What better time than Halloween to discuss the marketing strategy of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – better known in our industry as FUD?
First, I want to concentrate on the F in FUD…
The Fear. Uncertainty and Doubt are interesting, but in the business of Network Security, use of Fear is more common and more problematic. So what does the use of Fear in marketing look like? It’s not always obvious, but any language that scares you in to a purchase decision – no matter how subtle – would qualify. For instance, anything that starts with, “With our product, you won’t have to worry about … ” would suffice.
Here’s the deal:
There’s a difference between speaking the truth and being honest. Using FUD might be “speaking the truth”, but it might not be all that honest. Let me explain what I mean by that: Implying that your competitor’s product isn’t up to the task while touting the dangers of not using your own product might very well be technically accurate, but, if we’re truly being honest, we have to be willing to admit that there are no silver bullets in this industry. If we’re genuinely invested in helping people secure their networks, we as vendors need to know which piece of the larger puzzle is us, and be willing to help our customers put the other pieces of the puzzle in to place, too. That’s how we all win.
We pride ourselves here on our honesty and transparency. We’ve made our fair share of mistakes over the years, and we’ve found that the best way to handle those awkward situations is to be as open and forthright as possible. There are a lot of good reasons for this: It’s the only way to get to the bottom of an issue, it builds trust with the customer, and it’s … well, it’s the right thing to do.