Our business goal is to create such spectacular marketing results for our clients that their competitors are left green with envy. But, there’s (almost) nothing I love more than getting impressed and inspired by the marketing efforts of other companies. Sometimes, I’m even a little envious.
Here are six incredible companies that give me marketing envy.
Since its establishmenti n 2001, MailChimp has evolved from a side email marketing business to a full marketing automation platform. Its ease of use and welcoming brand messaging and creatives make it one of the most-used marketing automation tools in the world.
MailChimp’s quirky ‘Did you mean MailChimp?’ campaign and colorful Instagram page prove that B2B companies can still be fun. And who does not resonate with that stressed monkey finger above the ‘mass send’ button? MailChimp really gets how nervous senders get before they hit the send button.
Sisense’s website and brand design are impeccable. The prominent yellow branding makes them stand out in a crowded business analytics market and it showcases their sense of fun. Their blog explains complicated business analytics concepts in an accessible way and they have plenty of advocates amplifying their message on social media. They keep things as light as a B2B company can with a clean and aesthetic website design, clear messaging, and a modern, edgy style. It’s all you could want for a BI platform.
Sisense has an impressive success story. In under ten years, it has grown to be a market leader, with 700+ employees and over 2,000 customers worldwide. In the last two years alone, Sisense has won awards and accolades from Gartner, Forbes, Dresner, and more. More than 5.5K people follow Sisense for posts about data analysis insights, and they have more than $200 million in funding from the same investors who backed LinkedIn, Tesla, and Twitter.
Every professional uses LinkedIn to expand their personal network, and B2B companies use it for lead generation and marketing campaigns. I’ve got marketing envy for LinkedIn because its campaigns are always on point, and let’s face it, none of us can live without it. In addition, LinkedIn keeps adding useful tools and resources and has an awesome marketing blog, too.
Check out their new website. Warm smiles guaranteed… and that’s one huge facet of marketing, making an excellent impression on those who interact with you. Vulcan Cyber is a rare cyber security company that has mastered the art of keeping on message and producing SEO-driven content. Marketing was part of their DNA from day 1, even before the product was launched. Content, content, and more content to build their organic base was a key strategy. It can be difficult for a cyber security company to keep its content targeted and relevant while also making it engaging and attractive, but the Vulcan blog excels at doing that.
It makes me happy to see B2B companies investing in content-driven lead generation and PPC marketing campaigns, instead of relying on just one channel. Vulcan hits that goal every time!
Marketing is never easy for cyber security companies. Depending on whose stats you believe, there are over 1,500 of them competing for the same customers. CyberInt has an enviable portfolio of customers like ASOS, Amdocs, New Look, and Playtika, but it still faced real marketing challenges.
CyberInt successful holiday season campaign in 2018
CyberInt takes a multichannel approach to its marketing efforts and focuses messaging on its target audience in order to get ahead in a saturated market. One example is their highly focused and super successful holiday season campaign in 2018. Aimed at big retailers, CyberInt prepared a tight set of content assets and nurtured a highly strategic promotion campaign that coordinated social media and email marketing, dedicated landing pages, and tailored popups and workflows. Their hard work paid off big time.
PlainID is another B2B company that’s doing marketing right. With a recently launched new website showcasing a fresh, tech design, PlainID is not afraid to take an honest look at its marketing and search for ways to do it better, and I always honor that approach.
It started small, with a focus on content and social media and putting effort into getting its message across. Gradually, PlainID dialed-up its marketing efforts by adding more content and integrating PPC campaigns. It’s not easy, because IAM isn’t a simple topic to communicate, but PlainID is relentless in its investment in content, keeping messaging on target, and focusing on the end user. Most importantly, PlainID prioritizes hiring the right talent. It filled four of its senior management roles with industry veterans who brought 70 years of combined experience.
We’re Proud to Have Marketing Envy
I could go on but these are my top picks. Whose marketing do you admire and why?
We’re almost at the end of the second quarter of 2019 and if you’re not reaching your quarterly goals, maybe it’s time to start re-examining some of your marketing tactics for the rest of 2019. Some tactics are longer plays than others, but these are my 5 top strategies to be focusing on in 2019.
Video - Yes, you can afford it.
This has been a stable of marketing recommendations for the last couple of years, but we’re increasingly seeing that it’s extremely difficult to build any sort of audience on social media without incorporating a visual element. And no, building a nice infographic isn’t going to cut it. The reason many B2B marketers aren’t using video isn’t really about facts- the higher engagement rates and awareness created by videos is well established. It’s time and budget that’s the real issue. Fortunately, there are a number of easy to use tools like Powtoon or Lumen5 that are more than capable of solving this problem.
Whether it’s a 15-minute webinar recording on Youtube, or a 60-second video explaining how to solve a problem in your industry, videos will continue to drive engagement across all social media platforms.
You might ask yourself: Can my niche B2B marketing podcast really reach a large audience? The truth is, it almost doesn’t matter. If you can build a weekly or bi-weekly podcast devoted to solving your target customer’s key problems, even a small audience is worth the time and effort. As Gary Vaynerchuk boasts, “even if you have 1500 people listening to your niche podcast, that could be enough to do millions of dollars a year in revenue!”
He’s right- it’s time to stop asking how many people are going to listen to your podcast, and start focusing on who is listening to your podcast. And who knows? After a few months, you might even find a sponsor who will pay you to produce it!
Refresh your eBooks and Whitepapers
eBooks and Whitepapers have been a staple of digital B2B marketing plans for years. Most B2B companies have one or two whitepapers that perform ok but maybe aren’t as relevant as they first were two years ago when you published them. The purpose of these long-form pieces of content isn’t to trick people into handing over their emails so your sales team can send them weekly emails. It’s to provide real value to the reader, and through that value demonstrating your industry expertise.
You don’t have to re-write high performing content. But you do have to make sure the whitepaper is as relevant today as it was when you published it. Will content written in 2016 or 2017 still be as relevant to your target persona today as it was when it was published? Probably not. Take an hour or two to update your assets and landing pages, it’ll show you’re still on top of industry trends and changes.
BrightTalk and the new face of webinars
Let’s talk about another tried and true lead gen technique- webinars. Webinar attendees are some of the most valuable leads you can generate as a marketer. They’re almost all high intent leads, and while they can always leave the webinar, they’re much more of a captive audience than someone reading your eBook. Even better- you get their details even if they can’t make the live webinar- and you can send them a recording and engage with them at their convenience.
Unfortunately, some people are still hosting their webinars on platforms that really weren’t purpose built for webinars. Our strong recommendation is to use BrightTalk which is not only an excellent webinar platform, but also makes it super easy to find recorded webinars in your industry, almost serving as another social media platform.
If you’re spreading your PPC budget across every social media platform, it might be time to stop. Yes, ads on Facebook and Twitter might be cheaper than on LinkedIn (OK, they’re definitely cheaper) but you’re going to get a lot of irrelevant leads as well. LinkedIn’s value is in the quality of B2B leads. Targeting based on job titles and skills is the fastest way to put your hard earned content in front of real decision makers in your industry. Cheaper leads are often cheap leads. Don’t be fooled by discussions around CPL- your sales team doesn’t care. What they want are contacts with real influence. I.e MQLs. And pound for pound, LinkedIn is your best bet.
Some of these steps are just an hour or two of work. Others are an ongoing commitment to change the way you produce and distribute content. But all of them will ultimately make your brand more visible to your target market and position your enterprise for growth in 2020 and beyond.
Businesses have embraced digital technologies at a rapid pace. By 2020, digital technologies could add $1.36 trillion to the world’s total economic output. And yet, digital marketers who took a competency test scored an average of just 38%, with only 8% of those tested showing entry-level skills. What is going wrong?
Root cause of the shortage in digital marketing skills
I’ve noticed a few factors contributing to this shortage of skilled digital marketers, but they all point towards two root causes: insufficient training and lack of awareness.
A decline in marketing training
The digital marketing industry is young and changing frequently; global best practices are still being refined, defined, and presented. Businesses are nervous about investing in a large scale set of global digital tools or skills that could become outdated in a few months or years. As a result, they are failing to provide essential training for their marketing professionals. Only 18% of companies in the US, 20% of those in the UK, and 25% of those in Ireland provide essential digital training.
At the same time, marketers are scared that their profession might not exist in another 10 or 20 years, so they aren’t pushing to invest in more training for a job that might be redundant.
The digital skills gap vs. the marketing skills gap
There are really two parallel skills gaps among digital marketing professionals: a digital skills gap, and a marketing skills gap. Many successful older marketers have excellent marketing skills, but their lack of basic digital skills is limiting them in their career choices. On the other hand, the new generation of marketers are digital natives, but they don’t have the traditional marketing skills that are vital for success in any form of marketing.
On top of that, marketers today have to work under shorter deadlines and greater pressure, which is squeezing out their creativity. Only 17% of today’s marketing professionals say that they can comfortably keep up with short timeframes, so how are the next wave of under-trained marketing professionals going to keep up?
Lack of awareness brings a decline in new marketing recruits
The Don Draper era where working long days and nights in an advertising agency on a brand new product launch are long gone. They’ve been packed away, along with the swanky lunches and expensive gifts given to top clients and their account team. This is largely due to the eroding margins in advertising and the increasing use of alternative digital media which is self-serving. In addition, advertising has become far more sophisticated, multi-channel and largely distrusted by Generation Z.
As a result, not enough talented young people are choosing a career in marketing. But this is also caused by lack of awareness about the potential and diversity of the industry. In one survey, 51% of college-age students said that marketing had never or hardly ever been suggested as a career during their school years.
Marketing recruiters have to struggle against the allure of famous tech companies, which start headhunting young people for tech jobs before they even graduate. For example, Apple has a number of programs encouraging children and teens to learn its coding language, Swift, as a fast track to software engineer and developer jobs.
What’s The solution?
One way to tackle the shortage of skilled full stack marketers is to invest in training more of them. For Millennials, this could mean training in traditional marketing techniques; for older marketers, it could be digital skills training.
While training is the proposed solution, there are a few different ways to deliver it. At the moment, students spend years getting a degree, only to end up applying for a job that doesn’t need one, but that does demand skills and certifications they don’t have. As Alison Dunlin Salisbury, president of Entangled Studios, writes in Forbes, “platform-centric skills are becoming [...] essential.”
It’s not enough to have a general degree; you also need to show a certification from a specific, relevant platform or provider. LinkedIn, Google and Facebook of course, provide such certifications for their platforms.
There are already many partnerships between tech companies and colleges, training budding software developers in both soft skills and specific tech capabilities. Marketing agencies and corporations could use the same approach for the new wave of digital marketers. In fact, it’s already begun: the Digital Marketing Institute has an accredited qualification in digital marketing, covering basic and advanced digital marketing skills.
Businesses can also offer apprenticeships to invite new marketers into their team and build up their fundamental digital and marketing knowledge, as a way of nurturing their future marketing professionals.
The marketing skills shortage is real, but it can be cured
The shortage of skilled digital marketers is real and serious, but we have the ability to fix it. By increasing training for both new and experienced marketers at all ages and stages, we can close the digital marketing skills gap and raise the number of skilled, confident full-stack marketers serving all industries.
Content marketing is a key part of B2B marketing strategies for a simple reason: when it’s done right, it brings more leads for less money than most other channels. But it’s one thing to say “I’d like to increase our B2B content” and another thing to write the most effective content for your target market. Let’s look at the key steps to developing a B2B content marketing strategy that brings traffic from the right audience.
Persona research: Yes, you really need to do this
Before you decide what to write, you need to decide who you’re writing for. This is where buyer personas come in. Personas are characters you create to represent your target customers. It means that instead of saying: “I want to sell to cyber security decision-makers,” you’ll say “I want to sell to Evan, the 39-year-old CISO at a major manufacturing company who’s concerned about maintaining security on a reduced budget.” In order to build a full buyer persona, you might want to ask some questions like:
How old is this person?
Where do they live?
How big is their company?
Who do they report to?
Where do they read most of their news or content?
What’s their favorite thing about their job?
What is their biggest concern in their job?
Which tasks are they spending too much time on?
The more detailed your target persona, the more relevant your content. And the more relevant your content, the more likely your targets are to engage with your business.
Keyword research is the next, and really critical, step in your B2B content marketing strategy. Keywords are literally the key to getting your content in front of your target audience. Google and other search engines use keywords to work out the topic of your content, and decide when it’s a relevant response to a user web search request.
You need to be really specific when you choose your keywords. Even the difference between describing your company as an “Industrial Cyber Security” or “ICS Security” company affects who ends up visiting your website. When you do your research, you’ll see that some keywords have more variant spellings than others, which gives you the opportunity to target all those versions in your content. You might discover, for example, that ‘IT security’ is trending downwards for user searches, but that ‘cloud security’ has a rising trend.
Keeping an eye on your competitors is also crucial. Don’t just search for your own ideal keywords; check which keywords your competitors are ranking for. It opens up insights into their priorities for marketing and conversions, their target personas, and possibly give you hints about their plans for the future. For example, if you find that your competitors are consistently using keywords around cloud security instead of endpoint security, but your company has been focusing on endpoint security, you might want to shift your business priorities.
However, do be careful. Just because your competition is ranking for keywords, it doesn’t mean they’re ranking for the right keywords. Be sure to do your own in-depth research with a tool like SEMRush or BuzzSumo.
Pillar pages are the main element of your B2B website. If your homepage explains what your company does, the pillar page is a long form page that quickly establishes you as an expert in your field. Generally, pillar pages are around 2,500 words, targeting a broad concept that you plan on writing a supporting content for. So if you’re trying to market a cyber intelligence platform, your first pillar page might be something like “What is Cyber Intelligence” or “Why do I need Cyber Intelligence?” This gives you a chance to write many more connected blog posts that show off your expertise, create a set of interlinked web pages, and connect more whitepapers and webinars to a central hub.
Consider Wikipedia as a great example of pillar page content. Wikipedia pages are long form, detailed, and link to many other connected topics. They consistently rank at the top of Google search results because they are highly relevant. In order to keep them relevant, Wikipedia constantly updates their pillar pages with new content. You also need to keep your pillar pages updated so that they keep on serving as useful sources of information.
While you might be tempted to use a sign-up form to grant access to such a detailed research, it’s critical that pillar pages remain ungated. This is still top of the funnel content. It’s not the right place to ask for contact details from a visitor. Let them read the page, and then offer them a gated content option like downloading the page as a PDF, accessing a more in-depth white paper, or signing up for a demo.
Whitepapers, eBooks, and blogs
Whitepapers and eBooks are your lead-generating all-stars. These are long-form pieces of content that should be gated, and promoted on social media and through paid campaigns. It’s a good idea to produce a new eBook or whitepaper at least once a quarter, to maintain interest among your audience, but you should write a new blog at least once a week.
General topics that promise (and deliver) real insights regarding a major area of concern for your target audience will be the most successful. On Marketing Envy, for example, we have eBooks and whitepapers offering real solutions to digital marketing questions for cyber security companies.
Finally, we get to the most common and maybe the most challenging aspect of B2B content marketing: blogs. For every dozen B2B blogs, there’s probably only one or two that actually provide valuable content for their readers. Often, that’s because companies misunderstand the purpose of their blogs. It’s not the place for press releases, self-promotion, or company or product information. Hint: Do not self promote on your blog. Every now and again is OK… but that’s it. Blogs should first and foremost deliver valuable information that your target audience will find helpful and interesting.
One way to make sure your content is relevant and engaging is to get as many people involved in the brainstorming as possible. Talk to your sales team to find out the most common questions asked by sales prospects; get the technical team to explain a clever methodology they just implemented; record your CEO’s insights about the industry for a thought leadership post. As long as people have questions, your blog should be providing the answers. Don’t forget that you can and should repurpose old content. Instead of wasting valuable content that’s going out of date, rewrite it or find a way to update it so that it’s always fresh.
Content strategy is about good planning and consistent execution around a predetermined group of keywords that you want to focus on for the next 6-12 months. If you keep providing good content, people will read it all the way through. After all, you made it to the end of this blog, didn’t you?
Since the beginning of time, thought leaders have proclaimed that technology is transforming marketing forever, just like it has done for so many other professions. B2B tech marketing especially is seen as a fast-paced, ever-changing field where you have to keep up or get left behind. While all this is true, I am adamant that much and little has changed in the world of marketing… and marketers. And this stagnation is what makes the older marketers still relevant. This is why.
Tech didn’t kill classic marketing
In my experience, while the tools and tactics may have changed with the tides, the fundamentals have stayed the same. There are no shortcuts; a marketer still needs to define the target audience, understand the real USP, craft a very simple and sharp message that speaks to the crowd and ensure that the brand promise delivers on customer satisfaction. In short, despite all the hype, technology hasn’t created a way to bypass the hard strategic work that the 7 Ps of marketing demand.
The number one feedback I receive from younger employees is the disconnect between what they learned from their college education and the skills that marketing campaigns they are working on require. The crux of the problem is that new marketers are all too often taught only the marketing tools and tactics and are skipping over the classical marketing fundamentals. It’s a serious complaint that’s created a knowledge gap in the industry that is very difficult to bridge
It is also undoubtedly why the tech companies and VCs that I work with on a daily basis are on a continual hunt for the more mature “full stack” marketer to run their marketing team. Interestingly, age discrimination here is more prevalent toward the younger folks as opposed to the older.
Unchanged in tech marketing
The following marketing pillars are as relevant today as they were 20+ years ago.
Experience vs. fresh blood
Popular opinion has it that marketing is a young person’s game and that older marketers have nothing to offer. But that’s far from the truth. Marketing is still a career for people of all ages.
A recent survey conducted by Korn Ferry on 1000 leading US companies concluded that the average age of a CMO in the tech industry is 53. Tom Goodwin, is also loud and proud about the need for older marketers in the business; older folks who, “understand real clients' issues, and who above all else, can see the changes in business and marketing in the context of decades of what has happened before.”
There is no questioning the digital divide between the old(er) guard who paid homage to libraries and the younger generation that grew up with Google at their fingertips. But like most things in life, work and marketing, it’s all about balance and how the old and new work together to their mutual advantage.
Knowing your ecosystems
Ecosystems have always been critical to company marketing and its business survival. Whether offline or online - networking, ensuring you are active and up to speed on what’s going on in the ecosystem is critical to success. Your ecosystem may have transitioned somewhat online to LinkedIn, Reddit, and Facebook (the list goes on), but it’s still fulfilling the same role as professional associations, trade forums and conferences.
The sales-marketing divide
One of my all time debate favorites has not changed. For all the love of political correctness and common understanding, I maintain that the divide (and friction) between sales and marketing is as strong as ever. Sales teams and marketers still argue about the same issues:
Lead generation and what constitutes an MQL and SQL
Marketing budgets and how they should be spent
Who updated, or didn’t update the CRM
Reporting, or lack thereof
“Flexible” pricing to close deals
And there’s more where these gems come from.
As I mention earlier, meticulous planning and following the fundamentals of the faithful 7Ps will for eternity be the anchor for any product launch. Defining the product and the pain point it solves, where it will be placed and purchased, at what price and how it will be promoted demand a deep understanding of the market and its rules of engagement. Mistakes in these steps of strategic planning will lead to delays in leads and sales, if not worse.
Technology has added channels like social media, bloggers and influencers to the mix, but it hasn’t taken away the need for strategic groundwork. The most prominent change over the years is the time to market which has been sliced immeasurably and is the cause of marketers’ anxiety.
Outsmarting the competition
Technology has perhaps amplified the number of players and often reduced the barrier to entry into a certain ecosystem but the rules of engagement remain unscathed. Marketers still need to shout louder than their rivals, sharpen the messaging and outsmart the competition in order to gain traction and lead.
Much as I wish that trade shows would vanish into thin air, the internet hasn’t killed them. Decision makers from every sector still travel thousands of kilometers, sleep in grand or flea ridden hotels, pay hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in order to attend them.
I could lament over the rationale or lack thereof behind the popularity of trade shows but the proof is in the pudding. The impact of face-to-face meetings has grown in a digital marketing era, where everyone is desperate for a ‘real’ interaction. Hubspot reports that 68% of professionals value face-to-face networking more than online connections.
I argue that here too, the older, more experienced marketer has a distinct advantage over younger colleagues. Fellow marketer, Jason DeMers also voiced his belief on Entrepreneur.com that, “Most millennials prefer text-based forms of communication over voice-based forms. They’re more comfortable with mediums like SMS text and email because they’ve grown up with these formats, and recognize the fact that they give you more time to put your thoughts together (not to mention leaving a paper trail).” Trade show communication, on the other hand, demands quick thinking on your feet, empathy and importantly, the ability to listen and respond!
ROI on Marketing Efforts
Marketers are on a career long crusade to find the most cost effective channel to promote their product. There are endless discussions about organic vs. paid campaigns, online vs. offline, cost per lead and conversion rates. But these are only terminology changes. Back in 1980, there was still a cost per lead and there was still a cost of sale.
While marketers now have supposedly diverse channels to explore and to work with, there are usually only a handful that work really well to drive MQLs for your particular product. Sad but true. Learning which channels they are and pouring your attention and budget to them is still the fastest way to fill your sales funnel (even though it’s still not the most cost-effective method).
What changes has tech brought to marketing?
It would be factually incorrect to lay claim that technology has not brought change to some aspects of marketing. So I won’t conclude this post without running through some of the most prominent changes.
Marketing budget - a marketer no longer needs to convince the CEO that in order to reach audacious goals, a continuous marketing plan needs to work through the dollars. Still, it is still one of the first budgets to be cut when times get tough BUT here is where the experienced marketer has a significant advantage. The CEO and Board of Directors are far more comfortable and trusting of the older more experienced marketer to spend the budget than a younger, less experienced, rising star.
Offline and online marketing - there is no longer a choice and both require an investment. Social media, trade shows and websites equally non-negotiable for B2B companies. The online tools may be less native for the mature marketer, but I have not yet experienced this as an ongoing issue. On the contrary, the more mature marketer has the ability to process and analyze the incredible amounts of data that accompanies the use of multiple tools.
The ability to test - technology has undoubtedly made this cheaper and quicker than ever.
Organic traffic is king - keywords and categories that drive organic growth are more important than ever for your online presence. You can turn the paid promotion tap on and off in order to control the influx of leads. But investment in the organic content is the rise or demise of a lasting, growing brand.
Time to market - has shrunk under pressure of increased competition in every space. The rules of everything online means that companies need to plan ahead and adapt to change simultaneously to adapt to market ripples.
Visibility and attribution have grown - technology enables marketers to prove their ROI in real terms, which also means they’re held accountable for every marketing dollar spent.
Marketing technology has transpired into a spice of life that keeps me on my professional toes. It is far from replacing me or any full stack and more experienced marketer.
Younger marketers are often skimming over the fundamentals of marketing; the principles and approaches that haven’t changed for decades, and diving straight into tech-led marketing tools and tactics. While marketing definitely needs their passion and technical skills, it can’t do and isn’t skipping over classical marketers.
The myth about younger tech-driven marketers replacing ‘dinosaurs’ with their old-fashioned marketing ideas is just another bit of populist scare mongering.
To help you stay ahead of the game, we’ve created our list of top cybersecurity resources you’ll want to check out in 2019 and outlined what each one offers. That way you’ll be able to get updates from the sites that are most interesting and relevant for you. These are not in order of preference!
Sophos are cyber security veterans, involved in the industry since 1985. Their blog keeps on top of the latest news in information security, looking at new threats and vectors. They have some great insights into privacy and surveillance as well. The Sophos blog covers areas as diverse as law, privacy, data loss, and government security. It’s a very interesting read, and one to keep you on top of what’s going on across the cyber threat landscape. Post frequency: Daily
This multi-award winning blog brings you up to date info not just on cyber security, but privacy and data protection as well. The blog takes a business perspective and runs posts on current issues such as GDPR and other regulations that hit close to home in the business world. Infospectives has two blog sections, one on business focused privacy and security, and another on a more personal security perspective. Post frequency: Irregular, sometimes monthly
Javvad Malik, as well as being a security advocate for AlienVault, is a well-known cyber security evangelist and broadcaster across social media on security industry news. His blog is a mix of cyber security insights, threat analysis, and personal musings. Javvad also offers a video playlist with educational discussion on ransomware, encryption, and social engineering. The news section is a great way to stay on top of breaking cyber security news items. Post frequency: Every few days
Brian Krebs’ blog on cyber security is famous for not just breaking the news, but making it too. Krebs’ is an award-winning investigative journalist, New York Times Bestselling Author, and a leading authority on cyber crime. With a monthly readership of over 1 million, he is often the first to break the news of major heists and data breaches like the recent ones at Adobe, Target and Neiman Marcus. This is definitely one to bookmark. Post frequency: Every few days
Dark reading is a magazine style blog covering the whole gamut of cyber security. It is a feast for the information security specialist. It covers diverse topics, including, IoT, perimeter, breaches and analytics. It offers excellent advisory posts from security professionals that give you references to use in your own organization. The blog is literally awash with news items, opinions, and guides. It is worth signing up for the daily or weekly digests. Post frequency: Often, several times a day
Bruce Schneier is the name behind a number of important books on cryptography and gives regular talks on security matters across the world. Bruce’s blog not only discusses topical news items, but gives great advice on all things security. He also offers views on the use of government surveillance and encryption. It is worth signing up to his Crypto-Gram newsletter for topical security related discussions and news. Post frequency: Often daily, but sometimes less frequent
Twitter: @SCMagazine SC Magazine is a long standing cyber security industry standard magazine, going back to the formative years of cyber security. The magazine breaks headline news and has a number of regular columns, including, product reviews and events. The section on Cyber crime has a wealth of information about all manner of hacks and threats. The posts cover in-depth analysis of the type of cyber attacks we are facing in modern cyber security. The news section has a dedicated area to the monthly focus of the magazine, for example, ‘Women in IT Security’. Post frequency: Often, several times a day
IT Security Guru is all about breaking news stories in the world of information security. The site is run by security experts and often features guest contributions from the IT security community. The Top Ten Stories section is one to watch to keep up to date with cyber security events. Post frequency: Often, several times a day
The Threat Level blog is brought to you by Wired.com, and provides breaking news in the fast-paced format that Wired is renowned for. There is a mix of business news and threat analysis on a wide-array of cyber security issues. Post frequency: Often, several times a day
Fifth Domain Cyber is another general cyber security news site with up to the minute blog posts on breaking cyber security incidents and related items. The blog has some wide ranging content and includes a section on career-related information for the industry professionals with education and training resources. Fifth Domain Cyber brings together info and news on government, civilian, private sector, and critical infrastructure security issues. Post frequency: Often, several times a day
The Cyber Feed is a security blog by security specialists CyberInt. It covers a mix of news items on cyber security as well as great advisories on issues such as security awareness training and incident response how to’s. The blog is a great place to learn about the latest industry methodologies and approaches to security intelligence. Post frequency: Once every few weeks
AquaSec’s blog is run by virtual container security specialists. Containers have seen a massive growth in in the past few years, with a Docker usage rising an astounding 40% each year. As more organisations move to virtualized container tech for application development, their security is an increasingly hot area, and AquaSec blog is the perfect place for updates in the field. Post frequency: Once every few weeks
Gartner analysts are a revered bunch, and for a good reason. Gartner is the world’s leading research and advisory company. When the annual reports such as Hype Cycle or Cool Vendor are released, everyone listens. In addition, Gartner Blog Network is an outlet for the analysts to express their personal opinions. While Gartner analysts have the freedom to blog about any topic, they mostly write about their respective areas of expertise. Influential security analysts such as Anton Chuvakin, Aviva Litan, Andrew White post regular updates on Gartner’s blog. Post frequency: Once every few days
Founded in 2018, Vulcan Cyber is a relative newcomer to the cyber security scene, but they are clearly on the forefront of the fight against vulnerabilities in software stack and code. The company’s blog puts vulnerability issues under a microscope and dissects the most pressing concerns while separating fact from fiction. The blog is written by the company’s three founders: Yaniv Bar-Dayan, Roy Horev and Tal Morgenstern,, so you know you’re getting your info straight from the horse’s mouth. Post Frequency: 2-4 times/month
Imperva is a publicly-traded cyber security company based in California that provides protection to enterprise data and application software. Many of the company’s staffers contribute to the company’s blog, allowing for regular coverage of the industry. Posts contain a wealth of relevant graphics and charts that provide visual backup to the complex topics being covered. The blog is carefully organized and broken into six major categories: Application Delivery, Application Security, Data Security, DDoS Mitigation, Industry Perspective, and Research and Reports. Post Frequency: Every few days
The Recorded Future blog bills itself as “intelligence analysis, industry perspective, product updates, company news, and more.” In other words, this jack-of-all-cybersec-trades blog can provide your daily dose of industry news in one convenient place. What sets this blog apart is the way it covers all aspects of the industry and regularly includes posts provided by industry pioneers as well as case studies from around the world. In addition to its regular content, the next few months will also see the Recorded Future blog feature excerpts from the company’s new book, “The Treat Intelligence Handbook”, which can also be downloaded from the blog. Post Frequency: Often daily, but sometimes less frequent
There’s a reason why over 42k people follow Tripwire on Twitter; the company’s award winning blog reads like a cross between a newswire and a magazine, with a scrolling newsfeed, fascinating guest posts and witty articles and listicles that cheer up potentially dry subject matter. Blog contributors include Travis Smith, Principal Security Researcher at Tripwire, Lane Thames from the company’s Vulnerability and Exposure Research Team (VERT), and Graham Cluley, a security blogger, podcaster and speaker who was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame. Post frequency: Several times a day
IT Security prides itself on being “an independent organization with no allegiance to any vendor, publisher, doctrine or dogma.” Known for its opinionated, entertaining, and sometimes controversial opinion pieces, the blog offers high-quality content that dives deep into timely issues including GDPR requirements, Google’s new ventures, and Microsoft updates. Post frequency: Every few months
This combination of articles and podcasts is an essential resource for anyone interested in cyber security as it relates to the Internet of Things. The website was founded in 2012 by Paul Roberts, a veteran journalist who has covered cyber security for a range of award-winning publications including The Christian Science Monitor, CIO Magazine, Fortune Small Business, and The Economist Intelligence Unit. Roberts’s reporting background gives the website an easy readability that makes it easy to understand today’s most critical security issues. Post frequency: Frequently, sometimes twice daily
The brainchild of Paul Asadoorian, an instructor at the SANS Institute and one of the world’s foremost cyber security experts, this website features regular podcasts and videos from Paul as well as other experts including Larry Pesce and Carlos Perez. The Security Weekly team interviews top names in the industry including Johannes Ullrich, founder of DShield, and David Hoelzer of Enclave Forensics, and Justin Morehouse, founder of GuidePoint Security. Other highlights include technical segments and the latest hacking news. As an added plus, Security Weekly’s podcast and video format is great for busy executives who want to listen on the go. Post frequency: Weekly
Threatpost is the self-described “first stop for fast-breaking security news, conversations and analysis from around the world.” An independent news site, Threatpost covers all aspects relating to cloud security, vulnerabilities, malware, and more. The website has over 166,000 twitter followers, a testament to its position as a leading news source for security pros. Post frequency: Several times a day
Under the watchful eye of Larry Dignan, a veteran reporter on the worlds of technology and finance, ZDNet has maintained its status as a behemoth in the cyber security industry. ZDNet provides the latest updates in software and hardware security research, computer attacks, vulnerabilities and more. It’s worth signing up to ZDNet’s geo-targeted newsletter for the latest updates and offers. Post frequency: Several times a day
Flashpoint earned a spot on our radar not only because of its high-level coverage of cyber security issues, but because it manages to do so in over 20 languages. In addition, the Flashpoint team has extensive experience working with law enforcement and national defense agencies, and they use this knowledge to disperse information about global security concerns and extremist threats to keep the world a safer place. Post frequency: Every few days
These cyber security resources cover just about everything you’ll need to know in 2019. Did we leave out one of your favorites? Let us know!
From the application of GDPR directives to the implementation of open banking, 2018 was quite a disruptive year for the FinTech industry…. And many startups are here to lead us to the new frontiers. A recent MoneyLive Banking Report concluded that a majority of executives in traditional UK financial institutions now see FinTech startups as a “significant threat” to their business model. And yet, these continual innovations are what make the FinTech industry so interesting to watch. Here are some of the most promising startups we’ll have our eye on in 2019; which would you add to the list?
This pioneering company began creating its SaaS platform for smart document management well before the advent of GDPR and ESMA regulations. ClauseMatch now helps top UK banks and financial institutions centralize their compliance intelligence and keep all internal policies, procedures, and documents organized. In simpler terms, ClauseMatch offers file sharing capabilities with unparalleled security that meets all stringent financial regulatory requirements.
SecuredTouch is a mobile fraud detection startup that analyzes over 100 behavioral parameters to keep your information secure by using behavioral technology that enables seamless authentication on any device. Their HUMANOBOT solution uses advanced machine learning to identify user activities such as swipe speed, finger pressure, and device movement, and to separate these activities from non-human behaviors. It then blocks suspicious activity or sends alerts about fraud and suspicious activity.
SecuredTouch has raised $11.5 million to date, with an initial seed round in February 2017 and the completion of its Series A funding in April 2018.
There are plenty of FinTech companies that do good work, but AID:Tech is one of the few that actually does good. AID:Tech uses Blockchain technology to bring transparency to the distribution of aid and donations to the world’s underserved populations. Most recently, the company partnered with the Irish Red Cross to launch an app called TraceDonate that allows donors to donate securely and to get notifications about how the donated funds are being used. Founder Niall Dennehy explains: “We found out that 30% of international aid goes missing each year and we developed a solution which could verify to donors that their money has gone where it was intended.” No small feat when upwards of $410 billion was donated to charity by Americans alone in 2017.
TrueLayer has pioneered a developer platform to help FinTech and other adjacent companies to enhance their Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance processes, open banking, and PSD2 requirements. The London-based startup has raised $4.3 million and secured partnerships with companies in a range of financial verticals, including open banking, personal finance, and accounting. TrueLayer is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), one of the strictest financial regulators in the world, and is currently working on expansion into Germany.
Look at this company’s clever Twitter handle, and you’ll get a glimpse into its mission. Previse estimates that slow payments cost global businesses approximately $650 billion annually, and the company intends to change that with its algo-driven invoice payment decisions. Previse enables businesses to pay their suppliers instantly by using machine learning to exclude invoices that aren’t likely to be paid, and having their strategic financial partners pay the rest. Simply put, Previse pays invoices up front, allowing customers the flexibility of later payments and vendors the ability to get paid instantly. With Previse, companies don’t have to take out loans to cover funds that are tied up in late payments, so they save money and have more available working capital. Previse is, quite literally, changing the way B2B commerce operates.
Divido is a multi-award winning consumer finance platform for retailers that is changing the way customers finance their purchases. With Divido, companies can spread out the cost of purchases over time, while the merchant gets paid in full right away. Over 1,000 merchants are already using the platform, including Mastercard and BNP Paribas. Divido has raised $19 million so far, proving first-hand that when cash flows smoothly, businesses can achieve so much more.
iwoca provides loans to SMB companies located in the UK, Poland, Spain and Germany. The company has raised $158.9 million and has provided loans to over 5,000 small businesses. Though there are many such alternative lenders in the United States, few offer these services in Europe, and even fewer offer loans in multiple countries. iwoca also sets itself apart by offering open banking in conjunction with Lloyds Bank, Barclays and HSBC, so that borrowers can submit verified information in seconds. These accomplishments alone are enough to land iwoca on our watchlist for 2019.
As a publicly-traded company, CREALOGIX isn’t really a startup. But their recent innovations in the digital banking sector are still worthy of mention and monitoring. The Zurich-based FinTech Top 100 company is one of the market leaders in innovative digital financial solutions. Their Digital Banking Hub literally creates a bank within a mobile device, eliminating the need to go to a brick and mortar building. Users can open bank accounts, pull credit reports and transaction summaries, and even process KYC documents remotely, all with top-level cybersecurity. What sets CREALOGIX apart is that it uses an open platform that can be integrated seamlessly with all other systems, while maintaining compliance with PSD2 and other financial regulations.
AimBrain is Star Trek for the modern age. Its award-winning BIDaaS (Biometric Identity as-a-Service) platform offers facial and voice recognition services, behavioral identity recognition, lipsync, anomaly detection modules, and more. The application is designed to protect companies, from small businesses to global corporations, from fraud by implementing the highest possible biometric protocols so that they can confirm all transactions securely. We respect this company for its genius technology, but we love it because it made biometrics free for everyone. Clients include cloud service providers, FinTech organizations and P2P banks, for now. We can’t wait to see how this company (and its client base) will develop in 2019.
Which FinTech startups are on your watch-list for 2019? Let us know!
FinTech continues to evolve at a remarkable rate. With advances in AI, cryptocurrency, and hyper-personalization bringing ever-more disruptions to the financial services industry, you’ll want to keep up. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most important and influential FinTech events in 2019, so that you can hear from the leading innovators and technologists in the sector and explore the latest tech and business trends that are revolutionizing financial services.
Led by Laurent Nizri, the Paris FinTech Forum is the most influential FinTech conference in Europe. You’ll find the biggest lineup of international FinTech movers and shakers, with over 220 high-profile speakers across the two-day conference. The forum covers many topics related to FinTech, focusing this year on digitalization, payments, and AI in finance.
The Paris FinTech Forum falls in the middle of Paris Finance Week and has a packed schedule, encompassing the main stage, two smaller stages for round-table sessions on topics like regulation in Europe and blockchain, two workshop rooms, and the Hall of Honor for high-level thematic discussion. Don’t miss out on hearing world finance leaders like Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, or the closing event featuring four current finance ministers.
TechNOVA brings together 50+ leaders in the financial services industry for a one-day blockbuster on the practical role of AI in finance. Don’t miss key panel discussions on cyber security-related topics like “Understanding and managing the risks of biased AI”, or “Algorithms, accountability and explainability: Who is responsible for AI?”
Headline speakers include Pips Bunce, Head of Global Markets and Core Engineering Integration Components at Credit Suisse. His closing keynote address on “Assessing the transformational power of AI” promises to be highly relevant.
The two-day IFGS will focus on enhancing, empowering, and safeguarding FinTech in 2019. IFGS prides itself on crossing sectors in the FinTech world, so look forward to excellent speakers on every aspect of finance and payment tech. It’s the fifth year of IFGS and it marks the start of London’s FinTech week as well, giving you more reasons to stick around and make new connections. Follow events with #IFGS2019.
There are lots of interesting sessions, including “AI and Machine Learning” on day one, and “Embedded Finance and Attention Economy” on day two. Be sure to take part in the opportunity to network with the 250+ IFGS members, including speakers like Raj Simani, Chief Scientist at McAfee, and Chris Conde, Senior Advisor at Accel Partners.
MoneyConf gathers leading experts in banking and technology to cover an impressive array of related topics across a two-day conference in Ireland. There are over a dozen tracks at this well-organized event, including AI, cryptocurrencies, regulation, and fraud and cyber security.
The conference will cover burning issues in bitcoin and cryptocurrency. And while the list of speakers isn’t yet finalized, last year’s lineup included Visa’s Chief RIsk Officer, Ellen Richey, and the Co-Founder and President of Blockchain, Nicholas Cary, so you won’t be disappointed.
The Future of Fintech is an exclusive gathering of the world's biggest banks and top financial institutions. With a big presence from FinTech startups and VC investors, the Future of FinTech is the place to learn more about the latest issues in blockchain, wealth tech, and lending.
While the 2019 agenda is still in the works, the Future of FinTech has announced some of its speakers. You can look forward to the chance to hear stars of FinTech like Jeremy Allaire, CEO and Co-Founder of Circle, and Zach Perret, CEO and Co-Founder of Plaid.
As Israel’s largest conference on innovation in the finance industry, it’s not surprising that it’s home to representatives from FinTech startups, banks, accelerators, and financial institutions from around the world. FinTech Junction 2019 brings together public, private, and governmental players in the financial technology space, with open banking, cryptocurrencies, regulation, AI, cyber security, and P2P platforms expected to play an important role in the two-day conference.
This year’s agenda is still under wraps, with only Jeremy Berger, Co-Founder and COO of Arival Bank, announced as a speaker so far. Some of 2018’s leading speakers included Jo Coutuer from BNP Paribas, Shahar Friedman of Visa, and Michal Kissos Hertzog, CEO of Pepper.
Chicago’s Mobile Payments Conference covers more than mobile payments. It is the annual host of an ongoing discussion that brings together international experts to talk about mobile wallets, cryptocurrency, blockchain, consumer privacy, and more. We’re excited to hear Jack Connors of Google’s Commerce Partnership at #MPC19, as well as Jim Ciortan, Head of Global BD and Sales at PayPal/Venmo, and Cliff Duffey, President and founder of Cybera.
April 8-9, 2019 - LendIt FinTech - San Francisco, USA September 2019 - LendIt FinTech - Shanghai, China November 4-5, 2019 - LendIt FinTech - London, UK
LendIt runs a whole series of FinTech events across the world, spread around the year. 2019 kicks off in April with the LendIt FinTech USA conference, with themes that include blockchain, small business lending innovation, and advancements in credit, underwriting, and identity. In September, the LendIt conference takes place in China, and it happens in London in November.
LendIt focuses on bringing together FinTech leaders, startups and innovators to share new FinTech advances and make connections. LendIt FinTech USA has already announced that Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest, Eric Schurr, Chief Strategy Officer at Sunrise Banks, and Steven Streit, CEO of Green Dot, will be speaking at this year’s event.
Money 20/20 is all about payments and networking. It’s proud of providing an opportunity to bring together innovative, ambitious FinTech leaders so that technology and finance can meet and spark new ideas. The upcoming Money 20/20 Asia conference brings in-depth case studies to show changing financial business models, and challenging panel discussions.
The Europe conference brings together industry leaders, the US one assess the future of money, and the China conference ends the year by showcasing market-leading FinTech ideas.
Finovate Europe: February 12-14 - London, UK Finovate Spring: May 8-10 - San Francisco, USA Finovate Fall: September 23-25 - New York, USA Finovate Middle East: Date and location TBA
#Finovate runs FinTech events around the world, showcasing cutting-edge banking and financial tech through a unique blend of short-form demos and insights from thought-leaders. The first Finovate event of 2019 is Finovate Europe, taking place in London, February 12-14, offering insights and cutting-edge innovations on topics such as AI and open banking.
Finovate Spring will happen in San Francisco on May 8-10, covering AI, paymentech, lending tech, and community banking. Finovate Fall in New York runs September 23-25, with speakers discussing the latest advances and issues in banking, finance, and payments technology in the trademark Finovate fast-paced style. You can watch demos on the Finovate website, but networking is best done in person at your nearest event.
Stay tuned for more events in 2019! We’ll update the list as more events are announced.