The NEW Market—Are You Up to the Challenge?

Our industry has changed. The old rules do not work. Everything is upside down. The industry has decentralized, but what has been happening in our industry has already happened or is taking place in the computer, printing, film and video markets - it's nothing new. Can we look at what happened in the past to other markets as a guide to our future? The answer is yes.

Our industry has changed. The old rules do not work. Everything is upside down. The industry has decentralized, but what has been happening in our industry has already happened or is taking place in the computer, printing, film and video markets—it's nothing new.

Can we look at what happened in the past to other markets as a guide to our future? The answer is yes. The common change force in the NEW market is technology. When you study history and economics, you find technology always forces changes in markets. Usually that change manifests itself through decentralization. Decentralization is when technology allows more participants to enter the field. Technology allows changes in how the product is created, sold and controlled. This change dictates who is up and who is down. The NEW market will impact prices, the cost of business and how marketing is conducted. In the end, the NEW market will affect every aspect of doing business.

We know the industry has been decentralized. That means more players, more competition. It also means more customers. It's a positive thing if you want to enter the business. However, if you are established, it can be a negative item. The NEW market means the challenge of competition and loss of revenue due to saturation. But it can generate a greater need for skill and education at every level, traits possessed by those who have built the industry. Years of experience and knowledge can give you the edge in NEW market success.

We know the computer and printing industry survived to become stronger. The film and video industries are evolving as we speak. So what can we do as practitioners of our trade to increase our chances of NEW market success?

Re-evaluate your market: What's your worth?
The NEW market means your success depends less on gear and more on what you know (software). Look around. What are the new needs? What do you have to offer that is needed? In most cases, your experience, natural talent and abilities will set you apart from the herd. What different twist can you bring to the table? In the long run, experience and talent always rise to the top.

The old business plan? It's obsolete.
The NEW market means you may not be able to compete in the new pricing structures. Rates have fallen; the new reality is you have to look at economies of scale. Find out what your new market will bear and figure ways to meet that demand. It may mean working differently without as much overhead. Learn to be more efficient. Learn how to do more with less.

Marketing is networking—get social.
You know the saying, "It's who you know that counts." Never has that statement been truer than today. Forget traditional advertising and marketing—the NEW market demands you use every web and on-line tool at your disposal: newsletters, social media, blogs, RSS feeds and the newest trends. The NEW market is all about hooking up and relationships.

Learn to give—get involved.
The NEW market is built around the same credo that spawned the meteoric rise of the Internet and Web: give before you receive. Reach out to those coming up in the business. Get involved in mentoring. Start attending industry meetings you thought you had outgrown. Start remembering why you got into this business. Find that first love again. Get involved in industry groups like SPARS, AES, NARAS and groups in your area. Start thinking "outside the box."

Choose your influences—stay positive.
Who you spend time with will affect your thinking. It is easy to lament about how the market has changed, how the music Industry is up side down. Anyone can fall into that rut. Do something about being part of the solution. Start reading books, blogs and articles written by folks who have fresh ideas. Hook up locally and on-line with positive forces committed to making a difference in the market.

Change is the only constant—live with it.
Don't be afraid of change. It can take your craft to a higher level and make you stronger and more resilient. As challenging as the NEW market may appear, the changes are temporary. Quality, experience and high standards of service will always find their own level, and in the long run, will garner success and financial reward.

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Paul A. Christensen is Executive Director of SPARS. He is also President of Omega Productions, an award winning company specializing in live concert television specials and live recordings. You can reach him at paul@spars.com.