Lenco Armored Vehicles:
Using Digital Marketing to Inform
and Transform Operations
It was June 2008 and Lenny Light had recently taken over marketing channels for his family’s business. Lenco Armored Vehicles had strong brand recognition and market penetration, but measuring the effectiveness of its marketing efforts proved frustrating.
Like most public safety companies at the time, Lenco was focused on print advertising. “Print ads have a short life span and they create the challenge of traceability,” says Light, who now serves as vice president for the company. “When a lead came in, we would ask what magazine they saw us in. We would track that in Excel and tally it up at the end of the year. It was archaic.”
And while sales were good, the company was always looking for ways to increase leads, generate awareness of its new products and features, and “focus on the assistance we provide to help agencies purchase our vehicles,” Light says.
"If you were to pick only a single entity to advertise with in public safety, Lexipol is #1—and there isn’t a #2 that comes close."
The desire to have more insight into marketing campaign effectiveness while also exploring new marketing channels led Lenco to Police1, the largest online audience in law enforcement. Now part of the Lexipol Media Group, Police1 averages 1.3 million monthly users and nearly 650,000 email subscribers.
Lenco started with banner ads and newsletter placements, quickly seeing success. “There wasn’t then—and there isn’t now—a single online publication with the reach, viewership and readership that Police1 has,” Light says. “Digital marketing allows you to see ROI, not just for publication, but for the type of placements. So you can compare how a small banner ad does against a dedicated eblast, and take into account cost per lead and other metrics.”
Over the years Lenco expanded its digital marketing efforts, taking advantage of Lexipol’s offerings for sponsored content, ebooks and the Response Marketing Platform. The company also branched out, advertising not only on Police1 but on FireRescue1 and EMS1.
Another innovative marketing opportunity came through Lexipol’s Grant Assistance Platform, which connects potential customers to grant opportunities to help fund product purchases. As a Grant Assistance Platform sponsor, Lenco provides its prospects with free grant alerts, research and application reviews. In turn the company gains increased exposure on Lexipol’s GrantsHelp sites.
“We’ve always supported agencies with grant research and grant assistance—our sales manager used to send this out as a Word doc, and later we turned that into a grant help guide,” Light says. “So when PoliceGrantsHelp launched, it was a no-brainer for us to be a key sponsor. We want our customers to see that Lenco goes hand-in-hand with grant assistance. And it definitely worked. Agencies know we’re going to help them find the funding they need.”
With Lexipol Media Group’s digital marketing solutions, Lenco overcame the challenge of measuring the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns. But they did much more than that, not only generating leads, but gaining insight that has transformed their operations, from design to manufacture to marketing.
As an example, Light refers to two audience surveys the company conducted through FireRescue1. “Fire and rescue is a newer market for us, so we were searching for a way to efficiently do some market research,” Light says. “We’ve done two audience surveys with FireRescue1, one in 2019 and one in 2022, both of which performed really well for us. In the first survey, we got a very clear picture of what features customers wanted, and we designed the vehicle around those responses.”
With the second survey, Lenco took a different approach. “We asked what challenges they’re facing with their current vehicles, so the focus was more about their pain points,” Light says. While he expected a good response based off the earlier survey, Light was unprepared for how meaningful the data was. “The survey answered all our questions,” he says. “Beyond informing product development, the feedback will inform our distribution model and how we market, promote, sell and service the vehicles. Our entire business plan on how we approach the fire and rescue market is changing as a result of the FireRescue1 survey results. It transformed our thinking.”
The breadth of services Lexipol provides has allowed Lenco to achieve aggressive marketing and sales goals while also gaining valuable information that informs all aspects of its operations. “If you were to pick only a single entity to advertise with in public safety, Lexipol is #1—and there isn’t a #2 that comes close,” Light says. “Other media companies are so far away from the reach and the insight that Lexipol provides.”