Name: Melody Craigmyle
Title: Vice President of Marketing, Pro AV
Company: Almo Professional A/V
SCN: What is your position, and what does it entail? What are your responsibilities?
Melody Craigmyle: I am vice president of marketing for Almo’s professional AV division, which includes responsibility for reseller education and incentive programs, events and trade shows, direct marketing, pubic relations, web properties, social media, and overall branding efforts.
SCN: How long have you been at this position?
MC : I was employee number three when the pro AV division started at Almo almost five years ago. Previous to that I was vice president of marketing for Electrograph Systems, another pro AV distributor that unfortunately fell victim to the economic decline in 2009.
SCN: How has your background prepared you for your current role?
MC : Before coming to the pro AV industry, I was vice president of marketing for the largest AutoCAD integrator in the U.S., so my background was dealing with architects, engineers, facilities managers, and designers. That experience has helped in two areas: 1) because I came from the reseller/integration side of things, I have an understanding of the marketing tools our integrators need for their business, and 2) as the AV industry is embracing the Building Information Model (BIM) and the need to collaborate with designers and architects, I have perspective from that angle.
SCN: What are your short- and long-term goals?
MC : In the short-term, my goal is to grow the Almo brand within the pro AV space as we continue to take market share and grow as a division. We’ve gone from $0 to over $200M in revenue in under five years, which has been an amazing experience, but we’re far from done. Long term, I would like to own my own marketing consulting firm to help manufacturers better assist distribution and reseller partners with their marketing strategies.
SCN: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
MC : All marketers today are faced with reaching people in a multi-device world—mobile, tablet, and online. At the same time, communicating electronically is no substitute for face-to-face interaction with customers at trade shows or at one of our traveling E4 AV tour events. Although costly, these events are important and key to growing our brand, which translates into one of our core promises—distribution on a personal level.
SCN: Where do you see your market heading?
MC : This year on our E4 tour, our keynote address is on “Being Smart with Smarter Buildings” which speaks to why integrators must embrace BIM and get in on the ground level of design with AV instead of being the last crew in. It’s not enough to respond to bids—as an industry we must become trusted advisors and articulate the importance of the AV experience. That could be anything from helping the architect understand acoustics, assisting the interior designer with an interactive or immersive AV decorating experience, or advising the facilities manager on the legislation for assistive listening devices.
SCN: Are there new initiatives we are likely to see from Almo?
MC : As integrators are looking for new revenue opportunities in the services arena, you will see Almo launching several new programs whereby resellers can “white label” these services as their own and enjoy very healthy margins. We recently launched our removal and reinstallation extended warranty services, and at our spring E4 events, we will introduce our Almo Content Creation services for digital signage and video wall installation and maintenance services.
SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from the services Almo has to offer?
MC : First, systems contractors must invest in education for their employees to stay on top of emerging trends and keep certifications up to date. Our E4 tour offers nine to 10 classes at each event, most with InfoComm CTS RUs. The event is free, so that’s a premium service we offer at no cost to the reseller. Second, by incorporating our new services offerings into their service agreements, it can have an immediate impact on their bottom line. Third, Almo is unique in that we will stage inventory for projects in our warehouses across the country. So leveraging our logistics, coupled with managing their cash flow and not having to stock inventory, can translate into greater profits.
Chuck Ansbacher is the managing editor of SCN.