The Channel: Summer NAMM wrap-up,Tech Rep, and Group 55

Welcome back to The Channel--The new (as of the July '04 issue) column where we report about what Universal Audio is doing to improve and enhance our sales channel. In past issues we have posted interviews with several illustrious members of our US dealer network.
Terry with some bros from E MU at Summer NAMM
NAMM Summer Session 2004
The attendance at the last NAMM in Nashville (sung to the tune of "Last Train to Clarksville") was moderate to heavy depending upon one's proximity to a guitar manufacturer's booth. The Summer Session in Nashville typically places a big emphasis on the wooden and stringed side of our industry and this year's show remained true to this trend. The only pro audio technology announcement of note was from our friends at Roland who announced that the Universal Audio 1176LN and the LA-2A plug-ins for the VS2480 are now shipping. Great news for UA and even better news for those multitudes of VS owners who can now utilize state of the art UA plug ins on their sessions.

Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO said that as much as everyone in the NAMM organization really hated to move the show from Nashville, the facilities there were no longer able to meet the needs of the exhibitors and attendees. So, it's off to Indianapolis for next Summer's session and then Austin for Summer 2006. Great for all you NASCAR dads I suppose. Myself, I'm looking forward to 2006 and tucking into a plate of steamin' greasy enchiladas like you can only find in Texas hill country.

Spotlight on UA's Rep Firms
This month I have decided to shine the spotlight on another extremely valuable component of the continuing Universal Audio sales success; I am referring to our ever evolving field sales organization now comprised of two extremely capable and productive rep firms. Representing UA for the past two plus years in the Southeast and Ohio Valley is Tech Rep Marketing whose team of sales professionals is headed up by industry veterans Jeff Mac and Ted Bahas. These two have built a technology driven business that is the model for the modern independent sales rep firm. As of July 1, 2004 Tech Rep Marketing is joined by Group 55 Technology Consulting, our brand new independent sales rep firm for the Northeast region, which includes the greater New York City (read Boston to DC) market. Group 55 Technology Consulting currently is a one-man operation and that man is Neil Ziesing.
Amidst mad preparations for the final Summer NAMM session in his hometown of Nashville, Jeff was able to carve out a little time to share some of his insights into the success of Tech Rep Marketing. Even though Nashville is not on his travel itinerary, Neil Ziesing generously shared a chunk of his valuable time to answer some of my questions as well.
Please join all of us at UA in saluting the past two plus years of terrific sales representation by Tech Rep Marketing and also in welcoming Group 55 Technology Consulting to our team. We expect big things from these two important members of the Universal Audio team.

The marketing gang at Tech Rep in Nashville, TN
Who is Tech Rep Marketing?
Tech Rep Marketing LLC is a company based in the Midwest and Southern section of the US. We are an independent rep group specializing in technical A/V sales. We have field representatives covering 14 States with 2 regional field offices located in Cleveland Ohio and Nashville Tennessee.

Where is Tech Rep headquartered? Why?
Tech Rep Marketing was founded in Nashville, TN. Both Jeff and Ted have roots in the Nashville music community. As the company grew to cover the Ohio valley territory we opened the Ohio Valley office.

How long has Tech Rep been in business?
We have been in business 6 Years.

How long with Universal Audio?
A little over 2 years.
What makes Tech Rep unique among rep firms today?
We founded our business with an emphasis on technical sales. With the increasing automation of our industry we saw a need for a technically savvy field sales force. While traditional Rep Groups are more organized only around relationship selling we combine a relationship-selling model with an emphasis on technical sales. We are one of the few Rep Groups specializing in computer software and hardware product sales.

To obtain contact information for any of the Tech Rep Marketing team as well as additional information about the company and product lines they represent please visit Tech Rep Marketing.

Neil Ziesing of Group 55 Technology Consulting
Who is Group 55 Technology Consulting?
Group 55 Technology Consulting is Neil Ziesing.

Where is Group 55 Technology Consulting headquartered? Why?
I am located in Montclair, NJ, which is just 11 miles west of New York City. Arguably one of, if not the most vibrant markets in our industry.

How long has Group 55 Technology Consulting been in business?
I founded Group 55 Technology Consulting in 2002.

How long with Universal Audio?
My first consulting project as Group 55 Technology Consulting was to work with Mackie to help them launch the UAD-1 card into the MI market worldwide in 2002. I returned to consult with Universal Audio as a product specialist in the greater NYC region in February of 2004. My official start date as the Universal Audio sales rep for the Northeast region was July 1, 2004.

What makes Group 55 Technology Consulting unique among rep firms today?
I have worked in virtually every position one can hold in MI. Back in the early 1990's I was a customer. As a freelance audio and video editor consulting for NYC publishing firms, I was constantly on the lookout for technology to help me work faster and make my job easier.

I have been a sales person in a retail store (Manny's Music NYC). I have worked for manufacturers (Opcode and Gibson), where I did everything from sales to marketing to business development. I have done business development for Rocket Network and Generic Media, both internet technology companies as well as for the internet arm of Palm Pictures, a large multi-media entertainment company.

My focus is to try to look at my clients (the manufacturers I represent) with a view to how they fit into the big picture. Who are their competitors, what are their weaknesses as well as their strengths. I'm always on the lookout to determine who else in my network of contacts can help make my clients stronger and more compelling in their respective vertical market. I also spend a major portion of my day-to-day working time training the sales staff at the broad spectrum of MI and Pro Audio retail environments in my region.
What product lines comprise Group 55 Technology Consulting's line card?
My focus is primarily international and my line card reflects that. I am the main sales contact in the US for Music XPC (Canada), Melodyne software (Germany), Ultrasone headphones (Germany), Milab Microphones (Sweden). I also represent several US companies in their sales efforts outside the US.

Why is Universal Audio important to your business?
Universal Audio is a unique challenge to me. They have a special place in the history of recording itself. Bill Putnam Sr. and his technological innovations, helped to build the industry we service today. Products like the LA-2A and the 1176 are legends. Bill Putnam's concept of the modular console was way ahead of its time. The man and his legacy of products are legendary. The thing is that people don't like you to mess with legends. Universal Audio, and anyone who represents them, faces a huge challenge each and every day. They must strive to honor their past without sacrificing their future. That is not an easy thing to do, but it is a fantastic and rewarding challenge.

What makes selling UA gear cool?
Without hesitation, it is the history.

What makes selling UA gear a challenge?
Without hesitation I can say again that it is the history. It is an incredible challenge to live up to the amazing pedigree of the early Bill Putnam designs. How do you do that justice? Every time you show a customer a new UA product you are placing it on that same level as those classic products from the company's past. It has to meet the expectations that the legacy presents and you need to do that product justice.

Any interesting or amusing anecdotes or stories you would like to share with the millions of visitors to the UA website?
One interesting note is that, as a guitar player, I have this compelling desire to test each and every product I represent by running a guitar through it. During a recent visit to Universal Audio's main office I spent a good 5 hours playing guitar through almost every product they make. It was a lot of fun and everything came out of the UA products sounding classic.

-Terry Hardin

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