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McIntosh Outlines Experience Center Goals

11/07/2011 12:02:00 AM Eastern

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – McIntosh is rolling out Mc-
Intosh-dedicated Experience Center rooms in dealer
stores “to elevate the entire experience
that consumers have with our
brand” and “broaden the customer
base to consumers who can appreciate
anything that is at the top of their
class,” said Linda Passaro, sales and
marketing global VP.

The first Experience Center opened
Friday, Nov. 4, at Century Stereo in
San Jose, Calif., and the second will
open Thursday, Nov. 10, at IQ Home
Entertainment in Fairfax, Va.

For the grand opening at Century Stereo, rock band
Taddy Porter entertained consumers, and for the opening
at IQ Home Entertainment, the Nashville pop-rock
group States will perform.

McIntosh hopes to open 10 Experience Centers per
year beginning in its fiscal 2012, which begins in April,
Passaro told TWICE.

McIntosh revealed its intentions a year ago to launch
Experience Centers as part of its drive to position itself
as a luxury brand to expand its
customer base beyond audiophiles
to include affluent consumers who
are serious about music.
As part of that effort, the brand is
also pursuing distribution through
luxury retailers outside typical CE
distribution channels.

McIntosh will focus on opening
centers in high-net-worth markets
“to reach consumers not necessarily
buying from us today,” Passaro said. The company
will choose dealers that have strong relationships with
McIntosh, the financial ability to meet product buy-in
requirements and to market the centers, and the 350
to 400 square feet needed for a proper presentation,
she said.

McIntosh dealers who commit will get stepped-up
support, including support for grand openings and
product-launch events as well as a prime position on
the McIntosh website. Participants also get a boost in
marketing funds and co-op, dating programs for McIntosh
Center inventory, in-store training for all staff, and
event-planning support, including arranging for bands
to play at the grand openings.

Centers are promoted as prestige settings that
create an at-home atmosphere with a couch, McIntosh-
related art on the walls, a plasma TV displaying
a blue McIntosh VU meter with moving needle, and
three McIntosh electronics-speaker systems intended
for different use cases and designed to simplify the
purchasing decision. One system, the MX-A60 compact
tabletop stereo system, is targeted to people living
in small spaces. The SoHo stereo system features
full-sized components, including a turntable. And the
Westchester is a home-theater system consisting of
full-size components and speakers.

Also for playback on the plasma TV, McIntosh provides
participating dealers with two discs. One features
brand images, and the other features videos of
the company’s factory in action and the company’s listening
parties with noted musicians.