Every company has a marketing strategy, a target demographic they want to attract to their products or services. But until yesterday July 9th, 2018 we didn’t care about a marketing plan. Let me explain,
Independent Security Advisors (ISA) provides dignitary and executive protection services and fully accredited training, but our clients are governmental, and our students come from law enforcement, the military and some limited numbers from corporate security agencies or companies.
So when we started our company, our market was limited and our efforts specifically targeted. No real social media, the occasional post on Linked-In, no adverts or any real effort to become known across the industry. Just a word of mouth campaign within law enforcement and a few government agencies. All our training was conducted from police academies, college campuses and hosted by official agencies, and we do extremely well.
But then this week a respected peer said “Yep, no one knows or as far as me I don’t” in response to my pointing out the technology, benefits, and curriculum of our training programs.
Seriously; Our executive protection program spent over a year being vetted and evaluated by state law enforcement commissions, and another year being evaluated for college credit recognition. We received accreditation in six states for both law enforcement in-service credit and private executive protection credentials. Yup, no one knows.
We spent hundreds of hour’s beta testing every class with former secret service, DSS, state law enforcement and executive protection specialists from the corporate world. What resulted was a balanced program that addressed the critical components of executive protection, yet still addressed the requirements of the Department of Criminal Justice PPS program. Yup, no one knows.
We spent money; oh man how we spent money. On 7 in notebook & cargo pocket tablets, on 10 in dual processor, touch command tablets, laptop workstations and printers, radios, smartphones, blue tooth technology, cars, suv’s, etc. etc. Every student gets a full mode tablet for research and practical exercises and 7 in tablets for advance work, site surveys, and communication. And BTW, we train on the use and threats of drones. Yup, no one knows.
From Jan 2012 to March 2018 we have had students from federal agencies, the military and from across law enforcement, over 800+ students. Yup, no one knows.
Joe Autera and Tony Scotti have spent hours on the phone with me trying to get us to use social media or write an article, something, anything to get known. Nope, our clients didn’t want us all over social media and our law enforcement students didn’t use Facebook. Our classes are full, why bother.
Dr. Kobetz, god bless him, called me a few years ago and offered to be a guest speaker for one of our classes in South Carolina, a mentor to me for over 10 years I accepted but never did much in the way of advertising. Why bother, we train law enforcement and students from government agencies, besides why would I want to get into a market dominated by EPI, ESI, or Mr. LaSorsa, I don’t target the civilian EP market and our classes are fully accredited, accreditations most civilians don’t know they may need. Yes, we had a few civilians attending classes, but they were retired LEO, veterans and private security.
Joe Autera, Tony Scotti, Eric Parker and Raffaele Di Giorgio have all been willing guest speakers and instructors, and federal police officer Cynthia Schulz Moy the greatest role player-evaluator ever. And Yup, no one knows.
In August 2016 I was cc’ed on an e-mail from Mr. LaSorsa, telling a prospective student to reach out to us, (Jaw drops to the floor) and in 2017 Eric Parker told a graduate of his great program he supported our going to Chicago to conduct a class sponsored and hosted by his graduate. Who does that today, who actually shows professional respect for a peer in this industry? And we told no one, made no use of either event to sell our program. Wouldn’t have known how anyways. Instead of competing we have sent students to VDI, referred them to Eric Parker and Mr. LaSorsa, and never thought twice about it.
Fast forward to 2018 and after repeated requests for classes open to civilians we said fine and added a few to the schedule. But now what, the students who wanted to attend have filled the last few courses conducted at George Mason University, Virginia Tech University or from various academies in and around DC. How do you now market yourself after trying to stay hidden for 6 years?
In August and September 2018 we are conducting EP training from the campus of Montgomery Community College, a facility with an NRA range on site, fully certified first aid, CPR and AED training, and a drone academy. Fully accredited and recognized for college credit and all I can think to do for marketing is an occasional mention on Linked-In and Facebook. In fact just a day ago I said nice things about two of my “competitors” in a post on Facebook, am I doing this wrong?
Yup, you don’t know us. But for those that do, for those students that have referred others, for those agencies that keep sending their officers to us, we have always appreciated your continued confidence in us and our programs. We may try to get into the whole marketing thing, but we won’t forget where we came from and you will always have the first call on seats.
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