12 ways this CMO is securing the future of a fast-growth B2B brand

The global chief marketing officer of rapidly growing cybersecurity player shares how she's built the B2B brand's marketing strategy

8. Make culture the brand

Internal culture has also been part of Flower’s approach. She instigated the work around articulating what CrowdStrike wanted to represent and what was the driving force behind its go-to-market efforts.

“There was this feeling of a mission already there when I joined the company; our people were building technology in order to protect other organisations against the bad guys,” she says. “When I asked the CEO for a mission statement, he said it was to stop the adversaries. There was a feeling of pride and determination, more than just selling software. I saw that as an opportunity to make that part of our brand, and therefore our culture.”

This fed into a higher-level brand promise: ‘We are the company that stops breaches’. “It’s why we get up every morning, build our technology, stand up at trade shows and talk about what we do,” Flower says.

“From there we developed a branding campaign, showcasing our technology as being built to stop breaches. We wanted to build strong relationships with customers and understand their needs and wants so we can align. We also showed we want to unite with other tech partners, or expertise in the industry in order to come together for the greater good of cybersecurity.”

On top of this, CrowdStrike introduced an internal culture committee, and every new global employee participates in a US head office induction to learn the brand promise, what the company stands for and what they’re becoming part of.

“A mission as simple as ‘we are the company that stops breaches’ is something everyone will remember. Then you can build underneath it,” Flower adds. “We came up with that brand promise three years ago and it stands true today. It’s been a great way for people – whether in finance, marketing, sales or finance – to rally together.”

9. Build a strong identity

Something unique to the cybersecurity and B2B space, meanwhile, was creating a very strong emotive identity.

“Because we put a face on the adversary – it’s very emotive – it’s translated way into people being proud to wear the brand. It’s not unusual to go into an office and people are wearing adversary T-shirts, or have an adversary cup or on their socks,” Flower says.

“Every year, for instance, we create adversary calendars we send to all customers, employees and partners. We do an ‘adversary of the month’ blog, produced by our intelligence team. If you go to some of our offices, you see a line-up of adversaries we have taken out.

“The brand has built based on keeping a simple message and brand promise and everything falls under it. Then we’ve introduced adversary concepts that are very iconic and loved by our customers. Every time we get a new customer we send a welcome pack, and that has loads of goodies including T-shirts – these are IT professionals, they love the swag.”

10. Customer-centric marketing design

A customer feedback loop has been a further way of building connection. For this, Flower says CrowdStike had the benefit of starting very high and with enterprise-tier customers, such as Telstra.

“Because you start with large organisations, you have to listen – you can’t just throw a product in, it becomes a partnership,” she argues.  

“A lot of work now is creating a customer-centric marketing program. We have a series of things we do, such as the welcome pack; we run advisory boards, such as a technical and strategic advisory boards, where we invite people in every six months. We take those very seriously and really outline our thoughts on where we need to prioritise, new capabilities and modules, but we’re asking for their input. We use that information to help shape our roadmap.”

In addition, CrowdStrike built an annual user forum 18 months ago. And it’s just launched the Crowdstrike champion program, giving engaged customers the opportunity to be briefed early on in strategic and product development. This in turn helped CrowdStrike develop a strong customer reference community.

11. Evolving the marketing function

Through her four-year tenure, it’s been vital for Flower as CMO to understand and embrace the evolving role of marketing.

“When I think about all our company initiatives, there are very few marketing is not involved in. One way or another, we get involved – whether it is employee brand for talent and recruitment, or advisory boards to get feedback on product roadmaps,” she says. “That’s important. The company benefits from having marketing people involved, as we have a lot of strengths in engagement, communication and branding. Also, that means we are learning more as a marketing org, which means we can apply that to marketing efforts and investment.

“I almost see marketing sitting between product management, all sales and customer engagement. If you can align and create strong relationships with heads of engineering and product management as well as their teams, and sales, it’s a strong alignment of strategy and development all the way through to execution.”  

12. Foster collaboration

As a result, collaboration with executives, peers and other departments has been a running thread for Flower. Regular meetings with distributed executive colleagues, for instance, delivers visibility of what’s going on outside Flower’s own domain and allows her to raise her hand to offer support, suggestions and more.

“That also helps us build trust and looking at initiatives more holistically,” she concludes. “You always need someone to take the lead, but more often than not, if it’s a truly strategic initiative, it touches more than one part of the organisation.

“I do believe as marketers, we have a critical role to play here as we’re naturally project leaders. We can help shape how that can be pulled together from the variety of departments to make it an even greater success.”  

Check out more of our profiles of rapid-growth marketing leadership:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu


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