October 26, 2021 I The Marketing Guru I by Tracy Hoeft

What’s Your NAMM Gap?

For the second year in a row, we will start our New Year with no NAMM Show. We survived and even thrived without it last year, so should we be concerned?

We will survive without it, but let’s not be naive — there will be an impact for businesses that are not being proactive in understanding and filling their NAMM gap.

The fact is that NAMM is the tent pole event of our industry. Those of us lucky enough to go year after year might see it as old hat, but musicians from around the world who wish that they could attend scroll social media, watch YouTube videos and visit multiple websites just to get a glance at what is going on.

NAMM is our Super Bowl. For professional football players, the Super Bowl is all business. Pros want to get there, do their job and win.

But nothing creates fear of missing out and gear acquisition syndrome in musicians around the world like NAMM. If you are a dealer, what will you do to fill that gap and build excitement with your customers and even your staff? The question for brands is how will you replace the millions of social media impressions you get from people posting content from your booth or visiting your website during the show to see what’s new?

For the sharpest dealers in the business, NAMM is about getting smarter — attending the courses at NAMM U, the TEC Track and taking in all available education from your suppliers. Let’s be honest, most of us are not as enthusiastic about an online course as we are when we selected a session to attend and sit with a bunch of our peers. How will you assure professional development for yourself and your team and fill that NAMM gap?

At every NAMM I have ever attended, and that’s a lot, I have come away with an unexpected opportunity and in most cases it came from running into someone in the exhibit floor aisles or in a hotel lobby, catching up and finding a real win-win. It is impossible to replace the benefits of that serendipity, but we really should try.

My goal here is not to sell the importance of NAMM, but rather to suggest that you not take the NAMM gap lightly. Take an honest look at what you have been getting from the NAMM shows and make sure that you have a plan to fill that gap.

There are opportunities for you to use the NAMM gap to your advantage in marketing. Your customers still want to see new gear and get excited about their interest of music making.

Make your store their information resource. Locate and then curate info on all the new products coming from the brands that you sell. Share it with some fanfare and importance via email, social media, blog posts and in-store displays. How about unveiling a new product online every day for 15 days? As someone who works on marketing for many of the brands that you likely carry, I can tell you with confidence that your suppliers are looking for new ways to launch products and would love your help. Get your hands on the new product and do your own video or write-up on it, blend that with the content from the brand and share with your customers. Invite your customers to come in to your store, test drive the product and get some video of them commenting on the new product. Share that on social media and with your email list to further your role as a new product insights resource.

In filling the professional development NAMM gap, if you are not learning about what is happening today in marketing, you are way behind. Marketing has evolved quickly over the last decade, but the impact of the pandemic has accelerated that pace. You need to understand the impact of Apple’s new privacy policies on all digital ads, keep up with the surprising impact of TikTok on all social media, don’t sleep on the increasing legal risks associated with your website and ADA compliance, and follow the ever-changing privacy laws and tax laws. All of that and a dozen other things have changed radically since the last time that we all came together. Do you really want to wait until June 2022 and the rescheduled NAMM show to learn about that? I sure don’t!

The NAMM Gap is either a threat or an opportunity. What will you make of it? MI

Tracy Hoeft is the president of Amplify 11, a marketing firm specializing in the musical instrument industry.

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