We all know AudioControl. What’s interesting about this company is that it chooses to sit right in the middle of our industry’s product offerings—not opting for dashboard prominence by making head units; not looking for trunk dominance by producing amps and subwoofers. Instead, the guys from up North choose to focus on making everyone’s stuff—even the carmakers’ stuff— just sound better.
I’ve known Tom and Chris a long time, and since I’ve known them, they’ve always preached the same thing: dealers need to educate customers on the benefits of quality audio. That’s the way to sell, and incidentally, that’s also how you sell AudioControl.
Problem is, the amount of time with customers is now shortened, partly because of other non-ME items attracting discretionary dollars, and therefore traffic; partly because consumers do research on the Internet and come in looking for what they’re looking for. This means retailers have to spend most of their time telling customers how the brands they carry meet or exceed the quality and value of what customers think they need.
So now the company is taking a different tack. It’s going directly to consumers with a message of better sound. Tomorrow it’s putting on its second seminar focusing on bettering audio quality without necessarily changing the head unit. And it’s doing it in Webinar format, something our industry has not really embraced, but something Internet-savvy consumers understand.
So what’s so significant about this? It’s benefitting retailers because it’s helping to get consumers thinking about better sound, and that benefits every facet of audio sales. But on a broader scope, it’s a big step in pushing our consumer awareness goals forward. At CES in 2009 we talked about a “Make Better Sound” initiative, and AudioControl hoped it would be picked up and carried forward by other manufacturers and retailers. In this case, it’s going directly to consumers where they live: online.
I hope that retailers ask their customers to attend this webinar, not because of AudioControl, but because of the benefit for all of us in the business of car audio. The more consumers value quality sound, the more we can get them beyond the white earbud and whizzer cone experience and into listening to music the way it was meant to be heard, through some of the best audio reproduction products our industry has to offer. I also hope that other manufacturers continue to find innovative ways to reach out to consumers, and in the process of touting new products, spare some bandwidth to focus on the value of a great audio experience overall.
I hear all the time that the “audio” on car audio is dead. I for one don’t believe it. We just need to make a stronger case.