Vaddio had compelling products, an incredible design and development team, and visionary leadership in industry legend Rob Sheeley. What the company – then a $12 million manufacturer of PTZ cameras and peripherals – did not have was a marketing person, or the processes and resources in place to support one. Nor did this Minnesota-based upstart have much of an identity, beyond a name and logo. But Vaddio was serious about reaching its potential, and the company understood that genius product development alone wouldn’t ensure its success.
As Vaddio’s first – and, for a while, only – marketer, I had my work cut out for me. The company was developing innovative, first-to-market products at a furious pace, and my first responsibility was to ensure they got the attention they needed in the marketplace. New product introductions also provided me the opportunity to communicate Vaddio’s personality and passion in a way that competitors like Sony and Panasonic couldn’t. From demonstration videos to advertisements, we injected Vaddio’s maverick personality into everything we did.
Social media provided particularly rich opportunities to do this, and I went all in – running contests, competitions and drawings, and creating video series. We were an entrepreneurial company; we didn’t have to play by the same rules as our larger rivals (I doubt Sony would create a t-shirt that said “Show me your tints”), so we leveraged the ability to be different as a way to compensate for miniscule budgets. We also committed ourselves to moving fast, both out of necessity (our product line never stopped growing) and because our nimbleness, too, was something our competition couldn’t match.
When I left Vaddio, I said goodbye to the six-person marketing team I’d built, and to a company that had more than quintupled sales over my six years there. Today Legrand owns Vaddio, and I’m proud of the role I played in making this AV industry juggernaut such an attractive acquisition.