CMO of the Month
CMO of Digital Guardian, Connie Stack discusses the challenges and success stories of marketing in a digital age. Digital Guardian is an American data loss prevention company that provides software for corporate networks, servers, databases, and the cloud
Digital Guardian is focused on protecting the heart of every organisation – their data. Much has changed in how we now do business and many of those changes, such as the emergence of the cloud and mobile devices, leave sensitive data more vulnerable than ever. The company’s flagship product, the Digital Guardian Data Protection Platform, is purpose built to stop data theft and performs across the network, traditional endpoints, on mobile devices and cloud applications to make it easier to see and stop all threats to sensitive data.
For more than ten years, Digital Guardian has enabled data-rich organisations to protect their most valuable assets with an on premises deployment or an outsourced managed security program (MSP). The company operates in more than sixty countries while servicing seven of the top ten global patent holders and seven of the ten largest global automobile manufacturers.
Connie Stack, CMO of Digital Guardian lays out the company’s mission and the key principles that make the firm stand out from its competitors.
“At Digital Guardian we’re fond of saying, “We’re focused on doing just one thing, protecting data” and that is our north star. Data is the lifeblood of a modern business and the bad guys have made it their mission to steal it. We aim to stop them.
“I am an unabashed fan of Jim Collins and the key principles he puts forth in “Good To Great.” In developing the business and marketing strategy for Digital Guardian, I keep in mind the importance of having great leaders, hiring the best people and getting them into the right role, focusing on what we are best at and preserving your core capabilities, but stimulating innovation.
“We are a data-driven organisation and technology is extremely important to our marketing function. We use the latest tools and platforms to enhance our brand awareness, customer experience, lead-gen efforts and pipeline tracking.”
Connie has been kept well motivated in her work with Digital Guardian. To achieve success in business, setting goals is important. “For me this is simple. Setting ambitious but achievable goals and consistently hitting or exceeding them. Nothing feels as good as hitting the numbers. It is clear, measurable and demonstrable success for me, but more importantly, my team members.”
Moving targets is the most challenging aspect that Connie has overcome to become successful in her current role. “In any innovative company change is the only constant. So you have to be prepared to tolerate change – or better yet, embrace it. You know it’s coming, so you have to stay nimble and be ready, willing and able to capitalise on any change in business direction. I read the business parable, “Who Moved My Cheese,” many years ago and I’d recommend it to anyone struggling with change in their business as well as in life.”
There have been industry changes since Connie started her career, and she has adapted to these changes to become a successful CMO. One change in the industry has been the growth in digital marketing, which has affected the business positively as Connie describes.
“When I started my marketing career, success was defined as having a great looking billboard or print ad. And, not to diminish the value of great creative (as anyone who knows me will tell you I can be fanatical about design), that was a very subjective measure of success. I believe the key change in marketing is the removal of that subjectivity. Marketing success can now be measured in more precise ways. Whether that’s click-thru rates, leads generated or articles secured, the new world of digital marketing allows marketers to demonstrate the true value of marketing like we never have before and I believe that’s a very powerful thing. Has that affected our business? Of course, and for the better. Marketing can demonstrate to our board members and executives the true value of what we deliver to the business every day.”
As a company in the IT security industry, there are two key trends which Digital Guardian is witnessing. Connie explains how noticing these trends have helped the company identify solutions to assist clients and business partners.
“The first trend that we are seeing is that there is a massive security talent shortage. The need to hire talented and experienced cyber security professionals is difficult for companies due to the lack of professionals. The lack of trained and experienced security professionals is the largest issue facing many in our industry. We offer a Managed Security Program (MSP) whereby we manage our technology on your behalf, reducing your need to hire more security team members.
“Another issue is the explosion of sensitive data volumes. Since the Sony breach occurred at the end of 2014, companies have been re-evaluating what their sensitive data is and how important it is. Companies are placing a higher value on corporate emails, instant messages, and private communications/non-traditional forms of intellectual property, such as multimedia files. Our data protection platform is designed to protect all types of sensitive data, from structured to unstructured and presentations to spreadsheets, from all types of threats.”
As an award winning CMO, Connie realises that researching the latest industry trends and looking at what the future holds is important to support Digital Guardian.
“Being in the B2B tech space, I constantly have my eye on what’s happening in the direct to consumer space. Selling to an end consumer online or in a store is very different than a complex B2B sale with a year-long sales cycle, but there are always things to learn and tactics to adapt. I’m also watching technology shifts. I was around when many B2B marketers sluffed off the need to leverage SEO and social media – I didn’t. I embraced the change and benefited as a result. There’s no doubt there will be more changes to come, for example, I have a keen interest in the Digital Native generation. This group simply doesn’t use technology and applications in a traditional way and they will have a few new tricks to teach us. This will only add to our experience and success.”
Digital Guardian plans to expand their business which should help to continue its growth in the industry. Connie wishes to continue using her experience and expertise to help the company in the future.
“Like many CMOs, I think we’d like to expand our organisational span of control. There are many emerging business functions, like Sales Operations, Sales Enablement, etc. While many of these functions are starting to roll to the sales organisation, I believe them to be perfect fits with marketing and CMO-like leadership. Who knows, maybe a CEO role is not out of the question.”
“As for myself, I have been at Digital Guardian for almost three years. I joined knowing it was a turnaround situation and I’ve been a part of the team that successfully turned it around. We are now on a major growth trajectory and I hope to be an integral part of that next chapter of the Digital Guardian story.”
Company: Digital Guardian
Name: Constance Stack
Web Address: www.digitalguardian.com
Address: 860 Winter Street, Ste. 3, Waltham, MA