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GuardKnox: From Early Stage Startup to Recognized Industry Leader

The GuardKnox Story

 

GuardKnox is recognized as one of the leaders in automotive cyber security. The company has built a reputation based on its ability to protect connected cars from cyber threats against both the passengers in the car and the personal data collected by vehicles on the road.

The story of this automotive cyber security company began in the Middle Eastern skies where the Israeli Air Force (IAF) patrols its borders. There, future CEO Moshe Shlisel, future CTO Dionis Teshler and future VP R&D Idan Nadav began creating hardware- and software-based solutions to protect against cyber security threats. Their credits include defending F-16 and F-35 fighter jets, as well as the Iron Dome and Arrow 3 missile defense systems.

After leaving the IAF, the two men joined forces once again with the idea to apply the lessons learned in the skies to the world’s roadways. They co-founded GuardKnox in 2016 and raised an initial round of seed funding to lift GuardKnox off the ground.

Earlier this week, GuardKnox announced that they have secured $21M in round A funding

From Penguin Strategies’ perspective: Mission #1 accomplished.

challenge The Goals

GuardKnox was founded in 2016, a late entry into the automotive cyber security arena. At least eight established players were already 3-5 years ahead, five of whom had raised significant capital, and nearly all of whom had begun developing relationships with leading global automotive manufacturers and major automotive suppliers.

In 2017, GuardKnox realized that developing state-of-the-art technology was not enough; they needed to invest in building a brand. It was imperative that they employ a team of professionals tasked with establishing GuardKnox as a thought leader in automotive security, and position the company in front of vehicle manufacturers like Porsche, Daimler, and Faurecia. GuardKnox believed that if they could successfully position themselves as trusted advisors in the field, they would be positioned to raise the necessary Round B capital needed to transition their startup into a company which is a major provider of essential hardware and software for the leading OEMs.

In May 2017, Jillian Goldberg, VP Marketing at GuardKnox, chose Penguin Strategies to be the marketing agency at her side and presented us with the challenge of building the GuardKnox brand and establishing its authority worldwide.

solution The Solution

Needs

At the time, GuardKnox was the newest player entering the automotive cyber security space, where a handful of startups, heavily backed by VCs, had already been establishing their position for the last 4-5 years. The immediate need was to build a brand that would stand out and be seen as the leading industry authority. This was a huge challenge.

The GuardKnox Home Page ‘Hero Image’ on the day Penguin signed on

GuardKnox’s website had a trickle of traffic, and lead generation activities consisted of word of mouth and existing professional relationships. With the focus on developing cyber security solutions, little consideration had been given toward marketing.

In bringing on Penguin Strategies, all that was about to change. 

Inside Our Marketing Program

GuardKnox’s initial brand positioning emphasized their differentiation around the fact that they provided hardware- and software-based cyber security solution, where their competitors were providing purely software-based solutions. Their new brand strategy centered around the fact that GuardKnox was bringing aviation defense methodologies to automotive cyber security. This brand story stood out and drove copywriting, web design, blog posts, and marketing collateral, quickly creating the picture of a unique cyber security leader.

The GuardKnox Home Page ‘Hero Image’ rebranded by Penguin

web

Penguin Strategies built the marketing foundation for GuardKnox. We analyzed the buyer personas - mainly system engineers and “chief architects” for leading automotive manufacturers, responsible for designing the vehicles of the future. This is a very challenging audience to appeal to. They are busy people who are not easily impressed, and will take absolutely no “marketing fluff”. All of the GuardKnox digital assets had to be built to be both visually appealing and intellectually thrilling for this very highly educated audience.

We implemented a Hubspot based marketing automation program, utilizing CRM tools to continually engage with the market, and measure which stories resonated most with the audience.

The SEO strategy coupled with blogs and social media posts began delivering relevant traffic to the site. Once there, we provided our prospects with an array of industry reports, eBooks, and webinars. Data and sales sheets followed, giving our prospects everything they needed as they traversed the customer journey.

The assets Penguin created impressed this niche audience, and within 18 months GuardKnox had managed to digitally engage with the majority of the worldwide community of Automotive Software and Hardware Architects, pulling them regularly into their website.

Throughout this process, GuardKnox informed the market what was needed to protect their vehicles from cyber threats. GuardKnox’s value as a thought leader rose as they advised the industry on how to protect from hackers, ransomware, malware, and infected over-the-air (OTA) code attacks that stemmed from seemingly legitimate sources.

The automated email campaigns helped maintain relationships with targeted prospects, keeping them up-to-date on the latest industry news while reinforcing GuardKnox’s position as a trusted industry expert.

Meanwhile, social media campaigns promoting original content, company PR and news clippings, and curated content demonstrated GuardKnox’s authority as a thought leader.

The Penguin Strategies – GuardKnox relationship embraced all the key elements of a successful inbound marketing program.

  • Created New website redesign on wordpress COS
  • Creating and prioritizing GuardKnox's social media presence through the promotion of GuardKnox news and content on social platforms through the HubSpot social media tool and monitoring market influencers on Twitter
  • Regularly scheduled blog posts to educate the target market and boost SEO ranking
  • Email marketing through HubSpot’s email tool, including monthly newsletters, premium content promotion, event marketing, and press release promotion
  • Creation of premium content, such as white papers, market Industry Reports, solution briefs, and other marketing collateral
  • Creating and promoting both live and on-demand webinars, including full webinar promotion via email marketing and social media channels and use of the GoToWebinar platform for managing live webinars and live attendee polls and surveys
  • Implementation of marketing automation for more accurate reporting and forecasting

These activities, from design to execution, were motivated by the goal to increase website traffic and lead generation.

THE BENEFITS

Today, GuardKnox works closely with multiple leading automotive manufacturers, infusing security into next-generation vehicles.

GuardKnox participates as a thought leader in forums around the world, and the company has been recognized by analysts like Frost & Sullivan for their innovative approach to automotive cyber security.  

Earlier this week, GuardKnox announced that they have secured $21M in round A funding.

From Penguin Strategies’ perspective: Mission #1 accomplished.

Testimonial, Guardknox Recommendation

By any measure, the GuardKnox inbound marketing program has been a tremendous success. From being a complete unknown in the industry, with the help of Penguin Strategies, within 18 months GuardKnox has become a recognized and sought-after industry leader.

Jillian Goldberg, VP of Marketing
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About Penguin Strategies

Founded in 2014, Penguin Strategies is a leading B2B Technology Marketing Agency. We provide full funnel marketing strategy and execution for B2B Tech companies of all sizes to scale their marketing and sales, and to drive real and meaningful results for our customer’s bottom line. Our work embraces the three pillars of marketing - Strategy, Technology, Execution - to develop and maintain growth machines.

We combine our expertise in HubSpot programming with real marketing know-how to create innovative ways to help you grow your marketing efforts and sales velocity. From inception to Go-To-Market, we help you convey your message in a clear, concise way that differentiates you from your competitors.

For more information and to get in touch with Penguin Strategies, reach out to us here.