'Content is a crucial aspect of your online presence as it essentially represents your brand,' says Michael Cichon

Content Syndication
Michael Cichon is a seasoned B2B marketer specializing in digital and content marketing for identity-based online fraud detection and advanced email security solutions. With an expertise in product and digital marketing, he excels in developing brand narratives, driving integrated demand generation campaigns, and connecting with customers on a personal level to inspire action.
Read on to know his ideas on the importance of content syndication practices in information security industry.

Messaging and the content that brings it to life is the genesis of a startup's marketing and go-to-market strategy.

Media 7: Hi Michael, thank you for your time. Please provide us an overview of your professional journey and how you arrived at your current position as the CMO of 1Kosmos.
Michael Cichon:
  I am a career marketer based in Silicon Valley for the past 25 plus years. I've primarily worked with business-to-business software application companies. Since 2008, I've focused on digital marketing with hands-on experience managing paid, earned and owned channels, so I consider myself a digital-first marketing leader. In the last six years, I've exclusively been involved with cyber security, specifically in digital identity, AI / ML and authentication.

M7: How do you leverage thought leadership and industry expertise as part of 1Kosmos marketing strategy to build credibility and differentiate your company from competitors in the information security industry?
MC
: Right. So, first, let's discuss what thought leadership is and what it's not. From my perspective, thought leadership is a new or advanced idea. It's something unique, novel, and sometimes controversial, but always supported by defensible facts.

In high-tech marketing, it represents an intersection between advancing technology and business value, and it has the utility to accelerate a business toward their goals. It's not just an idea and certainly not a way to spin an application. Importantly, it leads the conversation so if it’s rife with buzzwords you know it’s not leading, but following or imitating others. Thought leadership is usually specific, clear, and focused.

In B2B, thought leadership shares a perspective and involves teaching our target audience exactly what they need to know to become an active buyer. It’s persuasive, strategic and packaged in a way that’s suitable to the attention spans at different stages of awareness. You’ll find different mediums such as webinars, blogs, white papers, video logs, and more all geared to reach professionals where they are online and in a way that’s digestible.

M7: What role does market research and competitive analysis play in shaping your company’s marketing strategy within the information security industry?
MC:
At its core, having a clear understanding of what I would refer to as unique enabling-capabilities and the value they bring to an organization is crucial. That's where it all begins. To understand your unique values, you must also be familiar with competitive approaches, which necessitates a thorough understanding of alternate solutions and narratives. Therefore, market research and competitive analysis play an absolutely critical role.

Read more: ‘The toughest part is making the content both timely and relevant,’ says Stel Valavanis


Thought leadership plays a vital role in expanding and increasing the distribution of products and ideas.

M7: Please brief us about services and products of 1Kosmos.
MC:
When it comes to 1Kosmos, we are the only company that has unified identity proofing and authentication. This is important when you realize that onboarding users to business infrastructure is a mission-critical activity. This is true for all users – workers accessing corporate infrastructure, customers logging into services and even residents requesting government services. In each case, missidentifying the user or granting them access to systems for which they shouldn’t have access can have devastating consequences to any business. We see this virtually every day in fraud, data breach and ransomware attacks reported in the news.

At 1Kosmos, we bring our solutions to the market through three distinct products. One product focuses on workforce authentication, another caters to business-to-consumer use cases, and the third product revolves around self-service identity proofing. These give organizations the ability to remotely verify an identity on the web with a high level of assurance, and then verify that identity at every access attempt. To provide such an assurance, our platform has undergone rigorous certifications. We are the only platform certified to industry standards, specifically known as FIDO2, NIST 800-63-3, iBeta PAD2, SOC2 and ISO27001.

M7: Can you provide examples of some successful content campaigns or initiatives that have helped elevate your brand’s visibility and recognition?
MC:
You will find multiple examples on the 1Kosmos website, including several white papers, webinars, vlogs, infographics, meme’s (which help break through the noise on social media), and more.

The grandfather of them all – white papers – are essentially a narrative that contain supporting ideas typically found in its chapters. These chapters represent significant concepts, and you can also find them promoted independently in different forms. Let me provide a specific example: a white paper we recently published addresses the challenge of implementing password-less authentication. While there is a technical capability known as password-less authentication, this white paper focuses on technology-enabled business transformation, so it addresses the many challenges in controlling an enterprise-wide project and gracefully migrating users from traditional passwords, which many of us have been using for decades, to biometric authentication.

The white paper serves as the foundation for the narrative and is accompanied by other forms of content such as blogs, webinars, and contributed articles, furthering the discussion and building the narrative. Our intention is to promote this content across all our digital channels and in particular to organizations we identify as having an active interest in this domain.

M7: What prompted your company to explore publishing of content as part of your marketing efforts and what benefits do you anticipate from such initiatives?
MC:
1kosmos is an early stage, high growth company, so our initial focus started like others through our network of executives, leveraging their contacts and affiliations. The sales journey started with selling to a few individuals, then to dozens and eventually reaching hundreds and thousands of target prospects.

Along this path, thought leadership plays a vital role in expanding and increasing the distribution of products and ideas. However, unless you are fortunate enough to launch with a hyper-ready audience, it primarily involves explaining what you do and how you do it clearly, enabling people to understand it. While paid advertising can help attract attention at some point, the ideal journey begins with valuable ideas that have the potential to gain momentum by earning attention and gaining validation over time.

The substance of ideas is crucial. Looking back at the dot-com burst 20+ years ago, it serves as an example when ideas spiraled out of control.There was a lot of talk about new ideas overtaking the old and completely transforming the world, but not all of them materialized as expected.

Messaging and the content that brings it to life is the genesis of a startup's marketing and go-to-market strategy. The desired outcome is to gain awareness and, more importantly, credibility with each person who consumes the content. At 1Kosmos, we anticipate and have observed the benefits of increased credibility. Our fan base on social media, especially LinkedIn, has shown exponential growth, serving as a form of public validation. Additionally, we have seen significant increases across various metrics such as website traffic, content engagement, form conversions, leads generated, and closed deals, all resulting from our content-led efforts.

Read more:‘Marketing can be the oxygen to a company’s growth,’ says Shashi Kiran


White paper serves as the foundation for the narrative and is accompanied by other forms of content such as blogs, webinars, and contributed articles, furthering the discussion and building the narrative.

M7: How do you pursue leadership, and what fundamental values have influenced your style of leadership?
MC:
When people think of leadership, they often associate it with what happens at the top of an organization. However, I don't view it that way. While we do have leaders at various levels, I believe leaders can make a difference throughout the entire organization.

An analogy if you will – a sports team, for instance, has a head coach, other coaches, captains, and players. But in any given play or situation, one or more individuals have to step up and demonstrate leadership. They need to take charge, create an advantage, and be proactive. This is at the core of how I perceive leadership and how I've approached it.

Leaders possess certain characteristics. They are often independent thinkers, self-sufficient, and sometimes unconventional. You can think of them as thought hackers - smart, critical thinkers who thrive on curiosity and are not afraid to take calculated risks. Good leaders also care about people and approach leadership with a human touch. They are not proponents of aggressive tactics, but rather focus on making progressive changes. Regardless of whether they hold a formal title or not, if they can drive progressive change, they are leaders. That's generally the style I adopt.

M7: What challenges and developments do you anticipate in the marketing aspects of companies servicing the IT industry?
MC: 
In healthy and thriving markets, challenges always exist in terms of being heard amidst the noise. This is exactly what we discussed earlier regarding thought leadership. Thought leadership can effectively address this challenge by providing valuable and supported ideas that can help overcome the noise, as opposed to vague notions or hyped up promises.

Now, let's consider the challenges that IT marketing anticipates. One prominent challenge I've observed is the constant advancement of digital channels. If we look at the evolution of paid advertising, for example, over the past decade and a half, it is truly remarkable to see the capabilities we have now compared to what we had 10 to 15 years ago. SEO has evolved as a discipline. Social media has crept up in significance over the years. Keeping up with these changes is crucial. An example of the latest innovation that is transforming the way IT companies go to market is generative AI. It is changing how these services are utilized and the level of sophistication involved.

Reaching your target audience will likely remain a key challenge, and capturing their attention is always a struggle. Compelling them to take action requires strategic and impactful approaches.

M7: What marketing strategies do you believe the IT industry lacks when promoting their services and products and how does content play a significant role in brand building?
MC:
Content is a crucial aspect of your online presence as it essentially represents your brand. Everything you publish online communicates your brand attributes and shapes how it is perceived. This encompasses various elements, from design to the language and tone you use when describing capabilities.

Frankly, not all companies bring to market groundbreaking capabilities, but all companies aim to present their products as delivering exceptional value. This creates an echo chamber of sorts where the followers claim to be leaders. This is the challenge of breaking through the noise and misinformation.

Too often advertisers saturate the market with generic and “me-too” messages, leading to frustration when we all get inundated with irrelevant messages and content. Ideas need to be refined and targeted at people who genuinely care about them.

M7: As the CMO of your company, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are just entering the market with their own startup?
MC:
As a startup, it is essential to have laser focus. You cannot aim to educate the entire world or cater to everyone's needs. It is crucial to clearly identify your core values and maintain discipline by staying in your sweet spot. This approach ensures that you conserve your resources and allocate them for maximum value. While being a startup, it can be challenging when customers approach you and request additional features or functionalities. Sometimes these don’t fit into the strategic roadmap, and you have to make difficult decisions.

Having discipline means understanding and effectively communicating your core values and then appropriately directing your resources where they make the most sense. Sometimes, it may require walking away from a customer who may not ultimately be a good fit for your business. Prioritizing a strategy that you believe will serve you best in the long run is more important than pursuing early customer wins.

M7: When it comes to online advertising, what are the main drawbacks or challenges you have encountered? In your opinion, what strategies or approaches should be adopted for B2B advertising to achieve optimal results?
MC:
Advertising is primarily about broadening reach by delivering the right message to the right audience. The challenge lies in accurately segmenting and targeting the audience when paying to promote the messages.

Recently, there have been advancements in targeting messages based on observed intent, such as research activity. Additionally, targeting by persona or role has surpassed previous methods that relied on advertising based on keywords alone. Various innovations have emerged, like displaying ads to individuals who have visited specific websites. However, these capabilities are often diluted by the platform, meaning they don't constitute highly focused audiences.

To achieve a return on investment from advertising, it is crucial to deliver the appropriate message to the right people and inspire them to take action. This involves identifying the target audience, conveying a targeted message, and ensuring that the message is so compelling and well supported that individuals willingly provide their personal information, such as their name and contact details.

This enables further personalized marketing through channels like email and phone calls. The latest capabilities in advertising allow for precise narrowing down of geographical areas, specific accounts, titles, roles, and even individual contacts. This enables advertisers to target their campaigns more effectively. Understanding and correctly utilizing these targeting options are vital for advertisers.

ABOUT 1KOSMOS

1Kosmos automates identity verification by identifying stolen and synthetic identities prior to the creation of new accounts. Our non-phishable, password-free MFA solutions make logins enjoyable and secure, protecting employees from password-based attacks and eliminating customer account usurpation and financial fraud. To know more, please visit https://www.1kosmos.com/. 

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1Kosmos automates identity verification by detecting stolen and synthetic identities before new account origination. Our non-phishable, passwordless MFA solutions make logins fun and secure, protecting workers from password-based attacks and eliminating account takeover and financial fraud targeting...

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