A Brand That Lasts
But Schuster does leverage others’ Web sites very successfully to build new-customer bases. A $300-a-month static ad or a higher-priced moving ad can garner up to 3,000 hits a month on guidetothecity.org, which lists arts activities and is a popular destination site for city newcomers. “We used to use the Yellow Pages a lot more, and spent maybe $60,000 a year, but are down to about 10 to 20 percent of that. I still do it because it’s good for older folks who aren’t online. We need to be in there, but it’s a smaller ad.”
Marvin has also become a place where vendors spotlight their latest technologies. The retailer has capitalized that with the canny timing of its annual New Product Showing, occurring shortly after the Fall CEDIA Expo, when many of his principal suppliers unveil new products to the trade. This year’s three-day event was scheduled for the second weekend in October. “McIntosh will have products there they only showed as prototypes. We’ll have some Velodyne speakers and some Definitive products just coming here, along with some new Hitachi Directors Series flat-panel TVs and Pioneer Elite audio components and Kuro plasma TVs,” Schuster said.
He also expected to have a prototype of a new Pioneer Elite receiver that he and six other dealers important to the brand were called in to help design. “We suggested things like making it two pieces so it would run quieter, and they did that along with 20 or 30 other things. It’s a real humdinger—a very sophisticated piece, state of the art, and we’ve already got people interested in ordering it.”