Member Discussion

Pros And Cons: Hire A Marketing Company Or Hire An Employee

For a new distributor of video surveillance products wanting to get their name out there, what are the pros and cons of either hiring a marketing company vs hiring an employee?

And is there any marketing companies that specialize in the video surveillance industry?  


Generally, I think the key factor is if you already have a plan in place. If you do, hire an employee and have them execute. If you don't or if you do have a plan and you are not sure how well it really will work, better to hire a specialist.

There are a number of PR firms but those are typically more oriented to manufacturers. 

There are at least 2 marketing companies focused on the security industry - Maize Marketing and SD Marketing. I've interacted with them enough to know they are legitimately in and focused in the industry. I've not interacted with them enough to how good or bad they are. I would talk to both, see what they pitch, price, etc.

Chad, btw, as for your specific situation, what are you doing now that you are competing against another distributor that is using Uniview's own brand?

Hi John,

Thanks for referencing my group, Security Dealer Marketing. Ironically, I just spent some time with Kevin from Maize recently at a SIA event.  He's a great guy with alot of industry knowledge as well. 

I just replied to Chad's original question which is lower on this thread and welcome any additional questions or comments.

Cheers!

David

what are you doing now that you are competing against another distributor that is using Uniview's own brand?

Specifically? Nothing. I am kinda confused at the purpose of that name. Seems like a waste of money to re-brand something, but not enough to distinguish it as a different company. Although that may be what they were going for. Either way, I think it limits their product offerings in the future. 

It should, it's negative for you, since many people will assume that competitor is the authorized / legit Uniview distributor and you are not. 

Also, don't be worried about your competitor limiting their product offerings, they created that name / 'company' 'Uniview Tec' to create an advantage over companies like you. They'll simply create another company name for other lines in the future.

It should

Was this pertaining to the same question you asked me of what I was doing? Or something else?

I understand your point though. And hopefully my question gets some helpful feedback. :)

It relates to your marketing strategy, that's why I bring it up.

How about this? What is your marketing strategy?

Non existent for the most part.

Chad,

Please keep in mind that any 'marketing' company is going to be pretty good at convincing you in a 1-on-1 meeting that they are 'just what your company needs'.

They are, after all, professionals.  They do this all day, every day.

Most would assume that if they are any good at selling themselves, that they will be good at selling you and your stuff to others.

But this is the problem you face, imo:  even companies that are good at selling themselves to you may not be any good at selling you and your products to others.

Ask for referrals from other companies similar to your own that the marketing company has had success in representing.

notice how I made the jump to 'you need a professional marketing entity' based on John's question and your reply.  :)

Well it will be a hard sell with us. In the last 15 years our marketing expense was almost $0. We relied on word of mouth for the most part. But we need more than that now, and don't have much experience in sales/marketing.

But this is the problem you face, imo: even companies that are good at selling themselves to you may not be any good at selling you and your products to others.

This is what I worry about. Hiring a company to represent us, and getting a bad first impression from a not so good marketing company. But that outcome could be the same if we hired a dedicated new employee or used a current one I guess.     

When I started my business, I couldn't afford to hire anyone for marketing but I found through an entrepreneurial group I belonged to that there are a number of individuals who have created businesses around outsourced marketing. These companies will provide full service, all the nuts & bolts marketing or just the pieces you need help with i.e. creating a flyer or brochure, conducting an email campaign, working with an automated system like InfusionSoft etc.  So its pretty easy to keep cost down.

We use two of these companies as they provide different services to us.  Our go to for overall short & long term strategy is: Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D. - President & Chief Marketing Officer - Company name is Fractional CMO.  Office: 888-412-2236 Direct: 480-540-0225 Email: Duke@Fractional-CMO.com - www.Fractional-CMO.com and the other is:  Jennifer Kahtz, Emotive Pull Marketing.  She provides content for your marketing brochures, flyers, website, campaigns etc., OR if you prefer to do it yourself, she provides training on how to create content that works to hit your markets emotional reason for buying - thus the name Emotive Pull. Jennifer Kahtz, 602-430-8900, emotivepull.com.

We've been extremely happy with the results from both and the cost was very reasonable and definitely lower than hiring someone directly.

 

PS:  Duke Merhavy has worked with other security companies and if very familiar with the security industry in general. He might be a good one to start with and let him help you lay out your strategy.  He could also refer you to people he's worked with to do some of the other marketing related things that he might not personally do i.e. photography, videography, website development etc.

 

Best of luck to you!

 
 
 
 

 

There are lots of great marketing firms out there that can definitely help you get going. Getting someone on board has its advantages too. If you hire a decent marketer, this person will live and breathe your brand and what you are all about. He or she will be able to translate that into all marketing activities, get to learn about your customers so the message will be on point, personalized enough, and targeted well (at least an experienced marketer will, not the fresh out of college with zero experience). So if you are willing to hire, your challenge will be to find the right fit, with the level of experience needed to start from scratch and a bit of a "jack-of-all-trades" to do it all, from web to design, to messaging, and anything in between. A lot of marketers are fairly specialized in one area of marketing. As marketing is getting very complex and high tech too, it is getting harder and harder to find someone to do it all. Good luck!

Chad, one smaller marketing step you should consider is LinkedIn and Facebook advertising - that's probably the simplest, lowest cost way to get in front of potential dealers.

Related: LinkedIn's Emergence as a Video Surveillance Marketing Power

A few things to consider, if you go with the outsourcing route:

- Define your goals as clearly as you can so you can shop for an agency that will meet your needs. What are your priorities? Web presence? Advertising based on geo location? You are looking to get your website ranked (SEO) so people can find you? 

- Take a close look at their website. It is very revealing.
Ex: If you want to leverage LinkedIn (and you absolutely should) and the agency has no LinkedIn presence, no link on their website, that is a great indicator they may not be the best fit.
Ex: If the content on the website is all in a Serif font, that means they are likely still in a "print" traditional frame of mind. Arial IS the most widely used font on the web, for good reasons. Unless you are just on the creative side of marketing, it is an indicator that their understanding of web may not be a good match. 
Ex: Look for dates. Do they have a blog? How often do they produce content? If their content is old, then they may not be the best fit to help you with the content/blog part, if you are looking into building a thought leadership presence. 
Ex: You want to bring clarity to you messaging. Looking at an agency site, you should be able to tell within 30 seconds if they offer services you may be interested in.
Ex: marketing automation/email campaign/lead generation: try their online form. See if you get a confirmation email, how long it takes to get someone to reach out to you, if you can additional "nurturing" emails. How good the content is? These are good indicators of how sophisticated their marketing automation is and what they may be able to do for you.  
Ex: Look at their footer: if it still says Copyright 2013, well, maybe the rest is not updated either. And they probably don't pay enough attention to details.

 

Thanks for all the helpful info. Getting my money's worth from that membership. :)

Hi Chad,

This is a great question and I'd like to add some perspective for you and others that come across this thread.  First of all it is important to get a better understanding on what are your goals and objectives. For example, are you a systems Integrator that works within a very small service area or across multiple states.  Are you a nationally-based manufacturer. Are you a dealer with a 25 mile radius service are.  Additionally, what is your budget for marketing. For example, according to Chron your marketing  budget percentage of revenue can be anywhere from 0 - 40% of your gross revenue according to your business' needs and the article also shares the SBA recommends 7 - 8% of gross revenue if you're doing less than $5MM annually.

Once you have your goals/objectives and budget what part of the country are you in? According to Salary.com a marketing manager's salary can range from $72,865 to $129,339 and that's just for one person. I just did a quick search on LinkedIn and used Sales Navigator (paid with advanced searching capabilities) for Moni and there are 18 members of their team that have marketing in their job titles.  18!  So I'm not insinuating that you should run out and start hiring an entire team. The point is that marketing is labor intensive process that requires the proper strategy and resources behind it to be successful. There isn't a magic bullet.  Remember, Methodical and Steady Marketing Wins the Race!

Getting back to answering your direct question, ideally over time you'll have both internal and external resources to help with your marketing. One person can't specialize in all of the disciplines of marketing that you'll need help with: Strategy, content creation, social media (organic and advertising), search engines (PPC/Pay per click and SEO Search Engine Optimization), video production, graphic design and the list goes on and on. 

There has been some great insight on this thread from John, Meghan and Vickie. I may be biased on this but to start you should consider working with a group that can help you with certain marketing activities based on the answers to the questions I just posed. Also, after spending some time on your Website I'm a little confused by your business model. For the Uniview line, are you selling to dealers, end users, both? The fact that you've been selling internet and IP phones for 13 years may give you the opportunity to cross promote the newer camera line to existing customers as well as drive sales to new prospects if that's part of your strategy. Depending on your existing customer base size you may want to consider a formal referral program. In a couple of months, I'll be speaking on a panel at ISC West with Industry veterans, Bob Ryan and Mike Dove discussing Success Stories of Referral Programs that Work.

John had brought up LinkedIn earlier and I wholeheartedly agree with his stance that LinkedIn is a powerful advertising medium that will allow you to target dealers or end users. One thing to keep in mind is there needs to be a minimum audience of 1,000 to launch a campaign. I'd also like to point out Facebook. Keep in mind that Facebook knows more about us than that of our spouses or significant others. Also, 3 out 4 Americans are on Facebook. Yes, there's a slight downward trend with millennials but for Gen X and beyond there are huge opportunities. In a few weeks, I'll be speaking on Increasing Your Brand Through Social Media at PSATEC. I'll give you a few nuggets now. On the residential end, you can target according to demographics and behavior including homeowners, average household income, interests, geography, etc. Things get really interesting on the commercial end in that you can upload a list and whichever email address and/or phone numbers are associated with a profile can be a targeted list. So let's say that you are targeting restaurants and bars, you can produce creative that is speaking to the exact challenges of those restaurants and bars. To take things further, Facebook will allow you to generate a lead without the user even having to click through to your Website.

I know you mentioned that you haven't done any advertising in the history of your business but imagine where you would be if you would have had a strong marketing campaign in place!  I hope that this has been helpful for you even if it generates additional questions.

Thanks for the detailed response David.  Marketing your company seems to be successful. I feel like I already owe you something for all that info and time you put forth with that post.

It's my pleasure Chad.  Glad that you found it informative!  Have a great evening.

Hi David, great insight in that post from a couple years ago. Are you looking for additional clients? If so, we’d like to have a chat with you or a direction we can follow to hiring a security marketing firm.

Thank you for your note and the kind words!

Yes, we are still accepting new clients however are in the process of launching a new shift to our business model which will come qualifications/requirements for new customers.

Please reach out to me directly at dmorgan@sd.marking or my personal cell is 626-806-6800.

Stay safe!

David

oops! I just realized I made a rookie mistake....

my email is dmorgan@sd.marketing

Read some of the posts below, usually the posts indicate a root cause or an answer queue that grows off the question or detail you have proposed. /infinite loop of what is already known.

1. You are a new distributor, yes?

2. Pros and Cons, this or that simulation, you want a deeper dive, yes?

Honestly your business plan should have this covered, if not the team should be actively covering YOUR NEXT STEPS. Meaning; YOU not logic, no math. YOU. CHad Rohde Gut out, what you feel you want to put into your PLAN. A definitive step towards the achievement.../step.

Sitting back in the lawn chair and catering to forums, internet, google knowledgism and relationships errr.... my question to you is if this question is comprised of your own logic and will you should have all the planned out the recipient alternatives as an optionality practice for fortification of the conceptual business construct of marketing to you and what ever you are marketing which is not disclosed in your original OP. CYA freely.

Fishing for comments, insights and opinions on IPVM is like begging, when I look at your intent. Not focusing IPVM, but I this is where I found you.

Noting: However, disregard that negativity, you want results, metrics or a deciding factor. (of which you find on the net, mine or many others does not matter).

An internal assessment movement: Move your internal platform to suggestions and use of the local talent you have to brainstorm the next step. All you need is ONE, just one next step to create movement, fluidity.

Get that? or do you want to hit that unhelpful button? Yes, feel the darkside and hit that unhelpful button like so many others do that know my UD posts.

You have everything you need Chad, run the tests again, just one more time. Create, Innovate and ascend to a higher level.

If you want the simple answers, you have enough bait in the water for the regulars. /peace.

you posting as Undisclosed always makes me laugh a little bit.

your narrative style is pretty unique... i.e. anyone who follows Discussion threads know who you are anyway.

Thanks UD#1, you're the best (when Undisclosed). Very much appreciated.