More than 12% of the population in the United States is over 65 years of age. This equates to approximately one in every eight Americans. According to About.com, “In 2000, approximately 605 million people were 60 years or older. By 2050, that number is expected to be close to 2 billion. At that time, seniors will outnumber children 14 and under for the first time in history.” What’s more, according to the United Nations’ Population Division, “Population aging is unprecedented, without parallel in human history — and the 21st century will witness even more rapid aging than the century just past.”
So then how will society shoulder the consequential increased medical burden? Assisted living and long-term nursing services is one option, but not everyone can afford an expensive, extended stay in one of these high-priced facilities. However, most people can pay the relatively low upfront cost and affordable monthly fee associated with a personal emergency response system (PERS), creating a new source of recurring monthly revenue (RMR) for alarm dealers.
“The PERS market is exploding. It’s based on demographics in this country where 10,000 people a day turn 65,” says Christopher Baskin, CEO of American Two-Way in North Hollywood, Calif. “What’s going on in health care in this nation, as well as demographics, has really made the PERS industry accelerate.”
As you will soon learn, PERS opportunities also extend well beyond the elderly. However, entering this burgeoning market and optimizing success requires a thorough understanding of all the technical, business and operational variables. Read on for what you need to know.
RELATED: Providing PERS Raises Questions About Nationwide Services
How to Market a PERS Program
Alarm dealers new to the PERS market often struggle with the marketing aspects of the business. This is especially true of smaller alarm companies that may not have a large advertising budget to work from. An easy, inexpensive way to advertise is to start with existing customers using envelope stuffers.
“When we started offering PERS to our dealers, we created three different marketing brochures for them to use as billing inserts. We customize the brochure with the dealer’s contact information and logo, and offer these at no charge. We figured the subscriber may not have an immediate need for the service, but somebody knows someone who could benefit from a PERS unit,” says Kevin McCarthy, national sales manager, EMERgency24 in Chicago.
Another way to push forward into the PERS market is to develop relationships with other businesses and organizations that specialize in or have strong ties to health care. Possible candidates include nursing homes, health-care entities, insurance agents and firms, as well as clinics and hospitals.
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