Q: What is your new position, and what does it entail?
A: My recent press release states, “In this role, van Straten will be responsible for all day-to-day marketing communications activities as well as, the creation and development of all QSC branding, marketing collateral and communications initiatives.” To put it another way, my responsibility is to be the eyes, ears and voice of QSC in growing and maintaining our global brand identity.
Q: How has your background prepared you for your new role?
A: It’s funny where life leads you. I graduated college with a degree in Piano Performance and soon thereafter put that education (and the money spent) to good use by joining a touring rock band, playing the same four chords over and over, just in different progressions. While musically the work was uninspiring, I gained a fascination with, and appreciation for, the amount of professional expertise and dedication required to stage productions for tens of thousands of people. They also used cool toys.
After I kicked the road habit, I was introduced to the business of making music for advertising and something inside me just clicked. I soon learned that advertising and marketing had real appeal to me. Combine that with making music and playing with cool, new gear and I was in career heaven. But the ad world was feast-or-famine and with a new baby on board, I decided to get a “real job.” As luck would have it, a very good friend from Yamaha asked me if I was looking, and I jumped at the chance to start a new career in sales (and again, play with cool toys). There, I gained a better understanding about our industry and the manufacturer side of the business.
QSC has also been a tremendous learning environment in terms of gaining a deeper understanding of the marketing of professional audio products. I’ve had an opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing people who are absolute masters of their craft and have been in the enviable position of helping to create and manage some of QSC’s most successful product introductions and market initiatives. It’s been a great ride.
Q: What new marketing initiatives are we likely to see from the company?
A: It’s a big world out there. There needs to be a greater focus on growing our brand outside our borders if we’re truly going to be a global company. We also need to respond in a real way to the now ubiquitous social marketing methodologies that are being successfully deployed by others in the pro audio space.
Q: What are your short- and long-term goals?
A: Short term, we have some groundbreaking new product releases coming up. Bringing them successfully to market will be critical. Longer term, global brand building.
Q: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
A: The pace of today’s business environment is blistering. If you’re on time, you’re late and if you’re late, you’re dead. Managing priorities is key to success in this gig…and our money. Everybody wants some. Now is the time to identify and nurture the mutually beneficial, long-term relationships that will grow our business in any economy, and I’m doing my best to follow through in that regard.