Marketing 50

inMotion

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Just two years ago, speaker system maker Altec Lansing noticed a gap in the audio market. During a meeting with Apple iPod executives, Bob Garthwaite, who was then Altec Lansing's senior VP-marketing and sales, together with his colleagues, brought up an idea to create high-end portable speakers for the still-nascent iPod music player.

Apple liked the idea, so Altec Lansing went to work with the IDEO design group to develop an elegant design for the iPod compatible inMotion system. The technology, design and even the packaging were all built around the theme and process of "click, reveal, alive."

This past June, Altec Lansing launched its fourth generation of inMotion portable iPod speakers, the iM7, in a line of products that have risen to become some of the best-selling iPod peripherals on the market. Marketing consisted of trade print advertising, in-store displays and a heavy PR push.

Mr. Garthwaite, 44, who has since been promoted to president-CEO, says he and his team recognized early that the iPod would become popular-although he admits they had no idea just how huge it would become-and honed in on the idea that IPod owners would quickly want quality speaker accessories to go with it.

"It started with kicking some ideas around with Apple," says Mr. Garthwaite, who before Altec oversaw sales and marketing at Franklin Electronic Publishers, maker of the Franklin Planner. "Now the inMotion line has grown to be used with all kinds of portable audio devices, although certainly the anchor is still the iPod."

That means even as Altec Lansing worked on a deal with XM Satellite Radio to create speakers for its devices, it also moved quickly to create an iPod nano compatible system adapter.

Altec Lansing, which was acquired by Plantronics earlier this year and functions as a wholly owned subsidiary, plans to push inMotion even further with partners like Palm Treo, and continues to work on speakers compatible with wireless phones.

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