Steel City Billboards —OOH Owner Today
OOH Owner Today —Steel City Billboards
by Benny Taubman, OOH TODAY Reporter
Steel City Billboards is a family-owned OOH operation that has been providing advertising opportunities to brands in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area since 2011. The business has an inventory of static, digital, tri-vision, posters, jr. posters, wallscapes, and bulletins. In addition, the company also operates a billboard manufacturing plant in the communities in and around Pittsburgh. Steel City is a member of the OAAA, GeoPath, and the Independent Billboard Operators of America.
Steel City prides itself on three key facets of its business approach: personal “family” service, affordable prices, and premier locations. Steel City guarantees that every campaign matters to them and that they “provide all our customers with excellent “old fashion” customer service.” One reason the company is able to offer affordable prices to meet any budget is that it doesn’t rent any physical office space. Therein, it is able to pass its own savings directly to its clients. Finally, Steel City has premier locations in well-known, high-traffic areas that truly put its billboards in the spotlight. Steel City CEO Mitchell Fowkes answered questions in an exclusive OOH Today interview.
Q: Why should advertisers choose Steel City Billboards?
A: “Advertisers should choose Steel City Billboards because we provide effective billboard locations at affordable prices. We’re a true small family owned business that gives back to our local community and are committed to the success of those who choose to advertise with us. When it comes to customer service, we always try to exceed expectations and meet the needs of whatever it is are customers are looking for.”
Q: What are some specifics that make OOH advertising in Pittsburgh different than in other parts of the US?
A: “Pittsburgh is unique. It’s a big city but everyone knows everyone just about. The market is wonderful and is a fun one to be a part of. I can’t really answer how Pittsburgh is different than other parts of the US, for the fact that we only have inventory here at home.”
Q: What is Steel City’s key to success in the OOH business?
A: “One of the first aspects that jumps out at me is how to be smart at doing business. We take a look at growth differently and look at it from a project by project basis. What I mean by that is we ensure that each location that we end up building will put us in the green from the start. This model takes longer for growth, however, it also puts us in a safe manner to grow. Our debit is low and we don’t have any partners. The second key to our success is building relationships. We love to get to know our customers and check in periodically. We are also sensitive when it comes to reaching out to new and existing customers because we understand that everyone gets slammed day in and day out with cold calls, telemarketers, spam, and then has to go home and juggle family life. We all get annoyed when it comes to this, so when we reach out, we are genuine and personable. You have to be and honestly that’s our personality anyhow, so it just fits.”
Q: What is Steel City’s relationship with the community like?
A: “We love our community and are very close with many of our customers. Some of our customers are close friends, and some customers only like our locations. As we grow, we continue our journey in meeting new and old businesses that have been in Pittsburgh for decades. I believe our history will be well rooted in the next 10-15 years and will grow even stronger than it is today.”
Q: What are some future goals for the business?
A: “Like every company, we are focused on sales and expanding our footprint. We have several locations that we are working on and are looking forward to these next few areas that we will be building in.”
Q: Share a fun fact about your company!
A: “When we first started Steel City Billboards, I worked with an ambulance service as an EMT. The first four years in business was challenging but it allowed me to find new locations on someone else’s time and gas money. We didn’t go full time until 2016.”
Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area