As a manufacturer in the musical instrument business, you’re always looking for ways to support your dealer network. This includes the physical stores that in recent years have been under pressure due to increased competition from online sales. There’s no question that customers have moved toward e-commerce, but that’s no reason to think that local business cannot thrive. To the contrary, it’s in your best interest to participate with bricks & mortar stores, providing added value and supporting their efforts to promote your gear to customers.
Promote your gear through dealer events
You can accomplish this by participating in events that your dealers are hosting. This can be done in several ways, one being to provide a clinician or name artist for an evening workshop or master class. If an end-user has the chance to get “up close and personal” with a bona fide gear expert, chances are they will come out and be grateful for the opportunity. This is all part of partnering with your dealers, big and small, and demonstrating that your focus is on building good business. What better way than to deploy a product specialist or well-known musician to a store, creating excitement and an environment that is conducive to sales?
Some of the best stores in your musical instrument and pro audio dealer network are regularly sponsoring events, whether in-store or at local venues. These could be more formal music recitals or perhaps rock music performers that formed bands from the retailer’s lesson program. How about supplying a product giveaway to be raffled off at a battle-of-the-bands or other event? Providing a hook like this will attract an audience, especially if the gear is also being used at the show and is desirable.
A live audience for your products
Open Mic Nights have become very popular in many areas and provide yet another way to connect with customers at the local level. If you have a progressive dealer who is sponsoring one of these at a local pub or other establishment, consider donating – or at least deeply-discounting — the sound system or other backline gear. Along with the extra exposure generated, you can ask the dealer to hang a brand banner and have the MC make mention of your generous support. All this will resonate with your retail dealers and position you as a manufacturer who cares about supporting local communities.
Stay close to music dealers
These are just a few ideas, with the underlying message being to simply get involved with your musical instrument and pro-audio dealers and their local communities. Pick your top 10 markets in each territory and have your reps report back what kind of promotions are happening, ones that you can take the lead on developing. The music products industry must step up here or risk seeing further degradation to local dealer sales and support of their brands.