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None of the statements below constitute an official Klipsch statement. These are my personal opinions and thoughts. Please treat them as such...

 

I don't post a lot here (always lurking, though), so I'm not going to pretend like everyone here knows me. In short, I'm the guy who runs social media for Klipsch.  I have been the voice of the Klipsch Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Google+, etc accounts for almost three years now.

 

Anyway, in the thread about the big launch we're having at CES 2015, things got a little heated. I don't like to run social media way the traditional way - kissing every customers butt no matter what they say. BUT I do take great pride in being a far more transparent and open representative than you would find at other consumer-oriented brands.

 

In that spirit, I would like to tackle a few subjects and many more in order to continue this transparency and openness. This is gonna be quite rambling and incoherent, but I just want to get a few things out there.

 

I LOVE Klipsch...This is my life. This is how I feed myself (sometimes) and put clothes on my back. I spend way too much time thinking about all of this stuff and that is the same thing for 90% of the people who work there. I love coming into work and it's not like I'm getting rich off this job. I love what the company stood for and what it stands for now.

 

We Love You...From my readings here, I think people are feeling detached from the company here - that we don't care about out. This couldn't be further from the truth. We always ask "Well, what are the forums guys gonna think about X?" Did our marketing drift away from you guys? YES. We admitted that and have taken the necessary steps to appeal both to YOU and the grander audience that we need in order to survive and thrive.

 

We Need You...You want Klipsch to make certain products? You want Klipsch to make more stuff in the United States? TELL YOUR DEALERS! Screaming about it on the forums does almost nothing. We have to make a business case to make a new speaker and that means dealer buy-in. The fact about Klipsch business is that so little of it is done directly. We rely heavily on our dealers to move product because we simply do not have the advertising or marketing budgets to move tons of product on our own.

 

Paul W. Klipsch...Not a single day goes by, where someone does not mention him or his audio principles. When Mark Casavant introduced the latest line to the entire company, PWK was in his very first sentence. His audio principles are literally drilled into us every single. The engineers and product managers are absolutely instructed to make products that stick to these principles. Heck, I even have four photos of him in my so-much-better-than-Chad's cube. PLUS, many of our new marketing initiatives are centered around him aka "Good Poop" blog posts, our CES 2015 audio museum, brand video, etc.  As a marketing department, we are working closer than ever with Jim Hunter whose wealth of PWK knowledge is ridiculous. Jim takes almost every single visitor/guest on a tour of Klipsch HQ in which he provides in-depth commentary of PWK and his speakers. All of this is why I take great offense at some posters here who act like we have forgotten him or don't care about his legacy. That is utter horse manure through and through.

 

Heritage Sales...Certain people seem to take great offense still that we make products that aren't Heritage. Come on, guys! If we didn't make Reference, we would have to lay off everyone. It's really that simple. No one, past or present, would/should/could want that. The ugly truth is that many/most companies would just shut down the line and move on. I know a lot of you guys recognize this already, so I apologize if it seems condescending. We would love to expand on the Heritage line but there needs to be a business case. It doesn't matter if someone from the past would be in charge. The situation would be the same. We can't just make every awesome speaker we think of, unfortunately.

 

Made in America...Reading the above paragraph, one might think "Oh, Alex is a young punk who hates Heritage and just buys a bunch of Chinese-made crap." Deep breath! I love, love, love our Heritage line and Made in America products. I am actually saving up for Heresy speakers that I will surely pass down to my kids (if that ever happens). Oh and right now I am wearing a Gitman shirt, Flint & Tinder denim, Flint + Tinder underwear, and Chippewa Boots - all products made in America. The initiative with the Made in America blog series and partnerships with companies like Tanner Goods, Woodchuck USA, Imogene + Willie, etc is my baby and it's an initiative that has backing from everyone. We want to make more stuff in America. Even Vlad and the headphone team are looking for creative ways to get Hope involved. We'll see what happens.

 

Heritage Opportunity...We have a unique opportunity to take advantage of a growing consumer segment - the hipster with disposable income. A popular trend right now is buying handmade and American-made products that, yes, are a little more expensive than the comparable made in China product. Our friends Tanner Goods charge $450 for their Portland-made backpack and they sell quite a few of them! It's quite remarkable. With our current Heritage lineup, we have a unique opportunity to target these consumers. We are looking for unique channels of distribution for Heritage that goes beyond audio-specific dealers.

 

Heritage Marketing...There is a ridiculous misconception that we haven't marketed Heritage products at all and that's why they're not selling. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I don't know how many of you follow our social media channels or blog, but we talk about our Heritage speakers a ton. Also, be sure to check out the relatively new video we made for the line. Plus, our partnership with Classic Album Sundays is centered around the Heritage Series. If you don't know what it is, CAS is special listening sessions in certain parts of the world where you listen to an album all the way through with Klipschorns or La Scalas and a speaker guest speaker explaining the album. These events are great, but they are expensive, so we can't do it in as many places as we'd like.

 

Klipsch Professional...We are making a new push with Klipsch Professional. We have great opportunities to grow here. You should see a lot of cool stuff coming through this department in the next few years. A lot of the growth will also be done behind the scenes.

 

Concepts...Sometimes we make concepts that we aren't allowed to talk about with you guys. These can be Hope-built products that would certainly peak a lot of your interests. Sometimes, these get canned for lack of dealer support. Watch both our own and third party of the Klipsch at CES carefully! Chad and I are asking for permission to show you guys stuff, so we can drum up support for certain things, but no promises.

 

Website Homepage...Our website currently features a bunch of products that aren't favorites here. That's because they are on discount and we have rarely ever done discounts directly through our website. It is an experiment. In any case, website hero slides will go back to our more heritage-y marketing that we all prefer on 1/1/2015.

 

This industry is tough for high-end...Here's a little taste of the market for you. The average selling price for soundbars + bluetooth speakers dropped over 40% in only year! Isn't that crazy? We don't do the low-end market particularly well and we recognize that. In fact, we have recommitted to the high-end market. See this recent article from the Indiana Business Journal.

 

Mistakes...We have made mistakes both in products and in marketing. There is absolutely not denying it. BUT I think everyone here is really going to like the direction we're going in both these departments going forward. Things have change SIGNIFICANTLY in the three years I've been here and I think, now, it's finally for the better.

 

Soundbars...If you read the article above, you will know that CEO Paul Jacobs said "You can’t replace the experience of a premium home theater system with a sound bar.” Everyone here should be VERY happy about that statement and it's absolutely true. We are committed to superior home theater and two channel solutions. That's our bread and butter. That being said, our soundbars do sound great. I know from personal experience that people on these very forums thought they were hearing professional Klipsch speakers but it was actually a R-20B soundbar. So, with that in mind, let's not always scream and shout that these products can't possibly sound any good, please.

 

No Voxx, No Klipsch...I can't go into too much detail but the reality is that when Fred Klipsch (who PWK sold the company to) decided to sell Klipsch, there were two choices - Klipsch lives through Voxx or it dies an unrecognizable death. I know many of you have fears they will run us into the ground, but, at this point, it is what it is and we ALL need to make the best about it. It's been what - 4 years? Time to move on.

 

Criticism...Parts of this post probably come off as me being quite butt hurt and unable to take any criticism. Part of that is true haha! I should let more things go, but I think that also does show how much I care about this place. Anyway, criticism does make us better. It definitely does. That being said, sometimes this place can be brutally negative even when it doesn't make any sense. We need you guys to be part of the solution. 

 

Anyway, I hope this was worth reading in some way. I really hope it didn't come off as dick-ish or condescending. I know a lot of you recognize already what I just typed out. I am just trying to be open and honest. If you have any questions, fire them over.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Again, none of the statements above constitute an official Klipsch statement. These are my personal opinions and thoughts. Please treat them as such.

Edited by Alex L
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Wow Alex.  I for one applaud you on the transparency you are willing to share about your own feelings as well as Klipsch and for attempting to address many of the concerns that have been shared in the thread that I started.  I for one think Klipsch is doing a great job at making great products.  Do all of the products meet my needs or taste....no.  But that's ok....it might meet someone else's need or budget so that is great.  I am glad to hear Klipsch's recommittment to high end speakers.  I don't have a problem with the lower end models even being sold at Best Buy because that at least provides exposure and additional income for Klipsch that you might not have gotten otherwise.  Hopefully, it's a gateway to give them just a taste of what Klipsh sounds like and they will get the bug like many of us have and continue to go up the ladder for even better sounding Klipsch speakers.  Keep up the great work.

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you did a fine job explaining Alex.  I do understand that Klipsch needs sales and a large percentage of the population most likely can’t afford Heritage. And, i’ll admit the lower end Klipsch stuff sounds better than a lot of the other stuff on the shelves. BMW, Mercedez, Porsche, Bentley … still have sales, because people associate those brands with high quality. Most people i talk to have NEVER heard of Klipsch (that should sound some alarms in your marketing department), and few that do mention them being high end gear.  A co-worker was talking about building a home theatre--i suggested Klipsch, he said “Klipsch isn’t high quality.” Trust me, Klipsch would kick butt on whatever he decides; but, my point is that Klipsch needs to promote their heritage gear better--even the partially ignorant customers that want to be a step above their neighbors, still don’t recognize Klipsch as “high end.” It’s not that Klipsch has a bad reputation it’s because it isn’t well known. They assume since they haven’t heard of Klipsch, then it must not be as good as BOSE.  You need to get Klipsch in the conversation. I’ve no problem with Reference and didn’t even have a problem with Synergy--they have their place in the market and it does get the Klipsch name in homes. BUT, i just don’t want that to become the Klipsch mainstream…Best Buy type stuff, sound bars, etc… marketing the Heritage is a challenge and one i want you to take on.  Thank you for considering the opinion of the forum members--we’re pretty good and the cheapest advertising that you’ll ever find.

Edited by BigStewMan
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Wonder what percentage of commercial theaters have Klipsch Pro?

I'm thinking it is pretty high & making people aware of that through ads would help...

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Wonder what percentage of commercial theaters have Klipsch Pro?

I RARELY go to the movies…i mean, once every three years or so.  Not sure if Klipsch is in any of the local theaters around here.  BUT, they should have a full-screen ad on those promos before the movies starts that says something about the incredible sound brought to you by Klipsch … and mention that Klipsch makes stuff for the home that sounds just as good. 

Edited by BigStewMan
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Advertising is great, and probably necessary, but we must realize that advertising is extremely expensive.  If Klipsch made ads as such, would they yield enough ROI to justify the cost of the advertising? 

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Advertising is great, and probably necessary, but we must realize that advertising is extremely expensive.  If Klipsch made ads as such, would they yield enough ROI to justify the cost of the advertising? 

i don’t know the cost; but, the cost of NOT doing it is probably greater. That said, it really depends on what Klipsch wants to be. Nothing wrong serving a small, niche market where you can get by with word of mouth advertising.  Since they’re in Best Buy and making sound bars and a hundred types of headphones/earbuds … i’m guessing they have bigger dreams, so if they wanna dance, they’re going to have to pay the band.  One thing is pretty simple to understand…very few are going to buy if they don’t know who you are. Uninformed shoppers are like uninformed voters that keep voting for the incumbents just because they don’t know anything about the other guy on the ballot. “well, there’s this BOSE thing and a Klipsch thing…don’t know too much about either; but, at least i’ve heard of BOSE.”  Wouldn’t surprise me if that statement hasn’t been said countless times. 

Edited by BigStewMan
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Nice work, Alex.  All makes sense to me.   Good to hear that PWK is invoked regularly.  I've certainly wondered why the Eight Cardinal Points in Loudspeakers for Sound Reproduction isn't more featured and easily downloaded.  I bring it up every few years on the Forum and there are many who saw "What?"  PWK handed me my copy personally and its been what I use to evaluate every speaker I hear since.  So easy to determine which has been violated and, more importantly, why. 

 

I think it should be used as an exercise when every new loudspeaker is proposed at Klipsch.  There is a reason for the name "Heresy," and it has to do precisely with the 8 Card.  It is OK to violate the rules...if you know why.  The 8 Card ARE the rules, at least until someone invents a shorter 32Hz wavelength.

 

Dave

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Wonder what percentage of commercial theaters have Klipsch Pro?

I'm thinking it is pretty high & making people aware of that through ads would help...

 

It was 50% at one point but we aren't quite at that point anymore. Looking to make moves in that regard. 

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Nice work, Alex.  All makes sense to me.   Good to hear that PWK is invoked regularly.  I've certainly wondered why the Eight Cardinal Points in Loudspeakers for Sound Reproduction isn't more featured and easily downloaded.  I bring it up every few years on the Forum and there are many who saw "What?"  PWK handed me my copy personally and its been what I use to evaluate every speaker I hear since.  So easy to determine which has been violated and, more importantly, why. 

 

I think it should be used as an exercise when every new loudspeaker is proposed at Klipsch.  There is a reason for the name "Heresy," and it has to do precisely with the 8 Card.  It is OK to violate the rules...if you know why.  The 8 Card ARE the rules, at least until someone invents a shorter 32Hz wavelength.

 

Dave

 

Good point. I will see on Monday if Jim has an original copy of one of those hand outs. Would be cool to feature!

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A few points from an old school "Heritage" guy....

 

I too have had frustrations with the fact that Heritage isn't the brunt of Klipsch home speaker sales. I have to admit that I am emotionally attached, as well as factually based in the idea that Heritage - to ME - IS what makes Klipsch who they are. Heritage IS Klipsch.

 

But in today's world - and in particular, in today's economy, Heritage has it tough. When Heritage was selling huge numbers, the economy was structured much differently than it is today. People could pay off their homes in 10 years, afford health care, had savings accounts, didn't have huge college debts. The US had a huge middle class who could afford to buy Heritage quality products. Then place on top of the changing economy the overall audio marketing ploy that somehow smaller was better, as home theater and "small is king" became the mantra in the '80s going forward - and you have a recipe that moves Heritage to the back of the bus in terms of overall visibility in a huge marketplace.

 

The Klipschorn is the only speaker to maintain continuous production for as long as it has. Without the Reference, Legend, Synergy, and other products to sell, the Klipschorn as well as the company might not exist today. Klipsch has to respond to market forces in order to survive. I consider it quite a feat that Klipsch has kept Heritage alive in the first place.

 

It is difficult to push a product that so few can afford. It is even more difficult to sell a product people cannot see. Placing Heritage in front of people is a difficult proposition - it costs lots of money to place enough operating samples in enough places to move the sales needle, and advertising is VERY expensive. Social media and internet is a huge help - it is relatively cheap to do this. But at some point people have to see and experience the product. Priced as it is, asking people to buy Heritage sight unseen and ears unheard is like asking people to buy a car without driving. That is Klipsch's challenge as it pertains to Heritage.

 

You mention the "hipster" with disposable income. Has Klipsch ever given thought to going to where they hang out? Try this: Every summer, this crowd goes to the festival music circuit, where many of these people are ponying up $1000-$3000 per ticket for VIP amenities and arrangements. If they can afford $1-3K for VIP tickets, they can afford any of Klipsch's product. Oh - and they are music addicts. Just your demographic. Show your product. Lead them to a place they can buy. and make sure that you have a list on your website where they can see, hear, and buy your product. ESPECIALLY the high $$ Palladium and Heritage. People should be able to find a Heritage or Palladium dealer via this website with a few keystrokes, where they can see and buy.

 

If you leave it up to people asking your dealers for stuff, you're missing the boat. Your customer, being led by this site and your social media, should be able to walk into a dealer listed on this site, and know that Heritage, Palladium, or other products are sold there. YOU lead them to where they need to go. Don't leave it up to people having to beg dealers for product. Strategically place your product in front of your target demographic. You need not have Heritage in every shopping center in the country, but when people ask about it or come here looking for it, they need to be steered to a place where they can see and buy it.

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AN makes some excellent points about the problem of selling more Heritage series speakers.  Back in the day, I used to hang out with the sales guys at an authorized dealer.  They had a room devoted solely to Klipsch speakers and had K-horns, LSs, Belles, and CWs properly set up to showcase their qualities.  It was an easy matter to switch between them so customers could make a decision about which they preferred.  They even had samples of the different veneers available as well.  On top of that, they were able to demonstrate just how little power those speakers required to create huge listening levels (a very definite selling point even to this day.  It allowed them to shift a customer's spending budget into the speakers instead of high power amplification as was needed for some of the other brands which they carried.)  Needless to say, they sold lots of Klipsch speakers!  My own experience was similar in that people (non-audiophiles) who wanted to get into high quality audio reproduction in their home often bought Heritage series speakers after hearing mine.  During the years that I owned K-horns, CWs, and Heresys, I "sold" so many by simply demonstrating their sound (of course, driving them with my tube amps helped :D), that I felt like asking the company for a commission.  So, how to increase public exposure to the series is the issue today.  I just don't know that there is an easy answer other than to convince (require?) the online dealers, who also have retail showrooms, to devote space and budget to the Heritage line.

Maynard

 

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Alex, Thanks for offering your perspective.

Regarding saving up for a pair of Hereseys: Why not aim higher and get a set of Klipsch Jubilees?

Just my thought .....

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Alex, Thanks for offering your perspective.

Regarding saving up for a pair of Hereseys: Why not aim higher and get a set of Klipsch Jubilees?

Just my thought .....

 

He's probably never heard of them.... :D  :P

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Nice Read, Just a thought if dealers wont support a new product that has a prototype why not bring that to the net and see if it gets support there, Is there something that says Klipsch can only supply via dealers ? 

 

I completely understand having dealers and producing various levels of product to keep the company alive in a crap economy

 

Joe

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Tube Fanatic -

 

I don't think you have to require that dealers do ANYTHING. I am only suggesting that this website be able to tell a searching potential customer where they can buy Heritage/Palladium - even Reference - with no ambiguity. All that it requires is that the dealer search section of the website have "Heritage" in the drop down menu, which will then tell that potential customer where they can go and see these speakers.

 

Maybe even be creative and make the high line dealers more prominent on the site - "Buy Heritage Here" or some similar prominent link on the site to direct customers. I think that dealers who are willing to show and sell the product would appreciate that kind of support.

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The only thing I take offense to is Alex's rubbing it in my face that he has a better cubicle (Amy's old cube, in fact).

Jerk!

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The leaders at high end companies, who get rich guys to part with $50 grand for some stereo stuff, are fanatics first, and business men second. If you haven't met the men and women behind these nutty, absurd, wonderfully eccentric products, you might be naive enough to think that success is just about a spreadsheet, margins, manufacturing, and the usual business propositions.

The Grand Slam without Dave Wilson? Threshold without Nelson Pass? The Linn Sondek without Ivor Tiefenbrun? Klipschorn without Paul Klipsch? Ahhhh, now we are getting somewhere.

The best thing the company could do is spin off the whole Heritage line to some rabid, crazed, fans who can infuse the products with personal character and technical credibility. Not to pretend to be PWK. Rather, to become a new champion, with their own unique commitment to the product. A new age of Heritage. The company could retain 30% stake, and thereby get all the glow of the high end showered on their pedestrian consumer business. A true Win-Win condit

Never Mind

Edited by joessportster

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One thing not mention is that the average consumer is looking for small speakers.  I started that way and was not well educated in audio.  Most of us forum junkies have taken a lot more time to educate ourselves in this area and are attracted to a different product compared to the average consumer.  More money can be made in the average consumer market.

 

Economies of scale have to be taken into consideration.  For example, Nelson Pass amps will not have higher profits than Onkyo.  Each company has to consider it's comparative advantage.  In other words, do what they can do best, with the the workforce that they have available.  Pushing to many products can and has killed many companies.

Edited by derrickdj1
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Wow glad I quit reading that thread. I had no idea it went all "Lord Of The Flies". I've noticed Klipsch doubling up on the history of PWK and the company more so than at any time I can remember. Reflecting on history and moving forward as a company seems like a good thing.

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