Nationwide Marketing Group’s Summer 2023 PrimeTime event held in Nashville, TN was a vibrant and dynamic gathering that brought together retailers, industry experts, and leaders in the consumer electronics and smart home sectors.
Attendees had the opportunity to explore the latest trends, products, and technologies in the consumer electronics space, gaining insights into the future of home automation and IoT-driven solutions. The event aimed to equip participants with the knowledge, resources, and connections needed to thrive in the CE industry’s constantly evolving landscape.
Nationwide CEO Tom Hickman kicked off the opening keynote by noting the vibrant energy of Nashville and its profound connection to music, drawing parallels between the diverse music genres and the varied profiles of attendees.
“You’re like a 5,000 person band, playing beautiful retail music across the country. And that’s just like the musicians that have been playing here on Broadway since the 60s, no matter what style of music they choose to play, they’re absolutely obsessed with their chosen craft,” Hickman commented. “And so are you. You’re obsessed with serving your communities. We talk about it all the time, serving with pride. And we share that same obsession. Only we share that obsession about you, our members. We serve you with pride every day of every year.”
Hickman highlighted the company’s commitment to supporting its members and encouraging them to become more customer obsessed, emphasizing the extensive array of over 1,200 programs and partnerships tailored for members’ specific needs. He emphasized Nationwide’s commitment to innovation and competition, aiming to offer optimal choices while granting members the freedom to select paths that align with their preferences.
“We became the only group with a dedicated luxury appliance team that works on your behalf to build the strongest programs from leading brands and members who participated in the initiative have seen their luxury business grow by double digits over the last three years,” said Hickman.
In his address, Hickman also described the company’s collaborative approach, aiming to facilitate business enhancement for each member through personalized partnerships and programs. The speech highlighted the organization’s dedication to serving its members’ interests while fostering a diverse and thriving retail community.
“It’s not your job to boil the ocean and figure out which one of these programs works for you. It’s our job,” Hickman said while describing the 1,200 different programs available to assist Nationwide members in a multitude of various ways. “So, your one takeaway,” Hickman concluded, “is our commitment to you. If we don’t have it, we will build it — and if enough of you need it, we will resource it, staff it, and build capability for you on your behalf.”
Guest speaker Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a 23-year military veteran with command experience in Special Operations, followed up Hickman’s opening keynote with a strong message about leading under duress. Mann, who is an International Best-Selling Author and founder of The Heroes Journey 501c3 organization, spoke to his experiences building trust and solving complex problems in high-pressure situations.
Acknowledging the challenges faced in the industry, he drew parallels between his military experiences as a US Army Green Beret and the hurdles confronted by retailers outside of combat. With an intense focus on what he calls “rooftop leadership,” Lt. Col. Mann expressed how the value of human connections and communication can be the most powerful tool you have. Mann shared the significance of customer obsession, aligning it with the dedication that Nationwide exhibits towards its members.
Women in Nationwide
The Women at Nationwide event during the Summer 2023 Nationwide PrimeTime event focused on effective feedback. Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Nationwide, Jennifer Danko, introduced Ginger Craig, president of Craig Consulting.
Craig discussed a three-step model for delivering constructive feedback: Situation, Behavior, Impact (SBI). The importance of clear, specific feedback was emphasized, and positive and constructive feedback examples were provided. The session aimed to make giving feedback easier and emphasized the value of clarity and actionable advice.
“It’s probably always going to be uncomfortable,” Craig said while commenting on the difficulties giving constructive feedback can have one a person. “It’s hard to sit across the desk from someone and tell them that their performance is not upstanding. But hopefully, using this model will make it a little more comfortable. It might be more difficult because you’re sticking to the facts and you’re using language that doesn’t put the person on the defensive”
Participants were encouraged to apply the SBI model, start and conclude with questions, and practice giving feedback. Strategies for handling emotional reactions and requesting feedback were also discussed.
The event encouraged attendees to commit to improving their feedback skills and engaging in meaningful conversations around improvement.
Appliance Merchandising Session
The Merchandising Session at Nationwide PrimeTime Summer 2023 covered updates from various business units, industry trends, and consumer behaviors.
Scott Peterson from gap intelligence discussed challenges and opportunities in the consumer electronics sector. He highlighted declines in computing and mobile categories, shifts in TV display types, and the significance of Roku OS. Major retailers embraced events like “Black Friday in July,” and exclusive memberships and purpose-driven shopping were emphasized for the upcoming holiday season. Peterson predicted an active holiday period with extended savings and deals.
“Looking ahead, I think Black Friday in July is a really viable thing,” Peterson said while commenting on the success of Amazon Prime Day sales in July. “So talking about the holiday season now, basically Buckle up for what I call ‘Octo-Nov-Cember.’ It’s a three month mash up of deals and promotions starting early and extending all the way to Black Friday that starts now.”
Donnie McVicker, Senior Director of Sales at WAVE Electronics, highlighted the company’s unique approach as a CI distributor as well as their upcoming 20th anniversary. With nine physical locations primarily in Texas, WAVE offers dealer showrooms, training rooms, and custom services like marketing design, branding, and kitting.
WAVE’s support for Nationwide includes a dedicated team, sponsorship participation, monthly funding contributions, and a Master Brand program with cashback rewards for members. McVicker emphasized WAVE’s tailored solutions for custom integrators and highlighted their unique VR (Virtual Reality) program.
“We wanted to create more of a Home Depot kind of shopping experience for someone to come through, see stuff on the shelf that you want to pick and grab,” McVicker said.
Doug Kern, VP of Product Marketing at Hisense USA, also spoke during the event to discuss Hisense’s value in consumer electronics, especially TVs.
“Hisense is larger than commonly perceived,” Kern began. “People are astonished to discover the extent of the company’s operations, spanning sales in 160 countries, operating with over 100,000 employees, and reaching $28 billion in revenue last year. Remarkably, 5% is reinvested into research and development, empowering us to create proprietary technology and chipsets. Among these innovations is our unique ULED TV. This strategic approach allows us to optimize partnerships, leveraging standardized OS platforms and features across manufacturers.”
Partnerships with FIFA and the NBA aided in boosting brand recognition and Kern is excited about the future of this collaboration. Finishing his presentation, Kern discussed Hisense’s focus on larger screen sizes and premium products in line with market trends.
“So our screen sizes are getting bigger,” Kern concluded, “It’s where the market is going. And we’re actually growing with the industry.”
Premium Audio Company’s John Benefiel, the Western Regional Sales Manager spoke on the new line of audio receivers from their subsidiary group, Integra. The receivers boast key features like seamless music streaming through a Sonos partnership, high-quality HDMI connectivity supporting up to 8K and advanced audio formats, easy web setup, and diagnostics for installers, optimized DSP crossovers for improved audio quality, comprehensive room calibration, voice assistant integration, and a user-friendly mobile app.
“Our approach at Integra ensures the incorporation of the latest video and control standards,” Benefiel said. “We prioritize maintaining peak performance for all connected devices. Moreover, our collaboration with Sonos results in a distinctive feature: support for three zones and volume pass-through, enhancing user convenience. Notably, we stand as the sole brand offering full-bandwidth subscription for home theater receivers.”
The product lineup includes the TRX 2.4, TRX 3.4 (awarded Best in Show at CEDIA), TRX 5.4, and the flagship TRX 8.4. Integra also offers enticing dealer incentives.
Nationwide PrimeTime: Rocking Nashville with Consumer Electronics
The Nationwide PrimeTime Summer 2023 event was a dynamic gathering that united retailers, industry experts, and smart home leaders. Nationwide’s commitment to customer focus, growth, and innovation was evident throughout. Lt. Col. Scott Mann’s “rooftop leadership” insight, the Women of Nationwide event’s emphasis on diversity and change, and the Appliance Merchandising Sessions and State of the Business event’s exploration into market trends highlighted the event’s value. This symphony of collaboration, learning, and growth left attendees inspired and equipped for success in a rapidly evolving landscape.