By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Chicago – The Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) held its annual Fall Conference last week at the Sofitel Hotel in downtown Chicago.
At the meeting members were urged to embrace change, leverage new technologies and capitalize on new opportunities that enhance the integrator’s role within the connected home.
“We are very, very serious about the direction of our organization and the clear benefits we bring,” said Bob Hana, managing director of the buying group for integrators and specialty retailers.
In an address before more than 140 attendees, Hana redefined the role and purpose of HTSA, urged increased collaboration between members and vendors, and challenged both to think in terms of driving new demand.
“As a buying group we have outgrown the role of simply being an organization for buying stuff,” he said. “HTSA must now be a marketing engine to fill the business pipeline by teaming with our vendors and fully supporting our members as they work towards successfully growing their business.”
The three-day meeting, titled “Focused Energy,” also examined lead generation and innovative new marketing initiatives aimed at “enhancing the authority” of the specialty retail and custom integration channel, the group said.
To help members generate new business, HTSA will continue working with marketing partners Netsertive and Revenew, whose services include content management and email marketing tools that feed consumer leads to dealers.
Hana said HTSA’s marketing tactics must evolve with the consumer’s changing purchasing behaviors, and that increased attention to Internet marketing and “community building” is helping members reach a new digital consumer.
To that end, HTSA’s revamped marketing program features a blend of online content and print collateral materials, including:
• a member portal on the group’s new website that enable event sign-up;
• HDLiving.com, an online community delivering fresh, relevant content;
• strategic social media programs that have grown both the HTSA and HDLiving social communities
• a new 2013 HTSA Home Technology Guide, a 44-page printed leave-behind book aimed at inspiring and rousing clients into action;
• database marketing via Revenew that allows HTSA members to create email, direct mail and social media marketing campaigns that can touch 600,000-plus consumers, and;
• a wide range of local search and Internet marketing programs implemented by Netsertive that have driven business-generating leads to members.
Other topics at the conference included the impact of disruptive technologies, disruptive business models, and the role of the cloud. Rather than fearing these technology shifts, Hana urged HTSA’s integrators and specialty retailers to view them as great opportunities to fill a growing consumer need.
“The more confusion there is among consumers, the bigger the opportunity for the integrators to become the go-to specialists,” Hana said.
Elsewhere at the conference, experts from Netsertive, Quixel Research and Intercall addressed the impact of technologies such as 3D printing, nanotechnology and virtual reality, among others, while leaders from Lutron and Control4 analyzed the effects of the cloud on member businesses.
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