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What I Personally Learned at InfoComm’s AV Executive Conference

AV Nation founder and automation programmer shares clear business lessons learned during InfoComm’s second annual gathering of C-level AV executives.

Tim Albright

InfoComm International’s AV Executive Conference, held this year at the Omni Hotels & Resorts in Scottsdale, Ariz., is about two full days spread out over a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Thursday, the only full day of meetings and presenters, is a good way to peek in on this conference and provided me with some valuable lessons.

It started out with Duffy Wilbert, InfoComm’s VP of member services, presenting some interesting statistics about the industry:

  • It’s a $100 billion-plus industry
  • Biggest areas of sales are in corporate
  • Asia/Pacific will overtake the US in sales by 2016 if things go in the direction they are headed now

After that there were two separate presenters; David Goldsmith and Dr. Yves Pigneur. Dr. Pigneur took the bulk of the day explaining and demonstrating his Business Model Canvas. Here are my two biggest take-aways from today.

Get Out of The Expense Column

This came from David Goldsmith, author of Paid to Think which we received a copy of. The idea is to position yourself with the client and develop a relationship with them so that you can articulate the ROI you bring to their organization.

For people in my position, that is an easy task. I am director of operations for Innovad, an independent programming and design/consulting firm. You call me up, ask for a program to be written, and then markup whatever it is I charge you. For those who sell boxes and integration, that is a bit more difficult.

Related: InfoComm AVEC Focused on Changing the Future

The biggest challenge is getting your client to see beyond the bottom line price of what your system costs and see what your system saves them, or better what it can make them. This can be in a conference room, multimedia room, or stadium system, you need to come up with creative ways to sell your products and services as a way for them to make money.

Don’t Fall in Love with Your First Idea

This idea was from Dr. Yvevs. We spent a great deal of time during the day learning, and then implementing, the Business Plan Canvas. Now, I do not have an MBA. I’m a programmer with a media communications background. This was all new to me.

However, as director of operations, it is important information. It is also useful if you do have an MBA. The general idea is that you start with your value proposition and a set of hypothesis about what your client wants and needs. You then set about trying to put into place channels, customer relationships, strategic partnerships, and resources to fulfill their needs and make money doing so.

While you are doing this, as a team or on your own, there will be several ideas that begin to come into focus. Once one does, do not fall in love with one particular one. The reason is, it may not pan out.

Either your assumptions about what the client needs could be wrong or another part of the scenario make not come into focus. Dr. Yves wanted to make the point so much that he had us all rip up our first iteration that we had spent quite a bit of time on. Point taken, Doctor.

Overall this is a great event. It is unlike any other AV industry conference I have been to. Not only has the information been helpful but the networking has been good as well.

Hopefully I will be able to come to the 2015 AVEC.

Find More of Tim Albright’s Coverage of 2014 InfoComm AV Executive Conference on AVNation

Images from Infocomm’s 2014 AV Executive Conference:

infocomm graph

infocomm stage