“The Internet gave us an opportunity, at a low cost, to compete with some of the largest companies out there.”Linzie Venegas
When Frank Venegas won a car at a raffle in 1979, he drove it around for only nine days before selling it to finance his first business. Fast forward 38 years, and that business is now one of seven under the family-owned parent company, Ideal Group. “We provide everything from general contracting, to ballistic barriers, to hard-to-find parts that are used in manufacturing facilities throughout the world,” explains Vice President Linzie Venegas. One of their businesses is Ideal Shield, a Detroit-based manufacturer of bollard covers—plastic sleeves that are placed over bollards to protect them from wear and tear. “Ideal Shield was the first company that we started to use Google products for,” shares Linzie. With an average growth rate of 25 percent per year, it is also one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Ideal Group family.
Ideal Shield has been using AdWords, Google’s advertising program, since its inception in 1997. “Not that many people know what a bollard cover is,” says Linzie. “So if somebody is told to go buy one, we know they’re going to go to Google. It’s important that we show up on there when they do.” About 50 percent of Ideal Shield’s sales leads now come through Google Search and ads. The company uses insights from Google Analytics to optimize their AdWords campaigns and improve conversion rates. “For every dollar we spend on AdWords, we get roughly 22 dollars back,” Linzie estimates. And YouTube provides them with a platform for sharing helpful content, such as installation tutorials.
Today, Ideal Shield sells about 25,000 bollard covers a month to customers all around the world. The company operates five plants in Southwest Detroit, where they proudly manufacture their products. They also employ 60 people, most of whom are manufacturing professionals. “We’re committed to making our products here in the U.S.,” says Linzie. To further that commitment, Ideal Shield offers education and training programs for students of all ages. Elementary school students are paired with mentors and introduced to the world of engineering and robotics, while high school and college students are given the opportunity to work as construction interns. “There is a lot of growth going on in Detroit, and we want to do our part to prepare the workforce of tomorrow,” Linzie shares. “After all, the greatest thing about Ideal is our people.”