4 Tips to Successfully Market Security to Consumers

Marketing security to consumers is a difficult prospect.  Security is not normally something a consumer thinks about, without a good reason.  When walking into a store, full of anticipation of purchasing a new device, the excitement is about how it will be novel, functional, draw envy, and be entertaining.  Not so much about what happens if it is stolen, hacked, or otherwise violated.  Nobody really wants to consider what bad things might be associated with their upcoming purchase.

Marketing security to consumers is about influencing purchasing decisions.   But people have a fuzzy and fluid definition of security.  The drivers are largely emotional, not technical, and coupled to usages/experiences of devices.  Consumers only invest in security if they feel a relevant need.  It is about addressing problems both real and imagined.  Without problems or concerns, security is irrelevant. 

Overall, selling security products and services requires a pressing need, a meaningful solution, a good reputation of the provider, and a proof of value.  Therefore, a successful marketing initiative must market meaningful and valuable solutions, from a respected position of trust, in a manner which convinces consumers their problems are being satisfactorily addressed.

To achieve success, consumer marketing programs must incorporate healthy characteristics to promote security without instilling fear, uncertainty, and doubt:
1. Clearly shows how offerings are effective to prevalent consumer problems
2. Build and reinforce a reputation of trust, value, and confidence in proficiency
3. Target moments of opportunity when consumers are compelled to invest
4. Educate consumers, with positive messages, how security makes using technology better

Becoming a trusted and beloved security provider does not happen overnight.  It is the nature of the security industry, like many other trust based businesses, to take time to build relationships and earn a good reputation. 
1. Clearly solve the customer’s problem
Security investment is typically in response to a problem experienced or perceived by the customer.  Without a problem or risk of loss, security is simply not needed.  Security solutions should solve this problem and be marketed in a way to show how the customer is benefiting.  It could be as simple as protecting systems from malware infection, a more secure web browsing experience, a secure online-banking interface, reduction of spam cluttering their inbox, or the protection of sensitive data while in transit.  Whatever the security, it must show how the customer’s problem is solved.

2. Build trust, value, and confidence
The finest security product or service will be unattractive if the provider is not trusted.  Would you buy your medications from a shoddy operation or give money to a disreputable broker to purchase stock on your behalf?  No.  Trust must be established.  This is why branding is so important to security organizations.  Without trust, all is lost.  So be careful in marketing claims, practices, and how customers are treated.  Wild claims of performance or nonexistent capability is corrosive and will cause more damage in the long run.  Conservativeness is more desirable.  There is no need to stretch the truth to make it sound as if you solve every aspect.  Consumers may not be security savvy, but they do know the problems are complex and no single solution will cover every aspect.  Be open, honest, and realistic with quality products and services to build trust, show value, and instill confidence in your current and future customers.

3. Target moments when consumers seek security
There is a moment for every customer when they will need security.  For some, it was in the past and they are more in tune with the value and purpose of security products.  These potential customers will be open to marketing messages.  For many however, it will be sometime in the future.  An event will compel them to invest.  It is only at that moment and beyond when security marketing will be welcome and meaningful.  Target that opportune moment in time to both establish awareness of offerings and build reputation.

Knowing when specific customers are at this point is challenging but not impossible.  For example, when someone does an Internet search for ‘security’, ‘data backup’, or ‘anti-virus’, it is a good bet they just experienced an issue and have recently broadened their acceptance of investing in protection.
The desire and willingness to spend on security can change radically at key moments.  Security is most relevant when it fails and can stimulate a change in views and perceptions.  These are opportunities for marketing to promote the relevance of security and present solutions at the time of need. 

4. Show how security makes the user’s experience better
Messages must be simple and show in a positive light, how problems can be addressed.  In the dangerous world of the Internet, security is an enabler.  It allows people to enjoy the benefits of a connected world, while minimizing the risks.  Security should be tied to the positive services and activities people want to enjoy.  Avoid the dark messages, intending to invoke fear and doubt.  The negative messages frame security in the wrong light and will further push away audiences. 

Many automobile manufacturers have done a wonderful job of promoting safety.  They speak to families arriving at their destinations safe, not horrific tales of car wrecks and fatality statistics.  They show safety in a positive tone and distance themselves from the negative messages.  Same should be true of security marketing. 

Marketing security to consumers is a difficult task, but with a well thought out plan, quality offerings can reach customers in a positive way and build a long-term valuable relationship.  Show how customer’s problems are being solved, build trust, target opportune moments, and tell the positive story of improved user experiences.  This is the road to successful marketing of security. 

Source: Intel 9/4/2012


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