We’ve all heard the phrase, “The best defense is a good offense.” That couldn’t be any more relevant than it is in today’s electronic security industry. Yes, the industry we have all privately shared and enjoyed among a relatively small peer group of companies has already been changed forever. Thank Steve Jobs for that iPhone thing and a bunch of other really smart guys for catapulting our business into the mainstream with technology that connects our customers to virtually everything they care about.
These new remote interactive services have created a huge growth opportunity for traditional security firms, along with the adverse effect of awakening the sleeping telecom, Internet and cable giants who want their share of the market, and possibly yours. It’s time to wake up and defend your castle.
Some estimate the penetration rate of monitored residential security systems will skyrocket from 20% to 40% in the coming years. Much of this growth will come from new subscriber creation that will grow the overall pie. But somewhere in this mix you can expect traditional alarm subscribers will want more value than just police dispatch service and will opt to join the interactive service generation. These are your customers and mine. As we embark on this new phase of growth and technology it is critical to actively communicate with your subscribers to let them know what new and exciting opportunities exist to improve their everyday lifestyle and safety. As more entrants flock into our industry for this unprecedented land grab, if you are not marketing these new services to your customers then somebody else will.
Back in the day, and for all the wrong reasons I might add, our industry had mixed emotions communicating with existing subscribers about anything new for fear of triggering an early termination of service. This actually caused us not to act at all. As silly as this sounds, a lot of companies wrestled with this demon for many years. Although constant communication with your subscriber base should be intuitive, many of us acted reluctantly. Today is a new world and if you are not communicating with your customers about new technology, expect to be left behind wondering what happened.
Compliments of the big boys, there is an advertising tsunami educating the masses about this new wave of technology. The ability to access video and control lights, locks and energy automatically and by smartphone is becoming as well known as any other in-home service today. The groundwork has been laid for us, now all we have to do is bring awareness to our own customers that we too are in the game. The worst phone call or letter that you can receive from a subscriber is, “Why didn’t I hear about these new services from you?” or my personal favorite, “I didn’t know you did that!” No matter the cost, the cost of inaction on our part will be far greater.
It’s time to get cracking and rewrite your playbook. Leverage all your traditional forms of customer communication to highlight your chosen technology platform for delivering these amazing interactive services to your base. Be sure to have a well-constructed financial strategy to address the cost of upgrading your traditional alarm subscribers into the new paradigm without wreaking havoc on your creation costs. This is yet one more conundrum to deal with. The cost of doing business with your existing customers has a different set of dynamics than new customer creation and the landscape is trickier than you might think.
The barbarians are at the gate, so join me in the campaign to defend our castles and embrace a new horizon of growth for your company.
Joe Nuccio is President and CEO of ASG Security located in Beltsville, Md.