When we compare customer types like Audiophiles vs. the custom installation crowd, we find some interesting similarities and differences.
What's similar between these two groups is that both want high-end sound for their homes.
What's different is the level of involvement in the process of acquiring and using the equipment.
Audiophiles are enthusiasts, the custom integrator crowd are users. Both are after the same results, each goes about it in a different way.
The Audiophile researches, learns, discusses and gets his hands "dirty" in the process; there's a great deal of personal involvement and care.
The custom crowd (far larger than the enthusiast crowd) wants all the good stuff without the level of involvement. They walk into a dealer, tell them their budget and needs and get what is recommended; many times having no clue what's in their system.
What's fascinating to me is that from a manufacturer's perspective, the equipment we design and build is essentially the same for both groups. How we access these groups is what the difference is. Speaking to enthusiasts is a whole lot different than communicating with integrators supplying a faceless crowd of customers.
I think if more high-end manufacturers understood this distinction, they could more easily broaden their marketplace without compromising their brand or products.
Food for thought.