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Giving the 'Gift' of Home Security and Automation - for Mother's Day

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Giving the 'Gift' of Home Security and Automation - for Mother's Day


May 08, 2014

By Bob Wallace, Founder, Fast Forward Thinking LLC

Forget overpriced flowers, talking greeting cards and family dinners out, and give AT&T’s (News - Alert) Digital Lifestyle home management service for the mom who has everything and has trouble securing and managing it all – as the carrier is running a special promotion that saves new subscribers $200.

What’s important here isn’t the money saved, but the approach of pushing these services as a gift rather than a home improvement or enhancement that can be done any time, and therefore pushed off. Marketing these packages to the masses is new ground for many operators and requires creative thinking and promos that get the offerings into the front-of-mind space of potential subscribers.

This AT&T promo is a departure from conventional thinking as the equipment and monthly service still cost far more than the more tried and true Mother’s Day options. However, mom gets something of higher value that lasts far beyond the flower bouquets and the other one-and-done trappings of this very special day.

CYA: Cover Your Assets

Home security and automation packages are the gift designed to keep on giving, 24/7, 365 to protect your most expensive physical asset – and the family members, pets and other priceless possessions inside. Service providers are advancing these offerings to help users protect these assets.

Upon closer review, a home management service is perhaps a more viable gift for Father’s Day and even better targeted for the yearend holidays. Dads are typically the ones who endlessly tell their children as Christmas, birthdays and Father’s Day not to get them anything because they already have everything they need. Effective marketing could change that thinking.

Crash Course

For those who haven’t seen the endless TV ads or received standalone direct mail pieces on the offerings yet from the likes of Comcast (Xfinity Home), AT&T (Digital Lifestyle) and other service providers, home management services typically start with remotely monitored security service. From their customers can layer on video surveillance cameras, the ability to control environmental such as heat and electricity, open and close house and garage doors and receive alerts when sensors notice carbon monoxide level increases, smoke and water issues. The list goes on.

While managing and monitoring major home appliances, energy and the health of occupants are in the offing capability-wise, what makes these multi-faceted packages alluring is the ability to remotely control them from a special app on one or more wireless devices.

Beyond Mother’s Day

Time is running out on AT&T’s Digital Lifestyle promo for Mother’s Day, but the opportunities to market, promote and evolve home management services have really just begun. Casting the packages as a gift is smart marketing as those whose sales benefit from an ever—lengthening list of ‘holidays’ thrown into calendars and beyond. What did Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day do for the flower industry?

Consumer electronics are always a fan favorite with both givers and receivers so it should come a little surprise that CE device-driven home management services portends to take marketing opportunities to the next level.

Living and Learning

Almost nothing service menu-wise makes cablecos, telcos and others happier than have a brand new service (for them) to sell to customers that includes many revenue generating elements (equipment, installation, monthly service fee etc.) in a market most have entered in just the last year. Add in that they are broadband subscription drivers and compete only with DYI efforts and the picture is complete.

Operators have been striving to evolve their service portfolios beyond voice, web and TV (and related equipment) offerings, with some previously selling home monitoring services on their own, and seem to have struck on a new packaging opportunity that can be expanded as technology allows for a lifetime (or longer).

Market Momentum (News - Alert)

The demand for wireless devices, the core of home management services is heading skyward. Worldwide sales of wireless embedded smart home monitoring devices, including contact and motion sensors, smart thermostats and smart plugs, grew to 17.23 million last year, almost double shipments in 2012, according to ABI Research (News - Alert).

Looking forward, the firm predicted that “continuing momentum will ensure that by 2018, more than 500 million wireless smart home monitoring devices will be deployed in homes around the world. Growth will develop as new users move to use smart home systems and as users extend their existing systems.”

The Bottom Line

With home management services, it’s not about the money nearly as much as it is about the marketing.

It’s unlikely that AT&T Digital Lifestyle and similar services from other operators will ever supplant long-time Mother’s Day staple gifts such as expensive flowers, talking cards and family meals out. However, getting consumers to think about home management services as a gift rather than just a home improvement is part of a broader marketing strategy that can have consumers looking to cablecos and telcos for more than just voice, data and TV to include services to protect their assets.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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