HPL Cyber Survey Finds Enterprise Cybersecurity Purchases are Driven by The Vendor’s Reputation, Not Cost or Expertise
A new survey of more than 250 corporate IT professionals conducted in March 2021, conducted by YouGov on behalf of HPL Cyber, indicates that the growth of the cybersecurity industry has led to increased clutter among vendors vying for IT professionals’ attention and share-of-wallet. In fact, the research revealed almost 30% of respondents don’t know the name of their current cybersecurity provider, and 68% are overwhelmed by the sheer number of cybersecurity vendors.
“The cyber market is awash in brands that sound the same and use indistinguishable sales and marketing strategies,” said Ted Birkhahn, President of HPL Cyber. “This presents a real challenge for IT professionals who are under increasing pressure to sift through the clutter to find the right partner and solutions that best protect them from ever-evolving threats.”
The research found the number one factor when it comes to purchasing cyber security products was brand reputation (41%), which outweighs other factors including cost, expertise and even third-party referrals. Nearly one-third (30%) of respondents cite a lack of brand awareness as one of the biggest barriers when purchasing from cyber vendors. What’s more, when making cybersecurity purchasing decisions, 55% say that case studies, webinars and news articles are more effective than traditional fear-based marketing. When deciding to make a purchase, articles published in cyber, tech and business publications ranked first on the list of resources used (33%) followed by proof of concept. Factors near the bottom of the list when deciding to make a purchase included advertising and cold calling.
The Cyber Buyer’s Conundrum
Buyers are overwhelmed, underfunded and face intense pressure to protect their organization’s assets from evolving cyber threats. Most respondents are concerned about an imminent cyber attack (95%); additionally, more than half of respondents (52%) cite fear of data loss, followed by 37% indicating a loss of reputation. But only 16% claim they purchase cybersecurity solutions after an attack, noting that the cluttered marketplace, being wary of “fast-talking salesmen selling snake oil” and “a lack of product effectiveness and lack of documentation,” as major impediments on the path to purchase.
“Sales and marketing teams in the cyber industry require a fresh approach in how they target, message their ability to solve their customers’ cyber defense challenges -- especially in the wake of a cyber incident where vulnerability is high and time is of the essence,” said Charles Sirois of HPL Cyber. “Buyers are skeptical and they need support throughout the buying cycle to better assess the reputation of the vendor, the value proposition of the product, and the alignment of the proposed solution to the problems they are trying to solve.”
Additional Survey Findings:
The survey also asked buyers about what they perceive as their company’s most pressing cybersecurity gaps and weaknesses. Email attacks topped the list (30%) followed by outdated systems and insider threats.
The field is crowded and while most buyers purchase directly from cyber vendors, others still use managed services providers or third-party consultants: 82% of respondents purchase cyber products directly from Cyber vendors all or some of the time and if companies do not purchase directly, half (50%) use managed service providers followed next by consultants and advisors (41%).
More than half (55%) of respondents said business enablement marketing (thought leadership, case studies, etc.) is more effective than fear-based marketing, signaling that while fear can be used as an effective motivator, it should be more significantly balanced with smart, insightful thought leadership that educates, informs, and provides thoughtful solutions. If the pendulum swings too far to fear-based approaches, it will likely damage credibility and reputation of the cybersecurity brand.
For more information on the Survey, please contact Ted Birkhahn at email@example.com.
The Hot Paper Lantern Cybersecurity Survey was conducted by the independent research arm within HPL Cyber, in collaboration with YouGov. The survey was conducted online, with a total sample size of 252 U.S. cybersecurity buyers. The survey was administered in March 2021.
About HPL Cyber
HPL Cyber is a specialty area within HPL focused on helping cybersecurity companies grow. We help brands break through and achieve greater relevance through a combination of deep expertise in the cybersecurity industry, a unique comprehension of buyers’ perceptions and purchasing behavior, and a marketing formula with proven success. Please visit our website for more information: https://www.hplcyber.com