Marketing Is Everyone’s Business
Most owners/operators of installing security systems companies would agree nothing beats word of mouth/referrals/networking for generating new business. It costs next to nothing and the potential customer is already “sold” on your abilities and services, which means price is typically low on their list of concerns. However, those relying exclusively (or close to it) on this strategy are greatly limiting their enterprise’s potential level of success and jeopardizing its longevity.
In defense, some will say, “I have more business than I can handle” or “I like to fly under the radar.” Good for you! Keep repeating that over and over as your competitors blow past you and grow ever larger, taking your ace employees and top customers with them. The fact is even in this age of “viral marketing” many traditional methods of promotion remain viable, if not vital. Further, even with a focus on referral business it is extremely important to back up your efforts with high quality, supporting marketing materials that reinforce your message. Although our industry’s level of marketing sophistication has come a long way the past 20 years (boosted immeasurably by the mass-marketing phenomenon, despite its shortcomings, and the influx of “household names” like Honeywell and GE), I believe the huge leaps in technology we have seen this decade have led some to take their eye off the ball. Many have become so consumed trying to keep pace with this new technology that they have lost sight of developing the marketing strategies required to both help those solutions (e.g. remote video, GPS-based services, etc.) proliferate and ensure their own businesses maximize growth.
Don’t get me wrong, it is imperative to be up on the latest technological trends (something I endlessly espouse), but the need is no less urgent to emphasize your sales and marketing initiatives. By the same token, your operation will only go so far if disproportionate weight is placed on marketing relative to technology. For optimal results, these aspects of your business must go hand in hand.
These principles are well understood, embraced and executed by those companies named as this year’s SAMMY award winners and finalists. As you will see in the profiles beginning on page 50 of companies such as ASG Security, Stanley CSS (formerly HSM Electronic Protection Services) and Guardian Protection Services, you don’t necessarily need outlandish concepts, a large in-house staff or a big budget to produce exceptional marketing materials that achieve great results.
Get your own program rolling by doing a little soul searching. What positive virtues truly set your company apart? That is what you emphasize. What are the unique characteristics of your client base and the markets you serve (or covet)? Those are the qualities to which you appeal and connect with on an emotional level. What are the specific products/services you wish to sell? Those are what you add value to and explain how they will meet customers’ needs. What is your budget and how will you measure the investment? That is what will help guide your choices among many marketing options.
Addressing those issues will give your company a solid framework in which to launch or fine tune a comprehensive marketing program. Another key point to remember is maintaining consistency in message and presentation. This will impress your branding on peoples’ psyches. Granted these are not complicated concepts, and yet they are frequently overlooked or taken or assumed. Then management can’t figure out why business is flagging. Don’t be myopic when it comes to marketing.
A SPECIAL THANKS …
In connection with recently launching the redesign of SSI, we have appointed a new Editorial Advisory Board (see masthead on page 4). We enthusiastically welcome them aboard! By the same token, we are forever grateful to our outgoing board: Dan Budinoff, Lynn de Seve, Bart Didden, Larry Dischert, Cecil Hogan, Tony Ibarra, John Knox, Don McInnes, Jamie Orvis, Howard Richardson and Grant Thayer. Thanks, guys.
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