SAMMY Winners Show Off Right Stuff

Michael Keegan, proprietor of Watchguard Security Systems in Jackson, Wyo., was in the mood for mischief leading up to the 12th annual SAMMY Awards.

When his wife and business partner, Luette, mentioned she fancied the idea of entering the residential sales brochure she created into the SAMMYs, he swiftly quashed the thought. The deadline, he told her deceivingly, had already come and gone.

“What I didn’t know was that he had already submitted it,” recounts Luette. 

Eventually, Michael would divulge his playful deceit to his wife after Security Sales & Integration contacted him to say the brochure was selected as a finalist for the 2007 Sales and Marketing Awards program, held on the eve of ISC West in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel. 

As fate would have it, Michael later accepted the trophy on his wife’s behalf; due to business obligations, Luette had stayed behind in Jackson. 

“He called me on the cell phone from the awards ceremony and whispered, ‘You won!’” 

The Keegan’s first-time entry into the SAMMYs stands as testament to the hard work and lengthy deliberations that many in the security industry pursue to create winning brand images, build name recognition and increase sales with marketing materials and campaigns.

If you have a security installation business and are looking to develop or improve your marketing techniques, don’t miss the brief profiles on the following pages for each SAMMY winner in all 10 marketing categories. (You’ll also be introduced to the winners of the Integrated Residential and Integrated Commercial/Industrial installations of year, which will be studied in depth in SSI’s July issue.) The intent is for you to gain insight and glean nuggets of information that you can potentially adopt into your marketing endeavors — and inspire you to enter the 2008 SAMMY Awards. 

For instance, you’ll learn Luette’s winning formula for the artful residential brochure she devised was based, in part, on an acute understanding of the clientele who call Jackson home for only part of the year. 

Some of the award-winning work you’ll read about comes directly from such industry stalwart’s as Mary Lynn Moriarity, director of marketing for Guardian Protection Services of Warrendale, Pa., whose team has been hauling in SAMMY trophies in a variety of categories since the program’s inception in 1995. The 2007 honor for best Commercial/Industrial Sales Brochure makes it a cool 13 SAMMYs for Guardian.

Here is a sage tip from Moriarity that can be implemented into your brochure as well as other marketing tools: Make a strong commitment to quality. “The sales brochure is a first impression. You want to leave something that is memorable.” For example, if you have visions of a 36-page piece but your budget won’t allow quality to be a part of it, cut that back to one-third the size or less to ensure that quality can be maintained. 

“If it means you have to go with a tri-fold that is done very well or a single two-sided sheet, it is worth it to leave something of quality behind. Because it has to speak for you when you are not there.” 

AAA Alarms Systems of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, earned a SAMMY in the newsletter category. For all of the content in AAA Alarm’s newsletter, a particular emphasis is placed on brevity, while appreciating the audience’s ability — or lack thereof — to digest and understand alarm-speak. Here again the winning formula, as explained by AAA Alarm’s marketing manager Kathie Gerrard, is also good advice for all companies to mind when producing not just newsletters but many types of marketing tools:

“Keep it simple. The biggest hurdle we had was all of the alarm lingo in the industry that we understand but the customers don’t necessarily understand,” Gerrard says. “Make sure it is written in such a way that the consumer is aware of what you are trying to communicate.” 

Marketing prowess aside, SSI was proud to introduce the new Community Services Program to the 2007 SAMMYs roster. This year’s winner, Cornerstone Security Group, earned an extended ovation during the ceremony for its Habit for Humanity work in Milwaukee, Wis.

The award is intended to bring attention to the great many hours of volunteerism provided by electronic security industry professionals in communities across the United States.

“The company-wide efforts of many systems integrators to help improve their communities was very impressive,” says SAMMY judge Jon Daum, partner and co-founder of Daum Weigle Inc., a San Diego-based public relations agency. “Community service benefits people in need, those providing the service and the entire security industry. I would hope the efforts of those entering this year’s SAMMYs inspire their colleagues to do more of the same.”

If you are taking into consideration attending or entering the 2008 awards program, maybe this will help inspire you to take the plunge: each year the event provides attendees with a fabulous evening of networking and socializing with some of the biggest names in the industry.

As participants to the 2007 SAMMY installment can attest, the evening provides a great chance to meet new faces or renew acquaintances with others. To learn more about the 2008 SAMMYs program entry requirements, along with categories and judging criteria, visit Click here to view a complete list of the 2007 SAMMY winners.

For the complete version of this story, see the June issue of Security Sales & Integration magazine.

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About the Author


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 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.

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