I just saw Deena Ghazarian at CES in Las Vegas and had the opportunity to speak with her about her new role at TargetPath, a company that develops ideas, builds brands and grows businesses.
Maureen Jenson: Congrats Deena on becoming a managing partner at TargetPath. I am fairly sure I first met you when you worked for Monster Cable and Monster-branded products. How did working at Monster prepare you for your latest responsibilities with TargetPath?
Deena Ghazarian: Every job has contributed to where I am today. I started in retail, which gave me a good understanding of the needs of a channel partner. I am also the daughter of an entrepreneur and I have the same drive to create something ownable and successful and have worked toward that my entire professional life, so I’m thrilled to be able to do that at TargetPath. It takes a lot of passion, which I have for my job and have always had with every position I have held. That passion is compounded when I can help bring a good product that customers want, with great service and support, to market and make it successful for the manufacturer and for the channel partners. Many companies end their job at sell in – I see the big difference when I focus on sell through.
MJ: Tell the TIG readers about driving global business. What does it take in terms of your commitment and expertise?
DG: I love having global responsibility because I am passionate about travel, different cultures, different customers and understanding regional markets. That’s the key really – to have the desire and patience to learn about the specific needs of each region so you and the local channel partner you work with can be successful. Working with a value-added reseller in every market who is the best-of-the-best and learning from them is key to local success. I am fortunate and really love being able to go in each of these markets, learn and apply best practices and leverage where appropriate and then create something unique, around marketing or promotions, for example, for each region. And because every country, region of the world, and even different areas of the US, have unique and special markets, being respectful of those nuances makes a tremendous difference in the level of success within each geography. Those details matter and they’re exciting to understand and learn.
MJ: Can you tell me about just one client (and their product line) from all stages of development that you are particularly proud of?
DG: I have a special client that we’ve been working with at TargetPath for more than a year – OnVocal. OnVocal introduced the first intelligent headphones with Amazon Alexa embedded and support for every other voice provider. Integrated for voice and music services making it the first virtual concierge with the most robust voice command services provider. They came to TargetPath as a brand-new start-up with no product or brand identity in the market. And their goals were lofty because they are introducing a brand-new category by offering voice services on-the-go, where voice services have previously been tied to a product plugged in a wall. We worked together to create the story that we could share with retailers, investors, press and end users and then created a business plan and executed it. OnVocal products are now in select, hand-picked retailers in North America, such as Amazon and Crutchfield, who are uniquely able to support and grow the product category. OnVocal will expand even further in all ways in 2018.
MJ: TargetPath has a wide array of respected clients in the CT channel. Where do you see the greatest opportunities for some of your clients in 2018?
DG: Thank you – we are really excited and encouraged by our client portfolio. Many of the clients we work with are start-ups, which is fantastic because TargetPath can really help with all the details in between a great idea, getting it on shelves and selling it through to the customer. Our entire business is focused on accelerating brands somewhere faster and possibly better than they could get on their own. In 2018, TargetPath is doubling-down on our support of start-ups in several ways because we see this as a huge opportunity in CT in the years to come. Specifically, we are staffed and incredibly operationally efficient to jump in and support any need of a start-up. Further, we will work with CTA on their start-up support program in 2018 by providing guidelines around start-ups, partnering with start-ups to accelerate their success and supporting the CTA contests and regional events. TargetPath is also collaborating with Amazon Exclusives in 2018 to also accelerate start-up direct sales success as well as provide support across other aspects of getting an idea to the shelf.
MJ: And finally, crystal ball time, where and what types of products do you see having the greatest impact on our market in 5 to 10 years?
DG: It’s going to be a really great year for CT and for anyone who is in touch with what customers want and the evolution of technology. Specifically, I see a lot of opportunity in health and wellness, a ton around voice and hands-free. We know customers like voice technology but want it everywhere – not just on a cell or tethered to a speaker connected to a wall. In the same vein, there’s a lot going on with IOT outside. Again customers want voice access and all their entertainment and monitoring and security options mobile. It’s not dissimilar to the extension of the outdoor living room or outdoor kitchen. 2018 will be about more than product and where you can get it or where it’s used – it’s about technology making lives better. A great example is the Live Safe app, which CTA is using during CES 2018 or Phone To Action, which allows anyone to direct tweet to policy makers giving everyone a voice. Technology will be paramount keeping us safe and aware, which will absolutely change lives.