Florie Lhuillier, Head of Security at CCgroup

Adapting to the new security buying environment

Florie Lhuillier, Head of Security at CCgroup highlights key findings from Research that uncovers top vendor marketing strategies to influence buyer awareness and purchasing decisions

The COVID‐19 pandemic has created considerable uncertainty and caused sudden and widespread disruption in businesses security operations. Remote working in particular has been an issue.

With remote work here to stay for many, in this post-COVID world – and new threats emerging every day, it’s no wonder companies are still planning to make considerable investments in security technology despite ongoing economic uncertainty.

According to CCgroup’s recent study “Security marketing strategies: influencing contemporary purchasing behaviour, conducted in partnership with Coleman Parkes Research, four out of five UK companies are currently on the lookout for new suppliers in the security technology space. This is despite 78% of companies already having made an unplanned purchase as a result of the pandemic. The average ticket price for those new security purchases in the past 12 months came just below £800K and rose to nearly £900K amongst companies in the financial services sector.

It’s clear the future for security vendors is looking bright. But this begs the question, what factors are currently driving these purchases?

The study reveals technology advances (72%), keeping up with increasingly sophisticated threats (62%) and regulatory demands (50%) were the top three factors driving the purchase of new security technology. The legacy of working policies implemented in response to national lockdowns and social distancing is also reflected in the results. While digital transformation has long been the preeminent priority area where new security technology is being applied, enabling staff to work from home is now as much, if not slightly more, of a priority.

When it comes to the type of security solutions companies plan to buy in the next 12 months, unsurprisingly, cloud security tops the chart (41%), closely followed by endpoint security (36%). With companies having undergone years’ worth of transformation in a matter of months, to become reliant on service delivery models hosted on cloud infrastructure, and BYOD policies becoming more widely adopted due to the pandemic, companies must adjust their security programmes and supporting tools.

Creating awareness and driving selection
Clearly, the market for security products is still very much alive. However, seizing this burgeoning opportunity cannot be done using the same methods that were employed before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. The market environment has changed; therefore, the way security vendors market products and services must change too. So, what and how should security vendors be communicating in today’s tougher and highly competitive market? What’s the best way to grab attention?

According to security technology buyers, the most influential channel in terms of building their awareness of security vendors are industry events, followed by trade media publications and discussion with colleagues and/or peers at other companies. Webinars and broader business events were also regarded as highly impactful by respondents across all industries, with a quarter describing these channels as having a “heavy influence” on their awareness of security technology suppliers. Despite almost every major security industry event having moved online in 2020, their value in establishing and maintaining brand awareness has clearly been left unshaken.

When asked about the channels and content buyers find most influential when narrowing down lists of prospective security vendors to engage with, industry events once again took the top spot while long-form content – written either by industry analysts or by vendors themselves – was cited as most influential. By offering technical specifications on products and services, whitepapers help buyers make tangible decisions on the vendor’s pure ability to meet the RFP criteria and foresee any potential issues. Analyst reports, on the other hand, provide insight into the more intangible qualities, which affect the selection process, such as a supplier’s reputation, flexibility, and ability to set and/or align with wider industry trends.

 Influencing purchasing behaviour
The market for security solutions may be booming but grasping this opportunity requires a new approach. From a potentially more open attitude toward remote working, to ongoing uncertainty regarding international travel, the legacy of 2020 will continue to influence the business world for months or even years to come. This brings with it a new set of objectives, priorities and spheres of influence, all of which hold the key to understanding and influencing the purchasing decisions of security technology buyers.

In other words, security technology vendors simply cannot rely on throwing every marketing strategy at the wall and waiting to see what sticks. To master all channels simultaneously, they need to design and implement a data-driven, precise and highly dynamic marketing strategy that is in line with the new buying landscape.

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