Archives For rsa

Downtown Grand Rapids

I’m Back from Grand Rapids and heading into a busy week, but not without some reflection on the benefits of last week’s educational event.  27 business leaders attended this event where I addressed the group on current security trends and threats specific to the SMB space.   Over half of them will be looking at their security issues in greater detail this week with the sponsoring solution provider, in the form of an assessment.  The majority of these companies are not currently engaged as clients, but are still receiving this assessment as a thanks for joining the meeting. This is a significant step in the right direction and a value to both the business owner and the consulting firm.

On Friday (the day after this event) I spent some time with a rep out in the north west (by phone), going through this type of event and what makes an event successful.  On the call, we discussed ways of attracting new clients, a question I have run into more and more over the past year. He mentioned that they have tried doing  lunch & learn events, like the one above, to demonstrate their value to the local firms – “But we can’t seem to get people to attend – why?”  “How do you continue to attract audiences, even in cities where there’s already of glut of these kinds of events?”, he asked. There are a couple of key issues to consider here:

1. People attend events that offer something they personally need and care about.  If I am in the market for a particular kind of tool or home improvement, I might attend a home show or head over the the Woodcraft store’s open house (a popular store for those engaged in fine woodworking).  I have a specific need and the above mentioned gatherings offer some insight.  If the thing I am buying is obvious, I don’t need to attend.  The problem here is, my lunch & learn at this point only appeals to a certain group of people who are currently shopping for something – it’s a small audience, and my chances of marketing to the right people are slim.

2. If I make this into a product pitch, I can still draw an audience.  Consider RSA – a product show that continues to draw thousands.  What’s the attraction?  There show is advertised to technical people…but the attraction comes with the speaker line-up.  Technologists convince their firms to fly them there and pay for lodging and food, to see John Chambers or Marc Benioff speak.  The problem with your lunch & learn at this point is, you don’t have a speaker that will draw an audience.  Stop saying, “People are too busy,” or “We have too many lunch & learns in our city,” the truth is you don’t have a show worth going to.

3. Too many companies are focused on the numbers.  My coaching client on Friday told me his sponsors only care about numbers in exchange for marketing dollars – meaning it doesn’t matter who shows up.  This is wrong thinking.  The vendor requires some re-education on the importance of converting attendees to buyers.  The percentage matters far more than the number of attendees when we are working with expensive solutions.  With this in mind, getting the large technical audience referenced in point number 2 is not really valid.  Based on the attendee list, I can almost predict the percentage that will sign up to do the assessment (or any other offering).  IT people will love the talk (if it has great content), but will pass on the assessment – why?  Two reasons, they have no liability, and they have no money.  The bottom line here is; setting up an educational event for technical people will buy some good will and demonstrate value to an existing customer base, however it generally will not produce new clients for a solution provider.

4. Content that will attract business leaders, must focus on the business leader and their business. What do they think about all day?  Obviously they hire advisers; legal, health, financial and investment, and more..what about technology?  The event mentioned above was specifically designed to help business leaders understand their risk and liability regarding data and intellectual capital that resides in their most important business applications and databases.  These attendees saw value, responded to a message aimed at reducing their risks of data loss, and followed up with value delivered through the sponsoring solution provider in the form of an assessment.

© 2012, David Stelzl



Walking along the Arabian Sea

Yesterday we completed day 2 of the Making Money with Security workshop – working on messaging.  Wherever I go, there seems to be a disconnect between marketing and sales…at some point in the value proposition development portion of my workshop, I ask someone to show me what they would deliver if given a high level appointment today to talk about security, and what their company can offer.  There is always a hesitation – no one wants to stand up and show me.  Why?  Usually it is because after a day and a half of discussion on messaging, they realize their presentation does not contain the elements of a great security approach.  Marketing has delivered a set of slides with talking points that are all about them and their product.  There is nothing new, nothing educational,…nothing amazing.  No call to action other than – let us know if we can help.  Nothing to cause the meeting attendees concern within their own business and approach.  Yet every day companies like RSA, Microsoft, the Income Tax division of India, etc. are defeated by cyber criminals.  There is an urgency; why can’t we demonstrate this in our messaging?

© 2011, David Stelzl

As a follow up to the RSA partner presentation  I did with Cisco last month, today I presented the first of 4 webex programs on building your business using security assessments.  You’ll be asked to enter you contact information to view this from the Cisco Webex server, here is the link:

© 2011, David Stelzl



Cisco recorded my presentation at RSA – it’s just the slides and audio…you’ll be required to register before listening since this is on Cisco’s site, but it’s easy to do and the recording sounds pretty good for a Webex recording.

Here’s the link:

Day two of the RSA conference – what a great day.  I started off with breakfast in the Consierge lounge, meeting with RSA’s US Sales manager.  From there I navigated through a 5 minute hail storm on my way to deliver a keynote address to Cisco partners on ways to apply the concepts of educational marketing, assessments and discovery, as well as effective messaging in the security space (which was also accessible through Webex and recorded if you did not attend)o0. Spent a couple of hours working on some business in my room…

By the way, check out this room in the Marriott Marquis!  This is the place to set up a base camp.  I have a corner room overlooking the Expo center, that is about the size of  three rooms.  The hallway (a hallway in a hotel room!) pictured to the left heads down to my living room, bathroom on the right, and then out to a bar area with refrig and various entertainment accoutrements. Two giant flat screen TVs, three phones, and great service.  The only problem is, the internet service if very slow, so I’m using my Verizon 3G instead.

From there I attended a couple of receptions, most notably the Cisco reception, where I met with  security executives, gathered insights on product road maps for the coming 18 months, and reconnected with various clients, partners and manufactures.  A jam packed day and well worth being out here!

Here’s a shot of my living room…








© 2011, David Stelzl

I arrived yesterday in time to visit the expo, attend sessions with Cisco, Palo Alto, Kaspersky and a few others, adding at least one new t-shirt to my collection.  The highlight of my trip out was sitting next to a mother holding her restless 1-year old, who spilled coffee on my sleeve, knocked the creamer onto the floor and almost into my shoe, kicked my leg for 5 and half hours, and insisted on resting his head on my arm most of the trip. What a great character building session this was!

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on the topic of how to create new business opportunities using educational marketing programs and assessments…but first, time for a San Francisco pizza, which will probably be marginal at best.

View of the RSA Expo

San Francisco under cloudy skys