YouTubing the industry
CYBERSPACE--Slowly, but surely, the physical security industry is embracing Internet-based viral marketing, or Web 2.0, techniques. In February, we reported on efforts by AlarmKey, a Reliable Group company manufacturing business software for the security alarm industry, which posted a whimsical analog vs. digital video on sites such as YouTube.com and Google.com. In June and July, video analytic appliance maker ioimage and DVR/NVR manufacturer Exacq both posted how-to videos to YouTube and similar sites.
In short order, ioimage (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGGfzVGr6k8) collected 643 viewings over the course of a month, while Exacq (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsey4je37EQ) picked up 13 views in three days. Both Dvir Doron, vice president of marketing at ioimage, and Tom Buckley, vice president of marketing at Exacq, described the online video efforts as "experiments," but both are convinced that Internet-based viral marketing efforts will be an integral part of future marketing efforts.
"There's no clear role model or benchmark for us to follow," said Doron, "specifically not in the physical security industry. I'm trying to look at other industries and see what they're doing. Like information security, which does utilize Web 2.0 very neatly, specifically on user-driven development and support." While acknowledging he's blending consumer and B-to-B sales channels, Doron noted online forums have been created where IT manufacturers allow consumers to discuss new products before they are released, and use that discussion to refine products.
Buckley said such efforts allow Exacq to complete the vital task of keeping in close contact with channel partners. For instance, www.slideshare.net is the YouTube for PowerPoint files, and www.slideshare.net/exacq features one presentation that's been viewed 567 times. "Communicating with the resellers is really important," he said. "By the time you get a newsletter together and send it out to announce a new development, it's already old news, but the Web gives you all kinds of capabilities to communicate." He said he's using a blog (an online newsletter of sorts that can be easily updated with new information, see www.exacq.com/blog) to give resellers frequent updates, and though some integrators might get glassy-eyed when he mentions the word "blog," they certainly use email and have no problem clicking on a link that takes them to the blog where they can read about technology updates or new marketing efforts.
How will this form of marketing and communication grow? Virally, of course. "Since I've uploaded my video on YouTube, I've been searching for more," said Doron, "and I've found more security colleagues out there doing similar things. I introduced them to my video and they introduced me to theirs, and it's working, it's growing."
Buckley said he's using the online networking site linkedin.com to find like-minded people in the industry.
"I've gotten more business leads off of LinkedIn than any other online source," he said. "I do a search for CCTV or IP video and it brings up people who have accounts on LinkedIn and I contact them and all of a sudden we start talking. We've gotten both vendor contacts as well integrator contacts through LinkedIn."
While both Doron and Buckley acknowledge that they do lose some control over their videos once they push them out into cyberspace, there are controls you utilize to make sure only your intended recipients find them if people are worried about the criminal element using the videos to bypass security systems. In Buckley's case, he discovered the control feature on Google thanks to his 14-year-old son.