Malwarebytes - RansomwareCase Study
Malwarebytes – “First Annual State of Ransomware Report”
Ragan’s 2017 PR Daily Awards
Honorable Mention, Traditional PR Campaign
As a strategic partner, MIX PR was tasked with supporting Malwarebytes’ anti- ransomware product launch at the Black Hat conference. However, in today’s media landscape, few reporters cover product launches.
- Increase broad awareness for the scourge of ransomware and to a greater extent, the overall Malwarebytes’ brand, including its extended cybersecurity solutions for protection and remediation
- Capture the mindshare and momentum to lead the discussion on the threat of ransomware for years to come
- Generate 100-200 sales leads
- 10-12 media briefings with technology and trade publications; 1-12 tier one business media orbroadcast outlets
- 10-15 articles of original coverage (not including syndication)
- Create future, long-lead metrics and nuggets of data to seed in stories throughout the year
- Explore and measure the success to determine if an annual report could further any successesfrom the initial campaign
- The Malwarebytes/MIX PR team needed to: find a way to make the product launch newsworthy, even to those reporters that do not cover product; and break through the noise created by other companies at one of the single largest cybersecurity events on the planet.
Strategy / Tactics
In preparation for the event, MIX PR worked with Malwarebytes to create a strategic plan to overcome these challenges. First, the team had to find a way to make the launch so compelling that it was newsworthy to all reporters in attendance at Black Hat, and beyond.
At the core of the plan was an industry-wide survey to document the growing threat of ransomware for global enterprises and to measure its actual penetration and impact on businesses. This survey would be the first research to accurately depict the global threat of ransomware and would set the stage for Malwarebytes’ new product release.
The ransomware deluge we currently face was then a mere drizzle. There were few global research reports, a handful of tangible metrics and limited data points available to quantify the issue of ransomware. Deducing that the best way to sell a solution is to clearly define the problem, this is what the team set out to accomplish.
To conduct the survey, MIX PR worked with Malwarebytes to engage an independent survey company, Osterman Research, and made the determination that the scope of the survey would include security professionals in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Germany.
Next, working backwards from the question, “What headlines do we want to see out of this survey?”, MIX PR drafted the initial survey questions. Our goal was to emphasize the dramatic impact that ransomware has on businesses today and to define the nature of that impact (both financial and reputational) through actual attacks against businesses. The team developed questions to document the frequency of ransomware incidents, identify the ramifications of ransomware compromise and define the average financial impact on affected businesses worldwide. Survey questions not only measured these details, but also elicited an emotional component by documenting how IT professionals feel and what they fear about the threat of ransomware, adding an important and compelling aspect to the narrative.
Once Osterman Research completed the surveying, MIX PR worked to interpret the results and guide the creation of the report. The agency worked closely with Malwarebytes’ global communications director and the company’s security researchers to ensure that the report structure and storylines were both technically accurate and headline-worthy.
For the media outreach campaign, MIX PR finalized the report (including drafting, editing and revising storylines and content), crafted other press materials for the global survey and established strategic talking points for the company’s spokespeople. Malwarebytes and MIX PR then prepared the key spokespeople prior to media interviews.
To avoid fighting for valuable reporter time on the Black Hat conference floor, a strategic decision was made to brief reporters on the report under embargo weeks prior to the show, providing journalists the opportunity to have their articles completed and ready to publish before traveling to the conference. The embargo lift occurred on the morning of the second day of the conference, allowing the research and the product release to be the talk of the show on its most highly attended day.
Through media outreach, MIX PR strategically paired the survey story arc with the details of Malwarebytes’ new anti-ransomware technology and successfully highlighted how the solution allows companies to stay one step ahead of ransomware attackers. With this storyline pairing, the product was eventually featured in hundreds of news stories and publications that would have never covered a product launch on its own.
MIX PR ran an extremely successful campaign that led to direct and demonstrable business results for Malwarebytes. The campaign helped increase brand awareness and product recognition for Malwarebytes’ industry-first anti-ransomware technology by securing more than 150 news articles within the first few months of the campaign.
Top press coverage included features in Fortune, CNN, Gizmodo, PC Mag and Digital Trends. This was a result of nearly 30 global in-person and over-the-phone press briefings. In-person meetings included those with CNN, Gizmodo, PC Mag, eWeek, and more.
As a result of MIX Public Relations’ strategic counsel, Malwarebytes was able to use the survey results as a viable lead capture tool during the Black Hat conference, securing hundreds of leads on the conference floor. Additionally, 245 new enterprise sales leads were captured through report downloads in the first two weeks. Subsequent, integrated email and webinar campaigns based on the report and guided by the team created an additional 1,200 registrations. A year after, and the registrations and lead forms continue to come in.
What’s more, MIX PR’s campaign has resulted in establishing Malwarebytes as the predominate resource for the global discussion on ransomware in a crowded security market. Findings continue to be quoted regularly, with 20 additional articles featuring data from this report appearing more than six months after release, in outlets such as CIO Dive, NBC, CSO, IT Security Guru and CIO UK.
As a result, Malwarebytes now captures nearly a third (29.3 percent) of all media mindshare on the topic of ransomware among the 10 hottest cybersecurity companies, as measured by Cision. Boosted by media coverage of the report, Malwarebytes now leads the five hottest security companies in news frequency (number of articles), total impressions and net reach for the calendar year of the report. Malwarebytes also leads the top six competitors in growth in net reach in every quarter since the report’s release and leads all competitors in average cumulative growth in net reach per quarter for the entire year.
With this highly successful campaign, Malwarebytes brand recognition increased among enterprise security buyers and the company’s expertise on the subject of ransomware became globally regarded. The agency’s strategy for the First Annual State of Ransomware Report was successful in breaking through the noise of one of the largest cybersecurity events, and resulted in new and stronger customer relationships, a significant increase in sales and long-lead metrics and data that will continue to influence the discussion on ransomware threats for years to come.