Let’s Talk - Bruce Jacobs
The kids are back in school, football is in full swing, and the CEDIA show has come and gone—all signs that fall has arrived.
Those of you who know me know I never, ever exaggerate, right? (OK, we’ll let that one go for now.) But really, it’s no exaggeration when I say that this is the most important fall C-tailing season ever.
Reports are coming in from all corners of the industry about what we can expect for the holidays. Bigger, cheaper flat panels from bigger, better, more efficient factories. More, and simpler-to-install, networking, IP-addressable and Ethernet systems. Built-in speakers with sound quality that’s closer in performance than ever to floorstanding models. Lighting control boiled down to its absolute basics that will be marketed in a totally understandable way. Home theater seating in more choices than ever, and at more affordable prices than we ever imagined (hello, China).
Sure, there are always “new” things, but we’re talking about whole categories that are on the brink of hitting the mass awareness level that were not even on the average consumer’s radar screen a couple of years ago. That’s what’s different. I know we always say fall’s important, but this year, it’s really true.
I want to caution those of you who think, “Oh no, now I really have to worry about the mass marketers stepping on my heels with all their weight.” Don’t obsess about this. Yes, you have to be totally aware of the broadening of our custom category, but let’s not freak out about it.
There are always at least two sides, and often more, to everything. It isn’t that the custom category is being dumbed down (well maybe it is, a little); it’s also that mass market presence brings two big benefits right to your showroom doorstep: better consumer awareness, and all of the consumer confusion that comes along with that awareness. Look in the dictionary for “awareness.” You won’t find the word “clarity” anywhere in the definition. That’s where you come in, friends.