Ace Marketers Reveal Their Methods

Security dealers/integrators from across North America entered the 15th Annual SAMMY Awards to match their sales, marketing and installation prowess against industry peers. Who won and why, plus what can you learn from their successes is explained within.

Vector Security
Best Broadcast Advertisement
Sponsored by Tri-Ed

Spreading the Security Message With Radio

Vector Security’s SAMMY Award-winning radio broadcast ad opens with an upbeat female voice declaring on an outgoing answering machine message, “Hi, Steve and Margie aren’t home. We’re taking the vacation of a lifetime! That’s right; no one will be home for the next three weeks.”

Pity the ne’er-do-well who seizes the chance to ransack the happy couple’s empty abode. Margie’s message continues: “I don’t mind saying that because before we left, we called Vector Security. They installed a complete home security system protecting us from intrusion, fire and even carbon monoxide. Now we’re enjoying ourselves instead of worrying about what is going on back home!”

The 30-second spot delivers a lighthearted, uncluttered message for a potential customer to ponder, then concludes with Vector’s contact information. “With radio it’s all about talking about the things people are leery of in relation to leaving their home,” says Dave Merrick, Vector’s vice president, marketing. “We want to bring to the forefront that every time you leave your house it could be the time you are chosen for a visit by a burglar.”

The spot was written by Vector’s marketing team and recorded by radio station talent at WILK Newsradio, which Vector buys ad time from in its regional market near Pittsburgh.

While Merrick embraces broadcast advertising — the company is currently spending about $1,300 per month for its radio ad buys — he cautions other companies to be certain in selecting a station that delivers the right audience.

“Anybody that says ‘let’s do radio’ without first giving it a lot of thought is being kind of foolish,” Merrick says. “Radio has become so fragmented. There is a channel out there for virtually every specific demographic interest.” And how do you gauge the success of a radio broadcast ad? In most cases, don’t expect an immediate influx of customer inquiries.

“The direct response leads are going to be few. But if you see over the course of three to four months that your residential leads begin to uptick, then you know it is doing something positive,” he says. “It is all about the cumulative effect.”

Smith & Wesson Security Services

Best Vehicle Graphics Design
Sponsored by ESA

Vehicle Graphics Design Is No Idle Mission

After taking home the SAMMY for Best Overall Integrated Marketing Campaign in 2009, Smith & Wesson Security Services found itself back in the limelight this year with its winning vehicle graphics design entry.

As with all Smith & Wesson Security Services promotional efforts, a great deal of care went into creating a vehicle graphics design worthy of incorporating and upholding the integrity of a 157-year-old iconic brand.

“What we tell our dealers is you are not selling a product, you are selling an image,” says Wayne Wahrsager, president of New York Merchants Protective Co. Inc., which is licensed to design and market Smith & Wesson-branded security systems. “The brand recognition and the image is ultimately the most important thing that the dealer can convey to the customer.”

With the help of a graphics artist contractor, several design prototypes were deliberated and drafted. Eventually, four work vans were wrapped in the individual design variations and driven to a bustling shopping mall in Garden City, N.Y., to be scrutinized during consumer focus group sessions.

“We hired a market research firm and they did a brand awareness study. People rated the vehicles on what they liked and what they perceived. What you see is the winning entry,” Wahrsager says.

If you’re a company owner considering a vehicle graphics design makeover, consider: “We found that less is more. The versions of the graphic that didn’t work were the ones with too much on the vehicle — too much information, too many distracting graphical elements,” Wahrsager says.

Along with the dealer company contact information, the minimalist design incorporates the Smith & Wesson Security Services logo and four succinct bullet points: Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and 24-Hour Monitoring. Exuding peace of mind was an important element in the vehicle graphics design as well.

“We are not looking to make this something that is driven by fear. This is a very clean, respectable branding,” says Wahrsager.

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