This month Cobalt welcomed new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Russ Cobb to the leadership team. Russ arrived with a deep knowledge of creating and shaping markets in the cybersecurity, data analytics, and application software industries. He has a wealth of experience working in market segments that are ripe for disruption and helping companies build and align their go to market efforts to realize the benefits of that disruption. Russ will play a pivotal role across a wide range of activities to drive Cobalt's mission to modernize pentesting and deliver the utmost value to customers. His arrival marks the completion of our executive expansion in 2021, which includes the hires of CPO Eric Brinkman and CISO Andrew Obadiaru earlier in the year.
A highly collaborative leader, Russ is focused on activating a go to market strategy that establishes Pentesting as a Service (PtaaS) as a new category of customer value, positions Cobalt as the leading brand in this category, and achieves company OKRs to drive business growth. Near-term objectives include building a dynamic, high-performance team, strategic business planning for 2022, and achieving a strong finish to 2021. When asked what drew him to Cobalt, Russ highlighted the business opportunity and the unique culture and people.
Focusing on Customer Experience
“I'm a big believer and big proponent of the customer journey,” he said.
Russ believes in taking a customer-first approach and hopes to expand the amount of value each customer receives from Cobalt — not just from the software itself or the pentest engagement, but from the entire company-to-customer relationship.
What excites Russ the most about joining Cobalt is the opportunity to build a company with a great group of people. To problem-solve for customers and delight them, and to revolutionize pentesting while creating a new market category.
When asked what he enjoys most about the marketing function, Russ boiled it down to the art and science: “Marketing is a system that in part relies on math and science more and more, but is also a group that has to be really creative — creative with how we articulate the product and value proposition to the market, and creative with how we think about the future of PtaaS.”
Looking Ahead to the Future
Russ comes to Cobalt from IronNet, a cybersecurity company focused on network detection and response. While there he was instrumental in taking the company public via SPAC. For his next opportunity, he knew he wanted to stay in software and do something that focused on high-value missions within cybersecurity — Cobalt felt like the next right step for him professionally. Pentesting is continuing to grow in prominence and PtaaS is poised to be a multibillion-dollar industry within the next decade.
Like any C-level hire, Russ has a mind to the future. He foresees seismic shifts within marketing with regards to virtual collaboration and communication: “After COVID, we thought we were going to go back to physical from an event perspective and an interaction perspective, but I don't think we'll go back as rapidly as we expected. There'll be a lot more creativity put toward this idea of how we create new engagement and attachment.”
His plans also include putting more thought into scaling up marketing initiatives within Europe. “There’s so much potential there,” says Russ. “Much of Cobalt’s leadership team and employee base are located in Berlin, which is just one of many major metropolitan areas across Europe that is home to top-tier talent and technology innovation. This region is rife with forward-leaning companies that are focused on upholding world-class security practices, like embedding security into the application development process.”
Though he will maintain a global focus as CMO, Russ underscores Cobalt’s European roots (like the company’s Danish founders) and his commitment to serving this large, dynamic market through robust investments in both direct and indirect partnership channels.