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Bold Marketing Strategies Help Safety Technologies Improve Bottom Line

When the recession rocked the world of Safety Technologies Inc., the integrator refused to tuck tail and hide. Instead, it fought back with bold initiatives and strategies. Those actions are not only improving its bottom line but propelled it to capture SSI 2011 Installer of the Year honors.



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Safety Technologies Inc. (STI) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010 by refocusing and retooling like never before. The Medina, Ohio-based company stood strong in the face of a weakened economy by developing new markets and reinforcing its comprehensive, full-service approach to security, life safety and audio/video integration.

STI’s drive, determination and professionalism were instrumental in it being named SSI‘s 2011 Installer of the Year in the small to midsize company classification (fewer than 150 employees). The firm deploys a soup-to-nuts success formula encompassing outstanding customer service, business practices, marketing strategies, personnel management and training, and community and industry service.

“Our goal is to become our clients’ technology advisor, a theme woven throughout our community outreach, marketing efforts and employee philosophy,” says STI President Michael Pope. “The best way we demonstrate this commitment is the professionalism we exhibit by designing every system before it is sold and having the best trained installation staff.”

Growing From Security Roots

STI started out in 1990 as a security installation entity named Securitec Inc. In 1999, the company purchased Audio Video Interiors (AVI), a custom A/V installation company. In 2001, the firm launched Safety Technologies Inc. as a business devoted to providing integrated security solutions.

Today, STI/AVI’s 25-member staff generates $4.3 million in annual revenues serving around 600 accounts spanning the residential, commercial, government, educational and institutional markets. The company is not new to awards, having captured the Consumer Electronic Association’s (CEA) Integrator of the Year Award in 2007, among other honors.

“The numerous national awards we have won have been crucial in our marketing efforts enabling us to win even bigger projects,” says Pope. “The press keeps our staff energized; creating a sense of pride that carries through to all aspects of our business.”

Tough When It Got Rough

As many others did, STI saw its growth stagnate in 2009. However, unlike many of its contemporaries, rather than recoil or shift into an overly cautious damage-control mode, STI responded with verve and vigor.

“At a time when most companies were focused on cutting expenses, we chose to add a marketing coordinator, strengthen our manufacturer support, build a network of architect & engineering partners and increase our PR,” says Pope. “We also took advantage of the real estate market and economic incentives, positioning ourselves for the upturn. We increased our sales staff, engineering abilities and business verticals, and managed to maintain steady sales numbers.”

A summary of the business’ strategic initiatives include the following:

  • Launched a Fire/Life Safety division by recruiting a NICET Level IV engineer, adding inspections, maintenance and standalone fire systems to its product lineup.
  • Developed a Commercial A/V division by hiring a credentialed commercial designer and a certified commercial installer/programmer. “Commercial A/V creates opportunities for cross-selling; commercial clients who also have residential need security clients who want A/V, etc.,” says Pope.
  • Purchased new corporate headquarters. To help cover the costs of building a premier showroom, STI formed an alliance with 30+ companies that have installed products in services. “Our goal is to use event-based marketing in our new showroom, share marketing/client lists, and share marketing costs,” says Pope.
  • Expanded security business by offering advanced security features, normally found in commercial businesses, to its affluent residential A/V system clientele. As of this writing, three of STI’s five most recent large-scale projects included commercial-level security systems ranging from $17,000 to $322,000 in added revenue.
  • STI also added a full-time marketing professional who launched 11 social media sites, co-branded the company newsletter, and optimized and revamped the company’s Web sites. “We transitioned our marketing from traditional approaches to Internet-based,” adds Pope. “Social sites are used to promote as well as to inform and educate.”

These activities combined with residential strategies such as  selling security-based home automation solutions and replacing POTS-line systems with GSM cellular/Internet ones has STI projecting revenue growth to $5 million in 2011.

STI is also quite savvy at marketing, continually assessing and evaluating, and focusing on target audience and resulting lead generation. The company shaved some low-performing programs and focused on growing its E-mail outreach. As a result, 22 percent of leads came through Internet sources and marketing expenditures in 2010 were reduced to 1 percent of sales, or $141 spent per lead.

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Article Topics
Business Management · Features · Installer of the Year · Safety Technologies Inc. · SAMMY Awards · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
Contact Scott Goldfine: sgoldfine@ehpub.com
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