'Industry Experts' = Marketing Scam

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 13, 2014

Industry experts? It's a marketing scam.

Trade mags, SIA and manufacturers all love to tout their 'industry experts'. That and their equally demented twin, 'thought leaders'.

Unfortunately, there is almost no expertise nor thought involved. When you hear 'industry expert', think 'sales pitch by the technology naive.'

Two fundamental problems with them:

  •  90%+ of 'industry experts' are senior sales and marketing people who rarely, if ever, use or deploy modern technologies, including their own. They generally have no idea how things really work or fail to work. Their 'experience' is largely limited to setting up rigged demos.
  • Nearly 100% of 'industry experts' tout their company's marketing position verbatim as their form of 'expertise.' In other words, it's a sales pitch. A real expert would be forthright with issues, problems, limitations, etc.

There is certainly expertise in the industry, but it is far more likely to be found in techs who are hidden from public view (both on the manufacturing and integration side) than the sorry sales and marketing saps sent out for PR purposes.

Just keep in mind - 'Industry experts' are a marketing scam.

Comments (15)

Only IPVM PRO Members may comment. Login or Join.
Now let the examples roll in!

Glad you made it a Public article.

John, I won't disagree that most of these guys have agendas or lack original development of ideas and positions...BUT I would like to know what you saw that triggered your comments. Either you are fishing for controversy or reacting to something.....inquiring minds want to know :)

What got me thinking about this today was that I ran across something from SIA that said '75% of industry experts' support one of their initiatives. SIA does this stuff all the time.

SIA has also taking to describe themselves as "representing more than 300,000 security leaders and experts."

The more common place one sees this is trade magazine industry 'roundtables' where they get a bunch of sales and marketing people to opine on the top trends which turn out to be whatever their company is currently pushing, like this and this, and this.

My reason for doing this is not controversy but 'thought leadership' (ha ha ha). In all seriousness, I know if I put this out there, many people will think more about it or at least have that in the back of their mind the next time an 'industry expert' speaks to them.

And now we know the rest of the story......Thanks John...I understand your frustration. Give us poor slobs a little credit for our sense of smell too!

Brian, spend a few bucks; buy the stuff; put it in his car. He will stop annoying you and still be a good neighbor - unless it wrecks his car. ;)

My neighbor next door sells a multi-level marketing automobile engine additive. Every time I see him, he tries to get me to buy a bottle, or sign up to become a distributor 'under him'.

He's a nice guy and a good neighbor, so I just smile and say 'no thanks', but I think he sees me as some kind of 'big fish' he must convert into a sell, because always is trying different angles to get me to buy.

Last weekend, he pitched me again on becoming a dealer and tried to give me a new t-shirt emblazoned with his product's logos and the words "AUTOMOTIVE'S MOST ELITE THOUGHT LEADERS" printed on the front.

He kept going: "We are setting the new standard for business success here, Brian. What's stopping you?"

His smile quickly turned to urgent concern for the time, as he sensed my boiling disgust, and he quickly left.

That phrase irritates me so bad...

Take the free shirt, obscure the "e" in elite, he might catch on then.

In Canada, Usually a Court of Law will Qualify you as an Expert Winess as being an expert in a very specific field for the specific trial. If you are Qualified as an Expert Witness which only allows you to Render an Opinion on the Subject you are Qualified, nothing more. You can be recognized as an expert in one Court case, and sometimes Not in an other or higher court. That and a dollar will get you a bag of chips if your lucky. Your only an Expert until they find someone who knows a little more than you. Court have a Standard that Judges must follow, Civilian Companies don't and a lot of time their Marketing personel creates these so called "Expert" truly is a "Buyers Beware"

Friends generally consider me a "expert" in a wide range of subjects (thus I was years ago handed the descriptor "Omnigeek")... I've always said that being an "expert" in anything just means you know who to call when you don't have the answer.

Matt, according to the trade magazines, you are not an expert. But a marketing guy with less than a year's industry experience is....

Trade magazines are valuable resources! They make great liners for my cat's sandbox...

Here's a classic example of bullshit 'though leadership' :

What is this 'interview series'? It's an advertorial.

Bottom line: 'thought leadership' and 'industry experts' are utterly worthless.

The punditsphere is apparently mortified at your comments. Which is to say, you must have a point since the are talking about you.

All the more reason to work with the Brains that do the grunt work for the face and body boys;

e.g. Technical Sales Specialists, Pre-Sales Engineers, Field Applications Engineers, Systems Engineers....

John . . . great article. At Commend I have taken a completely different approach to being and "expert" or "thought leader." I hired a great trainer to teach my managers about the industry from a whole different perspective. My team are experts on our solutions but were not necessarily knowledgeable about things that are truly important to the clients we serve with communication solutions. We have quickly separated ourselves from the industry pack based upon the conversation and talking points we have with customers. Today our team talks about things like OSHA 3148, General Duty Clause, Reasonable Man Test (foreseeability), Negligence vs. Gross Negligence, IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert Warning System), EOP (Emergency Operation Plans), IAP (Incident Action Plan), EASI (Estimation of Adversary Sequence Interruption), these along with ICS-100, ICS-200, FEMA IS-907, ALICE, Cleary Act, and much more. We understand that it is no longer a bells and whistle world anymore but one where we talk about Active Killer (not active shooter) and increasing survivability in a work place violence or terror event. None of these points are about Commend but rather the customer.

Had I not been mentored by Jerry Wilkins from WIG, Inc., I would not have known these things or had rapport with customers today. He came to our office and transformed the team with knowledge. We now challenge the customer with things like "Resource typing electronic counter measures to increase or improve situational awareness during an all hazards event." Interestingly enough you will find very few in the security industry that even knows the definition of an "All hazards event." With the right training John the industry the saps can be reduced and a marketing or sales person can actually bring value.

Related Reports

Anixter - Falling Video Prices on Jul 26, 2017
Falling video prices are such a concern that it has become a notable topic for Anixter's financial results and Anixter's executives. In this...
Healthy Skepticism for Deep Learning Is Prudent on Jul 26, 2017
The hype for deep learning in video surveillance is accelerating. Between the race to the bottom and dearth of a 'next big thing', certainly pent...
Dahua Suffers Second Major Vulnerability, Silent [Finally Acknowledges] on Jul 25, 2017
Less than 3 months ago, Dahua received DHS ICS-CERT's worst score of 10.0 for their backdoor. Now, Dahua has received another 10.0 score for a new...
Competing Against ADT on Jul 20, 2017
ADT is one of the biggest players in the security industry, with ~$4 billion revenue. In 2017, they were acquired / merged with Protection...
Hikvision USA Head of Cybersecurity Exits on Jul 18, 2017
Hikvision USA's Head of Cybersecurity has exited the company. In this note, we review the move, share Hikvision's feedback and examine the...
'Suicidal' Knightscope Robot Drowns on Jul 17, 2017
Knightscope continues its hyper growth, at least when it comes to controversy, this time with a 'suicidal' robot in Washington DC. And here is...
Hikvision Distributor Says Hikvision "Top Rated Yet Most Hated" on Jul 12, 2017
The CEO of 2M Solutions, a distributor selling Hikvision cameras under their own as well as Hikvision's brand has publicly declared Hikvision to be...
ONVIF Chairman Criticizes Low Cost Cameras (Also, He Works At Axis) on Jul 12, 2017
ONVIF Chairman Per Björkdahl has taken a strong public stance against low cost cameras that are 'much more vulnerable to attack' as he explains in...
Best Manufacturer Perks on Jul 07, 2017
A decade ago, the best manufacturer perk was likely a trip on the Pelco jet: But the Pelco jet is long, long, long gone. What types of perks...
Hikvision USA Hires VP of Business Development on Jul 05, 2017
Hikvision USA is expanding again, this time in its drive to move up market to larger integrators and end users. In this note, we analyze...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Anixter - Falling Video Prices on Jul 26, 2017
Falling video prices are such a concern that it has become a notable topic for Anixter's financial results and Anixter's executives. In this...
Bosch G-Series Intrusion Tested on Jul 26, 2017
Bosch is one of the biggest names in intrusion, and the company's G-Series panels are their most advanced commercial and high-security panels. But...
Healthy Skepticism for Deep Learning Is Prudent on Jul 26, 2017
The hype for deep learning in video surveillance is accelerating. Between the race to the bottom and dearth of a 'next big thing', certainly pent...
$28M Drone Detection Startup Examined (Dedrone) on Jul 25, 2017
Dedrone has received ~$28M in funding to build what they call an "automatic anti-drone solution", a system to detect drones, and then automatically...
Dahua Suffers Second Major Vulnerability, Silent [Finally Acknowledges] on Jul 25, 2017
Less than 3 months ago, Dahua received DHS ICS-CERT's worst score of 10.0 for their backdoor. Now, Dahua has received another 10.0 score for a new...
Hikvision H.265+ Bullet Tested (2035) on Jul 24, 2017
Continuing our tests of Hikvision's new low cost Value Plus line, we bought and tested the 3MP DS-2CD2035FWD-I, now including H.265+. We shot the...
Sports Stadium Security Design Recommendations on Jul 24, 2017
Sports stadiums pose many challenges for designing security systems. The facilities vary from being mostly vacant, to packed with tens of thousands...
Competing Against Convergint on Jul 24, 2017
No integrator is more aggressively expanding than Convergint Technologies. Owned and funded by private equity firm KRG, Convergint has acquired...
Security Robots Are Just Entertainment on Jul 21, 2017
Great entertainment, no real security value.  That is the happy (or sad) state of security robots in 2017. Knightscope robot's drowning, the...
Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide on Jul 21, 2017
Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems. However,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact