CE Pro December 2021 - 27

MARK CERASUOLO,
Director of Marketing,
Morningstar Corp.
WHEN IT COMES TO
having a well-rounded and
well-traveled career in
consumer electronics, Mark
Cerasuolo might win the
prize. Cerasuolo's nearly 40
years in the industry cover 13
brands with various retailers,
audio and smart home
control manufacturers.
Starting in 1972 while still
in college, Cerasuolo's first
" job " in the industry was a
non-paying position as part of
the University of Massachusetts,
Amherst Stereo Co-op.
" We were volunteers in this
student organization, receiving
an academic credit. Members
joined for a small fee and
could buy stereo components
at 8% over our cost (kind of
like an early warehouse club).
We'd set up a demo system
on a table in the Campus
Center along with literature
and a price sheet and take
orders, with components
picked up monthly. It was a
lot of fun. One of the founder's
dad was an executive at
Acoustic Research, so we got
overstocked and seconds of
AR speakers and turntables, "
he recalls.
That experience led him
to a local retailer, Lafayette
cepro.com
Radio Electronics, selling
everything from stereo gear
to electronic educational
kits, color organs, scanners,
antennas and CB radios. The
stores also carried Pioneer,
Sansui, TEAC, McIntosh,
Bose, JBL, AR and many
other brands.
" It was about as much
electronics diversity as you
could get under one roof, "
he says.
Cerasuolo worked his way
up from a part-time employee
to the sound room to
doing tech work including
light repairs and assembling
connectors, inventory,
setting up scanners and
installing antennas.
" The store was managed
by a very colorful guy who
had a lot of side interests
with local restaurants,
student groups, and more,
and, as it turned out, many
of them weren't exactly
above-board. One day there
were these guys in suits
taking inventory and going
over all the paperwork. Turns
out they were a security
firm hired by the chain's
management, and they'd
fired almost everyone else
and walked them out the
door! I asked the assistant
manager what that meant,
and he answered, 'It means
I'm the new manager. Do you
want to be the new assistant
manager?' I said, 'Sure!'
That's how I started. I had
to withdraw from UMass to
work full time, figuring I'd
'go back in a few semesters'
and finish. I did just that, but
not until 2010 (and got to
speak at my much-delayed
graduation)! "
From that humble beginning,
Cerasuolo went on to
spend three years as a store
manager for Tweeter and later
a few smaller firms in New
England. In 1983, he made
the leap to the manufacturing
side working for Technics
and later Bose Corp. in the
advertising department. In
1988, he joined Marantz in
the marketing department.
When his job was going to
be relocated to Chicago,
Cerasuolo instead moved
to a much warmer climate
- Los Angeles - where he
joined the JBL and Harman
Kardon team for the next
four years. There, he was
tapped to head up corporate
projects, one of which was to
help build up the company's
custom electronics/homebuilder
business.
In 1994, he worked for
a marketing firm where he
became involved with several
audio firms, including Clarion,
Velodyne, Onkyo and Carver
Corp.
" I had three periods with
Carver. First, as one of their
original dealers in New England,
second while at Bose
who distributed Carver internationally
and in the military
exchange system, and finally
joining the company, " he
recalls.
In 1997, Cerasuolo joined
Leviton Manufacturing and
spent a dozen years in a
marketing and communications
management role
for its telecom division in
Washington. Leviton was
one of the pioneers of
structured cabling.
Cerasuolo's last industry
stop was with Xantech from
2009 to 2011. Today, he
works for investment firm
Morningstar.
So what has his well-traveled
journey taught him?
" One is that reputations,
like many other things, are
local, " he says. " By that
I mean they are highly
individualistic and transitory
and need constant work.
That lesson came from a
scolding I got from an audio
store customer in the 1970s,
who wasn't happy with our
performance. I started telling
him about our reputation. He
said, 'Stop! Your reputation
is a measure of how happy
you've made your other
customers; it's something
between you and them. But
right now, your reputation is
something between you and
me, and it's not too good. So,
let's work on that, instead
of telling me how happy everyone
else is.' I never forgot
that, or him. "
His other advice is to treat
your customers as equals.
His last piece of advice is
to encourage " action and
not perfection " in terms of
product development.
" If it's genuinely innovative
and there's a need for it, it
doesn't have to be perfect
- practical and deployable
are the baseline. That's
something Dr. Bose taught:
'Get new products to the
market. Once they're sellable,
and when you've made
enough improvements to
command more of a premium,
then that's your series II.'
I still hear that on every new
product launch I'm involved
with, " he says.
December 2021 CE Pro | 27
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CE Pro December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CE Pro December 2021

CE Pro December 2021 - Presentation Page
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover1
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover2
CE Pro December 2021 - 1
CE Pro December 2021 - 2
CE Pro December 2021 - 3
CE Pro December 2021 - 4
CE Pro December 2021 - 5
CE Pro December 2021 - 6
CE Pro December 2021 - 7
CE Pro December 2021 - 8
CE Pro December 2021 - 9
CE Pro December 2021 - 10
CE Pro December 2021 - 11
CE Pro December 2021 - 12
CE Pro December 2021 - 13
CE Pro December 2021 - 14
CE Pro December 2021 - 15
CE Pro December 2021 - 16
CE Pro December 2021 - 17
CE Pro December 2021 - 18
CE Pro December 2021 - 19
CE Pro December 2021 - 20
CE Pro December 2021 - 21
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CE Pro December 2021 - 24
CE Pro December 2021 - 25
CE Pro December 2021 - 26
CE Pro December 2021 - 27
CE Pro December 2021 - 28
CE Pro December 2021 - 29
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CE Pro December 2021 - Cover3
CE Pro December 2021 - Cover4
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