April 07, 2023 I Event

Supercharge Your Future

By Katie Kailus

If there’s one reason to attend this week’s NAMM show, Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO, says it’s for the education. The variety of concerts, networking events and awesome new gear are just icing on the cake.

Held this Thursday to Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, The 2023 NAMM Show’s theme is “Bringing the Future Into Focus” — something Lamond said will be heavily covered in the show’s educational sessions.

“I’m really, really stressing the education part of this year’s show,” he said. “Our theme is centered around trying to get an understanding of the future and bringing it into focus, because the future is really starting to take shape after a tremendously foggy period with the pandemic. I think this is a moment of really trying to anticipate and plan for the future. The education offerings at this NAMM Show are going to be maybe the most helpful for understanding the future than anything we’ve ever done before.”

A One-Two Punch
The show will start off strong a day early on Wednesday, when NAMM will hold its Marketing Summit, which is open to all NAMM members and will cover how to change your marketing in a disruptive and crowded space.

“I think every music retailer can focus on improving their marketing capabilities,” Lamond said. “I just don’t know a retailer who doesn’t think about how they could improve this. A lot ask, ‘How do we get more ROI on what we’re spending? How do we make better use of this data to really understand our customers?’ So, I think the Marketing Summit on Wednesday is going be really powerful.”

The following morning, Lamond will hold his annual Breakfast of Champions, where he said this year’s breakfast session will focus on character.

“It’s kind of interesting because it’s very much two sides of the same coin — Wednesday’s Marketing Summit is very data and analytic while Thursday’s Breakfast of Champions is very much human,” Lamond explained. “We’ll look at the character traits of people who have been successful through this period and other periods of disruption and we’ll ask, ‘What are some of the things that we can learn from them?’ People of high character tend to make it through these disruptions and come out the other side. What can we learn from that? So, I think it’s an interesting 24-hour period of education and what it takes to run a music store — from data analytics to the humanistic side. And then there’s about 200 other sessions that delve into every possible aspect of successfully running a music store.”

Yay, More Gear!
On the exhibit show floor, Lamond said he anticipates seeing more product launches at this year’s show than last year.

“I think the supply chain issues have slowed down some, so I think the exhibitors are, from what I’m hearing, planning on releasing more new product at this show — more than last June and possibly more than previous years because of the pent up demand for new products,” he said. “I also know we have a whole new crop of entrepreneurial startups exhibiting, and they’re going to have the kind of products that aren’t mass-marketed. They have stories, and that’s something that an independent music store can really get behind. Customers really like products that are exclusive, unique and have a story behind them. And they always want to know what treasures retailers found at this year’s show. This year, I can tell you we have a whole crop of new boutique exhibitors who are going to be really eager to meet dealers.”

The End of an Era
The 2023 NAMM Show will be a bittersweet one for Lamond as it will be his last as NAMM’s CEO. A regular NAMM attendee since 1983, he’s attended 40 shows in total, 22 as CEO.

“This year’s show will be great an opportunity for me to mark 40 years of going to The NAMM Show. It’ll be bittersweet, but I think for me personally, it’ll be special to be able to walk around next January when I don’t have to worry about everything,” he laughed.

With Lamond retiring from his post after this show, NAMM’s new president and CEO, John Mlynczak, will be on hand during the convention shadowing Lamond.

“We’re very much looking forward to introducing the Mlynczak,” he said. “I’ll be very much involved in the transition to ensure the stability and the reliability that goes into providing a stable platform for the industry going forward. I want to make sure that the transition goes so smoothly that there’s not even the slightest hint of change from one show to the next.”

For Those On-the-Fencers
For prospective attendees still deciding whether or not to attend or exhibit, Lamond said he believes times of change create solid future leaders.

“I really do believe that these are the type of moments where careers are made, big changes happen and I personally can’t imagine sitting at home and thinking, ‘I wonder what’s going on at NAMM?’” he said. “There’s an expression that goes: ‘There are decades when not a lot happens, and there’s short periods where everything happens.’ And it’s so true. Historically, that’s been proven over and over. I believe this is one of those moments in our industry where a lot is happening. And you don’t want to be looking in from the outside going, ‘Man, I wish I’d been there.’” MI

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