How vital are authentic customer connections to growing a business? David Stewart, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Sweetwater, suggests that the focus on customer experience is the “magic” behind the company’s massive success. Tune in to learn how David’s lifelong passion for music has fueled a 30-year career at one of the world’s leading musical instrument and audio equipment retailers.
Tune in to learn:
- How David’s love of music led him to Sweetwater (08:57)
- About Sweetwater and how it started (13:49)
- About David’s evolution into a marketing leader (26:01)
- About a crucial moment in David’s career (34:34)
- “Boston” (Album by Boston)
- “Growing Better, Not Bigger with Steve Robinson, Former Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc.” (Marketing Trends podcast episode)
About the Guest:
“Although I did play in bands in my youth, my heart is more in the technical side of music-making. I studied electronics at the University of Louisville and spent the mid-1980s touring as a live sound engineer. I experimented with whatever equipment I could afford, including “programming” a synthesizer using a small Radio Shack computer (with 2.5K of memory). I loved the control of producing music and bringing the essence of the artist to the audience. By 1987, I had acquired enough equipment to start recording my own music, but I found myself spending more time recording other bands instead. I stopped touring and ran DSL Studios full time.
Then I got a phone call offering me a position at Sweetwater. I moved to Fort Wayne in 1992 to become Sweetwater employee #20! I moved from Sales to Service, to Marketing, and then co-managed a growing team of hundreds of Sales Engineers until taking on the CMO role in 2016. Along the way, I developed the Service Department into an authorized service center for most of Sweetwater’s product lines; expanded the Sales department to over 400 Sales Engineers; developed Sweetwater University, which is a training program for new Sales Engineers; and helped create Sweetwater’s first catalogs and website, the latter of which has now expanded into a full-blown digital enterprise.
But I haven’t forgotten my technical roots: I continue to be involved with my Louisville recording studio, and I’ve been an instructor in live sound production in the music technology program at Purdue University Fort Wayne. And of course, I still play the bass every chance I get. Besides music and sound, some of my passions include travel, auto racing, photography (another technical art form), aviation, cycling, basketball, tennis, and volleyball.”
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