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What Motivates Security Minds to Buy

Findings in the “Business Opportunities in the Security Industry: New Paths to Success in a Changing Market” reveals the processes and psychology behind security equipment purchasing decisions.

Web Catches Dealers & Integrators

Responses regarding media usage by security mangers, security dealers and systems integrators revealed a surprisingly big contrast in the use of supplier Web sites. While most measurements between the three groups showed a 5- to 10-percentage-point difference at most, when it came to supplier Web sites, the findings indicate that security managers visit them only about half as often as supply channel respondents (dealers and integrators). Only 31.7% of security mangers say they visit supplier Web sites at least once a month while 65.8% of security dealers and 60.1% of systems integrators do.

Security dealers and integrators prefer supplier Web sites twice as much compared to security managers.

Supplier Web sites contain primarily product information, which is a core interest for people working in the supply channel. But for security managers the primarily focus is on keeping their organization safe, and security products are a means to that end. As result, security managers are less motivated to visit supplier Web sites on a regular basis. Smart supplier marketers should therefore tailor their sites more toward the sensibilities and needs of those working in the supply channel as opposed to end users.

Comparison Shopping Not Easy

What prevents security industry customers from buying a new, better product? Given that security products are often used as part of an integrated network, it can be hard to introduce a new product because products already in a system are much easier to add in. Yet suppliers are constantly introducing new and improved products.

The biggest obstacle preventing channel suppliers from switching to a new product is finding sufficient information for comparisons.

To help measure what stands in the way of the purchase of new, better products, a list of 10 obstacles was created. It was anticipated that “current product is the system standard,” “new product offers insufficient improvement for switching,” “long-term relationship with current supplier” and “perceived risk” would top the list. However, another option was surprisingly picked more frequently: “insufficient information for product comparisons.” How is it possible that the most frequently selected obstacle standing in the way of the adopting a new and better product has more to do with marketing communications than the product itself?

Breaking out the responses by security managers, dealers and integrators showed that not everyone answered this question the same way. For security managers, the top reason for not switching to a better product was “insufficient improvement to justify switching.” End users are skeptical that adding a “better” new product would offer a big enough improvement to compensate for the difficulty of switching it out. But channel respondents had a different take. Both security dealers and systems integrators selected “insufficient information for product comparisons” as their top choice.

The lesson here for suppliers is to work harder with channel partners to make their product differentiation stick. As well, channel partners are having difficulty communicating product differences and advantages to their customers. Whether it is suppliers to channel partners or channel partners to end users, there is tremendous room for creative differentiation through the marketing process. To channel partners and end users alike, there is far more to a solution than just product specs. Other parts of a solution could include the rel
iability of the supplier, quality of technical support, availability of training, long-term stability of the supplier and future-proof options.

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