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SIA study examines marketing effectiveness

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has announced the release of a major new study designed to improve the marketing effectiveness of organizations selling products and services into the security market — Business Opportunities in the Security Industry: New Paths to Success in a Changing Market.

March 7, 2014  By Staff

“At SIA, we are always looking for ways to help our members to improve their businesses. As marketing is a critical mission for all security suppliers, we were excited to sponsor this study,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson.

Produced by the Josh Gordon Group, the 50-page report surveyed security industry buyers at end-user companies, system integrators, and dealers and distributors to find out what motivates them to buy. According to study creators Josh Gordon and Lynn Roher Gordon, the goal was to determine how to help suppliers invest their marketing dollars most effectively through an understanding of the trends and forces that impact the security industry.

The study focuses on three key components of the buying process in which recent shifts in buyer behavior have created new opportunities for marketers. There are 22 separate findings, covering all aspects of marketing in the security industry from media usage to customer buying behavior and persuasive content. It concludes with a head-to-head comparison of the marketing effectiveness of 24 surveillance and 16 access control technology companies, as reported by the 1,090 respondents who took part in this study.

The first component covered is media usage. Of media, Josh Gordon said, “It may seem that we live in a world where digital marketing is more important every day, but when we asked security industry customers which media they use for professional information, print trade publications were mentioned most frequently by a wide margin.”


Another finding with dramatic implications for any company selling products in the security industry was in how much of the buying process now occurs before end users contact the salespeople of any supplier. Before security managers contact supplier salespeople, 56.9 percent already have selected their preferred technologies, and 45.2 percent have selected the product they want to buy. Similar findings have been seen in several more general marketing studies conducted across all industries.

The study also examines which kinds of marketing content most motivate customers to buy. While it might come as no surprise that information about new products topped the list, more surprising to many was the fact that non-product specific educational content was found to be almost equally as persuasive as promotional content. In fact, three of the top five information categories that motivate customers to buy were educational.

In the final segment, security managers, system integrators and dealers/distributors were asked if the marketing of 40 surveillance and access control technology suppliers motivated them to buy or recommend their products. There was a significant difference between the respondents who were current customers and those who were not. Across all companies, an average of 63.3 percent of current customers said they were motivated by marketing; among non-customers, only 9.6 percent. Because many security products are used as part of a network, incumbent suppliers have a big advantage, and marketing from new suppliers struggles for attention. While the overall average looked daunting, many companies have marketing that is overcoming the odds and breaking through.

Read the full study.

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