Highlights from the EH Expo Marketing Boot Camp
By Coleen Sterns
Basic training is required for success in any discipline, and marketing is no exception. At the Spring Electronic Home (EH) Expo Spring in Orlando, dealers had the opportunity to learn how to successfully market their installation businesses from some of the industry's leading experts. The instructors included Joseph Piccirilli, managing director of AVAD LLC; Carol Campbell, publisher of Audio Video Interiors; Spencer Kalker, president of ImageCrafters; Michael Detmer, vice president of sales and marketing at Niles Audio Corporation; and myself, Coleen Sterns, president of Marketing Matters. If you weren't there, you missed a good one,
Effective marketing is critical to initial and continued success of any systems integration business. It ultimately determines the growth potential of a company. This program targeted the three Ps of marketing — product, pricing and promotion — to provide the basic concepts and tools for efficacy, and left the attending dealers with solid plans to implement what they had learned. Interaction between speakers and dealers was encouraged, and was a significant reason for the session's success. Participants were encouraged to ask questions, share their experiences and were, at times, prodded for input. This was a boot camp, after all.
Promotion was the first topic at hand, and my section of the presentation discussed the basic marketing tools needed for a systems-integration specialist. Dealers learned how to determine their marketing goals, set budgets and create marketing materials that generate sales. The focus was put on selling benefits, not features, to their clients. It may be obvious to say, but its always worth repeating — end-users don't care about distributed audio, they care about music everywhere.
The importance of selling the company, rather than specific products, to clients was also driven home. After all, it's the dealer's image that closes the sale. Very few clients, if any, care who manufactures the volume controls they use. They want to know that when they push a button it will work, and it is the dealer they rely upon for the technical savvy and experience to make those product decisions. You're selling confidence as well as products.