RSA Conference 2018: Security Marketer’s Perspective from Rapid7

David Bowker

As our clients head to San Francisco for RSAC 2018, many of them took time to share with PAN what they’re anticipating and prioritizing for the event. Through this series of blog posts for PAN, they glean their observations on trends and how to stand out this year.

PAN spoke with Carol Meyers, CMO, Rapid7, earlier this month:

RSA Conference 2018What are your thoughts on RSAC 2018? What are you most looking forward to?

RSA has blown up, especially within the last few years, to become a can’t-miss event for security vendors, professionals, researchers and experts. The conference halls just keep expanding. One of the key indicators of this lies within the number of other security conferences popping up around RSA such as BSides and OURSA. When this happens, it’s a sign that RSA has “arrived” and gotten so big that other events are being constructed to feed off, or counter, the momentum.

Every year, there seems to be a common, prominent theme coming out of RSA, and numerous security companies tend to gravitate around this one core message – whether it’s data analytics, endpoint protection, etc. I’m curious to see what the predominant theme will be this year. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say Security Ops (SecOps) and orchestration will be focal points.

If you had to choose the single most important item to prepare for RSAC, what would it be and when would that process begin?

The development of a company-wide cohesive message. RSA is a massive conference, and it’s only getting bigger each year. One of the most important tasks is ensuring that everyone is aligned on the mission, the message and how the company will stand out at the conference. RSA is so huge, it’s important to plan how you will leverage creativity and unity of message to get your return on investment.

Planning should start at least six months in advance – and even that’s cutting it close. To get the most out of RSA, we’d suggest preparing eight to nine months prior.

As you know, there are more than 550 exhibitors at RSAC. In what ways do you make your company stand out?

In past years, our annual party has definitely helped us make a splash! We won’t be hosting one this time around, however.

Outside of large parties, in order to stand out, it’s important to ensure that all activities add value to our customers, partners and overall bottom line. This means that if we’re conducting presentations at the booth and/or meeting with press, we should be adding something meaningful to the conversation, not just talking for the sake of talking. Ultimately, our end goal is to move the state of security forward and better protect today’s infrastructures and individuals.

When it comes to SWAG or self-promotion, we try to stay away from “gimmicky” assets. We do love our t-shirts and I am always thrilled to see people wearing our T’s from past years at these shows. We keep ours of good quality. If you’re planning to give away clothing items, make sure you have multiple sizes handy for both men and women.

What are your top three buzzwords for RSAC 2018?

  •  DevOps & SecOps
  •  Orchestration
  • Automation

Why is RSA a valuable conference for CMOs to attend and what aspect of the show (sessions, booth talks, etc.) provides the most value for your business?

RSA presents a ripe opportunity for CMOs to gain face time with customers and partners, in a short span of time, to establish new relationships and build existing ones. The conference is a great way for CMOs to understand the challenges security pros and leaders are facing and to see first-hand how their core constituents react to their marketing messages. Additionally, it helps them get a feel for the shifting landscape in regards to what their competitors are talking about and how they’re differentiating and positioning themselves.

In terms of what provides the most value, it ultimately depends on the specific person and organization. I personally get value from the conference sessions that are delivered by leading security practitioners – I love to hear their stories and how they are tackling challenges. For me, personal interactions are the most crucial part of RSA. There’s endless value in simply spending as much time as possible at the Rapid7 booth and watching how current and prospective customers engage and interact with our team. RSA provides a rare opportunity to get one-on-one time with key individuals to get their honest and open feedback.

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