It’s the time of year for saving money!
OK, by now even the most die-hard trade-show supporter must realize that in the foreseeable future (or until there is a vaccine) the whole concept of an audio trade show is dead. Finished.
But what can replace an audio show in terms of marketing clout and penetration? In the words of an ancient Dawn dishwashing detergent ad – you’re looking at it…the Internet…
But if you think all I’m suggesting is throwing up a bunch of Facebook ads, you’re wrong. Mass marketing is NOT the answer for specialist high performance audio – never has been – even in the days when TV was the king of mass marketing, rarely (if ever) did audio gear see TV ad campaigns.
Same thing goes for Facebook, Yahoo, or any other form of large random placements…nope…for high performance audio targeted marketing is far more effective…the metaphor would be using a hypodermic instead of a shotgun…
So, how do audio firms arm their new marketing beachfronts? With talent and expertise that can produce targeted and focused messaging for audiophiles. In my humble opinion audio firms should be repurposing their entire trade show budgets for online marketing and presentations. The first step in this process may be either hiring an outside PR firm who understand the market to originate and organize an online campaign.
I know of at least a ½ dozen fine specialty audio market specialists including Toscano Communications, Stanton PR, Sohmer PR, CummunicationsMore, Gordon Sell PR, Muto PR, and Audiophile Review’s own Mark Smotroff, all of whom who specialize in the audio world. Another option is either repurposing or hiring and additional person whose sole job would be to organize and run a digital marketing campaign.
Recently VPI staged a several day “mini-show” online as an attempt to fill in the gaps left by the absence of the Axpona trade show. It was a valiant attempt, but I couldn’t watch it for more than a few minutes – it was too slow with too much dead time to keep my interest.
Having some person, any person, stand there and attempt to do the same spiel they would have done at a live trade show presentation, and expect it to work, is doomed…
To capture audiophiles’ attention (and keep it for more than minute or two) will require some production values. No, I’m not recommending that product roll-out vids be full of jump cuts, rapid pans and quick stills to jolly up viewers’ eyeballs, but I am recommending that instead of stand-up “I’ll just wing it” presentations, audio manufacturers need to up their game with detailed visuals of the product coupled with useful information about what makes the product new, different, and special.
In short, to be successful in this brave new post-audio show world audio manufacturers need to be doing all the things that have been embraced by forward-thinking consumer businesses for years…they need to deliver a marketing message to end users that is commensurate with the exceptional experience prospective owners will get from the high-performance consumer audio products.
We audiophiles know that a high-performance audio system can inject music directly into your soul…the successful manufacturers going forward will be the ones that can bring that revelatory experience directly to customers home viewing screens…
Today, Rocky Mountain Audio Fest cancelled their 2020 show. Full refunds…I look forward to 2021…
It would be a good time to manufacturers to rethink how their websites could be more interactive and add video descriptions and 360 degree videos of their products. Photos and writeup are not enough in this new locked-down age.
There is nothing new under the sun. The sky is not falling, Chicken Little.
How utterly profound…
I have to respectfully disagree. This high end audio industry has to decide if they are going to let COVID destroy itself. As is there is more product than ever at higher prices than ever with more pseudo gadgets than ever at extraordinarily high prices in a dwindling market before COVID. There once was a day when an audiophile could go to 2 or 3 stores and hear 90% of product available. With all the product available today that model has basically disappeared.
For better or worse, these shows give those still interested an opportunity, especially those who are in the market or who could be swayed to enter the market an opportunity to see and hear a product even when not under the best of circumstances. The interested party could then make arrangements for more listening and evaluation at a later time after the show.
Elimination of shows is eliminating the last venue in today’s world the opportunity to evaluate all the equipment out there. While I applaud the heartfelt decision of the show producers for making an early decision and giving back deposits I think the more we allow COVID to alter our lives with avoidance the more that industries like high end audio will have an even tougher time surviving than before.
Don’t let it alter your life and be empirical…check back in a year, if you’re still around…
That’s a pretty despicable answer from a “moderator”. No wonder why this hobby/industry is dying.
Yep. It’s ALL my fault…and there is ONE more venue for evaluating audio gear…it’s called your own home…
I see, you don’t even see that your “if your still around…” comment is what I was referring to as despicable. So someone has a dissenting point of view and you have to stoop to making an inference like that? Deny it if you want but you know what you meant.
It is pretty clear that you have bought into a one sided perspective of the virus and have a laymen’s perspective, which is fine, but your industry will NOT survive without people having the ability to touch, feel and listen in a show setting as that is today’s showroom. Trust me I have friends in the business and I am a consumer so I want them to survive. I wish no harm on any of them and understand their concern for the virus; my point was and continues to be this industry doesn’t have the staying power to withstand a “new normal”.
I already know of some big players who are close to shutting their doors. There is almost no traffic on high end audio sites. TAS, once had a huge following, barely a post is made these days,. This industry is so tone deaf that during the height of the pandemic some of the manufacturers are releasing absurdly expensive new products to compete against their competitors rather than to provide products their dwindling audience might actually consider. The so called “Asian market” which has been keeping much of this high end absurdity afloat isn’t doing so well either. The ONE bright spot for high end has been shows, for better or worse as the size of the audiences have shown.
As to evaluating audio gear in one’s home, good luck with that. If you really believe that is still the model for high end, you are even more out of touch than I thought. Yeah, some products you can “audition” at home assuming you can find a dealer or manufacturer willing and able for some products relatively easy to bring or ship to your home but that “model” won’t work with a pair of Magicos or any other speaker or large component and again “evaluating” relative to what? One other product, namely the one you are thinking of replacing.
Sometimes people with dissenting opinions can opine without having to be the recipient of attacks and may even, believe it or not, lead to a legitimate debate.
True. Shows are expensive for everyone, even attendees who have to travel, get accommodations and the like. For MFGrs it is even worse. I use to do many trade shows and know first hand. It is sad that so many things like audio have often been reduced to commodity status and it is all about price, thus the internet. There will be no easy answer to this, especially for very high end products. I think this is why PS Audio did what they did. You have to move a lot of product to stay alive.
Nice try, but the problem is that we aren’t “allowing Covid” to do anything.Covid is not asking our permission to infect us. We have no control over it whatsoever other than doing our damnedest to avoid it. Hence, anything that allows transmission from one person to another is out, plain and simple. How in God’s name do you expect a show to go on under these circumstances? It’s not as though it’s just the audio industry that is dealing with this. Look at sports, concerts, conventions, weddings, etc. All the same. We’ll probably hit 100,000 dead on Memorial Day, and double that by election day. The age demographic of the average audiophile and the configuration of a high end audio show both conspire to make things even worse. I doubt you would have enough takers on either the exhibitor or attendee side, to make such an event worthwhile. Steven is right….we need a vaccine.
Audio shows are not dead. They’ll return when it’s safe, meaning when either a cure or a treatment is discovered and distributed. There’s no substitute for face-to-face.
True. But how long will it be? Only Science knows…
The real issue is not attracting audiophiles to audio. If you’re already interested in high end audio you know where to find info. The issue is attracting non-audiophiles to high end sound. Always been difficult, I’ve been audiophiling for over 40 years and the people I converted to high end sound can be counted on one hand. They’ll ooh and aah in all the right places but they really don’t care.