SnapAV Gains Traction with New Products and Veteran Staffers
As the story goes, SnapAV is the vision of Jay Faison, a former custom AV integrator and owner in Charlotte, NC, who in 2005 formed an idea for a different kind of supplier that was built from the ground up to serve businesses like his. Since then, SnapAV has steadily diversified its product lines and developed a team of product professionals with veteran industry experience. RS wanted to learn more about the company’s most recent new addition, a veteran tech support manager, and felt it was also a good time look behind the business, in an interview with VP of marketing Adam Levy.
Over the last 12 months, SnapAV has increased in size by adding 10 industry veterans to its product development team.
Your recent hiring of John Hamilton was just the latest in several staff additions for SnapAV. How are these industry veterans helping the company bring to market more complex technologies?
This year, with SnapAV’s focus on expanding our media distribution and surveillance categories, the need for veteran technical support and product development is greater than ever. Having leaders in these arenas collaborating in-house grants us an even greater understanding of the systems integration challenges that dealers face. The net-result is our ability to achieve an even higher level of product design and support for our dealers. And technical support is a critical part of the equation. A perfect example of how the collaboration is resulting in superior products is the strides we are making in the matrix switching category. SnapAV’s technical support team spends a lot time talking to dealers about how to configure EDID settings. Knowing that EDID is a big source of difficulty for dealers, SnapAV set out to do something better than what was currently available in the marketplace. The result was the development of proprietary software for EDID configuration built right into our new matrix switchers.
Adam Levy, VP of Marketing, SnapAV
What are the company’s most notable successes and biggest challenges since it was founded in 2005?
With the way we’ve grown as a business, it’s easy to look at numbers and see success in sales or other quantitative data. But the biggest success we see when we look internally is our evolution from a start-up company that sold mostly commoditized products, to that of a key supplier to many dealers with significant product development resources and proprietary designs. Further validation that we are doing things right was making Inc. Magazine’s 2010 Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest growing companies (SnapAV ranked at #442). One of our biggest challenges–our Episode Speaker line–ultimately became one of our biggest successes. In 2010, we made a big investment in R&D and marketing to re-launch the line (not to mention in a category that is historically hard to sell in to begin with). We gave dealers a lot of good reasons to give the line a shot, including incentives. But dealers aren’t going to keep buying unless the products stand-up against the competition and provide great value. So it’s been great to see the brand have continued success, as we’ve quadrupled speaker sales since we launched the new line two years ago.
With the company getting bigger, has your value proposition to dealers been affected at all?
Our value proposition has always been to provide dealers with an easy way to run more profitable businesses through high-quality, high-margin products supported by best-in-class online ordering and customer service. Now, six years later, with more products, more warehouses, and more scale, our proposition is exactly the same–just better. Staying committed to the custom channel, having zero-tolerance internet sales policies and staying dealer-direct are also integral to our proposition.
In your increasingly diverse product line, what category seems to be the hottest right now?
Well it seems to be a horse race between our Binary Media Distribution and Wirepath Surveillance lines. Both are relatively new for us. The rapid dealer adoption in both categories is good validation that we are bringing great products to market.
What is the next big product push for SnapAV?
With respect to product development, the last 12 months have been the busiest in our six years. We’ve added 10 experts to our product development team and are developing new products in virtually all of the 17 categories we are in. Our latest big push is an all-new line of Strong equipment racks.