Selling Audio To The "Lost Generation"
took my teen boys to see the new Avengers movie a couple of weeks ago and it was
great for a couple reasons. Not only did it prove that I'm cool enough (barely)
to hang out with in a dark theater, it also validated my belief that our younger
generation is just as engaged and energized by immersive experiences, such as
those in a movie theater, as the rest of us are. But the best part of the
experience was when we were driving home and my oldest remarked, "Dad, I like
the system we have at home better."
It wasn't the woman on her phone in front of us,
or the off-center seats we were forced to sit in after arriving later than
expected. His main point was that our system at home is more "dialed-in" because
it sounds and looks better than what we experienced at the cinema. To be clear,
we weren't at an IMAX or Dolby Atmos theater, which could have swung the
balance. But that's OK because the more important part to me, as a businessman
and contributor, was the broader perspective my son was imparting about his
values when it comes to entertainment.
But first, an aside: A few days after the movie,
I was comparing notes with a very highly regarded, long-time regional AV
retailer, and the owner made an ironic observation. He said that it seems like
every other week he's attending a funeral for one of his customers. The story
hit me hard because a lot of the people the industry targets for high
performance audio purchases are either out of the market for new gear, or dying.
It's the same narrow band of (mostly) aging, affluent males many of us are
fighting over, who also happen to be the least likely to buy new products, other
than perhaps some high tech medical device.
Consider this: live concerts and electronic dance
music (EDM) are the two most profitable segments of the music industry and
blockbuster movies like The Avengers now bring in over $1 billion, much of it
from the wallets of teenagers and young adults. Contrary to much industry "wisdom,"
people under 40 adore immersive audio experiences, the only problem is that they
have not yet done the math that they can have such experiences in their own
I don't want to be part of a company where
artificial lines are drawn in the sand when deciding who to target. I was
fortunate to be a part of the Beats phenomenon and I watched an entire
generation of customers get educated to the fact that there are better
experiences available to them than what comes free in the box with their phone.
Now, they are glomming onto small Bluetooth speakers and the next step after
that will be immersive experiences, or so I am betting. So should you!
The best age demographic for my company, SVS, is
35 to 44 and our second best is 25 to 34, so we already skew younger than most "traditional"
high performance audio brands, and I strongly believe this is because of the
vitality of our brand and the way we connect with fans directly. Of course
having killer products, a phenomenal value proposition and stellar service doesn't
hurt either, but I digress...
So, how do we get there and inspire the lost
generation? If you read SVS
Sound's blog, it's pretty much everything I always talk
about. Establish an authentic voice on social media channels and invest in an
engaging, optimized web presence supported by search engine marketing, banner
ads and strategic partnerships. It can be daunting, but everything is scalable
so try one thing at a time and focus on getting it right, not crossing it off a
Here's a short list just to get started on:
· E-mail marketing and newsletters
· Social media, which should be embraced at every
level of your organization and not farmed out to an outside service or "department"
· Digital marketing such as banner advertising and
· Paid and organic search development (As an example
of what we do, search Google on "Home Theater Subwoofers" and watch which brands
come up first)
· Optimizing your own web site, and always keep it
fresh with new content
· Participate in outside forum discussions. Join the
Now that you are reaching these younger folks, tell them on a "spiritual" level about the awesome experiences they can have in their dorm room, bedroom, apartment or other living space. Engage younger customers about the kind of music, movies, video games and TV shows they enjoy, where they get their content from, and what value they place on audio across all the mediums. Maybe someone who spends 3 to 6 hours a day gaming and streaming Netflix would enjoy a killer surround sound system instead of a wireless Bluetooth speaker. You'll never know unless you ask.
Enjoy the Music.com's CES 2015 Video With Gary Yacoubian