San Diego - The Home Technology Specialists Association (HTSA) is holding its first meeting under managing director Bob Hana here, this week, under the theme "Focused Energy."
However, the meeting could have been called "lead gen" or other catchphrases of online integrated marketing that Hana used in his opening presentation, where he stressed the need for such an effort by the group, in cooperation with its vendors, to grow the group's business.
HTSA, which has 63 members and about $400 million in annual sales, has several new vendors in its fold: Key Digital, Lenbrook America (NAD and PSB brands), Leon Speakers, Pakedge and Sunbrite TV.
Much of his presentation, and a panel on market outreach that came after it, was less about technology and brands and more about generated leads with strong marketing programs and making sales.
"Membership has to be serious about what the mission [of HTSA] is. We must support the vendors that we work with ... walk the talk. Marketing will be how we do it, how we can make it happen," he noted.
Hana said his goal is to make HTSA "a fully integrated marketing group ... one that is serious about selling [upscale] goods and services that can only be sold by us."
He said the only way to do that is to get leads "from Facebook, from online, from other social media, and do it effectively."
One of the main goals is to "lead the industry in selling technology for the connected home ... and must support those vendors who support our business model. We need to support the guys that support us, give it our best shot and share our expertise to our fellow members."
Hana has implemented quarterly business plan reviews with members to "stay focused" to find out "which brands are selling ... and to review sales performance goals."
Newly hired Kathleen Marini, HTSA's marketing director, has been charged with developing a group database to get "more eyeballs to our websites" and increase efficiency online for lead generation, improving ROI to "acquire new clients."
As part of the plan there will be special "e-campaigns, negotiated specials from vendors," more SEO and paid search, greater use of HDLiving.com, social media, outreach, traditional media and print. "I don't care if it is e-marketing or sandwich boards ... if it works, we will use it."
HTSA hopes to use "pull" marketing tactics with a common database and basic web marketing, direct mail, email, online ad campaigns and member Facebook campaigns to get more leads.
HTSA.com will be completely reworked by May 15 to make it a more informational site with minimal navigation. "The key will be information," Hana said. Also the group's Intranet.htsa will be upgraded with a target date of June 2012.
On HDLiving.com, Hana said, "It is good, but its presence and ability to create demand and lead generation has to be improved." He urged vendors to help the group create new searchable content, not just in text, but in audio and video demos instead of just reading about it. "We need to provide the audio and video experience we are selling," Hana said.
HTSA members sites will receive new SEO services and templates will be provided in a variety of ways -- with vendors or on their own -- to send emails to existing clients and potential new ones.
"Databases will be refreshed and we will get the message to our members' customers. We will be able to do monthly newsletters and there is an opportunity for vendors to provide content for them," he noted.
Providing Facebook timeline support, better ROI metrics on lines, improved creative services of all types for both sales and marketing and training will be part of the effort.
And Hana said that the "HTSA Style" outreach program will be developed by a committee of members that will go to other trades -- architects, designers and construction companies -- to again, find more sales leads.
The first HTSA Marketing Summit will be held in Chicago June 11-13 with 15 to 20 vendors and an equivalent number of members "who are marketing people. We don't want sales VPs or CEOs. We want people who speak the language of communications tools -- e-marketing, social networks, outreach, ROI -- because we have to get serious about this. All of us [vendors and members] are all in the same pond. HTSA wants to sell the products from the vendors that support our business model."