NEAR has greatly expanded its partner firms, hiring 10 independent rep firms U.S. field sales and service, a Canadian distributor, and CE Marketing Pros as a press relations and marketing consultant for the brand. The move marks a rapid ascension into the residential AV marketplace by the manufacturer of premium outdoor loudspeakers.
After being purchased by Bogen Communications in 1997, NEAR focused its efforts on the commercial market. Earlier this year, NEAR re-entered the residential market with an all-new premium product line as well as a new sales and marketing team experienced in residential channels. The new product line, which includes bracket-mount and in-ground full range models, an in-ground subwoofer, and a purpose-designed power amplifier, started shipping to specialist integrators in May.
NEAR director of sales Hank Finke carefully assembled a core group of sales representative firms with deep ties to the custom integrator community including: New England-based P.D. Lazarus & Company; Bach Sales for the Metro NY area; AVR for Southeast; Michael Chafee Enterprises in Florida; St. Peters Sales Agency for Indiana and Kentucky; Current Marketing for Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico; CalWest Marketing in SoCal; Media Delivery Strategies in NoCal; Network Sales for MN, ND, SD, and WI; Scowcroft & Associates for CO, WY, UT, and MT; and finally, Erikson Consumer in Canada.
CE Marketing Pros (CEMP) is a marketing agency founded by Paul DiComo and Al Ballard, former marketing executives with Polk Audio and Definitive Technology. CEMP will represent the NEAR brand with the editorial press, manage NEAR’s social media outreach, and provide general marketing consulting.
CEMP is the latest addition to NEAR’s sales and marketing team that includes Jeff Kussard Consulting, Hank Finke and Cynthia “Cindy” Peters. Kussard is a CEDIA Fellow and four-time CEDIA board member with over 35 years of experience in live and studio sound engineering, contracting, residential custom integration, professional audio and commercial sound. His background includes executive positions with Capitol Sales, Russound, and Harman International.
Industry veteran Hank Finke was added to the NEAR team as director of sales in April of this year. Cindy Peters, Bogen’s recently appointed vice president of marketing and product development, has over 25 years of experience in CE professional and consumer audio sales and marketing with LG Electronics and Altec Lansing.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have assembled such a strong, multi-talented team,” said NEAR founder and division general manager William “Bill” Kieltyka. “The experience, success, and marketing skills these people bring to the table are well known throughout the trade. Our channel partners can expect first-class marketing and products from NEAR to support their own sales and marketing efforts.”
As founder of New England Audio Resource, Kieltyka developed the NEAR product line, which is carried on today as a division of Bogen Communications, Inc. NEAR’s original AEL Series outdoor speakers gained a reputation for audiophile sound quality combined with a rugged build-quality capable of standing up to the harshest weather conditions, including atop New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington (reputed to have the worst weather in North America).