To market, to market

Watchdog responds to growing retirement population
Monday, November 1, 2004

HEMET, Calif.- Responding to the growing number of retirees relocating to southern California, Watchdog Security Services has retooled its marketing efforts to focus directly on this segment of the population here.

To market directly to seniors, Watchdog has combined its alarm system with medical alert technologies, such as neck pendants or wristbands, a device a homeowner can use to alert the central station. It then allows an operator to activate a two-way voice system.

“Two-way voice lends itself to this market segment,” said Nigel Smithers, president and chief executive officer of the company, which employs 15 and serves 3,800. “Since seniors generally live in homes under 3,000 square feet, this type of installation can communicate with these people wherever they are in the home.”

The three-year old company- a residential installation company that also delves into the light commercial market- is located 75 miles outside of Los Angeles, over the mountains from Palm Springs in a retirement community that is consistently growing.

“I saw that it was an underserved market,” said Smithers.

He said installations for these types of combined systems have grown over the past six months. Now 85 percent of systems sold encompass two-way voice technology.

Tim Sharp, marketing program manager for Monitronics who provides the two-way voice monitoring for Watchdog, said that as of August 2004 roughly 50 percent of its dealer base offered two-way voice as an option. But many consumers are not aware that it is out there.

“Consumers are not necessarily asking for it,” Smithers said, “but as soon as you tell them about it, they become interested. It’s all about educating the consumer.”

Smithers said he has also seen increased interest from single families for the two-way voice systems. He said consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about their options and that is forcing alarm companies to step up their offerings.

“The marketplace is maturing and people want a professional consultation,” Smithers said. “Someone who cares about their concerns and can design a system to their needs.”