s 3,000 words long that actually I’m more proud of than the one comment. And the article may have done more than the one comment. So my point is actually a very difficult metric. You kind of have to have a senior management team or a C-level team that actually understand that they want to further the brand awareness. And they look at many parts of that. Are you increasing the share of voice? You know, are people recognizing your brand? Yeah. So running continual surveys to find out brand recognition, et cetera, and to work out, whether those things, things are happening, it’s a challenge, isn’t it. And when companies then find themselves strapped for budget, you know, you often find them cut brand marketing out and go back only to direct sales, ROI-type marketing. And that brand marketing falls to the side. Unfortunately, unless you are a major brand that if everybody already recognizes a certain element of your marketing budget has to be spent that way. Always.
Mark Whitlock (17:36):
We’ve been listening to Tony Anscombe, the Chief Security Evangelist for ESET, talk about the need for every brand to have someone who speaks on its behalf to tell the stories and to connect the audience with the issues of the day. And John here at the beginning of 2022, I think it would behoove us as a brand, as Golden Spiral for me to turn some of the questions back on you that you said good, uh, brand evangelist needs to be able to speak about, uh, poignantly and pointedly about the brand. So here here’s, here’s a few questions for you. So how do oh, maybe. So how does Golden Spiral see the world differ than other HealthTech agencies?
John Farkas (18:52):
So, Mark, that is an, a really interesting question. And I’ll just go ahead and say, we didn’t rehearse this. It’s just the way it is. Uh, so this is kind of a double-edged sword answer, um, because our three uniques as a brand is that we’re, buyer-centric, uh, you know, we, we are really focused on the actual buyer needs in the market and we do a lot to get into what those needs are, how they’re expressed and how they’re manifest and help brands make sure they’re connecting. That’s not by itself, a unique and different thing, but we’re also data driven. It’s really important that you don’t guess when you can know, there’s tons of tools at our disposal. Now that help us keep an eye on what’s actually going on in the market. And it’s really important to use those things, to inform, to, to learn, to continue to grow and move as a brand.
John Farkas (19:48):
And honestly, that’s not that unique. There’s plenty of agencies that are buyer-centric and data-driven. But when you add this third component, I really think it’s where it’s, it starts to set us apart. And that’s that we’re so oriented. And what that means is that real differentiation starts at the deepest levels of your brand. And that’s an important thing to reckon with because this goes into a lot of, of what I see is the differentiation, because we really work to understand the heartbeat, the soul of the organizations we work with and, and do the work we can bringing together the buyer-centric sensibilities, the data driven points that we have out out there that we can look and understand empirically what’s going on, but then mix that with the essence, the soul, the, the mystique of the organization in a way that really creates a unique picture. And that’s increasingly important in our market. And we can talk more about that. ‘Cause I think you’re gonna probably ask me some other questions that might feed right into the more of the story there.
Mark Whitlock (20:57):
Golden Spiral is buyer-centric, data-driven, and soul-oriented and somewhere at the intersection of those three key ideas, our customers, our prospects are moved to work with us. What is it about those three things that makes the connection for the companies that we work with?
John Farkas (21:17):
I think it’s important to understand a couple things about the current market landscape. We are in this really amazing era, especially it’s where it “software as a service” solutions. There is not a problem. There’s not a real market problem that somebody isn’t moving aggressively to solve right now, true it’s happening. And if you are in a position where at the moment you’re in a blue ocean, it’s gonna be short lived. If it’s a blue ocean and there real revenue around it, there’s a real problem to be solved that people are worth paying for. If you’re there by yourself, you’re not gonna be there by yourself for long because the cost of development is going down. AI is getting increasingly sophisticated and more powerful and able to do more things that are able to help more people solve some of those equations that they’re working hard to solve right now.
John Farkas (22:10):
And so if you’re in a one of few situation where you’re, there’s not many of you in the market competing for the segment, that’s temporary, there’s gonna be more entrance there and you’re already seeing them. I mean, I, I know cuz that’s, what’s happening with a number of our clients. They’re watching these heel biters come in and starting to capture market share. That’s a reality. And so what I’m going to say is in this next season, for any of us providing solutions in the HealthTech arena, it’s gonna get increasingly important to differentiate with the substance of your brand. It does come down to the heartbeat. It comes down to who these people want to do business with and what, why reasons you give them for wanting to jump in with you. And so that is more than just your feature set because I promise you if you’ve got a unique feature, now your competition’s gonna be able to replicate it fairly soon.
John Farkas (23:09):
That’s just the way development is going. And you might have some secret sauce that buys you some time, but it’s just a matter of time. And so in that time, while you have that time building the brand, giving people really good reasons to show that working with you is gonna mean that they’re gonna continue to have some sort of advantages where you’re gonna have to help them by leading their thought, by helping them see the horizon, By really under helping them understand their own problems better than they’ve understood them before. That’s gonna make a difference and that’s gonna set you apart. And that’s what people resonate with. When we start working with them, they see that we’re gonna help them into a path that is gonna give them that kind of differentiation in the market. That’s what we aim for. And I think that it’s important to understand that that is only gonna get louder as the days go on. You know, any of your product, people are gonna tell you development is getting less expensive. It’s getting faster, you’re getting more agile and your competitors are, too. Mm they’re. Deploying and employing a lot of the same tools and new evolutions that you are in the process of developing your product. And the minute you release a new option, it’s easier than ever for them to come alongside, look at what you’re doing and replicate it. Differentiation. It’s gonna come increasingly through who you are as a brand and how you answer the why questions.
Mark Whitlock (24:44):
We have marketing leaders, listening to us who are wrestling inside their own organizations, trying to eek out a little bit more money, a little bit more time, a couple more people to be able to answer those why questions and to address the issue of differentiation in their market. How would you encourage them? How would you come alongside them and say, you could do it. Here are the things that you’ve gotta look out for. And here’s how to spread the word inside your own house to gain the traction you need to spread the word
John Farkas (25:15):
Most of these organizations. I mean, if you’re not a clearly differentiated category leader, if you’re a challenger, you’re already feeling this tension, it’s a hot of market. And if you’re in there scraping for it, you are seeing the issues. I mean, your organization is in some way, familiar with the challenges that are being encountered there in competition. And so part of the opportunity is to start defining it, start calling it out and say, okay, we really have to find clear ways to differentiate and make a really substantive move in the market. And that’s gonna mean creating value for our customers in ways that don’t have a really immediate, clear return. You know, it, it means giving some stuff away, sharing some knowledge that is that we consider precious and they will find precious too. You know, a lot of these organizations that we’re talking about have proprietary data sets that can be mined and can be harvested for important insights that you can feed the market and help them see stuff about their own business. Take that opportunity. You know, what does it look like to create some sort of report based on your, the insights you can have from your own data that you can bring forward and, and, and help people understand their world better. It’s that kind of work. That’s gonna start getting attention. You have to provide value for the market. Aside from your product offering, that’s gonna build the relationship that you need and the brand that you need to stand out in a crowded market.
Mark Whitlock (26:58):
And to stand out in that crowded market, you need the right marketing team or in agency alongside your marketing team, in order to craft the messages and attract the viewers and listeners and readers, you need to get that message out. John has put together two resources to help you in that pursuit and to help you build the ROI for having a brand evangelist and to help you craft those message just for your brand evangelist. The first is an article about the, “From/To” that John was talking about. So when you come over to studiocmo.com/064, that’s studiocmo.com/064, you’ll find a link to the article about “From/To”, you’ll also have the opportunity to download a new guide that John has authored about how to build the marketing team. You need to have an impact in today’s HealthTech marketplace. It’s getting a lot of traction and we would love for you to have a copy. It’s free. All we ask for is your email address. So come on over to studiocmo.com/064. Take a look at John’s “From/To” article and download the CMO’s guide to building a marketing team.
Mark Whitlock (28:08):
A few minutes ago, John talked about our three uniques and we express our three uniques at the end of every episode of Studio CMO by reminding you that every marketer’s job is to understand your buyer’s problems, lead with an empathetic understanding and always make your buyer the hero we hope to see you back. Next time on Studio CMO
Mark Whitlock (28:47):
Studio CMO is produced by Golden Spiral: market positioning and demand generation for HealthTech. We are an agency dedicated to help you realize your market potential. Our music is from Bigger Story Music, a BMG music library. Whatever story you’re trying to tell, Bigger Story has the perfect music to make it better. Really. Check ’em out at biggerstorymusic.com.