As Huntress continues to evolve and grow, a top priority for us is making sure that we continue to understand and invest in our partnerships. This means hiring folks who are passionate about the same things we are: cybersecurity education, helping mid-market and below businesses and nurturing the relationships we have with our partners.
With that said, we are thrilled to welcome Scott Horn as our new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)! Scott’s career spans many roles, from marketing and sales to product management and software development. Throughout his career, he’s seen firsthand just how devastating cybersecurity incidents can be and how many people one incident can impact. As a result, he's passionate about helping organizations minimize the damage that today's highly skilled threat actors can cause. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him aboard!
To kick things off, I asked Scott a few questions about himself, his thoughts on successful partnerships and best practices he’s uncovered throughout his career. Let’s meet Scott!
Q: Can you tell me a little about your background?
A: Sure. It’s probably a bit unusual for a “typical” CMO—there’s a lot of variety, and it’s tough to draw a straight line through my career. I worked as a software developer for several years and then moved into marketing. I’ve also had roles in customer success, product management, product planning and sales.
I do love marketing. Every day is different, and there’s space to explore with a mix of creativity and science. As the CMO, you have to deeply understand the market you operate in and share that with others. I think my non-marketing experiences have made me a better partner to the teams I work with and a better marketer.
From a company perspective, I’ve led marketing teams in large public companies (Microsoft and Seagate), venture-backed companies (7.ai and now Huntress!) and private equity-backed companies (PrismHR). They’ve all been very different—different industries, customers and company sizes. Every situation has to be tailored for what that industry, customer set and company need. I try to learn all of those as quickly as I can and craft a strategy that makes sense for that company. That’s the focus of my first few weeks at Huntress.
Q: What made you want to join the Huntress team and dive into the world of cybersecurity?
A: There were a bunch of reasons. First, Huntress’ mission of enabling mid-market and below companies to identify—and more importantly, solve—cybersecurity issues is critical. I’ve had the unpleasant personal experience of seeing how harmful a cybersecurity incident can be to a company, and the impact is broader than that company. It impacts their employees, their customers, their suppliers and the suppliers’ employees. That one incident can ripple outward and take a big human and financial toll.
Huntress’ solution is unique. It’s a combination of a completely modern software as a service (SaaS) platform with human ThreatOps that can identify and remediate issues that get through most other categories of security software. And we deliver that with our MSP and VAR partners at a price that mid-market and small businesses can easily afford. And that solution was designed by people who have deep expertise in ThreatOps.
So those were big reasons—critical mission, unique solution—and I really liked the people. Everyone I met was passionate about the mission and the culture of the company. And I do have to mention that we have the coolest swag out there!
Q: Your early career was in software engineering. How did you transition from engineering to marketing?
A: Gradually and with the help of a lot of patient people. :-) I found that there were certain “engineering mindset” things that really helped—how to look at a big problem, break it down into pieces, set concrete solution goals and measure them. So those things helped more than I expected. What I had to learn, at least for me personally, was how to get out of my own head and focus on the customer or partner—what matters to them, what questions they have and how can we explain it in language that makes it easy for them to understand. That was the gradual part. It took multiple iterations and advice from others to turn it into mental muscle memory.
Then from there, it’s just constant learning—true of both engineering and marketing and really every discipline. Marketing today compared to 25 years ago is the same in some ways and incredibly different in others. Things like customer understanding, buyer’s journey and the importance of positioning and messaging your solution well were critical then and are even more important today. Then, there are completely different aspects of marketing: the emergence of analytics, data and technology enables marketers to do some amazing things. The software engineering background comes in handy there. I didn’t expect that when I first started in marketing.
Q: What would you say are some key characteristics that are crucial to a successful partner relationship?
A: First off, I plan to speak with as many of our partners as I can early on and I expect to continue doing that going forward. (If you’re a Huntress partner or thinking about it—please reach out.)
I also know from working with channel partners over my career that there are some universal channel partner “wants.” They absolutely want transparency and continual communication—knowing things like what we plan to deliver on the roadmap and when. They want to know that when they need help, we’re easy to reach. They’re looking to us to help them be as knowledgeable as they can be for their customers.
I think Huntress really lives up to that. Great examples are hack_it events (see our latest one here) and monthly Tradecraft Tuesday events. Those are laser-focused on helping our partners learn more about cybersecurity. That mindset is in the company’s DNA: Huntress was designed from the start as a channel-first company.
An area where I think our partners will see even more from us in the coming months is helping them grow their businesses through marketing and selling the value of cybersecurity and Huntress’ solution to their existing and new customers. Our partners have asked for that, and we have a team focused on it.
Q: Many small- and mid-sized businesses tend to put marketing last on their list of priorities. Do you have any advice on a few key areas for entry into effective marketing?
A: Wow, that’s a half-day conversation in itself. :-) I’ll try to hit the top things.
- Have a clear and concrete definition of what an ideal customer is for your business.
- Make sure your marketing and sales teams define that together and completely agree on it.
- Go out and speak with a bunch of those customers to understand why they need what you offer, what triggers that “aha” that they need it, what questions they have, where they go for answers—that’s often referred to as the buyer’s journey.
Then, your marketing strategy involves finding more of those ideal customers, triggering that “aha, I need that!” moment and educating them on why they need your solution. Your marketing and sales teams need to do that together.
That’s the core, and there a zillion other things we could talk about—when/how should you do digital ads, how important search engine optimization (SEO)/content strategy is, when can a PR agency help, how do you decide to go an event and how do you measure the return on all of it are examples. All those options are what make marketing fun. There is an infinite number of things that can be done. Deciding what not to do and prioritizing what to do is the magic.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Only that if we haven’t met yet—whether you’re a Huntress team member or a partner—please do reach out. I’d love to get to know you and how the marketing team or I can help.