i3 - March/April 2017 - 10


The sleek

How have your
varied experiences
shaped you?

A It has been a really cool
journey. At MyerEmco I was able to really
experience customer-facing behavior
firsthand. I was in literally hundreds of
customers' homes, to see how they experienced technology and how it integrated into
their lifestyle. Then I got the opportunity
at Monster, and also at Beats, to learn about
the world of manufacturing and how products are created and brands are marketed.
Watching Beats engage new audiences
with technology - people that wouldn't
have considered buying a set of $300
headphones before - was great. And perhaps because of my background, SVS is
very customer facing. We do direct market
engagement, which is unusual for audio
companies. We are also a manufacturer
building a brand and creating channel
relationships. Everything I have done has
prepared me for the different things I do
as president of SVS.

Q What is your business model?
A When I bought SVS with two partners,

it was exclusively direct market with an
e-commerce website and we only made
subwoofers. But we had this cult-like
following for our products. We made the
brand message more coherent and the
products more broadly appealing. We
have a market engagement strategy that is
present facing and future facing, engaging
new audiences in the way that they want to
be engaged. Digital marketing and social
media is in our DNA. You would not typically find a company of SVS's size that had
four million social media engagements last
year. We also added speakers and created
a total immersive experience. Now the fastest growing part of our business and our
brand is via our channel partners.

Q Do you manufacture in Youngstown?
A We design and engineer in the U.S. and

Canada. We do marketing, brand building
and market engagement out of our facility
in Youngstown as well as quality assurance,
product testing and evaluation and distribu10


use online user reviews as their virtual
demo. When you go on the SVS website,
you'll see more than 5,000 user reviews
where people tell you what it's like to experience the product. But people also like to
go into a store, so you need a multi-faceted
strategy. Our first assumption is people
care about great sound. People are going to
movies and live concerts in record numbers,
young folks are going to EDM festivals - so
enjoying great sound is alive and well. If you
give people a reason, make it educational but
also fun and do some cool demos - people
will come into brick-and-mortar stores. We
have been going around the country doing
consumer events at our retail partners. It
creates a value-add for the retailer because
we are bringing people into their store but it
is also a huge plus for customers.

tion. We build in China. The question is
are we an America-facing company if we
build in China? The reality is that when we
bought the company, we made the decision
not to bring manufacturing to the U.S. in
order be more competitive globally.
We went from a fixed
number of employees to
five times that number in
just over five years. And
employees make almost
Do you have
double on average what
they made then per year
in salary. China also is our
number one market outside
About 35 percent
the U.S. I consider that to
of our business
be a win-win when we are
outside the U.S.
creating jobs in America
but also engaging the
global marketplace with
very competitive products.

Q How do you define an audiophile?
A That is a core question for SVS. The typical

audio company believes their sweet spot is
a 55-plus year old affluent male. That is the
traditional vision of an audiophile. SVS absolutely does not subscribe to that notion. We
are huge believers in treating the concept
of audiophile in a very inclusive way. So an
audiophile could also be a younger male or
female, they could be engaging in music
or they could be watching
Blu-ray via their home theater
or streaming premium video,
or gaming. The average SVS
customer is between 25-34 and
35-44 years of age - it's almost
a virtual tie. We are trying to
bring new audiences to the
idea of immersive experiences
and great sound.

Q How do you convince
someone that your speakers
are better? How powerful
are demos?
A That is a complicated question. First of all, younger folks

Q What challenges
the audio industry?
A As an industry, we
need to stop believing
that no one cares about
great sound and instead
paint a picture of the great
sound that people love to
experience in a movie theater or at a live concert.
We have young people
working at SVS who put
our products in their
apartment and their
friends are totally blown
away that a convincing
immersive experience can be possible
in their living space. Let's get immersive
experiences into the selection set of
broader audiences because once they
experience it, you see the smiles on
peoples' faces - they totally get it - it
changes their perception. Three quarters
of the emotional content, the excitement,
the impact of a movie comes from the
sound, not the picture.


i3 - March/April 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - March/April 2017

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