Having a hard time trying to come up with a perfect marketing campaign to penetrate a tough vertical? Or have you ever wondered why you haven’t heard from that large account you pitched over a week ago? You’re not alone. We recently had a conversation with a security company discussing new marketing strategies for 2014. During the conversation we were asked, “What can I do differently from other security companies to generate inbound leads?”

Within the security industry, the majority of dealers and integrators generate leads by word of mouth and referrals; and they market themselves in traditional ways including direct-mail campaigns, SEO, magazine ads, newspaper ads, and TV commercials. These marketing activities help create awareness and generate leads, but how do you get the attention of that difficult-to-catch prospect?

We have a solution and speak from experience: Self-promo campaigns. What is a self-promo campaign, you may ask? It is getting a big reaction from an outside-the-box interaction. In other words, it is a great way to get your security company in front of a decision maker with a wow factor.

While some marketing techniques deliver a 1 percent to 20 percent response rate, an out-of-the-box self-promo campaign can deliver up to an 80 percent response. In past experience we’ve received phone calls generated by self-promo campaigns even if it was a simple, “Thank you, great promotional piece — but the answer is no.” What is most important is getting that response, because should that prospect ever consider leaving his or her existing marketing company, who do you think they will call first?

How do you go about creating a self-promo campaign?  Here is a quick synopsis to help you get started:

  1. Pick your prospect(s) or vertical(s) wisely. This is not a method for a $99 installation, but for medium to large potentials.
  2. Do your research properly. Find out who the key decision-maker is, get his or her phone number, title and time he or she is usually in the office.  There are many tools to find out valuable information including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, or even paying for a background check — whatever it takes to get the information you need.
  3. Come up with a clever, outside-the-box self-promo piece. It must be something that will make your security company stand out, be seriously considered, or better yet, drive your prospect to call immediately. For example, a check for $100 with a letter stating, “There’s no doubt your time is valuable, so we’d like to pay for 15 minutes of it.”

Here’s an example that landed a large client in the past. We sent the key decision-maker a huge 6-foot box completely filled with packing material and at the bottom was an interactive presentation. The box was shipped via FedEx and required a direct signature in order to be delivered. Within just 30 minutes of delivery, he called: “OK, you have my attention and 10 minutes of my time. Why your company? What makes you better?”

We have even used self-promo campaigns to hear from clients that have gone missing in action after a major error on our client’s behalf. We took a Louisville Slugger® baseball bat, mounted it on a wooden, diamond-shaped plaque that had bases on it. The message was on the pitcher’s mound and stated, “Even the best players get 3 strikes before they’re out. Call us to discuss your account.” Included were two baseball tickets to a Los Angeles Dodgers game. As a result, they did receive a phone call. It did not, however, result in them winning the business back, but they knew where they stood.

Self-promo campaigns work. They get responses and results. They can be used to penetrate difficult verticals including education, healthcare and critical infrastructure or be used after a key account sales meeting and when you need to stand out. An example of this is a branded box containing a nice bottle of cognac, Cohiba cigars, a high-end lighter and an invitation to join you at a nearby cigar lounge. Our experience shows that clients want to do business with friends; it’s not always based on numbers. A self-promo campaign can help get your foot in the door, or back in it to rekindle a relationship.


 David Morgan and Alex Chavez are co-founders of Security Dealer Marketing, a full-service marketing agency for the security industry, servicing dealers, integrators, manufacturers and other industry professionals. Visit Security Dealer Marketing at www.sdmktg.com