Exploring a Manufacturer’s Rep Showcase - ResidentialSystems.com

Exploring a Manufacturer’s Rep Showcase

It’s great when we can see product firsthand and get a quick demo of it, but not everyone can make it to a tradeshow like CEDIA or InfoComm. Last week, I took a few hours out of my day to go to the far West Side of Manhattan to attend the Sapphire Marketing Roadshow.  
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It’s great when we can see product firsthand and get a quick demo of it, but not everyone can make it to a tradeshow like CEDIA or InfoComm. Many distributors do regional shows with the brands they carry, and I have heard from some colleagues that these can be beneficial for them and their team.

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Jeff Schneider of DPI

Most of our product is purchased direct from manufacturer, so we don’t send anyone to the regional distributors’ shows, but fortunately one of the rep firms we work with has a broad array of product lines in its portfolio. Last week, I took a few hours out of my day to go to the far West Side of Manhattan to attend the Sapphire Marketing Roadshow.

Every year Sapphire pulls together a fantastic mini-tradeshow with all of the vendors it represents. It’s a great opportunity to see several complementary companies together, all represented by the same firm. There were about a dozen brands in all, including Crestron, Autonomic, Revolution Acoustics, Digital Projection, and PRIMA Cinema to name just a few (those were the ones I was mainly interested in seeing anyway). It was an intimate setting—maybe a 5,000 square feet—and since it was only dealers who work with Sapphire, it was not crowded like a trade show floor, and we got to really spend time with the manufacturers.

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Mark Feinberg of Home Theater Advisors

Autonomic showed me a new line of product, and although I can’t provide details here, stay tuned. I also got to play around with the Revolution Acoustics SSP6 Multiducer. This is a great alternative to invisible speakers. No worries about over-mudding, multiple layers of paint over the years and all of the drywall work required of invisibles. These transducers attach to the inside of the wall and turn the entire surface into a speaker. They can be placed on sheetrock, fiberglass, wood, glass—really any surface that can vibrate—and create a room-filling, bass-filled sound. I was quite impressed and will be ordering some to try out in my lab (a.k.a. my home). 

Meeting with the rep from PRIMA Cinema and learning about the great success they have been having in the market has given me a little more confidence in their model to start exploring opportunities for my clients. I can think of a few who wouldn’t hesitate to pay the $500 per movie fee to get a first-run cinematic release at home. These are the types of cool, unique experiences that our clients look to us to provide. It was also great to spend time with my friends from Crestron and Digital Projection, two companies I know well and work with a lot. 

I’m not sure if this unique to Sapphire, but I haven’t seen other rep firms doing this in the NYC area. Do any of you attend rep-firm trade shows? Kudos to Marla Suttenberg, Ken Vanemon, and the rest of the team at Sapphire for a great show and a great opportunity for their dealers.

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