Marketing Security to the Mainstream

While watching the recent “American Idol” season finale I got to thinking about the splashy ads seen during such a high-profile broadcast and how many millions of people those messages reach. I bemoaned that, aside from the occasional spot from a few national providers and scattered regional companies – typically targeting residential alarm business – the security industry is conspicuously absent from America’s TV screens (and other media).

I would like to see ad campaigns with high production values that focus on commercial and industrial solutions, similar to what you might see from an IBM. I would like to see conceptual ads that promote the entire security industry, say the way Exxon might espouse the virtues of cleaner burning fuel for the environment. Residentially, I would like to see security and life-safety systems depicted as being essential to homes as electricity and plumbing.

I believe such messages would help our industry emerge from the shadows into the spotlight. Who cares? You should! The higher the profile the security industry has and the better its nature, necessity, value and capabilities are understood, the more respect it will command, and the more growth and ubiquity it will achieve.

Ever since I entered this industry in the 1990s I wondered why there has never been a “Got Milk” or McGruff the Crime Dog type of public awareness campaign. I came to understand it was because the industry was too fragmented and dominated by “mom-and-pop” operators.

My hopes were raised when significant changes began to rock the industry around the turn of the century. Global conglomerates with famous brand names came into the industry, security technology began to accelerate, and 9/11 put security on the minds and lips of just about everyone. There was even talk of merging the top three trade associations into a single organization. In a flash, the complexion of the industry had transformed.

To top it all off, around the same time, GE, which had recently jumped into the security industry by acquiring Interlogix, launched an ad campaign analogous to what I have been advocating. And they ran the TV spot during the Super Bowl! I sat transfixed, jaw agape watching visual effects trickery manipulate an old Lassie clip that associated security with the world’s most beloved watchdog.

All the pieces appeared to be in place for a unified industry to blast into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, GE’s campaign was short-lived, the single trade association idea fizzled and most people stopped being preoccupied with security. Even the homeland security movement gave electronic security short shrift, funneling money to first responders, metal and substance detectors, and experimental technologies.

On the plus side, we weren’t quite back to square one. Commercial and industrial security business boomed midway through the decade, and those big brand companies remained in the industry while others of their ilk followed suit. In addition, and the reason my vision makes more sense than ever, recent years have seen physical security realize integrated solutions, interface with myriad building control systems, converge with logical security, migrate onto networks and begin to embrace open platforms.

I envision a future where – in addition to its traditional role of safeguarding people and property – security enables the optimization of managerial, operational and cost efficiencies for virtually any enterprise. I see security becoming a critical focal point for practically every physical and virtual structure, with the potential to impact every person on the planet.

However, reaching that magnitude of universality, or at least doing it anytime soon, requires the level of widespread comprehension and buy-in that can only be accomplished as I have prescribed. I realize this will require a lot of coordination and funding, but our industry boasts some of the business world’s greatest minds and companies. Let’s find a way.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters