Despite ongoing concerns about state data-sharing, new research has revealed that senior decision makers prioritise media reputation (71%) and face-to-face relationships (72%) over where a vendor is based (58%) when evaluating a potential security partner. The research, commissioned by Say Communications, explored senior decision makers’ attitudes to choosing physical and cybersecurity vendors and what motivated them to select a partner.
Product features were a key factor, with quality, cost and flexibility identified as the three influences which had the most significant impact on purchasing decisions. Interestingly, cost was of less significance the more senior the executive, with the C-Suite placing less priority on this than the other management respondents. In general, C-Suite executives were more likely to focus on vendor relationships and their client base, than their less senior counterparts.
The research showed that to get senior decision makers’ attention, vendors need a strong online and offline profile. For example, overall, analyst reports (49%), meetings at trade shows (41%) and trade media coverage (37%) were valued most highly as the most trusted sources of information for evaluating a new vendor. However, if this were for C-Suite decision makers only, social media (31% vs 24% overall), a vendor’s website (44% vs 36% overall) and online communities (41% vs 28% overall) were considered more useful.
Louise Stewart-Muir, Director of Technology at Say Communications commented: “In today’s competitive security landscape, it can be hard for vendors to get cut-through. Whilst we all are aware of the sales funnel, this research demonstrates that vendors need to be aware of each stage of it and take steps to get in front of prospects at every opportunity – utilising the marketing mix to help them.
“However, the most surprising takeout from this research is that a vendor’s country of origin is not a key influence in whether to work with a vendor. Considering the PR barrage companies such as Huawei and Kaspersky are coming under currently, we fully expect this issue to become more prominent over the coming months and years. This response shows a shockingly laissez-fair approach to security and during a time when data has never been more valuable, it equates to a worrying lack of due diligence.”
When senior decision makers were asked to rank which sources of information they felt would give them the most accurate, unbiased information, case studies were seen as the most reliable source, followed by relevant coverage in a channel and trade publication. Interestingly, national coverage was not thought of highly and only ranked above advertisements and discussion on social or online platforms. Spokesperson titles were also an influencing factor, with C-Suite titles and technical experts rated as the most trustworthy sources of information. So, whilst the sales function may be key in securing the sale, it is not to be relied on when raising awareness initially.
“Overall, this mix of marketing activity should help vendors not only achieve visibility, but authority too. With the cybersecurity market predicted to be worth $248.26 billion by 2023, and the physical security market worth $119.4 billion by the same year, there is ample opportunity for vendors, if they know how to market themselves and their solutions. Whilst quality and cost will of course come into play, in such a crowded market those who proactively roll-out and maintain an integrated PR and Communications strategy will come out on top; so it’s clear vendors need to get marketing and demonstrate their worth, before it’s too late.”
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