Thought leadership a crucial marketing tool, affects buying journey: research

74 percent of CISOs would pay a premium to work with cybersecurity vendors that are thought leaders, proving the value of thought leadership as a crucial marketing tool.

Thought leadership matters for tech leaders, including the chief security officers (CSOs). Do you know why? Latest research by Code Red has uncovered the importance of thought leadership influencing every stage of the customer buying life cycle.

According to a global research report released by the global PR-communication security network on 12 May, thought leadership is a crucial marketing tool and it holds a fundamental role in a CISO’s buying journey.

Code Red commissioned a report of 819 IT security decision makers from companies across 10 countries. The importance of thought leadership became evident immediately, with 74 percent of CISOs confirming they would be willing to pay a premium to work with a cybersecurity vendor who is a thought leader in its market sector. In fact, it is proven to be a significant marker of quality and helps build the reputations of cybersecurity suppliers.

The report further reveals that CISOs use thought leadership content throughout the buying process, from researching industry challenges and shortlisting suppliers, to making final choices on suppliers.

Code Red said that the influence of this content is undeniable, as 43 percent of respondents claim to have used thought leadership content when making a final decision to appoint a cybersecurity company. Even once a deal has been struck, thought leadership remains paramount, as 35 percent of CISOs have even increased their business with an existing supplier because of strong thought leadership. “Clearly, this content must be treated as a whole funnel tactic, not just top line awareness,” the company said in a statement.

When looking at how CISOs go about sourcing trusted thought leadership content on different cybersecurity issues, there are three key approaches that are considered, the report revealed.

These consist of independent research using keywords, reviewing content shared by friends or family, and reading trade media publications. This ‘trusted triangle’ is the gateway between thought leadership and its target audience. 42 percent of CISOs measure credibility based on whether the content provides detailed information on the subject that they are interested in, and 60 percent confirm that IT and cybersecurity trade media is their preferred format of content. Media profile and industry awareness is therefore central to a successful thought leadership marketing strategy.

“Thought leadership is a fundamental prerequisite for successful marketing campaigns, and the report findings are testament to that,” said Robin Campbell-Burt, CEO at Code Red. “Establishing yourself as an industry thought leader is no mean feat as it takes effort and persistence, but those who commit themselves to this marketing approach will gain an important competitive advantage and build value for stakeholders in their own business.”

You can view the full results of the report here: