The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Bang Your Business' Drum to Brand and Expand
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month's great idea comes from Scott Goldfine, editor-in-chief of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION.
Goldfine's great idea:
You may be running a great company, but unless you let your customers and prospective customers know that through actively marketing and branding your business, you've only done half the job.
This month's Big Idea contributor might seem a little unconventional. After all, it's not every day a chief editor is featured in his own publication, let alone in a column by the very columnist he selected to publish each month. But know this: If anyone has been a more diligent observer of the electronic security industry, I don't know who it is.
Although Goldfine has never owned or operated an installing alarm company, he has been responsible for shaping much of the thinking in the alarm industry. From SSI's industry-leading original research to the industry's only sales and marketing awards program (SAMMYs), to SSI's industry Hall of Fame, to the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award, each of these endeavors have all occurred under Goldfine's leadership. Who better to have a really big idea?
Unquestionably, Goldfine's great idea is spot on. The more I considered it the more convinced I became that it is truly insightful. If all we do is sit in a car, and know how everything works but never drive anywhere, can we call ourselves drivers? Of course not. What Goldfine wants dealers and integrators to be deeply aware of is there are ways of telling your story. There are cost-effective methods to inform your clientele about your firm's unique qualities that separate you from the rest of the pack.
Consider what this industry's top installing security contractors all share in common:
- Professional-looking Web sites, many of them with interactive features
- Constant dissemination of press releases, touting accomplishments
- A unique and memorable graphic image utilized on all communications, marketing collateral, etc.
- Company vehicles that serve as rolling advertisements, emphasizing the quality of the business and brand
- Salespeople, service people and technicians all dressed in identifiable attire that is easily recognizable
- Client hotlines that are answered immediately; staffers who are empowered to make quick decisions
- CEO or one of the top three executives is also the head cheerleader, giving speeches, seminars, accepting awards and recognition
Toot Your Own Horn
Where do you start, and where do you end? Let's face it, the majority of owners and operators of companies in our industry come from law enforcement, technical and a wide range of other backgrounds. For these folks, even those well versed in business management, marketing can be a relatively foreign pursuit. If it is outside your comfort zone and expertise, hire an expert or outsource it.
Now let's circle back to Goldfine's great idea. Put another way, you can have the best mousetrap in the world, but if the world doesn't know about it, you're not going to sell many mousetraps. The great news is you don't have to have a huge marketing budget to be successful. With the Web and social media there are more avenues than ever to get your message and branding out there, many times at little to no cost. All it takes is some focus, creativity and action.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates Int’l in the 1980s.