"F-bomb," "sexting" and "man cave" are among the newest terms that were added to the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, which was published this month. (You have to love a blog that opens with “F-bomb”). I'm unsure of how I feel about man cave being added. While I'm excited any time our industry gets a “shout-out,” I don't think this term is relevant.
As a female in a male-dominated industry I strive for balance on every design project. My systems don't just focus on the best audio-video. They spotlight “ease of use” and how the equipment fits in the space. Don't get me wrong-a sports bar can be sexy. There is nothing like an immense pair of tower speakers, but the system has to fit the space. A “man-cave” implies “no girls allowed” (which is not going to help the budget) and who has any fun without the ladies?
Why “man-cave?” Why not “escape den?”
We used to call ourselves a “home theater company” and yet we hardly spec dedicated home theaters anymore. Our company focus is on the middle market. Our systems range from 5k to about 50k. And in this market the dedicated home theater is on life support. Basement theaters are now “multi-purpose” spaces. With the increase of flat panels above fireplaces in great rooms (still one of the most popular installs) speakers are forced to blend into the room—no longer taking up precious floor space. And soundbars have provided a sales surge, especially in the last year. In no way do they compare to a surround sound system but they can do a decent job of “enhanced sound.” (I'm going to copyright this phrase). For a lot of people enhanced sound is enough. They may have never purchased a home theater or surround system, but the moment I demo a soundbar compared to flat-panel TV speakers, the client is hooked. That's the power of the demo.
|Basement theaters are now “multi-purpose” spaces, and with the increase of flat panels above fireplaces in great rooms, speakers are forced to blend into the room—no longer taking up precious floor space.|
So if we are not a home theater company, then what are we? Technology experts? Yes. Integrators? Absolutely! (But that won't get you far, because a client has no idea what “integrator” means).
We need to be able to speak not just to the husband, but the family. We need to create the system that is perfect for them. I promise this will not only expand the budget, but result in more leads after the fact. The reason a client buys from a specialty shop is because we make it easy. It's not because of the price. We're there for them after the sale. We answer their questions.
If the babysitter or the in-laws can't use the remote that you just sold your client, you're not doing your job. Become their “expert,” and you will have a customer for life.
Don't give your customers a man-cave. Instead, improve their quality of life with technology. Give them a solution that the whole family can enjoy.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.