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SAMMYs 2009: Making Marketing Magic

SecurTek Monitoring Solutions, Custom Alarm and seven other industry-leading companies reveal their award-winning sales, business and installation practices and techniques. Top marketing minds explain how to balance effectiveness and expenditures.



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SecurTek Monitoring
Best Company Newsletter
sponsored by Visonic

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All the News That’s Fit to Print

Judging by its performance in the SAMMY Awards, SecurTek has shown a great deal of acumen in creating straightforward yet substantive company newsletters. Not only has the company won the category for two consecutive years, it was also victorious in 2004 and was a finalist in 2006.

Titled The SecurTek Monitor, during the past several years the company has made subtle conceptual changes to the newsletter, adjusting its layout and design until finally devising a standard template for a two-fold style. Artwork consists of a main seasonal photograph (the 2008 holiday edition features a father reading to his two small children, cozily, next to a kindled fireplace), plus secondary security-related images.

Working with a standard template has allowed the marketing team to build efficiencies into the workflow of producing the biannual product. Its fundamental elements maintain a simple, airy design. Articles are kept brief and exclude industry jargon.

“Think about it from the customer’s perspective and write in everyday language,” advises Woodhouse. “Make it relevant to your customers’ perspective.”

Editorial content includes familiar fodder such as fire safety and security tips, but also updates on the company’s civic involvement and the like.

“It’s not just about focusing on products and services anymore,” says Kristy Cmoc, a product research analyst. “It’s how can we enhance security and give different tips and tools to help customers in their everyday life, and provide them insight about our company.”

In the past, editorial content came mostly by way of suggestions by SecurTek employees and its dealers. The SAMMY-winning 2008 holiday edition, however, began a new era with bylined submissions from employees to evoke a more personal connection with the reader-customer. The intent is to eliminate generic content and help facilitate the customer in making a connection with the company.

“For the customer, they know it was personally written by one of our staff members and not just lifted off the Internet,” Cmoc says. “It shows that we are concerned about our customers in making sure they get the information they need.”

Soliciting staff members for submissions in order to build personal connection is a two-way street, Woodhouse says.

“Internally it also helps us emphasize that customer focus throughout the company. Everybody starts thinking about the role that they play and interaction with the customer — whether or not they talk to the customer directly or not,” she says. “They think about the service we provide and how we can make it better, how we can help our customers better. It’s re-emphasizing that customer-centric organization.”

SecurTek Monitoring
Best Broadcast Advertisement
sponsored by Fire-Lite Alarms by Honeywell

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Fairytale Success for Animated Ad

On the night of the 2009 SAMMY Awards, when the lights came back up after the Best Broadcast Advertisement entries played on a big screen, the victor seemed all but certain. An animation with Little Red Riding Hood in the starring role — all 30 seconds of it — had charmed all in the audience.

The spot opens with a highly strung TV newsman speaking over footage of the ransacked home of the Three Bears.

“... and the victims’ porridge was eaten,” says the newscaster, hastily. “A blonde-haired suspect has been taken into custody.”

Little Red Riding Hood can’t bear the news and shuts off the television, lamenting, “First the pigs’ houses and now this?”

Confidently she strides to her wall-mounted key pad, red cape flowing behind her, and activates the alarm.

“It’s a good thing we’ve got SecurTek home security,” she tells her nervous pet goldfish.

The winner was indeed a forgone conclusion, with Woodhouse taking the stage to collect SecurTek’s second SAMMY trophy of the evening.

The idea for the fairytale-inspired commercial — view it at www.thesammyawards.com — spawned from meetings with Woodhouse’s marketing brethren at SaskTel, a Saskatchewan-based telecommunications provider and owner of SecurTek. The group was brainstorming ideas for TV ads beyond the usual retreads when the suggestion of an animated spot was discussed. Woodhouse thought the idea would work for SecurTek as well.

Working with its ad agency, the SecurTek team chose to incorporate fairytale stories that involved breaking and entering, while demonstrating the usability of its residential security system. The eventual spot — which aired in the Saskatchewan market — would become an integral part of an overall marketing campaign budgeted at more than $200,000, including print, TV, radio, billboards and other ad buys.

“For us it was a major splurge,” Woodhouse says. “We have a relatively small marketing budget. We have to be very cost conscious.”

Rather than considering it purely a marketing expenditure, SecurTek sees the ad — which consumed a significant share of the allocated marketing budget — more as an investment. United States-based alarm and monitoring companies are making inroads into Canada, heating up competition, Woodhouse says.

“We felt we had to solidify our market position in order to keep SecurTek in top of mind [in the marketplace],” she says. “It was a huge investment, but it has been worthwhile for us.”

The ad’s effectiveness has been a success for SecurTek, surpassing its expectations, Woodhouse says. The company tracks leads and sales that come directly to the company and it has contracted with a research company that measures “recall” of the ad’s messages.

“If companies are going to make that kind of investment they do have to be careful,” she says. “You have to have good tracking methods to make sure you are getting that return on investment.”

Taking home the SAMMY also further solidified SecurTek’s belief that the capital outlay necessary to deliver the ad’s subtle security message was money well spent.

“For us the SAMMY Awards are quite important,” Woodhouse says. “There are often times you sit and wonder if we are doing what we should be doing … are we hitting the mark? It’s validation for what we do.”

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Article Topics
Business Management · ASG Security · Cover Story · Custom Alarm · Provident Security · SAMMY Awards · SecurTek · All Topics

About the Author
Rodney Bosch
Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.
Contact Rodney Bosch: rbosch@ehpub.com
View More by Rodney Bosch
ASG Security, Cover Story, Custom Alarm, Provident Security, SAMMY Awards, SecurTek, Stanley CSS


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