Frank Crowson - Senior Vice President of Marketing at Guitar Center

Executive Profile: Frank Crowson, SVP of Marketing at Guitar Center

By and For Musicians
We don’t communicate as well as we could how much our team is passionate about music, how many of our teammates are musicians and that we live to serve musicians. I walk around this building and see the passion for music brought to jobs every day. To be perceived as a big box store that isn’t necessarily in tune with musicians as other folks is not accurate. The reality is we are a company built by, in service of and largely made up of musicians. The people who work for this company are highly passionate about helping musicians because they are musicians.

Partnerships and Inspiration
Vince Gill was inducted into our RockWalk at our Hollywood store last year. We hosted a contest/celebration called On Stage with Vince Gill. Folks submitted their work and, out of thousands of entries, we narrowed it down to a small group who got to meet and play with him.

If you look over our history, you’ll see example after example of partnerships like that. That’s important, but what’s even more important is what it highlights––the millions of people who are influenced by and love to make music. We view these partnerships as a celebration, not just of famous artists but of all the musicians they inspire.

Any Level of Experience
We recently added lessons to over 100 stores. We’re trying to meet every musician wherever they’re at on their journey. We’re not just a place for experts. Services is the best example of how we’ve expanded what we’re offering to meet every musician at whatever point they’re on.

Drumming Up Careers
We’re in the middle of our 28th Annual Drum-Off—about 5,000 participants. While it’s a contest with one winner, it’s an exciting experience to watch drummers play and support fellow musicians.

See More: PHOTOS: Club Nokia Hosts Guitar Center's 27th Annual Drum Off

It starts in the stores, but it works its way through multiple rounds to the finals here in L.A. where we award the championship. We’ve had winners who’ve gone on to drum for folks like Prince and Jay Z and have careers we’re proud to say we helped with.

Meeting Success
We have partnerships with lots of folks, both directly and through our vendor partners, who do things like road shows and workshops. Folks who have achieved a high level of proficiency, whether it’s Zakk Wylde and his line of guitars we’re carrying exclusively or a variety of others. Getting those players in the stores to talk about their gear and why they love it, what it does for them and how it allows them to make music is a great opportunity to help our customers have an experience and learn from someone they might not otherwise be able to interact with. That level of local marketing is a key part of our strategy.

Musicians Rock
Every business leader should hire musicians. One thing I’ve learned is musicians bring a quality that I’m just amazed by. It’s folks who are not afraid to fail, because music is a journey and there are many difficult times you have to work through to get to the beauty of making music. Once you’ve got something, you’re on to the next thing and failing again. So it’s a group of people who are not afraid to fail.
The notion of a band having to come together to make one sound is something I see in our teams. There’s something hardwired in musicians to learn and keep pushing to get better. I see that from our teams constantly.

Purpose
When you think about all the things we can do for musicians, whether it be lessons, gear at the right time, at the right price, services and the list goes on, the opportunities to help a great amount of people make a greater amount of music is what gets us working as hard as we do.

How To Market Yourself
Keep it simple and start with the truth and what truth it is about you that you want people to know. Then, find the most impactful way to make that come to life.

Years with Company: September 2015
Web: guitarcenter.com
Email: media@guitarcenter.com
Clients: With more than 270 stores, Guitar Center services musicians across the country.

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