The first thing that a musician thinks about when they go to buy drumsticks is what brand/company they want to use. There are many out there but I’m going to focus on two specific companies: Promark and Vater. Both of these companies sell drumsticks and other percussion equipment to all sorts of drummers. As a drummer myself, I thought that it would be interesting to see the difference not only between their products but also how they market they’re product. Though both companies use ethos, the way they go about getting their customers attention are slightly different.
Promark’s website is well done. The first thing you see is a picture of one of the artists that they sponsor, perfect placement to catch young and upcoming drummers’ eyes and lure them into at least looking at what they are selling. Ethos works its magic here since most drummers when they start out want to be like the ones that they always hear about, usually the ones that are sponsored by some stick company in particular one of the big five such as Promark (“Buyer’s Guide”). Scroll down and underneath Promark’s slideshow of artists are links to events, a series of autographed drumsticks and the history of where the company came from. Promark proudly states in its history link that they have been making drumsticks since 1957 as a family run business. Once again Promark appeals to our ethos, as it continues to state things such as the inspections that the wood they use to make their drumsticks go through, the fact that they only use un-endangered wood and that they were the first to market a Japanese oak stick in America. Why am I telling you all this? Because just in the web page on the history of the company, Promark makes you believe that they know what they are doing. This is important for Promark because it gives them a sense of credibility in the sense that they know how to produce a high quality product very well. That’s not even getting into some of the renowned artists which include Neal Peart, Simon Phillips, Daru Jones and more. The listing aforementioned is full of drummers that Promark sponsors with a small bio of each drummer, including a picture of the drummer and a note of each drumstick type that they use.
While their ethos is great, their pathos and logos are not really shown. Promark fails to appeal to the customers’ logos or pathos in the sense that there is nothing on their website that appeals to the customer’s emotion or logic. It is as though Promark hopes that their rhetoric technique with ethos will get them what they want. Not exactly the most effective way to be persuasive yet they still get drummers to buy their product. They almost appear as though they are saying “We have a reputation so you should come buy our product.” Though this tactic is great for ethos, it’s not really an overall effectively persuasive technique.
Vater’s website is much simpler. A simple web page that also has a slideshow of their sponsored artists with a listing underneath, clearly labeled tabs at the top and a few links at the bottom makes it easy to use and understand for the average customer. A quick look at the company’s history and you see that they have been around since November 1991, more than a few years after Promark, which is likely to make them less credible in the eyes of the customer, even if they produce the same quality of product. On their website, Vater says that they used to be a smaller stick company until recently as they have expanded greatly. This is important because in the music industry word-of-mouth and experience are the biggest indicators as to whether certain drumsticks are of high quality or not. Because they weren’t as big of a stick company until their recent expansion, Vater has had to work harder to persuade customers into buying their product. Once again, ethos is the most prominent example of how they’ve accomplished their goal. Drummers love to say that they can play like so and so or that they have so and so’s drumstick. So once again, artists and their autographed sticks are thrust into the customer’s face in an attempt to use argument from strength. In other words, because these drumsticks are used by such and such drummer, they should be good enough for the beginning or even average drummer.
Both of these companies produce and persuade customers to buy a performance-driven product. When a musician buys drumsticks, they don’t do so because it makes them feel anything or because there are facts out there. They do so based on ethos, or in other words, whoever they want to sound like (“Stick With It”). With this in mind, both companies use the most effective technique available to them to persuade their customers into buying their product, artists.
Each of these companies has a listing of artists that they use to persuade young artists to buy their product. Regardless of the style of music that a drummer plays, names of professional drummers are well known by most in the music industry. Both Promark and Vater do an excellent job of finding artists who will promote their product. Recently Promark has gathered a number of artists to promote their product, making them more credible in the eyes of the young drummer (“D’Addario”). Vater too, has recently gathered artists (one of which is Max Weinberg who is considered to be an excellent professional drummer), but not as many as Promark has (“Max Weinberg”). This is likely to make Vater less credible, even though they make just as high quality of product as Promark or any other drumstick company does. On the other hand, Vater has recently persuaded the first and only drum school in Sacramento, CA, the Drum Lab, to promote their product (“Hal Leonard”). Considering that this school is the only one in the city, the fact that the school has chosen Vater over other stick companies is a large step up in credibility since instructors usually have experience with different styles of drumsticks.
In general, both Promark and Vater do an excellent job of marketing their product. With that in mind however, it appears as though Promark has done a better job of it. Of course it helps to have a reputation within the music industry, but Promark really took their rhetoric to heart when trying to persuade their customers, at least when it came to persuading them with ethos. Unfortunately for Vater, they haven’t been one of the “big five” for as long as Promark has, and as such, it hurts their credibility a little bit even with their recent expansion. In a few years, perhaps this will change, but as of now, Promark essentially defeats Vater in regards to which company has the best persuasive website, and therefore likely beats Vater in how many customers buy their product.
“Buyer’s Guide: high end drumsticks” MusicRadar. January 26, 2009. http://www.musicradar.com/us/tuition/drums/buyers-guide-high-end-drumsticks-193519
“D’Addario Percussion Brands Attract Artists” Music Trades. Aug2012, Vol. 160 Issue 7, p37-38. 2p.
“Hal Leonard Represents Mystic Publishing” Music Trades. Oct2010, Vol. 158 Issue 9, p50-50. 1/3p
“Max Weinberg New Vater Artist” Music Trades. Nov2012, Vol. 160 Issue 10, p120-122. 3p.
“Stick With It: Drumstick Searching Made Easy” Flight Drummers Magazine. November 4, 2012, http://magazine.flightdrummers.com/stick-with-it/