Sennheiser Sets Installed Sound Course

Old Lyme, CT - The prevailing change in the professional audio business over the past five years has been founded on two paradoxical but inextricably linked forces: consolidation of manufacturing and distribution into larger sales entities, and the sharpening of the efforts of said entities to address more specific market segments. In short, companies are getting bigger, manufacturer alliances are growing more numerous, and interaction between dealers and audio corporations has become highly focused.

Exemplary of this trend is a recent organizational shift at Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, an adjustment which more clearly defines the responsibilities of the company's top-tier management as they apply to the professional systems, music industry and installed sound market segments. The past year has proven to be one fueled by rapid growth within the professional products division at Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, and hence the company has promoted six key employees to new positions within the division's growing marketing and sales department.

To handle professional sound and MI, Mark Humrichouser was promoted to the newly created position of industry team manager-professional systems and music industry, with Joe Wagoner assuming the newly created counterpart position as industry team leader-installed sound. Both will serve as the pivot point between the factory, Sennheiser's U.S. office, and the marketplace regarding product development, distribution strategy, channel communications strategic growth initiatives, and promotional campaigns. They will also work to establish and maintain strong relationships with the key channel influencers.

"If contractors and integrators can do more business with a particular vendor, it's a more efficient way of doing business," noted Wagoner, who will be responsible for all aspects of marketing and distribution to the Installed Sound market. "Therefore, we're looking to market our products-including those brands for which we are U.S. distributor-as part of a one-stop shopping solution. We are looking at our business more in terms of business channels, with a focus on how products sell in various vertical markets. It's better than strictly selling based on a product."

Wagoner started with Sennheiser in 2001 as market development manager-western region and moved to the company's U.S. headquarters in Old Lyme, CT early last year to assume the position of product manager-audiology infrared and conferencing systems.

Wagoner's experience with the installed sound market has shown that information is key to successful dealer operations. "When consultants and integrators are designing a system, they need to know how a particular product works," Wagoner said. "They need to have access to anything from the user's manual to dxf files for AutoCAD or EASE data for modeling. We're in the process of trying to answer that call. We plan to launch a new professional website to suit those needs at NSCA Expo."

As is so often the case in the systems integration industry, information will flow in both directions within the Sennheiser organization. "There's always an ongoing dialogue between the installation market and R&D, and we are the pipeline," Wagoner said.

Facilitating this dialogue will be Vanessa Jensen, who with the realignment assumes the responsibilities of product manager-installed sound, and Dennis Zembower, who comes to Sennheiser from the museum exhibits management field and holds the new position of market development manager tourguide and guidePORT systems. Both report to Wagoner.

On the professional sound and MI side, Chris Phillips is now product manager-professional systems products and Robb Blumenreder has moved into the position of product manager-music industry products. Both report to Humrichouser.

Kirsten Nelson is a freelance content producer who translates the expertise and passion of technologists into the vernacular of an audience curious about their creations. Nelson has written about audio and video technology in all its permutations for almost 20 years; she was the editor of SCN for 17 years. Her experience in the commercial AV and acoustics design and integration market has also led her to develop presentation programs and events for AVIXA and SCN, deliver keynote speeches, and moderate and participate in panel discussions. In addition to technology, she also writes about motorcycles—she is a MotoGP super fan.