Headed to RSAC? Here’s what you need to know
By Peggy Tierney Galvin, Force4 Technology Communications
RSAC 2023 is coming up fast. After last year’s delayed hybrid approach, this year’s return to the traditional in-person event underscores the official event theme of “Stronger Together.”
As members of the cybersecurity community gather to explore advances in ensuring a more secure future, here’s what you need to know to make the most out of the week.
2023 has been a wild year already, and we’re only four months in. A lot has happened in the first quarter, but keeping these trends in mind before the show will give you an advantage:
- While the mid- to late-stage funding environment remains cool, the seed funding landscape for well-managed startups has stayed robust
- Customers are taking longer to sign off on new deals or expand existing deployments
- Partner and customer relationship-building is more important than ever
- Cybersecurity is still a targeted market for M&A activity
Opportunities to think bigger
Being familiar with the macro economic and geopolitical trends prior to the show – in addition to knowing what your want to accomplish vis a vis your own corporate or career goals, of course – is critical to a successful week. If you can find ways to connect these trends to the goals of the partners, customers, media and analysts you speak with on the show floor is what separates key performers from average attendees.
For example, it’s a great way to make some targeted moves with prospecting and understanding the careabouts of the personas in a new industry. With recent significant federal investments in domestic manufacturing – including economically strategic areas like automotive and microprocessors – security vendors have the opportunity to expand into lucrative new markets like these by drafting off of their current momentum. RSA Conference 2023 will be a great way to note which vendors are going after these vertical markets and do recon on potential new business opportunities.
Navigating the show floor
As we all know, RSA Conference is a great show for networking. We’ve heard people call it a class reunion for cyber, old home week, and “the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at the hometown bar.” If you’re looking to hire, to find a new company, or to reconnect with old friends, it’s an ideal venue for catching up and hearing about the kind of industry news that might not make it to LinkedIn.
If budget considerations have precluded a booth or a whisper suite at a local hotel for meetings with press, analysts or prospects, fear not: you can still make a meeting special without resorting to jealously guarding a bench under the escalators near the crepe kiosk. Consider making reservations for breakfast or lunch at local restaurants and holding those as dedicated meeting spots.
Integration motivation: The more you can show your solution’s interoperability with major platforms or critical partners, the better. Even better if these include the ability to open up new lines of revenue or accelerate existing ones. Partner integrations are great candidates for your pre-show announcement and should be a focus of your elevator pitch. These are also important for your key messages with members of the press, analysts and others you connect with onsite. Remember our tip about cybersecurity M+A forging ahead? Many of these started as partner ecosystem integrations.
Consumer voice > Company voice: This year, more than ever, it’s important to make the connection for customers on the “so what” your solution solves.
There are several ways to do this.
- Case studies – examples with customers, even if anonymized – illustrate how you’re trusted to address real business problems and can be shared with media and analysts onsite.
- Journalists say that market research is always a plus. Use stats either from a research report, platform telemetry analysis or a customer survey to demonstrate the need for your offering.
- Take the next step beyond talking about your solution’s features, “speeds and feeds” or FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and connect it to business benefits, ROI and revenue.
Point solution fatigue is real. Customers are overwhelmed by “solutions that should have been a feature” after several years in which this approach has been true. So, make sure your solution is worthy of being a solution and can stand on its own merits.
Not going? No problem.
RSA Conference is one of the biggest and most attended cybersecurity conferences in the world. Even if you’re not attending, you can attain value from the show by looking for:
- Market intelligence – What’s the news coming out of the show? What are your competitors focusing on? Where are there gaps that you can take advantage of?
- Relationship-building with members of the press and analysts with virtual briefings ahead of time to connect your organization’s value proposition to the narrative coming out of the show
Something for everyone
Whether you show up with a giant corner booth or will be watching from a distance, RSAC has a great deal to offer the cybersecurity sector in terms of education, networking and observation. We hope these tips and insights, gleaned from many years of RSAC attendance, will guide you to a successful experience.