At InfoComm 2015 in Orlando, Florida, Mike van der Logt (Head of Sales) had the pleasure of talking with Lynn Martin and Kris McDougall of distributor AM&S, who were showing LEWITT for the very first time.
[LEWITT] How did you wind up in the distribution business?
[Lynn Martin] I spent around 10 years working at Harman Group, where I played an integral role in reviving the Allen&Heath business. After I’d moved on from there to become VP of Merchandising at Guitar Center, Glenn Rogers called up to tell me that they’d purchased Allen&Heath from Harman and were going to need to set up distribution in the US. And the rest, as they say, is history.
[LEWITT] Was the decision fueled by your passion for music, or was it business-driven?
[Lynn Martin] Both – I’ve been involved with music all my life.
[Kris McDougall] My passion has always been for music first, with business not far behind.
[LEWITT] When did you start, and have the business and the market changed since then?
[Lynn Martin] We began operations in August of ’02. And needless to say, the rapid and continuous rise of digital hardware, the development of the Internet, new enabling technologies, and the emergence of social media as a primary channel of communication with customers are just a few of the major developments that have taken place since.
[LEWITT] How did you hear about LEWITT, and what was it about what you heard that made you go for LEWITT?
[Lynn Martin] One of my guys pointed out the company to me. And after meeting Roman and Mike, the decision was easy. First of all, they’re great, intelligent human beings. They’ve also got our kind of passion for what they do. And they were so organized in their approach to the market, they had great products, first-class manufacturing, beautiful marketing, concise and consistent messaging …all of which made the choice an easy one.
[Kris McDougall] I got introduced to LEWITT early on, from a friend and co-worker of mine whom I’d never before seen so excited about a microphone. After hearing them first-hand I understood why, and I was hooked from that moment forward. I followed their progress as they built up the brand during those crucial formative years, and was ecstatic when the opportunity came along to work with them.
[LEWITT] When choosing brands, what kind of rationale goes into the choices you make, since there are clearly more manufacturers and brands than there are customers to buy from them?
[Lynn Martin] I don’t necessarily buy that premise. Do consumers have choices? Certainly, but none of our competitors look like they’ll be going out of business anytime soon. I think I answered the rest of the question in the last one!
[LEWITT] What’s your take on the online e-tailers, and can you put this in perspective with brick and mortar? Are they a threat or an opportunity?And how does modern distribution figure in to today’s landscape, which is obviously changing?
[Lynn Martin] Things appear to be settling out. That said, we are working very hard to support our brick and mortar retailers in closing the sales they generate by displaying our product, and to the extent that we can, we’d like to put an end to thecurrent level of “showcasing” that goes on there. We also support the online retailers who speak directly to our customers with content on their sites that truly educates the customer, who build rapport with the customer, and who help to build our segment of the industry rather than selling them diapers and motor oil, too.
[Kris McDougall] Both retail and online dealers have value. Coming from a retail sales background myself, I’ve always understood the challenges that brick-and-mortar stores face in an increasingly competitive global market. The challenge is in striking a balance that works for everyone involved, and I think that AM&S is well on their way to excelling in that respect.
[LEWITT] Anything you’d like to ask us?
[LEWITT] You'll see at winter NAMM 2016 ... there is a really cool addition to the LCT Recording Series in the pipeline for early 2016 and we are still focusing on expanding the DGT Digital Series, but that will take a bit more time ...