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28TH MAR 2014

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A year in the Director of Marketing role, by James King

My very first day with Martin Audio was the opening of Prolight+Sound in April 2013. That would perhaps be daunting for anyone, but throw in a press conference and a completely new industry, and I don't mind saying I felt like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights. I knew that time would be a good friend and luckily for me, colleagues and management team were extremely supportive and let me undertake a tried and trusted method to help get established and to discover a pathway to help Martin Audio progress.

My first 30 days was all about researching the industry and the company, and getting to know my colleagues and team. I used this time to draw up a Market Report, essentially an understanding of the industry and Martin Audio's relative position with. Out of this I had a strong basis for understanding what was at the heart of the company and a strategy to take it forward. I spent the next 60 days refining the brand strategy and accompany marketing plan that would be the backbone for the way we would go forward.

So was born the concept of 'uniting the audience', the belief that by sonically engaging the entirety of an audience in a consistent manner would mean that tours and live events would be that more successful, and from an installation point of view, the venue would attract more people. From this we could develop coherent and consistent advertising, produce supporting materials, videos and case studies, and infuse new life into our website and our presence at trade shows and special events.

The fact that we were able to move so quickly is testament to the management support and the entrepreneurial spirit of Martin Audio. I've worked within some large corporate structures in the past, so being part of a smaller team that is much more nimble and empowering has been a breath of fresh air. Sometimes that same spirit can be comical and as Andy Davies always says, 'I bet it wasn't like this at Motorola', and he's right, but there is something special and unique about Martin Audio, something that goes deeper than simply selling 'black boxes' and something that deserves to be celebrated. And this same spirit has ultimately allowed the marketing team to deliver much more as a result: web visitors up 60% year on year, case studies accessed over 20,000 times, a doubling of our database contacts and significant growth in our social media communities.

But as my team know, I do get restless easily. This is partly borne out of a need for lots of stimuli, but also because I'm very conscious about continuing to deliver. Much like a FOH engineer is only as good as the next gig, a marketer is always on the hunt for new and interesting ways to engage target audiences and drive the business forward. The good news is that we have lots in store to look out for, but equally if our customers have suggestions then I'm always open to new ideas.

Across my first year there have been many highlights. The first has been my team. Working with Maureen has been a delight (we're affectionately known as Mr and Mrs Marketing); Sophie is a great asset too, enabling much in the way of photography, graphics and social media; and I'm also lucky to be able to call on Bill Webb to helping translate the technical into the understandable. Secondly, the banter between colleagues across the business and our special customers, especially at trade shows, has rarely meant a dull moment, and the support they have given to me has made my job a lot easier. Outside of all the brand development work that I'm very proud of, the most recent MLA Mini Showcase that royally entertained representatives from across the industry was particularly gratifying. Hearing our speakers in action is always a big 'smile' moment. I've never heard anything that comes close to our combination of power, clarity and depth across the spectrum that really does have the capacity to hear new things in songs or as Andy Davies likes to say, 'Paint vivid pictures with sound'.

And what I have I learnt about this industry? Well, it's clear passion for audio runs very deep with everyone having an opinion and everyone believing they are right. This makes for lively discussion and debate, but I would much rather have that, than the dull monotony of selling baked beans.

I'm looking forward to the year ahead.

PUBLISHED: 28TH MAR 2014. Views: 0
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