When Lee Travis, owner of Seattle-area integration firm Wipliance, explains what makes his company special, he mentions not the topnotch technology that’s offered or the high caliber of installations completed — although both are stellar — but rather how his company is constantly changing and evolving to build and expand its business.
In just over a decade the company has developed some serious marketing chops and a bold business strategy — both of which have helped it land many industry accolades, not to mention some impressive sales stats.
Recently honored by the Consumer Technology Association and CE Pro as the 2019 TechHome Mark of Excellence Integrator of the Year, Wipliance recorded annual revenue of $5.6 million from 151 custom installs last year. It is also one of the most eﬃcient systems integration businesses in the industry, producing $230,000 in revenue per employee from a staﬀ of 20.
The 13-year-old company has never been one to rest on its laurels, though. Ever innovative in its marketing approaches and stalwart in its business practices, Wipliance thrives on its willingness and ability to tackle new challenges. It’s a commitment that has created clear-cut diﬀerentiation from the competition and helped build a glowing reputation among customers, vendors and business partners.
Travis credits Wipliance’s admirable achievements to three main factors: regularly scheduled special events, professional-grade video productions of these events as well as technology tutorials and project profiles, and successfully opening and operating a second location in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Networking is crucial to the prosperity of any type of business. The trick is finding when and where to do it. Rather than hunt down possible opportunities to rub elbows with potential customers, Wipliance has taken a proactive approach by hosting its own gatherings.
These invitation-only events provide Wipliance with an opportunity to showcase on its own terms its expertise, workmanship, and design and installation prowess to area builders, architects, interior designers and other trades. Homeowners — past, present, and potential new clients — are invited to attend the events as well.
To keep its messaging fresh and oﬀ er guests more than one chance to attend a Wipliance-hosted function, the company holds two types of events throughout the year. The more casual aﬀ air is its Smart Home Happy Hour. As the name suggests, drinks are served by a bartender, and guests are encouraged to mill around the party venue — typically a finished spec or custom home of one of Wipliance’s many prominent builder partners.
Typically, the Smart Home Happy Hour home will have already been outfitted with some level of technology, like a home theater or lighting control system. To this, Wipliance complements with additional technology — like TVs, retrofittable motorized shades, and outdoor speakers — items can be installed temporarily for the event and removed quickly.
The objective of the Smart Home Happy Hour, which is held two times a year at both Wipliance locations — Seattle and Scottsdale — is to create an environment that fosters a human connection with technology.
“It’s more about getting people excited about home technology than it is about selling equipment,” Travis says. “It’s not generating business today or tomorrow, but rather months or years down the road. We’ve had clients attend who weren’t even going to be breaking ground on their homes for another two to three months but thanks to our Happy Hour have kept us in mind for their home technology needs when they were ready.”
To complement the luxurious atmosphere of the smart home, Wipliance often invites high-end retailers from other businesses to showcase their wares. Guests can view how an automation system instantly alters a room’s atmosphere in the living room then head to the garage to check out a collection of luxury cars from an area car dealership, for example.