I visited a big-box AV retailer recently and was surrounded by what seems like 100 flat-screen displays. After so many years in this business, I have become quite knowledgeable about what good picture quality is all about. In the next half hour, about a dozen guys were attracted like moths to the flame to view these glowing pictures. With their enchanted eyes wide open, somehow they failed to notice the horrible artifacts that ripped through the picture every time the images started moving rapidly.
To my trained eye these over-compressed and poorly wired distributed images in the store were almost unwatchable. Still, as they moved from TV to TV, these guys tried hard to pick the perfect TV that would be the trophy they hoped to take home soon.
The flickering colored TV lights drew them to this department and created what seemed like a sanctuary for these macho males. In an almost reverent tone, these guys were drooling over these HDTVs. Where were the women? They were in the Disney DVD aisle finding something for the children.
Next time you meet with prospective clients, you know that the guy will have his hormones flowing and cant wait to buy a system. He wants it bad, but what he doesnt tell you is that he cant give his final approval without first getting his wife to agree.
Enter the wife acceptance factor. As a seasoned professional, never try to sell the man without giving equal attention to the wishes of the woman. We should respect the womans point of view and fully meet her expectations. With the technology and tools available to us today, we should pride ourselves on being able to create systems that fit the needs of both.
Remember Mel Gibsons movie What Women Want? In the film, Mel gets the special ability to hear what women are thinking. To men, this is a great mystery. After being married for 30 years, I do not pretend to understand even how my own wife thinks.
Without stereotyping, when it comes to a home theater system I believe the womans point of view can often be more realistic than the mans tribal instincts. Women are happy to add this equipment to their home. However they are often protective, as they dont want to overdo the installation. They do not want to disrupt their living space. They want a system that will not take over their home. Taking over means several things:
The home theater installation should not ruin the interior decoration of their home. Big, unsightly components can destroy the dcor. Speakers that are hidden or that add artistic value to their home can win them over.
Unlike men, women generally dont like large subwoofers that rattle the walls and send pumping low bass through the rest of the house. Many men have purchased large subs and can rarely turn them on as they disrupt everyone in the house.
Many home systems are a nightmare to control. Some guys want to show off how many remotes they have, while women desire a more manageable solution. This is a major way that technology can take over and become unmanageable. Women generally want a simple, non-complicating experience. They want to just watch the TV without having to read technical manuals. In the life of a busy woman there is no time for complex technology that creates chaos.
Whether our clients know how to articulate these individual needs or not will vary from job to job. As we walk our clients through the design process, we should anticipate these needs. This will help avoid friction when a man wants more bass and a woman wants small speakers that match her furniture.
Any AV business worth its salt has learned that we are selling more than gear. We are selling a personally satisfying experience that enhances our clients lifestyle and home. The business we are in requires that we artfully blend technology and good interior design. We do well to design balanced systems that create an emotional experience, but enhance the quality of lifenot add to the stress.
As system designers, we must put ourselves in the shoes of both male and female clients to help them invest wisely together in gear that will please them both. Our assistance is vital to help clients make quality decisions that should fully satisfy the needs of both. A system that makes them both happy is a better system. Then, everybody wins.