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Keeping the security lights on during times of recession

Planning season is in full swing. As we head at breakneck speed towards December, the Babel team is busy meeting with clients to review successes and agree on strategies for the year ahead.

While it’s a process we go through each year, this time it feels slightly different. The tech sector has been rocked by a series of announcements from the big brands, including Amazon, Meta, Twitter and Salesforce, about cutbacks and job losses. The news follows widespread warnings about a gloomy financial outlook for 2023, with the eurozone economies likely to tip into recession, according to Morgan Stanley. Last week the UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the country was already in recession and set to shrink further next year.

What does this all mean for marketing and PR? According to LinkedIn’s global B2B Marketer Sentiment Study, half of the 1,700 senior marketing decision-makers surveyed said that their budgets have been impacted in some way by the current economic situation. Encouragingly, despite the financial restrictions, 67% of senior B2B marketers have indicated that brand building remains a priority.

As someone who works in the B2B tech PR sector, you would be surprised if I didn’t believe in the continued importance of brand building, even during times of recession. That belief is supported by a new study from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and The B2B Institute, which found that a lack of brand awareness is the biggest barrier to growth.  

Brand awareness is particularly crucial in one of my favourite sectors of the tech industry – cybersecurity. The experts suggest that the security sector will remain relatively unscathed in the coming months. Gartner predicts that worldwide spending on security and risk management will grow 11.3% in 2023, driven by factors including hybrid work and a greater focus on zero trust network access. 

The message is clear – CISOs have money to spend, so if you’re a cybersecurity vendor marketer it is crucial that you consider how best to use your budget to ensure your brand is top-of-mind among IT decision-makers. PR remains one of the most cost-effective methods of maintaining and growing brand awareness, so as you plan for the year ahead, here are my top three tips for what to consider when planning your 2023 cybersecurity PR strategy:

Coverage where it counts: if you want to influence a pan-European audience, you may think that a PR presence in each target country is required.  In our latest whitepaper, ‘European Media Relations – Where should B2B technology companies invest?‘, we’ve used RUMA, Babel’s proprietary ranking news analysis platform, to examine the media titles which produce the most highly ranked articles. The research suggests that, for most companies, it is possible to run a successful European campaign from the UK. 

Maximise messaging: journalists are bombarded with commentary from cybersecurity vendors, so your business must stand out from the crowd. At Babel, we have extensive experience in helping security brands, including Orange Cyberdefense, secure coverage by reacting quickly to breaking news stories and offering journalists insightful, expert quotes. We regularly run sessions with client spokespeople to refresh messaging and test those messages in mock media interviews. It’s a great way of ensuring that your brand remains relevant and insightful in the eyes of the media.

Analyst engagement: when considering your target audience, remember the importance of analysts. According to the forthcoming Babel B2B Tech Barometer, due to be published in the coming weeks, 58% of IT decision-makers are influenced by analyst reports when considering which tech brands to approach. We have a dedicated analyst relations team that ensures your AR programme is fully integrated into the wider comms programme, focused on delivering maximum business value. With in-depth knowledge of the buying cycle and analyst report process, Babel can ensure you are briefing the right people, with the right information at the right time.

You can hear more about how a potential recession may impact the cybersecurity sector in our next Babel webinar, where we will be joined by Bloomberg cybersecurity reporter Katrina Manson and Ciaran Martin CB, founding Chief Executive of the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). For further details and to register, click here.

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