CR Talks to: Premier Mounts : Build Quality Wins Out
In tune with the pro A/V markets, installers and dealersDecember 2010 By Interview by Nancy Klosek
CustomRetailer: What products did you highlight at the recent CEDIA EXPO—and how did your introductions there address integrators' and consumers' needs?
Tom Noack: Our FTP and SpiroLock projector mounts are two of our newest mounts. The big difference between them versus other mounts on the market is that they are extremely fast to install. Both have a quick release, so if you need to service either one, you can just slide it out and do whatever needs to be done and put it straight back on. Both also have a fine-tune adjuster so that you don't need any tools—there are thumb screws that let you easily align the image. Labor is the biggest part of the installer's project, so if they can cut down on installation time, that's where they make their money.
CR: How does your business divvy up between light commercial and residential? Which areas are growing more rapidly for you, and why?
Noack: The pro A/V market has been increasing for us tremendously. It's up about 30 percent over the past year because we have the right product for the market. Besides the FTP and SpiroLock mounts, we have iPod mounts and several flat-panel mounts that are very straightforward, easy to install and easy to align. The whole combination of different products go hand in hand with one another; we even have in-wall boxes and security products.
CR: You do offer a diversity of products beyond mounts, including speakers, shelving systems, power amps, etc. Are there any complementary categories to your core mount business that you might be interested in entering?
Noack: One of our strong points is not so much what we sell off the shelf, which is pretty important, but that a lot of pro A/V dealers and installers put their trust in us because we have the ability of doing a lot of custom work.
CR: How has your custom division evolved to meet integrator needs?
Noack: It's not a division as such; it's a fully integrated part of our engineering department and of our service department. We have dedicated custom engineers, and our own manufacturing in Anaheim that can do pretty much anything. Those engineers basically find out what the customer is looking for and make it work for their project.
CR: What sort of dealer merchandising aids or other support or training is the company offering for the balance of the year and into 2011?
Noack: There are a lot of tools we offer. When we sell a flat-panel mount or cart or stand, all the hardware that's needed is included in the package. For example, for flat panels we even include levels and give all different types of hardware you may need to put it in a wall plug—spacers and different lengths of metric bolts that go into the back to hold the LCD on the mount. The point is, installers need not go out and find all of this; we have it all set out for them. If it's a security screw they want to put on, we include the Allen key. A lot of the other suppliers charge for things like that.
CR: You recently revamped your website to help streamline dealers' and integrators' ability to do business with you. How does what you've done differ from your competitors? How does the site improve upon what you did previously?
Noack: The look and feel of it is different. It's more professional, clearer and easier to find things. The navigation has changed; we started grouping things differently, and added log-ins at the back end for dealers so they can purchase directly online. We continually improve on our Mount Finder and our cross-referencing tools.
CR: What future product development directions can you speak about? Or is there anything else you'd care to comment about relating to the custom integration business?
Noack: The market is picking up, and there's lots of interest on the pro A/V side and in the custom market. At CEDIA EXPO, we showed a new prototype of a wire mount that was well-received. We also showed iPad mounts.
First came the iPad, and now everyone else will be coming out with tablets as well. The market is just tremendous and control companies are jumping on it. With that, everyone will need a mount and will need to put them on a secure mount—swivel, tilting, table—so that they don't disappear.
We initially had a request from a hotel chain that wanted secure mounts for the reception area, so we designed those, and that was the beginning. It's destined to be a growing area; everybody and their brother will have a mount. We're not looking so much at the consumer market growth, but on the pro A/V side, there's a tremendous need for secure mounts; ours come with a standard VESA pin on the back, so they will fit any of our articulating or wall mounts.
CR: Are there any other observations you can offer about the market in general?
Noack: In general, there is a tendency in the market for certain mount brands to drive down the market price—there's particular pressure from inexpensive imports. People might jump on an inexpensive mount, but if the really want something solid that they don't want to throw away after a year, they're going to go back to the pro stuff.
On the consumer side, people just want it cheap—the mount, the panel, and the projector. But on the professional side, that's not the case, because the installer is liable. If you install an inexpensive mount that doesn't do the job right, or fails after a year of use—especially mounts with moving parts—you're going to have problems. If you warrant your work, you're going to have to go back. You're going to have to replace the product and on top of that, you have to take someone back and re-do the labor—your margin is gone. A lot of people are realizing that if you use a better product right away, you won't have to come back.
All of our products have a limited lifetime warranty, so that if any fail, we would replace them. We know we can offer that because our mounts are very solidly built. We believe that the confidence of our installers and our customer base—and our reputation and theirs—is everything. CR