Join the Party as SAMMY Turns 25

A lot has changed since SSI’s inaugural SAMMY Awards. Catch up on the last two and half decades and then join us as we celebrate 25 years of marketing excellence at ISC West.

Ah, the mid-90s … I was working as a film and music critic, had met the love of my life who in 2000 would become my wife, and my beloved Dallas Cowboys were amid a championship dynasty.

Bill Clinton was in the White House, Coolio and TLC were on the airwaves, “Seinfeld” and “ER” were beaming onto TV screens, and “Forrest Gump” and “Toy Story” were packing movie theaters.

Among the harsher events clashing with that escapism was the World Series being canceled (labor dispute) for the first time in 90 years, O.J. Simpson’s acquittal, and a rising tide of domestic terrorism including bombings at the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City and Atlanta Olympics.

From an electronic security industry perspective, it was a golden, booming period when among the leading alarm companies were ADT, Wells Fargo, SecurityLink from Ameritech, Brink’s, Westinghouse, Westec, Protection One and Holmes Protection, and among the top manufacturers were ADEMCO, Detection Systems, Radionics, DSC, Sentrol, NAPCO, HID and DMP.

It was also around this time when one of the industry’s preeminent trade publications, Security Sales, launched its Sales & Marketing (SAMMY) Awards program. The first program of its kind to recognize security installing and monitoring companies for their sales and marketing excellence, the SAMMYs pre-dated my 1998 arrival at the magazine by a few years and was the brainchild of then-Chief Editor Jason Knott, who also hosted the awards ceremony.

He would later become publisher before leaving to head CE Pro magazine, with things coming full circle more than 10 years later when that publication’s owner acquired SSI. For its first several years, the SAMMYs event, in which finalists were honored and winners named, was held in the fall and tied to the premier trade show at that time — ISC East.

When I came aboard, it annually took place at New York’s Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square. After ISC West took over as the preeminent security dealer convention, the SAMMYs gala was relocated to Las Vegas more than 15 years ago — about 10 of which I have been delighted to serve as master of ceremonies. (A bit of trivia: The program skipped a year to account for the timing transition to shift to being a springtime event.)

During that span, the program’s categories have changed with the times, and the scope has expanded to also encompass company business operations and installation expertise. I don’t think Knott ever imagined that a quarter of a century later the SAMMYs would still be going strong, and celebrating a 25-year silver anniversary.

However, that is precisely where we find ourselves in 2020 — and I am personally inviting and encouraging you and your company to be part of this great history by entering one to several (all?) categories.

As I have noted here before, it’s been said that recognition is the most powerful of motivators. People crave praise and the feeling of being appreciated. Studies have stunned business owners and managers by showing that workers value positive feedback above and beyond anything else, including money. That feeds into a consensus among most business experts today — the most critical asset a company may possess is its culture.

Winning a SAMMY is not only outstanding for company morale, it is also a fantastic sales and marketing tool in its own right. And just being named as a finalist is nearly as sweet. A majestic SAMMY trophy prominently exhibited in an office serves as a powerful testimonial to potential customers of that company’s commitment to quality. And the exposure in SSI and online can be shown to and shared with prospects.

The program is open to all electronic security dealers/integrators — regardless of geography or company size — and each entry is evaluated by an independent group of top marketing firms. Take a look at the entry page to see the complete rundown of categories, decide which ones make the most sense for your company and then go to the website shown to enter — it’s free!

Act NOW, but be sure to pay attention to the guidelines, judging criteria and Dec. 30 entry deadline to maximize your shot at this special recognition.

I hope to see you when the tradition continues on Tuesday, March 17 at 4:30 p.m. when the 25th edition of the SAMMY Awards festivities once again unfolds in Las Vegas as a precursor to ISC West.

Also featuring the official SSI Industry Hall of Fame inductions and Most Valuable Products (MVP) Awards, the early evening affair has become a focal point for leading security professionals to gather to honor and network with their colleagues. It’s a can’t-miss event — productive, a ton of fun and free to attend as well. Best of luck to the entrants!

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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