The Making of a ‘Marvel’
To most effectively leverage its Five Diamond status, Metrodial collaborated with the Creativ&Company agency to create an integrated marketing campaign. The firm brought in fresh, objective ideas while helping Metrodial identify the most relevant way to reach its target audience, and then develop a potent mix of messaging and delivery methods around that.
“We started with input sessions with Creativ, where they had an opportunity to interview various employees at Metrodial to gain and uncover valuable insights about our business and our customers,” says Andrew Lowitt. “From there, we turned strategies and tactics into actual creative work, and then executed the plan on different levels for a complete contact strategy including advertising, Web, collateral, event and promotional items.”
Among the multitude of specific ways Metrodial promotes and leverages its CSAA Five Diamond accreditation is displaying the logo on banners at alarm association meetings and trade conferences; prominently marketing the certification through collateral, E-mail blasts and social media; and presenting it as validation to introduce the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (or ASAP) program to local AHJs. The company has successfully used its Five Diamond status to obtain favorable insurance rates and strengthen its relationship with responding agencies.
And, of course, there is that treat mentioned at the outset.
“To our knowledge, no other central station company has pushed the marketing envelope to encompass a Five Diamond Hershey bar,” says Andrew Lowitt. “The custom-made chocolate bars have become one of our most successful promotional products, launching our ‘Sweet Approach to the Industry’ campaign.”
Metrodial budgets approximately 4% of its total revenue, which was $3 million in 2012, toward marketing initiatives. The company measures a campaign’s effectiveness by planning and anticipating a certain return on investment (ROI) in the form of sales generation and customer retention. At the same time, management is cognizant of nonquantifiable intangibles such as building brand awareness. The totality of consideration includes looking at cost per lead, cost per acquisition over the short-term, lifetime value of a customer and other criteria.
Connecting With Customers
Metrodial’s marketing tactics are continuously re-evaluated with positive and negative feedback from customers and prospects incorporated to improve the approach. Management views that input as a crucial component in strengthening the customer relationship on which Metrodial places such a high value.
“Connecting with our customers and prospects is just the beginning. Our goal is to build trust via sharing important and relevant information,” says Peter Lowitt. “We need to keep our customers informed of the ever-changing security landscape and up to speed on the latest developments and opportunities. We’ve always seen marketing as a two-way street; a chance to form real partnerships with our customers. By keeping this spirit fundamental to our marketing efforts, we’re confident we can expand our business and enhance our relationships.”
The advent of social media aligns well with Metrodial’s philosophy of fostering a community among its clientele. Thus it has ramped up its activity on Facebook and Twitter. As the younger generation Lowitt, Andrew is particularly keen on electronic and online marketing techniques.
“Our goal is to raise the profile of Metrodial into a contemporary, forward-thinking company,” he says. “The marketing has to deliver this impression at every touch point. The first place prospects generally make their impression of you is online, and a strong Web presence also reinforces confidence to customers. A Web site and other digital channels are affordable ways to instantly update information, news and other aspects of your company. It’s about staying current and sharing important information.”
Internal Pride Equals Eternal Growth
The ultimate goal say the Lowitts is rising above the noise and misinformation to make an impact, always delivering what has been promised and building credibility as a legitimate, safe and confident company to trust for any security need. Those things cannot be accomplished without like-mindedness permeating throughout an organization. From top to bottom, it has to be part of the culture in the form of competency, a positive, can-do attitude, sense of work pride and eagerness to please.
Metrodial’s ability in this regard is evident in an excerpt from an employee letter submitted by Data Entry Operator Susan Wiskemann along with the central station’s Marketing Marvel entry:
Metrodial is more than a workplace. It’s an environment wherein an individual has the opportunity to make a difference. At Metrodial, we understand the information we see on our computer screens represents more than letters and numbers. We recognize that someone in our community and beyond is counting on us to protect what is most important to all of us, our families, our homes, our livelihoods.
Everyone Metrodial hires as an operator must pass the CSAA Five Diamond central station course. This not only ensures they meet the highest industry standards, but also promotes a climate of high esteem within the organization that results in high worker output and a desire to excel. Along with the company’s framed CSAA Five Diamond certificate, individual certificates are displayed on the call center’s walls. Now employees and visitors can also see among those achievements the Marketing Marvel Award plaque, of which everyone is quite proud.
“It’s a privilege to be the second company to win this prestigious award, mainly because it recognizes we are doing something right and are consistent in our approach,” says Peter Lowitt. “We don’t set out to win awards; we set out to build our business and our customers’ business. But we know how important marketing is to make that happen. We are very grateful to be recognized in this important way.”
Not to sugarcoat it too much, but that is indeed a sweet story.
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 15 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. Follow him online via the Under Surveillance blog at securitysales.com/blog.
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Marketing MARVEL Awards