It’s no secret that the tech industry has been experiencing some unsettling circumstances recently. Nearly every week, another major tech company announces more hiring freezes or layoffs.
While much of the tech space is entrenched in uncertainty, there are certain segments within it that remain resilient. One such area is healthcare cybersecurity – one of the fastest growing among venture capitalists right now. In fact, the healthcare cybersecurity market is expected to reach $35B+ by 2027, more than triple its size in 2020.
During such a rapid growth period, companies run the risk of making the wrong decisions and quickly squandering any potential success. Conversely, making the right business decisions during this time can help a company to expand and scale sustainably.
B2B market research is a key component to helping a rapidly-expanding healthcare cybersecurity startup grow in the right direction. Here’s how market research – particularly buyer personas, brand research, and competitive landscape analyses – can all be instrumental in setting a new company up for success.
The Rapid Growth of Healthcare Cybersecurity Startups
The rise in the number of healthcare cybersecurity startups began a few years back, when the healthcare industry began experiencing an unprecedented number of spikes in security threats. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual care, which led to an increased frequency and sophistication of data breaches in hospitals. This resulted in the healthcare industry being one of the top sectors targeted by cyberattacks.
In response to the burgeoning number of security attacks in the healthcare field, more and more healthcare cybersecurity startups began to pop up. These healthcare-aligned and cyber-focused startups aimed to help medical institutions combat the increased security risks that they were facing.
Healthcare cybersecurity startups took off like wildfire, with investors pouring money into them. In addition to venture capital and large tech firms, health organizations invested directly in the space. For example, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Mayo Clinic recently participated in a $40M funding round for IoT cybersecurity startup Ordr, which saw 140% year-over-year growth in Q1 2022.
As these heavily-funded healthcare cybersecurity companies continue to grow and scale, market research is becoming increasingly important. B2B market research helps to give these companies the data they need to make the most informed choices moving forward.
3 Types of Market Research To Benefit Healthcare Cybersecurity Startups
There are a variety of market research projects that bring value to a healthcare cybersecurity company; however, there are three that stand out in particular. Buyer persona research, brand research, and competitive landscape analyses can all be particularly instrumental. Here’s how.
Buyer personas are table stakes for B2B marketers. Here’s how they can benefit healthcare cybersecurity startups:
Establish New Buyer Personas
Any new company needs an initial set of buyer personas developed. Healthcare cybersecurity startups are no different. It’s critical to know and thoroughly understand who will be involved in the decision-making process of procuring your solution.
These new buyer personas should be more than just a shallow profile. They need to dig into key motivators, pain points, jobs-to-be-done, and how the personas interact with other roles in B2B buying decisions. These details provide the data-backed foundation necessary for a strong initial marketing and sales push.
Learn How External Factors Affect Buyer Behavior
When cyberattacks on healthcare facilities began to spike, they deeply impacted the priorities and the needs of IT buyers who worked at those facilities. Suddenly, they had different concerns, issues, and challenges. Buyer persona research can help explain how these factors ultimately affect buyer behavior.
Get Insight Into the Jobs-To-Be-Done Evolution
Buyer persona research can reveal how targeted personas within the healthcare setting see their positions evolving in the future. Speaking with these people about how their daily jobs-to-be-done have changed recently – and the direction they see moving in the future – can help to inform upcoming marketing strategies targeting those personas.
Brand research can help healthcare cybersecurity startups in a variety of scenarios:
Brand-new startups need to establish benchmarks for their company. Benchmarks evaluate your brand’s success vs. other brands in the industry. Benchmarking helps companies to understand where they stand – and where their competitors stand.
The healthcare cybersecurity landscape is shifting rapidly, with new brands being established, old brands merging with new ones, and other brands shifting and expanding. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of exactly where all current competitors stand and how your brand compares to them.
Learn the Best Move Forward After a Merger or Acquisition
Mergers and acquisitions are frequently happening in the healthcare cybersecurity market right now. When these occur, brands may need to change too. It’s important to proceed with caution though. There are a variety of ways to merge two brands together, and the best way to move forward may change depending on the scenario.
For example, if the company you’ve acquired has better name recognition than you do, it may make more sense to take on the new company’s identity and retire your own. Or, if both companies have equally strong brand recognition, it might be best to keep each brand identity separate. No matter the situation, brand research should be conducted to provide clarity on the best move forward.
Plan Future Endeavors
Healthcare cybersecurity companies may find themselves in a position to be able to expand their services and grow their offerings. Before they do, however, conducting brand research can help determine if this new offering needs its own brand, category, or style. Or, it may show that the offering would be better served under the umbrella of the existing brand.
The healthcare cybersecurity landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. Here’s how a competitive landscape analysis can benefit startups entering the space:
Keep Tabs on a Quickly-Evolving Landscape
The influx of new startups constantly entering the healthcare cybersecurity landscape can be difficult to keep track of. Without a clear understanding of your current competitive landscape, you can easily miss new rivals or fail to see new threats with a competitor’s product development, marketing, or sales efforts.
Identify Market Needs
Could there be potential gaps in the healthcare cybersecurity market? An analysis of your competitors’ capabilities, sales approaches, and go-to-market strategies could reveal an unmet need for target buyers that your company might be uniquely positioned to fulfill. It could also reveal an area where there’s an opportunity for your company to shift or grow.
Discover Best-Fit Partners
An analysis of the broader competitive market can help healthcare cybersecurity companies identify potential partners. Research can reveal if joining forces with another company would make sense. It may be able to identify specific potential partners that could net new opportunities. Or, it might show a new partner that could help a new startup gain credibility.
Research Activated: Marketing For Healthcare Cybersecurity
Conducting market research, on its own, is just the first step. Companies then need to follow through on activating the recommendations that the research reveals. This could take form in a variety of different marketing initiatives, including:
Buyer persona research reveals which messages appeal to which potential buyers. This allows marketers to develop their tactics and messaging to be specifically targeted to the right buyer persona.
For example, technical buyers in a healthcare setting will be more interested in the technical details and the in-the-weeds implementation of the product. LoB leaders won’t be as concerned with these technical aspects but rather how an offering may benefit a company overall. The way that sales and marketing messages address each of these personas should reflect that.
Brand research will reveal the strength of a company’s reputation and its level of visibility and awareness in the industry. Depending on where a particular brand is struggling, it may need to update its brand strategy accordingly.
For example, low brand awareness and visibility may justify an increase in marketing spending and activity. A negative brand perception may require a company to adjust its brand positioning statements, differentiators, and messaging architecture.
Competitive Sales-Enablement Materials
A competitive landscape analysis will show how competitors are meeting or failing buyers’ needs. These insights can then be used in battlecards, playbooks, and other materials to help a seller address all of the needs of a potential buyer.
Focusing on the company’s core differentiators, these sales-enablement materials should highlight how that product or service fills customer needs better than their competitors.
Healthcare Cybersecurity Startups: Don’t Become a Digital Ghost
During the early days of a sector’s growth period, nearly every company in the sector contributes in a meaningful way toward the sector’s growth rate. But over time, the organizations that are making better decisions outpace those that are making poor ones. Eventually, the brands that consistently make bad decisions become nothing more than a digital ghost – a brand we faintly remember but no longer value.
Making smart decisions about products, competitors, ICP(s), buyer personas to target, brand strategies, sales approaches, and messaging frameworks separates the organizations that dominate the market from those who are easily forgotten.
The best way to make better decisions is be well-informed. If you know more about customers, prospects, and competitors, the likelihood of making poor choices decreases, while the chance of making good decisions increases. So then next time you’re in a meeting and someone says, “Let’s do X”, ask yourself, “What information, if I had it, might change our course of action?”. Then ask us if we can help you get that insight.
This blog post is brought to you by Cascade Insights, a firm that provides market research & marketing services exclusively to organizations with B2B tech sector initiatives. Want to learn more about how we can help deliver market research to healthcare cybersecurity startups? Our B2B Market Research can help.