From Vendor Marketing and Strategy to ESG Analyst

cybersecurity programs need to evolveI’ve always made it a priority to choose roles where I can make the biggest impact, and where I can learn and grow. It hasn’t been a clear path (as Sheryl Sandberg would say, it’s not a ladder, it’s a jungle gym), but I can confidently say it’s led me to fulfilling roles.

In this blog post, I’ll share a bit about my background, and then describe why I’m thrilled to join ESG to cover cloud-native and application security – a rapidly evolving and dynamic space.

My career started during the tech boom since I graduated from college in the late ‘90s. Having studied English and integrative biology, I didn’t have a clear career path (besides grad school). I was lucky to land a role as the main writer/editor at a sales office for Zip2/Knight Ridder, a company that created and sold business directory listings with “door-to-door” maps with driving directions, online ads, and websites/landing pages for Bay Area businesses. (For Elon Musk enthusiasts, Zip2 was his first company with his brother Kimball).

While my main role was supposed to be writing and editing copy, and checking deliverables for quality control, I volunteered to work on marketing materials. I quickly realized I could measurably boost sales by putting together brochures and sales tools to explain our offerings.

The mom and pop restaurants, funeral homes, car dealerships, and other local businesses we were selling to didn’t yet understand why they should have a website, a listing in our directory, door-to-door driving directions to their businesses – and they didn’t know about online ads and how things like ad impressions worked. I talked to the salespeople about their challenges, and I created materials and newsletters that they all could use to more easily sell our products.

That was a great way to kick off my career in marketing, and from there I held various roles, including a marcom and branding role at a consumer startup, vertical industry marketing at a middleware company, and PR agency roles managing accounts and pitching stories to reporters. I also spent several years at VMware, building the customer reference program, later running US PR during their IPO, and finally running product PR. I made the move into cybersecurity a little over 10 years ago when I went to Qualys to run global communications as they prepared for their IPO. I also worked at Tenable, where I ran the competitive and market intelligence team, and later product marketing.

In the last five years, I’ve been focused on startups, including StackRox (container security, acquired by RedHat), Armorblox (email security), Styra (makers of OPA), and Soluble (automating security testing in development, acquired by Lacework). I’ve found it exciting to connect with customers, determine product market fit (PMF), establish messaging and branding, GTM strategy, work on early key partnerships, and put the right tools in place.

Which brings me to why I’ve decided to become an analyst. From working with industry analysts over the years, I have valued the strong analyst relations programs where working with analysts isn’t just a chore or a necessary budget line item; the analyst interactions give company stakeholders actionable information and feedback. The goal has always been to walk out of the meeting thinking, “That was helpful. I got information and insight that I could not have gained on my own,” as opposed to “I got that over with but didn’t learn anything new.”

When you’re working at a company (especially in a startup), it’s easy to get trapped in your bubble; you need objective feedback on your solution, how it compares to others on the market, and how to better sell to customers. Industry analysts can give you this valuable information because they have more information on your buyers and other companies in your space than you can figure out on your own.

The market research, activities with analysts, such as custom research or surveys, and webinars, also provide objective validation to share with your audiences. High quality objective content helps you broaden your reach, qualify leads, and it can help you shorten your sales cycles.

ESG analysts have always stood out as a gold standard for the above. Their acquisition by TechTarget further increases their reach and influence – delivering useful content to buyers who are looking for solutions. I’m extremely proud to join their ranks.

Stay tuned for much more to come on this, but I’m also excited about my coverage area. For years now, organizations have been moving to the cloud for faster product releases and updates. While it speeds innovation and development, it can be challenging for security to keep up. Cloud providers are constantly adding exciting new security features. The traditional established security vendors are adapting to modernization with new capabilities and solutions that fit with their product lines, while we also see startups focused on new, disruptive methods to secure cloud workloads.

In this role, I’m looking forward to tracking these patterns and hearing from companies in this space. How does your solution work? How do you think it’s different from the others claiming the same things (developer-first, shift left, next-gen, cloud-native, automated, etc.)? How are your customers using your solution? What are your plans? How can we help you?

I’m also excited about working with ESG’s world class research and validation teams to provide the reports, facts, graphics, etc. that I’ve wanted to have at my fingertips when I was with a vendor.

I’m looking forward to working with clients and engaging with companies in the space. Send me a note if you’d like to get in touch to learn about ESG research and how we may be able to help you!

Topics: Cybersecurity