Maybe it’s your decision; perhaps you are charged with “finding a marketing company” and need to report back to the boss. Regardless of who starts the process, finding the right marketing company is not for the faint of heart, particularly if you are in the physical security industry.

Do you go for a generalist agency or a niche agency? Do you develop an in-house team? As a security company, how do you best use limited resources?

Today, when the disparity between those who succeed and those who don’t is so great, you must have an answer. Simply put, customers (with fewer dollars to spend) have a world of choices at their fingertips, and we must position ourselves to be first in line.

But how do we accomplish this? With a lot of hard work and skilled marketing experts.

Of course, an in-house team is ideal, but it requires significant resources and oversight. It isn’t enough to have a “marketing person.” It takes a project manager, strategist, digital ads specialist, writer, developer, and more to get the job done right. For most companies, an in-house team is just not a cost-efficient option.

A local generalist agency also offers some advantages and disadvantages. The local generalist can spend time with you in the office. Because they serve a wide range of industries, they may offer more services. However, because they serve all industries, there is no way to understand any of them well. That makes a huge difference in the success of any campaign.

Finally, there’s the niche agency. Obviously, as a niche agency, we suggest the latter. In fact, we chose to become an industry-focused agency for the exact reasons we recommend using one.

Niche marketing agencies are experienced in the industry. That matters. Right off the top, the learning curve is shortened. No one on the agency team needs to tie you up with endless questions as you try to explain your business, technologies and market. Nobody has to ask how to position copy for an end user versus a security dealer or integrator or looks at you like you have two heads when you explain the capabilities and applications of the solutions.

And because they understand the industry, they understand how it is applied in different verticals. It is not enough for an agency to say, “Oh, yeah, we do a lot of security.” An agency focused on the industry knows that every vertical has its own security environment with different needs, regulations and concerns. Working with a few security industry businesses can’t provide the depth of experience needed to gain the expertise needed to deliver with the precision needed to win.

A niche marketing agency also understands the sensitivities of the industry while pushing boundaries. Successful marketing is hard. Marketing for the security industry takes a delicate balance of being objective about social nuances while embracing “creative bravery” to drive engagement and conversions.

But what is creative bravery? Cannes Lions (formerly the International Advertising Festival) provides a perfect definition: “Work that takes chances in pursuit of excellence and changes the status quo. The investment in creative brilliance and bravery is a safe business decision.” If the marketing agency isn’t willing to come up with ideas that may make your eye twitch a little, think twice about its suitability.

Another important reason to consider industry-focused marketing is that the marketing strategies get tested across similar businesses, and what works or doesn’t is already evident. Being the guinea pig for an agency that doesn’t know the industry can run up the cost of ads in a hot second. In a specialist agency, you start with an already vetted process and at the current level of success.

No matter which option you choose, no security industry business today can afford to rely on an “if you build it, they will come” plan of success. While the industry has been historically resilient during all economic climates, we still must do the hard work of positioning ourselves at the front of the pack in order to weather the current or future storms. You created your business for greatness. Now it is time to ensure it.