In February, malware detection company FireEye Inc. polled its existing customers and prospects via e-mail. The company's director of marketing, Phillip Lin, wanted to know what their biggest pain points were. The answer he got surprised him. “Every single [chief information security officer] was telling us that the topic of malware is so confusing in the market place,” he said. “We realized pretty quickly that we needed to expose the truth about the topic and spark a debate about what the industry is doing to protect [the end-user].”
Lin realized education could solve this problem, but he knew he had to come out with something that was different than what his competitors were doing. “The survey showed us that people are very tired of all the fear, uncertainty and doubt-based marketing … that companies are putting out there,” Lin said. “They are looking for clear, informative content that doesn't employ fear tactics.”
In order to meet these requirements, Lin, with help from marketing strategy consultants KJR Associates of Menlo Park, Ca, San Francisco-based graphic and Web design firm Juicy Design and Eugene, Ore.-based Web programming company Concentric Sky created a site custom-designed to educate visitors about malware. The site, ModernMalwareExposed.org (www.modernmalwareexposed.org) provides detailed malware information, a blog, a link to a free e-book, a protection assessment offering, design principles and videos, as well as a link to a free 10-day trial of the company's software. It also provides links back to the company site where visitors can learn more about the company and its hardware and software offerings.
The site was introduced on May 5 as part of FireEye's newest product launch—a line of FireEye network security appliances.
The entire site was developed by an internal team of three people (two full time and one part time) over the course of five weeks, Lin said.
The primary goal of the site—aside from providing an educational focus—was to build trust, he said, which meant everything on ModernMalwareExposed.org has a very soft-sell approach. “The first thing about trust-based marketing is that, if you're going to say you're an educational site, you have to act like an educational site,” he said. “Yes, we have a disclosure that it is a vendor-sponsored site but, in terms of content, we tried to keep mentions of FireEye as minimal as possible.”
The soft-sell approach is getting people to visit and come back more than once, Lin said. “The path of discovery seems to be people coming to the site and doing multiple visits, looking at the white paper, doing a protection assessment,” he said. “After that, when they have a better idea of what they are interested in, they come to our main site for a deeper product dive. Many people also get the 10-day trial.”
Although the site has only been up for a few months, it is driving a lot of traffic to the corporate website; since it debuted, 11.6% of all visitors to FireEye.com have originated from the ModernMalwareExposed.org site. The site has also been an effective lead-generation tool—FireEye has seen a boost in leads since the site was launched. About 28% of in-bound leads come directly from the custom site, Lin said.
And one benefit may not be seen for a few months, he said: higher-quality leads going into the sales pipeline. “When people take the protection assessment, it gives us a lot of good information about a prospect's demographics since they tell us which security products they are using and what they are most concerned about,” he said. “Now, when prospects get to the salespeople, they—the salespeople—can have more intelligent discussions with them.”