Music Inc Magazine May 2024


S ince starting my MI career back in 2005, there have been many significant advancements in tech- nology. The first MI retail store I worked in only had two computers in the entire building that were connected to the internet and telephone was our absolute best asset in connecting with manufacturers and customers. I remember the days of having to call a manufacturer to check compatibility of a part, check stock and pricing, and place an order over the phone. Excel spreadsheets were the main tool for analytics on overall sales trends, customer relationship market- ing and more. Now, nearly 20 years later, practically every- one has a cell phone, an email address and an online social account of some kind. Manufactur- ers have robust websites and dedicated teams to handle web design, track web traffic and connect with customers. In recent years, remote connection and presentation tools have become essential in MI for the dealer and manufacturer to be able to conduct business meetings and have virtual trainings with retail sales staff. Improvements in livestreaming features on social media have allowed manufacturers to present products in live sessions via a dealer’s account. The means for connection through technology today are endless. In addition to all the ways we can con- nect, advanced analytical visualization tools, like Tableau, make quick business analytics a breeze so manufacturers can present sales trends to help their dealers to make informed buying decisions. Cloud-based storage con- tinues to improve in both ease of use and security while allowing manufacturers to provide retailers with a self-serve wealth of information and resources including images, product information, compatibil- ity charts and learning tools. Augmented reality enables customers to go beyond their imagination on what a product like a piano, for example, will look like in their home. QR codes can hold much more information than a bar code and has become a common way to let end-users get more info instantly.

STAY EDUCATED The tech advancements I’ve seen in my career are mind boggling. There’s been an element of needing to keep up with advancements in all of the techy tools we have at our disposal. And now we have AI machine learning and generative AI, which is quickly gaining attention for its effectiveness in providing insights, data analysis and more. Thankfully, there are several ways to stay educated and informed on how to utilize tech tools and boost

your skills towards growing your business. Local community colleges offer courses in all aspects of business including various analytical and AI technologies. Many com- panies offer free learning for employees through their own learning management system. Communities created by NAMM, Women of NAMM (WoN) and NAMM Young Professionals (NAMM YP) offer invaluable opportunities and a network of professionals with all kinds of differ- ent skills and perspectives you can glean from. There are countless online forums for learning and discussing solutions to tech-y problems and thankfully, NAMM, WoN and NAMM YP offer free resources,

such as virtual sessions like WoN Deep Dives or the ReVoicing the Future podcast. LinkedIn Learn- ing offers a host of video courses taught by industry experts in soft- ware, creative and business skills. I personally have learned and grown a lot since I got involved with WoN and even won a schol-

“Stay educated and informed on how to utilize tech tools and boost your skills toward growing your business.”

arship that included a year of monthly mentorship with another industry professional. Connections I’ve made have turned into wonderful new friendships and have opened my resources pool further into a vast network of women in the MI world. Learning new things can be uncomfortable at times since it comes with a bit of failure in the process. Stick with it and be bold! Take risks and learn new things everyday! Get curious about the tools we use and the people in our MI network. Curiosity always brings discovery and learning, which promotes growth. MI

Jennifer Mayes serves as a sales enablement specialist for Yamaha as well as a member of Women of NAMM.

MAY 2024 I MUSIC INC. I 25

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