In 1980 I conducted a questionnaire survey at the venue of the Audio Fair at that time, receiving responses from 7,000 people. I firmly believe that the results of that marketing survey had an enormous impact on the birth of the mini component and hi-fi component stereo systems.
The environment surrounding our industry was severe. System components had come full circle, and the then Ministry of International Trade and Industry had designated our business as being in a state of structural depression. It was then that I made my “four proposals”—a declaration of new fans, a theory of audio fashion, the three visual principles (repeat, creative, library), and a design revolution.
These four proposals were plugged in this magazine, and in that year alone I gave talks on more than 50 occasions. It was a powerful message for moving out of the slump and into the next generation. On the basis of that message, I also proposed my “1985 theory,” by which I argued that new products would flourish in 1985. And lo and behold, the appearance of tape audio and slim-design mini component systems with CD players really did transform the market.
In the spring of 1986 I launched the Future Forum (FF) for the top executives of all audio makers. On that day, I arrived at the company at 9:30 and organized the forum after gaining the consent of our head office sales managers in the morning. Under the slogans of “business with profit” and “market creation,” we held study meetings and gatherings three times a year and became active as the foundation of the audio business. The FF also took the lead in responding to various problems, such as commodity tax refunds. The forum became extremely active during the industry’s era of prosperity before finally pulling down the curtain in 1996.
The environment had turned harsh following the collapse of the bubble economy, and we had entered a period in which it was visual equipment and personal computers appearing on the market. Then the Windows 95 operating system appeared, and the world changed overnight. We had entered the age of digital technology and the Internet.
At that time, I felt strongly that the Internet was going to dramatically transform the world, so I set about gathering information and holding repeated discussions with learned persons. Those were the origins of Phile-web.
The first thing I realized was that by managing a website, we would be able to attract a highly sensitive group of people, definite users with an awareness of specific issues, and have them participate in meetings and discussions. By holding discussions on products planned by makers, we would be able to make those product plans successful. And by enabling users to experience the products that makers wanted to sell, we would be able to promote sales with a high degree of accuracy.
I named this the Phile-web Direct Marketing System, or PWDMSA. Although the system has been steadily bearing fruit, I believe the time is coming for it to be launched in a full-fledged manner. Through this system, we would be able to gather only people interested in certain events and conduct detailed questionnaires there. It is our strong website that makes it possible for us to operate such a marketing system, which has an important role to play in both manufacturing and sales.
Times will change. Lifestyles will change. The only way to survive will be to adopt an animal-like approach to business by going out and aggressively procuring our catch in the field. It really is an age of natural disasters and man-made calamities.