It’s an exciting time of year for the security industry – the lead-up to RSA Conference 2023 (RSAC). Whether you’re a cybersecurity marketer, threat researcher, industry analyst, or IT executive, we’re all buzzing at the idea of finally gathering together at the Moscone Center, under RSAC’s very fitting theme of “Stronger Together.”
With just a few short weeks to go until RSAC, we’ve pulled together a helpful checklist of everything security marketers should know in preparation for the major industry event:
Are you announcing or launching something major? Is it newsworthy enough to stand out among the noise? Have you checked the conference agenda to ensure it doesn’t conflict with any major keynotes or other excitement around RSAC? It’s important to determine early on what kind of marketing moment is right for you at this event. Remember, you want it to stand out – not get lost in the noise.
RSAC is a great time to consider other impactful mediums when sharing news, event updates and other on-site happenings. Blogs, newsletters and social channels can have equal, if not greater, visibility when used regularly. Industry influencers are another way to spread the word. Don’t be afraid to try something new – creativity is key.
The lead-up to a major industry conference is also an ideal time to refine your company messaging to ensure it’s still clear, concise, relevant and captivating. To do this, you’ll want to prioritize your key audiences and identify their emotional drivers; this research eventually informs your story attributes, and the revelation – or the “why you matter” – to your story. We’ve mastered this process through our Inkhouse Story Crafting Workshop. Remember: Storytelling is not a “one-and-done” activity; stories evolve over time, and your company’s narrative is no exception.
Once the story is refined, media train your spokespeople so they feel comfortable with the messaging. Train a few spokespeople so you have options in case any last minute conflicts arise.
Every security vendor wants a 1:1 meeting with press and analysts while at RSAC, making it extremely competitive to get their attention. To build on these relationships, and maximize time, consider offering pre-event briefings virtually, or grouping select thought leaders together over breakfast, lunch or dinner with the reporter so that you’re providing more value and expertise, versus a 1:1 catch up session. Put yourself in the reporters’ shoes – what would draw you to a briefing during such a busy time?
Given the nature of in-person events, conflicts are bound to happen. A meeting is canceled, a spokesperson gets ill, or a flight is postponed. It’s important to understand that not everything will go according to the master plan – and that’s ok. Stick to what you can control. We recommend having a prep call the week before the event, or gathering together the Sunday evening of RSAC week (right before sessions kick off) to walk through the plan in person.
The best spokespeople are authentic, personable and approachable. This can come through in several ways, but some of our recommendations include: doing homework on who you’re meeting with in advance, avoiding industry jargon and speaking to topics that the executive (and business overall) is passionate about.
As security communications professionals, RSAC is jam-packed with back-to-back meetings and conference speaking sessions. Some years, you may not have time to walk the Expo floor – but you absolutely should. For one, it’s a great way to meet clients on-site, during a time when customer relationships take top priority. It’s also important to see how other vendors are marketing themselves, as well as meet other security communications professionals, which can lead to future collaborations – all in the spirit of being “Stronger Together.”
There’s a lot of effort that goes into making RSAC a success. After the event, preferably on the Friday of RSAC week, send a detailed recap to your team(s). How many people stopped by the booth? How many leads were captured? How many analyst or media briefings took place on site? Was the company featured in any notable event coverage? Did you win any awards on-site? What was social media engagement like throughout the week? Include as many metrics and visuals as possible to give those who couldn’t attend a feel for the event.
If you, or one of your spokespeople, met with an analyst, reporter or industry peer while at RSAC, send a personalized follow up message so that the connection that took place on-site can continue throughout the year.
There’s often a brief lull in the industry after such a busy conference week. Use that time to reflect about the event. From an internal perspective, what worked well? What areas can be improved next year? Additionally, think about some of the major themes and topics of conversation from the event – can you capitalize on these trends in future storytelling efforts? How can you incorporate key event themes in future blog content or social media campaigns? Reflection is a critical part of maximizing your RSAC experience.
We hope to see you at the Moscone Center from April 24-27. If you’re attending RSA Conference, drop us a line to learn more about Inkhouse’s security practice and how we can help your organization. We’d love to connect!
As a vice president at Inkhouse, Jessica co-leads the agency’s security practice, running strategic, integrated communications programs for brands such as Raytheon Intelligence & Space and VMware. With over a decade of communications experience, Jessica is passionate about upleveling her clients' technical expertise to tell compelling stories that resonate with key audiences.