Retail Breakthroughs: Robin Walenta, West Music (NAMM Show 2014)
Robin Walenta, president of West Music, has achieved multiple retail breakthroughs at her Coralville, Iowa-based chain operation. During Breakfast of Champions at the 2014 NAMM Show, she sits down with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond to discuss everything from her company's breakthroughs in strategic planning and market development to her role as a female leader in the music products industry.
Highlights from the video:
On face time with customers: “I’ve heard that adage about work on your business, not in your business,” Walenta said. “I think you have to do a little of both. Because first of all, we’ve got to be putting the plans in place, so everybody knows where we’re going. But you also have to be working in your business. You have to be face to face with that customer, understanding what their needs are, so you can deliver that through your plan.”
On creating consistency across all channels: “For us at West Music, we think of multichannel [as] more than just the website and bricks-and-mortar stores. We have educational reps out at schools—that’s another touchpoint for all our customers. We’re at state conferences and national conventions. We’re at festivals. So we’re interacting with the customer in many different channels and trying to create that consistent experience, whether it’s through product offering or customer service.”
On entering the mariachi market: “I did a lot of research and found, first of all, that the Hispanic population’s the fastest-growing in the United States. And secondly, there are very few school music mariachi programs, and those students aren’t participating in the traditional band, orchestra or choir programs. So we opened a new division at West Music. It’s called La Tradicion Music, and it focuses on mariachi and Latin instruments. But I think the unique thing is we bundle our products with consultation services, as well as curriculums, so that we can go out there and work with those music supervisors or those band or orchestra directors and help them get programs going in their districts.”