Alarm Monitoring: Following The Smart MONI
In what might be a new trend, market repositioning by one of America’s largest alarm monitoring providers highlights the pressures on companies seeking to grow in the alarm monitoring and home automation space.
North America’s 5th largest monitoring provider, Monitronics, with 600 affiliated alarm installers, 1100 staff, 1,070,000 subscribers and gross sales of close to half a billion dollars annually (about $US46 million RMR), has relaunched its business in order to “mesh better with the smart home shift”. The move will help the company transition to a “new era of smart home security that brings increased speed and personalisation to the market”.
Monitronics is now known by the much groovier title MONI. The name is arguably more memorable for end users and it certainly gives the MONI marketing team something to talk about other than what looks like a clear case of cutting its customers’ grass. It’s not going to be the easiest sell for the MONI team, convincing installer partners that going direct to users is about benefitting their businesses thanks to a more widely known brand but MONI deserves credit for giving this a try.
“We began this journey about 10 months ago, taking into consideration the Monitronics name and the brand and the fact that we’re not a well-known brand, which was always intentional,” Bruce Mungiguerra, senior vice president of operations, told SSI recently. “We spent our time being the secret sauce behind our dealer partners and allowing their independent brands to be the focus for the past 22 years.”
The implication here is that this state of affairs will change. The new MONI brand will be marketed to consumers and supported by direct-to-consumer sales and customer support. The company says this will allow MONI to sell custom solutions into the home, as well as “nurture the company’s dealer network by showing consumers the strength behind the individual dealer brands”. The new branding will also provide dealers with national marketing, sales and customer service support necessary to compete more effectively in their regional markets.
MONI seems to be walking a fine line – whether installers are happy competing with their provider is yet to be seen. But in fairness to MONI, the move may also be based on disappointment with the ability of its existing dealer network to punch into the home automation market and realise expected rates of growth. Regardless of the conflict of interest, the company says the MONI brand and the investment in the company’s new strategic focus will create for its dealer partners a stronger “ingredient brand”.
“Ultimately, a stronger MONI brand will help them (installers) with a better reputation and increased awareness,” Mungiguerra says. “Our focus on developing more products and helping create stronger packages for our dealers to sell will help them grow as we grow.”
MONI will be individually branding its home automation and controls apps through Alarm.com and Honeywell’s Total Connect platforms. New smart home product offerings will be added to its portfolio, joining recent additions such as the SkyBell HD video doorbell and the Nest smart thermostat.
“As we thought what the future could be for us and how we can grow and really design Monitronics around being a direct-to-consumer brand, in addition to our dealer brands, the name change was the one thing that kept standing out to us,” Mungiguerra says. “The home security solutions market is changing, and changing quickly. We, as the new MONI, need to change along with it.
“We see the new brand as the beginning of the new era of smart home security, and really for us with placing an extra emphasis on the customer-centric and personalization aspect of it as well,” he says. “We really want to make sure we are offering a truly personalized customer experience and commitment to the continued rapid response to alarm events. We want to help address the personal home and security concerns that matters most and that is peace of mind. We will continue to have that as our core focus.” ♦