Merritt Group Blog

Marketing to the CISO? Time to Better Understand Your Buyer

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Over 500 security vendors have descended upon San Francisco this week at RSA Conference 2018. With vendor booths filling up the Moscone Center’s North and South halls, the latest and greatest security products and services will be hawked to no end. And let’s not forget the free t-shirts, fidget spinners, laptop camera covers and other enticing giveaways to draw booth traffic! Many vendors will also host private dinners and elaborate parties to try and drive additional RSA “buzz” and excitement. When all is said and done, millions of marketing dollars will be spent by these vendors at RSA with one major goal in mind: capture qualified CISO leads.

It’s no secret that the CISO is the ultimate target as the key person who holds the purse strings. So how can they be marketed to in a way that won’t send them running in the other direction?

With this question on the mind of many security marketers this week, the timing couldn’t be better to announce the release of Merritt Group’s newly updated report: “Marketing & Selling to the CISO: The 2018 Edition.” This year, we partnered with T.E.N. to survey more than 100 CISOs about their most pressing security challenges, how they make purchasing decisions and where they go to find out about security vendor and product information. Findings include:

  • Today’s CISOs really want to understand security problems before being sold. They prefer reading case studies (66.67%) and white papers (50%) over marketing collateral pieces like sales sheets and brochures (15.69%).
  • For finding intel on new security products/vendors, there is a strong reliance from CISOs on peers, word of mouth and making connections at industry events vs. other external sources.
  • If you’re trying to structure your sales pitch to a CISO, the most preferred methods of follow up for CISOs interested in security solutions and content offerings includes digital meetings (27.45%) and product demos (26.47%).

Marci McCarthy, CEO and President of T.E.N., will be reviewing these survey results during a panel discussion today at the T.E.N. & ISE® Sales and Marketing Breakfast being held at the W San Francisco Hotel from 7:45am - 10:00am PT. She will be joined by top CISOs from Hertz Corporation, Turner Broadcasting System, Dollar Tree Stores and more, to discuss their real-world experiences with security solutions providers’ sales and marketing programs. Their candid views will offer an inside track on how to effectively market and sell solutions to the CISO buyer.

As you consider adjusting your sales and marketing programs for reaching the CISO, definitely check out the findings of our new report which you can download here. Happy CISO Hunting!

Topics: content marketing Security CSO public relations performance marketing creative services 2018