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60 Seconds: Erik Tarkainen, Harman Professional

Q: What is your new position, and what does it entail?

Q: What is your new position, and what does it entail?

A: I’m the VP of Global Marketing for Harman Professional, which means that I oversee worldwide marketing, including product management and marketing communications, for the Harman Professional business units. In the audio world, Harman Professional includes legendary brands such as JBL Professional, AKG, Crown, Soundcraft, Lexicon and dbx. In addition, we’ve been expanding into lighting, video and controllers, as evident from our acquisition of Martin Lighting in 2013, and just recently, our acquisition of AMX.

Q: How has your background prepared you for your new role?

A: I’m a musician and gearhead at heart, so I’m very comfortable with the products, and can relate to the customer community. On the marketing side, I have experience leading marketing for consumer, professional and online businesses. That combination of digital and traditional marketing expertise allows me to assist customers who are increasingly looking for information online and offline when making a purchase decision.

Q: What new marketing initiatives are we likely to see from the company?

A: Harman has great brands, great products and a great culture, and I’m really looking forward to sharing our stories and content through online and social channels. On the product side, I’m excited about the possibilities for interoperability and integration across our products. And finally, I want to drive education initiatives, to make sure that our users are empowered to fully utilize our products and systems.

Q: What are your short- and long-term goals?

A: Short term, I want to connect with as many employees, customers and partners as possible to listen and learn what we’re doing right, and what we could be doing better. Those discussions will help me set the long term goals.

Q: What is the greatest challenge that you face?

A: Prioritizing the opportunities. We have a great portfolio of products and brands. As such, we have practically limitless opportunities to expand internationally, vertically and even into new segments such as video, lighting and controllers. We have the talent and resources to execute, so it’s really all about making the right choices in the right order.