San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Next week, top players in the car stereo industry will meet at a much-anticipated 12-Volt Summit, less as competitors and more as allies in a battle against evaporating consumer awareness that consumers can upgrade their car's sound system.
The Summit has successfully attracted a wide turnout of the top players in car stereo, most recently Sony, JVC, Audiovox, Circuit City, Best Buy and JL Audio, who are joining initial supporters Kenwood, Alpine, Clarion and DEI Holdings (Directed Electronics), as well as Pioneer, which spearheaded the meeting.
Currently 70 industry members have registered for the event, and more than 100 are expected to attend on July 16-17 at Dallas Wyndham DFW Airport North.
The aim is to decide on a type of awareness campaign, following a disappointing five years where the industry experienced a precipitous drop in consumer awareness, from an estimated 60 percent to 30 percent. The message may be as simple as telling consumers that their car's system can sound better.
Greg Sabatino, chairman of Sabatino Day Williamson Group, whose Acumen subsidiary organized the event, said the campaign will likely follow one of five paths:
a national advertising/public relations/interactive campaign;
an entertainment campaign where the industry produces a show, perhaps on Sound Off contests, or on building the best system. This show is then broadcast on TV;
a fully interactive campaign featuring viral marketing on the Internet; and
a public relations campaign where story ideas are sent to leading magazines and newspapers to spark a wave of feature articles on how to improve your car stereo, etc.
Another idea mentioned by industry members is launching a concert series, such as Ozzfest, with promotional ties to car stereo.
To help industry members choose the best tactic, the Summit will divide up into "break out" sessions that will include these topics:
The Scion Launch — Rebel Industries, a marketing firm, will present as a case study the Scion launch, which departed from traditional advertising and used guerilla marketing to launch the new car brand.
Psychographics — In the area of demographics, the industry tends to talk about 16- to 24-year-old males, but there are different psychographic profiles of the typical car stereo buyer that can be identified and targeted.
Branded Entertainment — Sabatino Day successfully produced a high school "game show" that helped bring recognition of HealthSouth, a health care service provider, to the tween market. It also promoted teen sports and health. Coke and GNC decided to sponsor six of the 13 game shows, which covered all of HealthSouth's production costs, said Sabatino Day.
Also presenting at the Summit are key marketers behind the successful "Got Milk" campaign and behind the turnaround at Harley-Davidson. Original research on the consumer awareness levels of car stereo will also be presented, said Sabatino.
During the second day of the Summit, members will again, break up into groups to decide on the best course, and then present their various recommendations to the full Summit. A committee will take the suggestions and create an action plan by late November or early December, said Summit steering committee member, Steve Witt, marketing VP of Alpine Electronics.