TRACK 2: PRINT MUSIC IN THE LESSON STUDIO PETE GAMBER, TEACHER Pete Gamber owned Alta Loma Music in Rancho Cucamonga, CA from 1978 to 2012 and continues to teach in-store music lessons six days a week. Through his nearly 40-year career, the regular NAMM U presenter says he has been continually surprised that stores often don’t have a strategy to turn students into customers on the sales floor and vice versa. “Most stores aren’t selling print to their students. They are assuming they are selling print to their students and they’re assuming students are going to walk in and go, ‘Oh, I’m in a music store, I think I’ll buy the books,’” he says. Gamber says he and his wife used to make the same assumption when they owned Alta Loma Music and served 2,000 students per week. “If they didn’t walk into the room with books, half the teachers didn’t say they needed to get books. They would pull out a piece of pad paper or manuscript and scribble something down for the kid. So I think that is the first mistake is we’re assuming we’re selling to our students.” Of course, in the scenario Gamber describes, part of the challenge is that teachers don’t want to be salespeople or feel like they’re pushing products on their students. Taking a note from universities and colleges that require students to purchase specific text books before classes begin, Gamber’s suggestion is to set students up with the resources they’ll need to get the most out of their lessons ahead of time. “If you were beginning piano and you were age six and we signed you up with Mary to teach, we knew these are the books Mary used for beginners who are six years old. When you came TRACK 3: PURPOSEFUL PROMOTIONS: PLANN ING AND EVALUATING YOUR PROMOTIONS KRISTA HART, TRADE MARKETING MANAGER AT ALFRED MUSIC Alfred Music’s Krista Hart will be discussing how retailers can best plan and evaluate their promotions – whether they be email campaigns, in-store events, convention booths, or various sales – based on the use of key performance indicators (KPIs) and, more importantly, a clear vision of the promotion’s purpose and goal. And that doesn’t always mean more sales. “My presentation does include some specific KPIs, but it’s really about offering a plan of action for determining your own indicators based on the goals of your company and your promotion,” Hart tells CMT. “The first step is to identify the company’s overall goals, then identify goals for the promotion that align with those company goals. Next, you create KPIs that will measure the success of the campaign. The KPIs need to be a mix of leading and lagging indicators. The leading indicators are factors you can control and that can help you in for the lesson, before the lesson, we’d say, ‘Get here 15 minutes early and there are books we’re going to get you set up with so you can be successful.’ We would sell the books and then they’d walk into their lesson and they’d be ready to go and Mary would be happy that the kid had the right books,” Gamber recalls of his system. “Mary didn’t have to sell the books and she didn’t have to explain, ‘Why do I have a technique book and a lesson book and a song book?’ It was done for her and Mary didn’t have to wander out onto the floor.” On the flipside of that equation are print customers who aren’t taking lessons. “I’m in stores all the time still and I hear people come in and go, ‘I’m looking for a good book to teach myself guitar’ or ‘I’m looking for a good book to teach myself piano’ and I hear, ‘Here’s three or four books over here we have in stock.’ The words never come out, ‘You know we offer lessons here?’” says Gamber. “We’re assuming people will walk in the store and, just like we assume we’re going to sell books, we assume somebody looking for books is going to ask us if we teach.” One of the techniques Gamber advises is to say something like, “‘This is a book a lot of our guitar teachers use and they have a lot of success with what we do.’ I actually used to have, underneath the racks with the books, a space without a book that had the flyers for the guitar teacher with the books that they like to use,” Gamber says. “I found that over a third of the times people would say, ‘Well maybe I should just get some lessons,’ because I always said, ‘A month of lessons will get you off on the right foot versus having to come in six months from now and someone has to redo the way you’re putting your thumb around the neck of the guitar and now it’s in the way.’ A lot of times the person would say, ‘Well when is he available?’ and I’d get a lesson signup just because they came in for a book and I asked the right question.” improve performance. Analyzing, not just collecting data, is the final step – learning how to craft a better promotion each time.” When it comes to measuring a promotion’s success, beyond just sales, Hart notes that this is very hard to do if the company hasn’t clearly outlined its goals for the promotion ahead of time. After all, if there are not clearly-defined goals, what are the results measured against? “I think our default metric is sales – which, of course, are very important – but I want to suggest thinking about measuring leading indicators that can be adjusted to actually increase sales,” explains Hart. “For example, you are hosting a reading session and your goal is to increase attendance by 10 per cent. Some leading indicators to measure might be social media engagement with posts about the event, the number of first-time attendees, number of outgoing phone calls to target teachers, registrations per employee, or any activity that you can identify as impacting the number of registrants.” Achieving success is also more likely if the promotion is planned with an objective in mind, rather than saying, generally, what the goal should be when the promotion is already planned. “Knowing what your company goals are before you begin is crucial,” she says. “From there, you want to build a promotion that supports those goals. You have to be disciplined about saying no to anything that doesn’t align with the company goals.” Michael Raine is the Senior Editor of Canadian Music Trade.