Go-to-Market Strategy: on-air digital audioDigital Transformation

The digital transformation of on-air broadcasting
Seattle DJ Charlie Brown spent 35 years in radio cutting audiotape with a razor blade and re-splicing it. And he was tired of it. So he went out and developed an alternative -- a digital audio editor known as VoxPro.

VoxPro lets disc jockeys, news announcers, and producers record and edit broadcast-quality audio with speed and precision. It was the first digital audio editor based on the simplicity of “cut, copy and paste.” The product simplifies the day-to-day operations of almost any radio station.

That invention formed the basis of a high-tech startup called Audion Labs. Unfortunately Brown had never run a high-tech company. So he turned to Warren Schirtzinger for both strategy guidance and go-to-market execution.

challenge

For most people, inventing a new product or starting a new business is foreign territory. Many inventors believe that the success of their product simply depends on having a great idea. In reality, the “idea” is a small component of the overall process. It takes a great deal of strategic planning and focus to turn a high-tech idea into a financial success.

High-tech companies must remain in alignment with an evolving sequence of buyers. The product, its value, distribution channels, and all communications, must be kept in alignment with the current customer. In spite of having numerous product advantages and a CEO with domain expertise, Audion needed three things to be successful as a high-tech company.

solution

Early adopters want a competitive advantage
Early adopters want a competitive advantage in their industry.
Familiar sales channels reduce risk
Familiar sales channels reduce risk
Supportive-specialists prefer product-related information.
Supportive-specialists prefer product-related information.

Audion’s three greatest needs in terms of customer alignment were:

Outreach to mainstream buyers

Preliminary research revealed that a small percentage of radio stations were already using digital audio systems live and on-the-air. These “innovators and early adopters” typically modified digital devices that were made for other applications such as sound studios or post-production facilities. But Warren’s research indicated that mainstream radio stations were very interested in solving their slow-editing problem. So he identified a group of first movers in the mainstream who were willing to use VoxPro, and then also serve as a reference site. This early first-mover program led to substantial mainstream market acceptance. VoxPro soon started to become a recognized and valuable name in the radio broadcast community.

Sales channel development

The VoxPro product consisted of industry-standard hardware made by Apple and Avid Technology. However, the mainstream radio broadcast industry prefers buying equipment from well-known and trusted channels of distribution. Given this requirement, Warren set up a distribution agreement with the world’s largest distributor of radio/TV products. The reputation of Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) gave Audion and VoxPro instant credibility. Harris also dramatically expanded Audion’s sales and marketing footprint.

Positioning and communications

According to early users, the greatest benefit of VoxPro was the ability to quickly take call-ins from the listening audience. Recording and editing call-ins took less time than the length of a single commercial.  This high-value feature was incorporated into key positioning messages and prioritized as the lead benefit. VoxPro quickly became known as a staple in radio broadcast. It was the only on-air digital voice editor designed to quickly record and edit phone calls on the fly.

results

VoxPro can be found in radio stations around the world. As a result of Warren’s customer-alignment efforts, the VoxPro digital audio editing system is now the de facto standard for live radio broadcasting. It is used for recording, editing and airing of clips in studios, control rooms, and newsrooms worldwide.

The product has received multiple awards and has been honored repeatedly for its excellence:

  • Broadcast Engineering’s “Top Pick” industry award
  • Radio World’s “Cool Stuff” award
  • The “Pick Hit” Award in both 2010 and 2013
  • Best of Show at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2018

In 2015, Wheatstone Corporation acquired Audion Labs and with it, the industry’s beloved VoxPro digital audio editor.

are you in alignment?

Use my free customer-alignment tool to evaluate your current target customer, products, value proposition, distribution channels, marketing messages and more.

I have used the concepts and techniques I learned from Warren, every single day for the last 15 years.

Director George Henry
George Henry, PhD
Managing Director, Utility Knowledge Base Inc.

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