The November issue of SSI includes coverage of this year’s CSAA Five Diamond Marketing Marvel award-winner, Metrodial Corp., as well as runner-up Engineered Protection Systems (EPS). As a bonus, executives from each company are featured in a pair of Under Surveillance blogs. Below in this second one, EPS Director of Business Development David Hood discusses how his company achieves marketing success, tips for other providers, and a look at general industry challenges and opportunities. EPS was also a runner-up for this year’s Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award.
What were the drivers in EPS deciding to participate for Marketing Marvel consideration?
David Hood: We understand the value of using the CSAA Five-Diamond certification to our advantage. To that end, we believe our use of the certification within our marketing plan fit very well with the marketing marvel distinction. Our use of the Five-Diamond certification is unique and the Five-Diamond certification is a large part of that.
What is the company’s general philosophy or approach to marketing initiatives and expenditures?
Hood: EPS stresses two core concepts when it comes to marketing the brand: one, we are a local company who has been doing what we do for over 50 years; two, we are a highly certified security provider with a collection of engineering and technical prowess exclusive to EPS. Following that philosophy, the next goal is to harness the creative logo and brand EPS has built over decades in the market. Lastly, we are diligent in tracking any available marketing metrics. This allows us to continue to mold our marketing materials and programs toward fulfilling carefully designed and obtainable business goals.
How are decisions reached about what the best marketing methods materials?
Hood: There is certainly some experimentation with EPS marketing methods, but we are careful not to stray too far from a brand which has great recognition. The EPS logo and color scheme allows for a variety of creative design. This lends itself to a brand that is easily transferred from print, to online media, to promotional material. Ultimately, the EPS marketing team is able to quickly react to a marketing opportunity while keeping the brands integrity intact.
How do you judge whether a marketing initiative or materials are successful or not?
Hood: The end-game for marketing is to increase the quantity and quality of sales leads. For that reason we go out of our way to ask a simple question to all prospective customers, “How did you hear about EPS?” With a response rate of about 40%, it’s easy to relevantly associate simple responses to what marking initiatives or materials may, or may not, be working. Campaigns and programs are also evaluated throughout and after implementation to discover and define any opportunities for improvement. This includes everything from the media used, to the copy chosen, and the timeframe in which the project was implemented.
What are some other specific marketing items that have proved beneficial for EPS and why?
Hood: Recently, there are three examples of marketing programs which we believe have been very successful. First and foremost, the EPS marketing team goes out of its way to participate in large community events where a security company like EPS can fit a relevant role. These events reach thousands of people and provide a possible one-on-one conversation about life safety and our services. They are also powerful for expanding and penetrating the EPS brand. Secondly, EPS has spent a lot of effort into regional billboard campaigns. The area’s in which EPS serves happen to be incredibly successful billboard markets. We have partnered with award-winning creative teams to come up with simple, yet powerful creative to reach a critical part of a prospective customer’s day; when they are away from their home or business. Lastly, in 2013 EPS redesigned and refined the technology involved with our Web site. This has proven to be instantly successful by internal measurements of around 100%. A lot of hard work and conversation went into creating a lead-generating Web site and its most certainly paying off.
What have been some of the greatest challenges in creating and distributing these materials?
Hood: One distinct challenge has been penetration into smaller markets where some strategies simply are not as effective. These areas are where the most experimentation takes place. Fortunately, we have discovered some strategies that have success.
Who produces your materials, is it an internal function, outsourced? Why?
Hood: Before 2013, almost all marketing materials were outsourced to local business partners. During Q1 of 2013 much of the month-to-month and recurring marketing design was brought in-house. This helped increase production of marketing material while ultimately decreasing the overall cost of design.
What is your opinion of the electronic security industry’s marketing sophistication? What advice would you offer a company on a limited budget looking to market itself in this industry?
Hood: The security industry continues to evolve in not only technology but marketing efforts as well. A great amount of consumer interest is on remote connectivity and lifestyle solutions. Our industry is marketing with this particular focus. If you are on a limited budget, you must develop a strong “go-to market” strategy and stick with it; don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do everything.
What does it mean to you to be runner-up for the second Marketing Marvel Award? Do you believe your approach/plan should serve as a blueprint for other companies to follow?
Hood: For EPS, it means that we are recognized for being an effective and proficient advocate of one of our cornerstone certifications. We believe it’s a critical part of our marketing strategy and being recognized by CSAA shows the perception is mutual. As far as other companies, it’s hard to say. Some specific uses, such as print and Web site inclusion, could be easily mimicked in a universal fashion, yet others may be hard to implement as they are squarely unique to EPS.