Azione assimilates in Arizona
CHANDLER, ARIZ. – Azione Unlimited’s Assimilation in Arizona event here this weekend was all about discomfort and disruption.
Don’t get me wrong, the event went off with nary a hitch. It was a positive, relaxing, informative experience for everyone. But Azione President Richard Glikes is never satisfied with the status quo, and the program reflected it.
Hardly any tech was discussed. Instead, the whole conference was essentially about how to run your business more effectively.
Azione marketing partners One Firefly, Netsertive and NAPCO Video Services (Technology Integrator’s sister company) stressed the importance, respectively, of overhauling your website, refreshing your digital and social media strategy, and increasing your use of professional-quality video to attract customers.
That dovetailed with a pair of stunning, charismatic talks from BDX President and CEO Tim Costello, one on Millennials and the other on the digital transformation of the customer experience. Many Azione dealers (and CI pros in general) have dealt extensively with Baby Boomers, but have little experience with or understanding of Millennials, who have completely different purchasing habits. In fact, Costello said Millennials don’t want to talk on the phone or have face-to-face contact, which has been the bread and butter of the industry. Hence the need for “digitally transforming” the customer experience to be more interactive online and even in-person.
The combination of all of those talks drew into stunning relief that many dealers still have 90s-style websites, heavy on text (“reading is too much work,” said Costello) and lacking in video and any interactive features, such as a VR walkthrough of a connected home, or the ability for customers to roughly plan out their own designs.
Scott Marchand of Slateplan and Randy Stearns of D-Tools talked about how their products will help further Azione’s software initiative. The products were chosen by Azione's Software Committee from among many options.
Dealers Amer Din of Casaplex, Brad Stich of Port City Sound and Security, Mark Kurilla of CS Media, Ron Lennox of Definitive Electronics, and Sean Weiner of Starr Systems all shared stories about profitable new categories that they have recently embraced. Travis Leo of Residential Systems, Inc., gave an absorbing presentation on his accounting and finances, sharing many compelling but confidential tips with the crowd. Numerous dealer roundtables were held, vendor one-on-ones were co-located with a mini-trade show consisting of the Azione vendor members, and fun activities were held on Saturday afternoon, followed by a big dinner at a local restaurant… in fact, two restaurants, because a larger-than-expected crowd of about 250 people showed up for the conference and there wasn’t enough room left in the original restaurant.
Glikes made sure that dealers didn’t get too comfortable by constantly switching up seating arrangements, and relentlessly encouraging the dealers to network. His goal for the show was for the dealers to interact, make new friends, and share ideas.
Judging from the results, the conference went exactly as Glikes planned. The Azione group emerged from the conference stronger than ever, and with the likelihood that dozens of new members will be added this year to this growing powerhouse in the industry.
Azione 2016 Awards
Biggest Growth 2015: Spectra
Business Tripler: Don Filler's Contracting
Business Doublers: Acoustic Blueprint, Atlantic Control Technologies, Connect Consulting, Phoenix Unequaled, Stone Glidden, System Integrators, The Integrated Home
S.P.I.K.E. (Supportive, Profitable, Invested, Killing It, Engaged) Award: Elevated Electronics
Big Kahuna: Electronic Environments
Golden Goose (Most Profitable Vendor for Q4 2015): Triad Speakers
Biggest Growth 2015: Seura
S.P.I.K.E Award: Access Networks
Product of the Year: Leon Speakers, Tone Case
Dealer's Choice: Core Brands, Sonance