I had a chance to sit down with Mark Hoffenberg and talk about his company and his new position as a board member of HTSA.
Maureen Jenson: Tell us about your business and where are you located?
Mark Hoffenberg: We founded AUDIOVISIONS in 1989. We now have five locations: Our corporate headquarters is housed in 20,000 sq ft in Lake Forest, CA (Orange County). Our other locations are Palm Desert and Los Angeles in Southern California and San Rafael and Palo Alto in Northern California.
MJ: Why did you join the HTSA board?
MH: It is an extension of why we joined HTSA as a member company in March of 2016. What attracted us to HTSA was the quality of the members. We desire to work collaboratively with the best companies and the brightest leaders in the industry. Under the guidance of Jon Robbins, HTSA is focused, committed to its members and has amazing support from its vendors. Technically, it is a buying group, but the reality is that it is so much more: there is a genuine sharing of best practices, and this is something that I have always been passionate about. Our industry as a whole needs to do a better job of standardization, and the sharing of best practices plays an important role. Moving the whole industry is a massive challenge. However, aligning a group of one hundred or so of the best integrators is a much more manageable objective. I believe that I can make an important contribution to HTSA as a board member, especially in this particular area.
MJ: What are the biggest opportunities you see for the HTSA members?
MH: I believe the future success of our industry revolves around an integrated service and support model that allows us to deliver a differentiated and demonstrably better client experience that touches every home technology discipline, current and future. Some of those disciplines are obvious, some are not. The size, makeup and leadership of HTSA positions its members to take full advantage of this opportunity.
MJ: What is one of the smartest things you have done to attract more clients?
MH: We have found that the best way to attract more clients is to not be all things to all people. This of course narrows your market, but by narrowing our target market, we can reach and convert a much higher percentage of those clients by delivering a carefully curated offering that addresses their needs, desires and outcomes.
MJ: If you could go back in time what would you tell your younger self to do differently?
MH: Previous to AUDIOVISIONS we founded Frontline Technology and developed a revolutionary computer controlled cycling ergometer that used one’s own bicycle. It was a sensational hit and resulted in our company being acquired by Schwinn Bicycle Co in 1986. During that time we developed another product that was ahead of its time; imagine the Peloton exercise bike with much of the same capability and some things that are still not available! Schwinn management couldn’t understand how a “connected” exercise machine would be desirable and resisted bringing it to market. We eventually left the company, and had a one-year non compete so we could not bring it to market ourselves. We then started AUDIOVISIONS, I sometimes think what may have happened if we waited out our non-compete and started a new fitness company. Many years later, Peloton and Swift have demonstrated that it was a great concept and well received. The most exciting part of the story is, it is not fully unfolded, that ties our understanding of the fitness market with the future of health and wellness in our industry.