Many of us remember playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos as kids. The objective was to gobble up the most white marbles on the board; the hippo with the most marbles won.

But what if you could have rigged the game? What if you could have attracted all the marbles to you instead of putting so much effort into continually reaching out over and over again, only to sometimes come back empty? It would have been nice, right?

What are we getting at? Having dealt with over 75 security industry clients on our three and a half year journey we have come across many hungry hippos. It would appear that when it comes to existing marketing efforts, many feel more comfortable playing it safe, being unrecognized, staying under the radar and seeking to appeal to anyone. Many believe that if they simply put out their name along with the same message that their competitors lead with, somehow or another it will pay off. But even after much effort, in the end, it doesn’t. In today’s security market, where it’s easier for the consumer to go with the winners (meaning the 800 pound gorillas of the industry) you can’t afford to play it safe. You must find some way to stand out and be recognized.

A good way to get your company recognized and to be thought of is to focus on a particular niche. Oh no! You said the nasty “N” word — niche. But that means I’ll be turning away clients that aren’t in that particular niche, or somehow I’m going to lose business —  right? Wrong.

For our business, Security Dealer Marketing, the idea of being a niche marketing agency was a scary thought for me. I had owned my marketing agency for 14 years and handled a wide variety of accounts such as the Hard Rock Hotel, MTV, Ed Hardy, Exotic car rental company and many more. After some convincing from my business partner, David Morgan, three months into our venture together I started to notice it was a whole lot easier to cold call a marketing company that specializes in security and get them to talk to us versus their local agency trying to solicit them. The same can be said for our clients who continue to help penetrate new verticals or gain new clients via their websites, direct mail, eNewsletters and magazine ads.

Guiding our clients to focus their marketing efforts within three verticals and creating material to show they are experts within those verticals has lead to more success than a shotgun approach (meaning sending out a generic message in hopes someone will turn it into a lead). To dive even deeper on the topic, we recently sent out a direct mail piece to a major chain of hair salons with relative buzzwords and scenarios pertaining to their unique security needs and the challenges they face every day. After one month of sending them out, our client saw a 12 percent response rate. Now, we’re no mathematicians, but we think you’d agree that’s impressive.

 We’re almost positive that you already likely have experience in one to five verticals that vary from fast food restaurants, healthcare, critical infrastructure, to even hair salons. Try breaking up your marketing efforts and segmenting your campaigns to speak directly to your targeted audience. In your large headlines, challenge them to think about their security challenges or if they are actually benefiting from business intelligence. Example? How about for a fast food chain: “How many free meals do you think go out your drive-thru window each day?” Follow up with an answer and let them know how you’ve helped similar restaurants that deal with the same challenges they do. We guarantee your results will be better than your generic, general messaging. Until next time, believe in being great, different and most importantly, follow the purple cow — moo! For more, visit