It’s an undeniable fact that showrooms are back and they’re hotter than ever. Brands, integration firms, and interior designers are partnering in some cases, and rep firms are getting in on the game now, too. Providing experience-rich environments filled with tech is a high priority for many in the channel. Whether they’re called a showroom, experience center, design center, or some other snazzy term, these purpose-built spaces have been carefully curated to cater to the needs of today’s homeowner and provide everything needed to get people from merely considering smart home tech to committing to it.
But, how do you go about promoting your showroom, experience center, design center, or snazzy, tech showcase space? Here are some tips and how-to’s you can use to raise awareness of your space and start getting a return on your investment.
Showcase Well-Known “Destination” Brands
Certain brands have an almost cult-like appeal that attracts both audio-video fanatics and luxury lifestyle consumers alike. When you feature these unique, or “statement,” brands in your showroom, you can tap into a new audience and capture new clientele, creating a pipeline of potential opportunities for your company. Integration Controls, for example, recently added Bang & Olufsen to their line card. They are beginning to market the relationship with an SEO-rich blog they will use to promote B&O on social media that will attract local customers with a penchant for the design-forward. Events are planned this summer.
“We are bringing the Bang & Olufsen line of products into St. Louis because we believe it simplifies and enriches the experience of enjoying entertainment at home. At the same time, it provides a unique look and modern aesthetic not found in traditional audio-visual showrooms,” says Jamie Briesemeister, CEO of Integration Controls. This approach differentiates the Integration Controls brand and makes them a go-to in the market for those seeking Bang & Olufsen. Great idea!
Brilliant AV’s new Brilliant Experience Center in Southern California [see this issue’s “Showroom Showcase”] offers one-of-a-kind brand experiences in an easily navigated space filled with vignettes that showcase the many ways tech enhances lifestyles. Also taking the brand-alignment route, Brilliant AV was recently minted as the first company in California designated as an exclusive brand location for a Focal Powered by Naim store. The latest smart home technologies from brand partners like Sonos, Lutron, Control4, Sonance, Samsung, Screen Innovations, Alarm.com, and others are also prominently featured. “Our goal is to provide our visitors with a hands-on experience to see, hear, and feel the benefits of these systems firsthand,” says Matt Walin, CEO of Brilliant AV.
This brand-centric approach differentiates their company and, by partnering with brands to promote the new space, Brilliant AV was able to tap into additional marketing funds and has effectively created a pipeline that will attract new local clientele. More than 150 invited guests attended their recent grand opening soirée, a catered, California casual evening event that included clients, trade partners, and prospects, staff, and supporters. Brilliant AV utilized email marketing and social media marketing to promote the event and tapped into their network of supporters to spread the word. Additional events for interior designers, architects, and consumers are planned.
Paul Bochner of Electronic Concepts has also had great success with marketing unique brands in his New Jersey showroom. “The key to our showroom is having destination brands and experiences that bring end users, potential customers, designers, and builders into our space,” he says. “We try to show off products and solutions that they likely cannot experience any other way.”
Create a Space That Beckons Customers AND Partners
Speaking of attracting trades and partners, sometimes it’s the space itself that does the talking. Matt and Dana DeVance of Texas-based DeVance Electronic Lifestyles designed their showroom to be a spot where they could co-market with other local businesses to execute innovative events that tap into tangential customer bases. See the feature story about DeVance’s showroom to learn more about some of the innovative event marketing they did, including teaming up with a local luxury car dealership for an exclusive event to test drive vehicles. Fun!
Uniquely, Joaquin Rivera and the team at ByDesign Sound & Video Marketing are creating a 4600-square-foot Experience and Training Center in Southern California [see this issue’s “Showroom Showcase”]. To me, this is a great idea for a rep firm, especially one that caters to the design process and offers a great deal of support in this area to integration firms, interior designers, and architects. “It has been our goal to have a design and training center since the inception of ByDesign VSM. We represent high-end, boutique brands that are oftentimes as beautiful to look at as they are to use. Homeowners and our trade partners will be far more likely inclined to say yes to products when they can experience them, and that’s what this space will provide — an opportunity for integration firms, interior designers, architects, and consumers to experience tech in an environment built to showcase their use,” says Rivera.
A Video Speaks a Million Words
Want more foot traffic? Capture and produce video for your website, social media, and marketing efforts to build interest in your space.
“The high-production videos we did 100 percent got us more calls and foot traffic. Yes, we spent a significant amount of time, energy, and money on these videos, but we still get calls and comments that people have or are seeing our videos on social,” says Bochner. “Video is my favorite mode of marketing. If you can create the content, it’s the best move.”
If you’ve read my recent columns here, you know my position on video for marketing. There simply is no more valuable an asset than video.
Need help sorting out a strategy to promote your space or funding it, creatively? Drop me a line or give me a call! Email [email protected] to get the conversation started.
Focus on the Experiential
It’s been talked about ad nauseam, but it always bears repeating. People do not respond to a room full of blinking lights, digital displays, or a variety of content being blasted at them from every direction. They want to know how tech will work and what it will do, and they need to be assured it will be easy to use. Design and deliver a space that provides the overarching experience one can expect and some hands-on aspects. This makes the presentation more tangible and authentic.