How to Market the Smart Home

March 14, 2016
Easy ways dealers can sell homeowners on home automation and IoT

At this point, most in the industry can agree that smart home is here to stay, and luckily for dealers, security is one of the top markets that stand to benefit.

Gartner projects 4.9 billion "things" will be connected in 2015, and Icontrol Networks’ 2015 State of the Smart Home Report ( reinforces the idea that security is driving adoption in the residential market. For the second year in a row, security remains the top motivating factor behind smart home purchases, with nearly seven out of ten (65 percent) of consumers hesitant to purchase a home automation system without security features.

This isn’t just research — ADT reported in Q2 2015 that 75 percent of new customers subscribe to Pulse, ADT’s home automation system.

It is clear that now is the time for dealers to take advantage of the burgeoning smart home market; however, for independent security companies to truly take advantage of the smart home revolution, homeowners need to understand the technology, and dealers need to know how to market it.

Here are several tactics for dealers to consider when selling home automation to homeowners.


Educate First

Many homeowners might know about smart home technology but may not be aware of how they can benefit, so education is key. Not just theirs. Yours.

First, understand your markets. For example, if your region is very hot or very cold, you might want to stress energy savings; or, if you represent a community with many vacation homes (for example, the Hamptons), you could play up the remote video surveillance that offers peace of mind for those with a second property.

Start with what you know best — security — then find out what is important to each customer and position solutions aligned with their needs. When speaking with a pet owner, for example, play up specific notifications that can be customized for his/her furry friend, such as an alert when the dog goes outside.

When it comes to younger buyers, highlight the ability to look after aging parents. Younger generations expect mobile app access and notifications, while older generations want something easy to use and manage.

If nothing in particular stands out, start out by explaining the potential benefits — energy management, peace of mind, etc. — along with devices compatible with your system and see what catches their ear. If they are not sure, ask them to describe all the things they wish their home did automatically.


Leverage your Vendor

Smart home providers often offer marketing assistance and resources. Collaborating with the experts can make your life easier and marketing more effective.

Many companies have solutions and training materials — for example, ADT offers a Dealer Development Program to help generate leads and customers. When Icontrol launched its Icontrol One solution for independent security dealers, one of the first things we focused on was a dealer toolkit to help educate home owners and easily position the benefits with customers.

Some examples include:

  • Customer-facing presentations;
  • Customer-facing brochures;
  • Customer direct mail;
  • Customer email;
  • Customer door knob hang tags; and
  • Digital assets.


Get to Know Other Stakeholders

Homeowners are not the only customer base dealers should investigate. Local builders are great lead generation resources as well; in fact, 81 percent of respondents to a recent CNET/Coldwell Banker study said they would be more likely to buy a home if smart technology, such as connected lighting, thermostats, remote-access security and smart locks, was already installed.

Make sure homebuilders understand the property value that home automation offers, and they will see you as a valued partner.

There are a few ways dealers can provide maximum value to this group:

  • Become a resource for the homebuilder. Offer to visit with future homeowners to discuss the benefits of the solution. Help answer technical questions and ensure your homebuilder and their customers are updated on new products and offers.
  • Provide the homebuilder with an incentive to sell the solution. One way to do this is by negotiating to share a portion of the hardware and service margin. For the dealer selling into the homebuilder market, it is not about margin percent but rather about maximizing total revenue and margin through volume.
  • Consider giving the builder a fully functioning system to use for their own home. They will find they cannot live without it, and will be better enabled to sell it to potential home buyers.

We know homeowners are ready and willing to adopt smart technology to improve their sense of security, peace of mind and convenience. We also know they are looking for a trusted advisor to help them understand and install smart technology. All of this adds up to a great opportunity for dealers to delight their customers while growing their business. The time to act is now.


Greg Roberts is Vice President of Marketing for Icontrol Networks. Request more info about the company by visiting