“People are just beginning to scratch the surface,” Brusse said.
The group includes everyone from company VPs to sales and marketing leaders in both national and local firms. "One of the advantages of the group is that we've got members from large companies who are in a dedicated marketing function all the way to a smaller dealer with one person wearing many hats,” said Brusse. "It's designed as a peer-to-peer sharing group.”
The SMP group is planning to survey its members to find the hot-button issues they’re facing in their own companies. "It's a fantastic group for staying on top of market trends," said Brusse.
The YSP group was originally developed to ensure the next generation of security professionals is ready to take over when industry icons retire. Todd Gaito, YSP chair, said that’s still the mission.
"We're about coaching the up-and-comers and turning them into top talent," said Gaito.
While the group has focused on learning about technology over the past few years, the goal now is to improve business and professional skills, such as customer service and sales. “It needs to be more about people than technology, because people make it happen,” said Gaito. YSPs have always talked about a mentoring program, and Gaito hopes to make it happen this year.
Membership in any of the professional groups is open to employees of ESA member companies.
Reaching consumers now and in the future
The playing field in the home security and monitoring industry is expanding, particularly with the entrance of major telecommunications and cable businesses. ESA has created new initiatives that emphasize consumer awareness and education.
For example, the association has built its online presence not only with www.ESAweb.org, which is targeted toward industry professionals and association members, but also with www.Alarm.org, which has been re-worked into a consumer-focused site providing information about electronic security systems, as well as helping consumers find a licensed installation company.
"The website is an easy online resource that lets consumers make informed decisions about safety, security and the new technologies that are right for them," said ESA President Dom D'Ascoli.
Consumers simply need to enter their postal zip code in the search box on the homepage of Alarm.org and they’re taken to a detailed results page that shows nearby ESA member companies, as well as the option to filter the results by customer type (commercial, residential, etc.) and the type of service needed (access control, fire alarm, home automation, etc.).
"They not only get valuable news and information, but also can easily connect with ESA member companies in their area through a geographically-targeted search function. We want consumers to know there is tremendous value in being informed, and in doing business with ESA members. Alarm.org is an effective way to achieve those goals," said D'Ascoli.
Along with the outreach offered by Alarm.org, ESA has also launched a public awareness task force, Secure Lifestyle in Control (SLIC). SLIC is an education campaign that informs dealers about the importance of offering new interactive services, and positions integration companies as the most trusted provider for security and these interactive systems.
While many consumers may turn to a security dealer for the installation of an alarm system, this campaign is working to position dealers as offering more than just alarms. These additional services include home automation, interactive services and energy management.
"We want to make sure that the public understands that electronic security companies are better equipped to provide these services," said SLIC task force Chair Kirk MacDowell. The SLIC task force is developing a program that would highlight work from member companies, as well as promote ESA member companies in mainstream media outlets and online on social networks and blogs.