Installations of the Year Make Customers Take Notice

Recently, a regional company seeking to expand its footprint nationally acquired the alarm company that had been monitoring the system that came with the home I purchased in late 2003. Considering the consolidation craze, I probably did better than many — I actually had the same provider for more than a year! Still, I can’t help but feel like I have been reduced to a piece of paper and a computer record.

Being in the industry, I was aware of this transaction before I received notice from the acquiring company. Otherwise, I would have found out when most customers did — through a letter from the acquired company. What was remarkable to me about this letter was that the opening sentence referenced the size of both the new and old companies according to a trade publication’s rankings.

The question I have is, WHO CARES?! What end user is going to be impressed or reassured by being told how large their security provider is, especially according to some magazine they have never even heard of? Very few, if any. To make matters worse, that list comes with more disclaimers than a pharmaceutical infomercial! I have seen this type of thing before and I believe it is a gross marketing miscalculation.

As an industry largely built on the blood and sweat of small entrepreneurs, family businesses, engineers and blue-collar labor, the electronic security industry’s initial success was mostly due to hard work, commitment, need fulfillment and word-of-mouth referrals. Gradually, the industry’s technology and business sense has become more sophisticated.

I believe Security Sales & Integration and programs like our SAMMY (Sales & Marketing) Awards have significantly contributed to raising the business acumen and awareness of its importance. However, as evidenced by this letter, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

What might be more effective than telling your customers you are ranked No. 39, for example, in revenues by some obscure (outside the industry) magazine? How about good standing with the Better Business Bureau, testimonials from law enforcement, a list of well-known clients or something else that speaks to the provider’s level of customer service and/or technical expertise? Now, we are talking!

These are the types of messages that impress and reassure current and prospective customers. And it’s precisely the power that comes with capturing SSI’s commercial/industrial and residential installation of the year awards. These awards indicate the quality of a security company’s work, not the quantity. I don’t know about you, but I value quality over quantity any day of the week.

It’s really not that difficult to add this great accomplishment to your marketing materials. Companies that win these awards simply have to be exceptional in their craft, have completed a recent project they are especially proud of, take a few moments to enter the free program and be savvy enough to exploit the marketing potential.

Two security contractors that fit the bill are featured in this issue’s cover story. Denver-based Digatron captured the Integrated Commercial/Industrial Installation of the Year Award, while Imperial Security Systems of Watervliet, N.Y., won the Integrated Residential Installation of the Year. Both companies had entered before and were determined to be known as the best.

“While we were a finalist for several years, this is a first-class, national competition and some of the runners-ups also had impressive installations,” says Digatron President Tony Ibarra. “We believe that for those that are serious in applying a quality management control solution at their company, this kind of competition increases the level of professionalism in the industry.”

Congratulations to Digatron and Imperial, and don’t miss your opportunity to enter the 2006 Integrated Installation of the Year Awards!