The pro AV and digital signage market holds incredible potential for those solution providers that can make their mark in it. Consider a recent report in which 41 percent of integrators said their 2015 revenue grew by between 6 and 20 percent. Meanwhile, nearly 10 percent of respondents said they experienced more than 20 percent growth—a testament to the power and popularity of this technology in today’s market.
Of course, increased opportunities are creating increased competition. Today, it’s vital to differentiate yourself from the moment you enter the industry. In order to help you get started, here are four tips for breaking into the pro AV and digital signage market:
1. Become an expert in your field.
First and foremost, it’s important to establish yourself as a pro AV/digital signage expert. The goal is for your current and potential customers to immediately think of your solution provider business anytime they need a new piece of equipment or have a problem that requires troubleshooting.
When a potential customer considers hiring you for a pro AV or digital signage project, they want to rest assured that you have the knowledge and experience required to complete a seamless, on-budget install, without unnecessary delays or complications. As you transition into AV, learn as much as you can about the technologies involved, common customer challenges, installation techniques and more.
If necessary, invest some time in training, either with an industry organization or through your technology distributor. The more knowledge you can gather at the front end, the easier your first several installations will be.
2. Stand out from the competition.
Differentiating yourself from other solution providers can be a challenge, but it’s well worth the investment in time and resources. There are many ways to make yourself more visible to potential customers. Consider ideas such as:
- Attending AV industry trade shows, conferences and other events
- Networking at events within your vertical (e.g., education or retail technology seminars)
- Hosting your own seminars on niche AV topics as a value add for decision-makers
- Becoming a thought leader on social media, through Twitter posts, blogs and other platforms
- Investing in highly professional marketing materials, including your website, brochures, product line cards, etc.
By informally introducing yourself to your target markets, you help establish yourself as a leader in the pro AVworld. And the broader your networking reach can become, the greater your visibility will be.
3. Stay open-minded.
As a solution provider, it can be tempting to approach a new job with established ideas about the customer’s needs and the technology that will help them achieve their goals. After all, many of your clients will likely have similar plans in mind for their AV installation, particularly if they are all in the same vertical. But it’s important to start each new project with a blank slate.
Set aside your preconceived notions and listen fully to your customer. If the stakeholders have technology preferences, let them guide you rather than sticking with the same vendors for every project. Ask questions at each stage of the design and installation process and ensure that you and the customer are always on the same page.
4. Think creatively.
Pro AV and digital signage are two exciting, fast-evolving fields. Every new install gives you the chance to think outside the box in order to meet your customer’s goals. Don’t be afraid to branch out to new and innovative systems and devices. You might surprise yourself with a solution that is more creative and attention-grabbing than you thought was possible.
What are some of your biggest challenges in breaking into the pro AV and digital signage market? In what areas have you had some success?