Wednesday, September 15, 2010

McAfee - ArcSight Mania! Who's Next? and What it means for Security Marketeers

BigFix, Verisign Enterprise, McAfee (see my blog -here) and now ArcSight. It seems like the number and size of security and security related acquisitions keeps accelerating. Who's next? Palo Alto Networks, Splunk, LogLogic, Shavlik, Checkpoint, FireEye, Cenzic, Proofpoint? It seems no company big, medium or small that circles around security is immune now that Intel and HP have shown a willingness to pay very significant strategic premiums for security plays.

What does this mean for Security marketers?

1) As I have always contented, one of the biggest creation of shareholder value that great marketing can provide is in positioning a company for market capitalization growth. How? Here's several ways and examples:
- By clearly articulating the customer value and uniqueness of your value proposition. Example: At Secure Computing we delivered an investor day that articulated the centrality of our TrustedSource reputation service to our strategy and product delivery in protecting against Web2.0 and emerging threats. Next day, 30% price increase. 6 months later, MFE acquisition, in a large part for the TrustedSource technology and data. Prior to that day, the investment market did not appreciate the power of this asset.

- By establishing market leadership - Jim Barksdale taught me, "If you want to be a leader, find a parade and get in front of it." Marketing's job is to establish leadership, but all too often we yell about product leadership without finding the parade. At Nimsoft, they jumped right front and center on the cloud parade and positioned as the leader in Unified cloud and datacenter Monitoring. 9 months later acquired for $350M on a 10.5x premium. (systems mgmt but close enough)

2) Partner and partner well. McAfee and ArcSight had well defined and managed partner programs. They were part of and created their own ecosystems. Also, the partner message was well integrated into the overall go to market and marketing programs. Security companies big and small do not win by living in a vacuum. Get engaged in partnering, both participating in others and in your own program, you are never too small or too big for this to matter.

3) Keep your eye on the prize - customers - Yes acquirers love technology that fits strategically into their roadmap, but they love customers more. HP loves Arcsight for their customers and the investment they have made in them. Ditto for IBM and BigFix, and Nimsoft and CA. Find, nuture and leverage your customer assets, build community and loyalty and promote the hell out of it...seems basic, but often forgotten

So, at the end of the day it still comes down to value and positioning, ecosystem and customer. No big surprises here...

And my prediction is.... well, what do you think?

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