Thought leadership content plays key role in influencing decision makers

Active DMC, in partnership with Code Red, conducted an international research to discover how IT security decision makers source their information to help make decisions on which vendors to go with or recommend. Louay Al Samarrai joint Managing Director Active DMC, discusses the findings of the survey to Security MEA.

What influences purchasing decisions of IT security managers worldwide?
We at Active DMC, in partnership with Code Red, recently conducted a global research that included 819 key decision makers for IT security across 8 regions to find out the answer.

Besides the obvious price and customer experience, we found out that more than a third (37%) of IT decision makers has often used thought leadership content to support the procurement of a cybersecurity product, while the percentage reached 45% amongst the US decision makers.

With the COVID restrictions, it was much harder for IT decision makers to assess potential suppliers and vendors, which made 71% of them say that the pandemic has made the need for thought leadership content more significant. This was especially important for IT decision makers in the Middle East and Australia / New Zealand regions, as this content provided them with in depth knowledge about cybersecurity issues they might face and ways to deal with them.

The research illustrated how thought leadership content is actually playing a key role in influencing the choice of vendors.

What is the role played by IT trade media publications in decision making?
When we want to buy any product, we like to learn about it and weigh our options before deciding which one to get.

Similarly, IT decision-makers use thought leadership content to understand different cybersecurity issues, how they could affect their organisation, and how they can deal with them using the available products in the market.

This thought leadership content has the power to influence how decision-makers see their vendors, from offering more work to an existing supplier to inviting a new one to bid for a part of the business.

According to our research, IT security decision-makers choose IT trade media publications as the favourite way to source thought leadership content on cybersecurity, with 54% of all participants choosing these publications over other channels.

They also consider trade media articles as the most popular formats when it comes to consuming thought leadership content, as 60% of all respondents chose this channel.

What are the key revelations by the research on the KSA and UAE regions?
If nothing else, one key takeaway for cybersecurity firms is that IT security decision-makers spend 3 hours weekly pouring through thought leadership content. 43% of KSA and UAE IT managers said they often used thought leadership content to support the procurement of a cybersecurity product, and 40% use it to develop a business case for change to overcome a cybersecurity issue.

The media remains an essential source for content in the region and thought leadership content in the media and trade publications is preferred over social media or other channels. 64% of UAE and KSA participants prefer reading thought leadership content in IT trade media publications, as 74% of them chose media articles as their favourite format.

Trade media articles were followed by videos and webinars, respectively, as the most popular formats for consuming thought leadership content in the region.

What are the key topics IT managers are interested in reading about in trade publications?
Regarding topics, 31% of ITdecision-makers in KSA and UAE chose cybersecurity software and services as the most interesting topics to them, over other subjects such as networks security, cloud security, and others as the most exciting topics. A similar trend was observed among decision-makers from other regions.

What is the importance of getting this insight about regional IT decision makers?
Unfortunately, most of the time, we see our Middle East region underrepresented in global researches. So It was vital for us to invest in this research to ensure that the region is adequately represented. This helped us gain much-needed insight into the regional IT managers’ decision-making process and what influences it.

Getting this insight also helps cybersecurity service providers and vendors understand how they can best reach IT security decision-makers and what channels and topics they’re interested in.