The Beginnings Of The Modern Era


Above: Marshall’s new flagship amplifier during the 80s, the JCM800.

Two important factors occurred in the 80s which ended what we could call Marshall’s Classic Era (reflected in the golden age of Marshall), and ushered in the Modern Era as we know it today.

The economic depression of the early 80s was a threat which turned out to be an opportunity. Prior to the 80s Marshall produced a whole range of amplification equipment, but as the recession began, Jim Marshall was quick enough to realise that survival meant streamlining the company. The solution was to cease production of almost all products except guitar amplifiers. Marshall knew their strength lay in guitar amplifiers, and by focusing their efforts at what they do best, they would not only survive, but prosper.

On the other hand, Marshall was given a significant advantage when their 15 year deal with Rose-Morris ended. This now meant Marshall could price and distribute their products at their own desire.
However Rose-Morris still had some back stock of Marshall products which they owned. To combat this Marshall would first lower their export price by 25% so that they were now affordable to most consumers. Secondly they would place their marketing power behind the JCM800 (an amp designed in the mid 70s), in an effort to persuade consumers to buy from Marshall rather than Rose-Morris. The JCM800 became one of the most popular amplifiers due to it high quality and low cost. Marshall were now where they used to be: on side of the working musician.

Although Marshall’s pricing may have been lowered drastically, this turned out to be tremendous success for the company. A lower price attracted more consumers which meant more sales; Marshall’s profit over the next three years sky rocketed by 360%. This success resulted in Marshall being awarded the Queen’s Award for Export in 1984.

 

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