Making the Case for High-Performance AudioJune 4, 2014 By Gary Yacoubian, CEO, president, SVS; ; CEA Audio board member
Thirty years in the CE industry have taught me a lot of lessons. One of the most important lessons I have learned is to never give up on growth. Growth is about removing false barriers and positioning your business and marketing it in ways that engage new customers on their terms and while captivating their passions.
In talking to dealers and retailers today, it appears high-performance audio and home theater are categories where the mentality is mostly tread water, and not grow. Mainstream consumer interest swirls around soundbars, wireless multi-room audio, Bluetooth and headphones, but the fact remains, a quality speaker, subwoofer, AV receiver and source component setup provides the best entertainment experience.
There’s plenty of nascent passion out there, but fewer places for the ardent audio and home theater enthusiast to tap into when building a system or upgrading components. The opportunity is there; you just have to view the market in new ways.
The Customer Base Exists
Focusing on the generally accepted high-demand categories obviously makes sense, but every revenue stream should be viewed as a potential growth opportunity. During the golden age of hi-fi, passion and performance ruled purchasing decisions, not wealth and demographics. What I have found in the past few years is that there is a very active and fervent high-performance audio and home theater customer base that has fewer and fewer ways to engage their passion, and it represents a huge growth opportunity for those who learn how to reach them. Layer onto this observation the fact that 90 percent of all CE purchases begin with some kind of Internet research, and the model for engaging customers emerges.
Embracing the Internet and social media and learning how to use them effectively as a communications and customer engagement tool are some of the most importance lessons I’ve learned, and it’s an ongoing learning process. The Internet gives customers easy access to a lot more information and gives them the opportunity to interact directly with brands they are interested in. Why not take full advantage? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to immediately figure out a way to sell product on your website. Building an effective online sales platform is a smart idea, but cultivating an online presence that taps into people’s interest and passions and engages new customers should be the top priority.
At first, the list of touch points can seem daunting, but when put into context, it actually presents incredible opportunities for growth. It’s not about doing everything at once, but seeing what works best and focusing on growth opportunities. Consider all the ways you can influence or engage with potential customers online: product purchase communication, user reviews, social media, professional product reviews, Internet banner ads, e-newsletters, paid search ads, onsite and offsite SEO best practices for organic search, forum discussion/blog engagement, website analytics, site visitor retargeting advertising, and PR/news activities. Utilizing some combination of digital marketing tools is without a doubt the most effective way to foster growth and bring in new customers.