October 14, 2009

ADT and Paradox

It’s pretty cool how you can be oblivious to a product category until you realize you need it.  Before we had kids, I was convinced that the John Lewis Department Store in Kingston-upon-Thames had only 2 floors. When my wife was 3 months pregnant, I was staggered that the 3rd floor magically appeared, with a full spectrum of baby furniture, strollers, clothes, and accessories.

The same thing goes for home security.  Although I’ve been aware of the ADT brand for almost 30 years, I’ve never felt the urge to check out their website or think about their products or services.  After living on the top floor of a suburban London flat for the last 10 years, I became complacent.

We arrived in Costa Rica on a high, and the “Pura Vida” approach to life increased my complacency. There is a security system in the house we live in; a fine one from Paradox, a Canadian company.   I just kept on saying “mañana” whenever the thought “I really should learn how to turn this thing on” crossed my mind.

It was only in the hours after the burglary that I discovered what I call “extreme propensity to consume.” The local service agent for Paradox came in and offered me additional sensors.  I said yes.  He asked me if I wanted to buy a GSM box that calls their armed guards and sends me a text message whenever there is an intrusion.  Of course I said yes.

He could have offered me an electric fence and a guard subscription for a year and a dog family and I would have said yes.  It’s VERY scary just how much a home invasion drives a normally rational consumer mind (and I am extremely considerate and pragmatic when it comes to buying anything) into a shopaholic frenzy.

This got me thinking.  If I was the ADT brand manager, of course I would do feelgood commercials like the embedded video above, about being there “Always”.   It’s lovely like any Moby-soundtracked commercial should be (I wonder how much Mute records has made off advertisers using Moby tunes?  I digress).   However, if ADT really want to increase sales, they need to find a way of maximizing the frenzied state of the just-violated-through-burglary-or-other-emergency-mind. I bolded to emphasize the frenzy.

Besides the problematic ambulance-chase approach of sales agents hanging out by the local police robbery unit, they need a clear marketing program for the just-offended.  They could begin with an obvious “Just been burglarized?  Make sure it never happens again” flash feature on their website.  Clear video illustrations of (a) basic setup of a system (b) how to turn the system on and off, and (c) statistics showing how many burglars are deterred by an alarm sounding, as well as how ADT homes compare to non-alarmed ones.

They could set up a hotline, with their best sales reps, only for the just-offended.  If you have some other ideas, please comment. My estimate based on self-analysis and talking with other recent offendees, is that recent victims (we’re talking less than one week) are willing to spend 5 times as much as normal people considering security solutions.

It’s mercenary, but smart brands should be aware of every part of the consumer’s experiential, mental and psychological journey.  Heightened emotions make people do crazy things.  And buy a lot.

A week or two later, that practical, rational mind returned (backed up by a cool Paradox GSM unit).

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