Author, Executive Protection Training
CEO, Director of Training
Independent Security Advisors
May 27, 2021
So how does an industry whose focus is executive protection training or the safety and security of a client and their family market their services? These are serious matters and not the “run of the mill” services you see in a TV or social media ad. But without marketing prospective clients and students may never hear of your company or programs, the risk is a marketing effort that cheapens or raises questions about the very services you provide.
Independent Security Advisors @ISA has been training students to serve as Dignitary and Executive Protection Agents since 2011 and started providing close protection services to clients a year later. And during this time we have resisted any real dedicated marketing because how do you share what you can provide without the typical exaggerating. After all, this is an industry with training providers across the country all claiming “the most comprehensive” program available.
Never mind the program is 3 days and 24 hours of fluff and shiny objects, its “comprehensive” so it’s worth the ridiculous amount of money to attend. So how to market and not get buried among all this other noise. Well, let’s start with #executiveprotectiontraining hashtags. It seems like every social media posting now has 10+ hashtags and each more off-topic than the other. How does #kickingasstakingnames relate to your services or training programs? Seems kind of childish.
Then of course you have Google pay per click, website SEO efforts that trick search engines to move your site to the first page, and the dreaded pop-up ads. And is anyone not blocking pop-ups at this point? So if everyone is paying per click, and making SEO efforts, and screaming outrageous claims were back to the beginning. ISA #isa @isa decided we would only mention our services and training programs in carefully selected media, and using specific ads targeted in a geographic area.
We also decided not to use the common exaggerations, rather we simply listed our accreditations and philosophy of services. Surprisingly it worked, prospective clients and students contacted us from within those geographic areas and we didn’t need to yell over our peers to get anyone’s attention. Of course on the flip side, we were unknown outside that established marketing target area and that cost us some real opportunities.
So the www.eptraining.us web address for the training academy and the www.dignitaryprotection.us address for our services division joined the #executiveprotectiontraining hashtag and the @ISA marketing tag with articles on Facebook and Linked-in in an effort to use educational writings and online discussions and postings to introduce our services and training programs to a broader segment of the market. Not to boast or draw undeserved attention, our efforts were targeted to those who read and liked our articles and wanted to know more about the author or our company.
A small incremental success followed and we built a network within the industry and introduced ourselves to a new segment on the market. But here is when the wheels fell off our efforts, at this point, we were well known and respected among law enforcement and government, but that success started to “scare away” clients and students who felt we may be teaching at too high a level or providing a level of service more than they needed or could afford.
We understood the @ISA dignitary and executive protection training program earning accreditations and approvals from law enforcement, state agencies, and regulatory bodies, not to mention our program receiving college credit recognition and adult education credits may have that effect. It was possible we could be seen as a law enforcement training provider, and unavailable to others but we moved forward.
In 2012 that changed when the @ISA #executiveprotectiontraining program was approved for private investigators in four states, Virginia Personal Protection Specialists, and received the endorsement of the International Foundation of Protection Officers #ifpo.
Now we could offer training to law enforcement and the civilian sector while offering accreditations, credentials, state or regulatory continuing education units, or hours and at a much lower cost to the students because of our partnerships with training academies and agencies.
In 2019 that success was challenged within the industry by a desperate group of training providers who are against standards of training, adamant instructors didn’t need to be certified and accreditations and college credits were a waste and unnecessary. Their claim to fame is “our students like us”. Well, what students shelling our $4k and wasting a week of their lives would admit the program didn’t meet expectations?
So a passive-aggressive and comical effort by some took place on social media to discredit accredited training programs like ours. Having weathered that storm, @ISA added two new state accreditations or credit approvals, and our #executiveprotectiontraining program in 2020 conducted courses in three states in partnership with new agencies and departments. Those naysayers? Well, look at their websites and social media today, they are all “certified”, have “high standards” or claim some type of official approval.
Today the @ISA #isa #executiveprotectiontraining program having completed its yearly and 1st quarter instructional systems design (ISD) evaluation has a refreshed and validated curriculum and new syllabus. Our services division is providing consulting and close protection to clients in the United States and Internationally, and the Domestic Violence Action Network overseen by the ISA CEO Matthew Parker and our charity programs continue to help others.
Loud obnoxious, exaggerated, and bloated claims that form the foundation of some marketing campaigns still exist, just google “most comprehensive EP training” and then read the fine print. But thanks to our friends and early mentors like Tony Scotti, Joe Autera, Carl Persons, Jerry D. Lucas, Raffaele M. Di Giorgio, RRDD, and the late Dr. Richard W. Kobetz we didn’t sell our souls to the borderline dishonest marketing gods.
So thank you all for your advice and guidance over the last 11 years, you were often more patient than we were and it has paid off.
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