+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Bose Teaches--Can Harman Learn?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    8,868

    Bose Teaches--Can Harman Learn?

    I found this article interesting and valid from the marketing and sales side. Bose definitely has this part of its business plan together. This flies in the face of all the "Woe is me" wailing by audio retailers and audio customers alike that the days of the brick and mortar audio store are gone.

    I've been in a Bose store. It's an impressive sales experience. For a majority of people who go in, it will be the best audio and sales experience they've ever had. If I didn't know there was better gear out there, it would be hard to resist.

    http://hometheaterreview.com/how-bos...r-more-profit/
    In.

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1audiohack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Las Vegas Nevada
    Posts
    1,398
    It's a good model to be sure. The last I knew Dr Amarr Bose (apologies if incorrectly spelled) still controls his company. I think the definition of success is different if it's yours, or if it belongs to the public. My hat is off to him in that respect.

    Nice read, thanks for sharing.
    If we knew what the hell we were doing, we wouldn't call it research would we.

  3. #3
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    8,275
    Quote Originally Posted by 1audiohack View Post
    II think the definition of success is different if it's yours, or if it belongs to the public. My hat is off to him in that respect.


    Yeah, if you own the company you may want to make decisions that will keep the company growing in a profitable and positive way as opposed to being focused on the "performance" as shown on the next quarterly shareholder statement.

    I have experienced the Bose demo... it is impressive as far as it goes, but if you have experienced a demo in a high end home theater with a decent projector and a Synthesis sound system, you just smile at the Bose performance and walk on.


    Widget

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    8,868
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post

    I have experienced the Bose demo... it is impressive as far as it goes, but if you have experienced a demo in a high end home theater with a decent projector and a Synthesis sound system, you just smile at the Bose performance and walk on.


    Widget
    Well, that's the point. How many Bose Stores will a consumer see at the mall, strip mall, commercial district, etc. before stumbling blindly into a Synthesis® demo room? I'd say about 125 of them for Bose, seventeen right here in CA, and about 0 for Synthesis®.

    http://www.bose.com/controller?event.../allstores.jsp

    If the consumer doesn't know about the competition, can't find the competition, and can't demo the competition, it's all academic after that.

    "Nuts" like us will find that superior experience and pay for it (or buy used gear that's better than Bose). But the rank and file consumer will not. A $ is a $ to me, whether it comes from an ignorant consumer or an aficionado. Apparently Harman doesn't want that $ from either. (Well, in fairness, maybe they're trying to do better.)
    In.

  5. #5
    Senior Member richluvsound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    london england
    Posts
    1,946

    Bose is a Poor mans B&O

    This company does marketing and everything else better than most ! Why does this company find no need to compromise ?


    http://www.bang-olufsen.com/beolab5

  6. #6
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    8,275
    Quote Originally Posted by richluvsound View Post
    This company does marketing and everything else better than most ! Why does this company find no need to compromise ?


    http://www.bang-olufsen.com/beolab5
    No Compromise? Have you listened to B&O? Better than Bose, but a far cry from the average in Hi-Fi if the same money is being spent.

    Don't get me wrong, I do like B&O and would have it in my living room if I could, but none of their gear would be in my listening room.


    Widget

  7. #7
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    8,275
    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    Well, that's the point. How many Bose Stores will a consumer see at the mall, strip mall, commercial district, etc. before stumbling blindly into a Synthesis® demo room?
    Unfortunately cost does enter into this equation and most people simply can not afford Synthesis and a $10K or better projector. Your average mall shopper will find it a financial stretch to fork over the $2K+ just for audio. Would it be nice if everyone could be treated to a proper high end demo? Sure... and in the bigger markets like LA, NY, and our corner of the world it is fairly easy to find a proper high end demo. Even the recently updated Magnolia sections of the better Best Buy stores can put on a credible demo... if your local Magnolia hasn't been reworked, it will be. They aren't terrible and they even have people who know more than the cheerful automaton at the Bose Store.

    All is not dark and dreary... I think as our hobby is maturing it is finding it's footing and new and better hi-fi stores and mass merchants are beginning to appear. It will never be the '70s again, but that was a blip in the time line.


    Widget

  8. #8
    Senior Member richluvsound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    london england
    Posts
    1,946
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    No Compromise? Have you listened to B&O? Better than Bose, but a far cry from the average in Hi-Fi if the same money is being spent.

    Don't get me wrong, I do like B&O and would have it in my living room if I could, but none of their gear would be in my listening room.


    Widget
    Yeah ! I've heard it .... not my my cup of tea either ... It is what is ' HOME BEAUTIFUL' with half decent sound quality. Design and reliability seem to be their focus. The TV's are icons here in Europe. Would I spend $10 k on a TV though ?..... nada . I'm a Sony boy and never owned anything else.

    I can see JBL having to go for a face lift if they are to gain a larger share of the upper- mid to high end market. Horns are not easy to design around as you and I know ,but without horns JBL would die for sure . Interesting brief .... wish it was mine !

    Rich

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, NZ
    Posts
    1,334
    To be perfectly honest, the massess do not really care what their music sounds like. There will be few converts if they listened to a high end system and even less who would want or could afford spending unknown thousands of dollars on good gear. Remember, this is our hobby. Some people collect stamps some people beer mats. Each to their own....

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Tustin, CA
    Posts
    604
    Quote Originally Posted by 1audiohack View Post
    It's a good model to be sure. The last I knew Dr Amarr Bose (apologies if incorrectly spelled) still controls his company. I think the definition of success is different if it's yours, or if it belongs to the public. My hat is off to him in that respect.

    Nice read, thanks for sharing.
    Yep, a good model- but they've made it based upon a legacy of dishonest marketing. They've done a number of sneaky tricks, from BS patents (Wave radio anyone?) with significant prior art, to prohibiting retailers from Demo'ing Bose next to any competing products, to using different, and much nicer, electronics for Bose demos when Bose is doing a demo of their speakers compared to some competition (and not properly setting up the competition).

    They've got a big bag of dirty tricks.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    KC,MO
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by badman View Post
    Yep, a good model- but they've made it based upon a legacy of dishonest marketing. They've done a number of sneaky tricks, from BS patents (Wave radio anyone?) with significant prior art, to prohibiting retailers from Demo'ing Bose next to any competing products, to using different, and much nicer, electronics for Bose demos when Bose is doing a demo of their speakers compared to some competition (and not properly setting up the competition).

    They've got a big bag of dirty tricks.
    Yeah, I'm resurrecting an old post, but this one was very interesting. Having spent 25 years in the audio business, I can't disagree with this one very much. I remember a training in the late 80s during a Bose training where they were using huge Crown amps (Hey, at least you would never know that Crowns were bright...) to demo their speakers. They handed out CDs that were bandwidth limited, compressed, and shifted towards the right (IIRC) channel in order to facilitate predicatable demos (back when they allowed their speakers to be compared to others). I was at a dealer show where the Bose rep brought in a second bass module in order to reinforce the output of the standard single unit, but not telling the customers about it. She didn't see anything wrong with it since she was told that it "compensated" for the size of the room they demoed in.

    In the old days, they were very aggressive. I used to get picked on when I was in retail by the reps. Not in a bad sense, they just wanted me on their side because I could sell speakers. It all started when I completely humiliated a "greenpea" fresh from "The Mountain". If any of you guys remember the 601, it was probably the most pathetic speaker in the arsenal at that time. Essentially two 301s in a single box. It was grossly inefficient, had no midrange at all, and generally sucked. It sucked more than the 401, which really took some effort. Anyway, this newbie came in and wanted me to get sucked into the same vortex that sucked out his common sense. He called me back into the speaker room to do a demo. He had the 601 lying on the floor, face down, and wanted to do a demo that way. I explained to him that this wasn't California and even if we had an earthquake, most people would stand the speaker back up before listening to it. I then threw in one of my favorite demo discs, turned on the 601s, then switched over to a pair of L60Ts which smoked them on every front. Considering they were just over half the price, the newbie was completely kerfluffled. I explained what makes a speaker sound good and why his speakers sounded so bad. He never showed up again, and two months later, we had a new rep. He knew it was all BS, so he wasn't willing to get shot down with demos, he went to sheer bribery to get my allegiance. That was followed by the aforementioned training with the Crown amps. At that training, I was accosted by a bigger "muckity muck" from Bose who pulled me off to the side at lunch break. We had a nice little chat where he tried to convince me that selling Bose made financial sense. I countered that it didn't, because in those days, if you sold Bose speakers, you sold a Sony or Pioneer receiver on which I didn't make much money, and whose performance left much to be desired. I explained that selling a pair of JBLs, Infinities, or Advents made far more sense because I could sell much higher end electronics, and potentially upgrade the speakers as well once they heard what the money bought. It ended with me telling him if he wanted my support that they needed to build speakers that sounded good for the money, and that upgrading boxes, crossovers, and drivers would be a good start, as well as dumping the "stereo everywhere" concept.

    Later on, I spent a number of years selling JBL's answer to the AM product. It was much better engineered, but they really screwed up on subwoofers. Rather than going to a 6 1/2" woofer, they for some reason stuck with the same 5 1/4" woofer size that Bose was using. They could have gone to an 8" woofer in the enclosures they were using with little change. I didn't get the oversight from an "engineer driven" company, but by then it was already a marketing company that didn't really listen much to the engineers. They hired a guy from Bose to drive the new product line and revamp the training division. One of the most gifted people I ever met, but he was there to sell what the company built in true Bose style, he wasn't a speaker engineer, he was a marketing guy, and one of the best on the planet. I still consider him a friend. They still completely botched the product and for no good reason. Granted, the Bose system was a lot cheaper to produce, but performancewise, it was low hanging fruit. JBL went for a base hit rather than the home run as it has the potential to do.

    Bose is great in marketing, low on performance. harman product tended to be much longer on performance, but a bit shy on marketing. Be it JBL, Infinity, or harman/kardon, the name was just never on the tongues of the great unwashed. During my retail days, I sold Onkyo and h/k, brands nobody had heard of, but when you sold performance over name, it sold well. Bose bought and paid for that exposure, but their production cost vs wholesale price was 1/3 or less of what a normal speaker company's product would run. That extra money bought a lot of marketing. Big advertising budgets meant a lot of clout in the magazines. When Consumer Reports was honest about a Bose review, they got sued. They were right, and I think they won, but the cost was excruciating. They never gave a Bose product a bad review after that, it wasn't worth the effort.

    People are funny beings. They will turn to a name they have heard of but know nothing of, rather than a product that works better but they haven't heard of. Although, things have changed over the years. Klipsch is now the biggest speaker company, a sign of the Bose mystique melting down after 40 years, and Klipsch taking the Cerwin Vega recipie to the next level. Loud sells better than smoke and mirrors. Make it in China, and loud and cheap sells even more.

    I used to put the old JBL L1, a 6" two way bookshelf, against big 12 and 15" Cerwin Vegas, volume matched. Cerwins made NO bass at all, and were completely pounded by a speaker that was a fraction of the size. DCM got into that game as well, leaving the decent sounding speaker category and going for big and loud. Yeah, I buried them too. Most salesmen didn't even know they could do volume matched demos or what the reason was. A failure of modern retail that Bose was trying to circumvent.

    harman doesn't need to really follow Bose's "lead", since Bose has stopped leading and has moved away from retail sales and into mailorder, selling wave radios, wave music systems, and headphones. All of them high profit and with customers willing to spend the money without comparisons. The ones that get returned feed the outlet stores where they still make more money on them than if they sold them at wholesale. What they need to do is to reach the attention points of the average consumer like Bose did in the past but lacked the product to stay there. Word travels slowly in the circles of the great unwashed. However, the days of retail are over, and the Chinese are moving in fast. It's a whole new world out there.

  12. #12
    Senior Member louped garouv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    formerly "the city where imagination takes precedence over fact"
    Posts
    2,144
    very interesting read, thanks for sharing to you all...

+ Reply to Thread

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Bose 1801 Power Amp
    By Darrell 514 in forum Consumer Amps
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-26-2011, 06:09 PM
  2. Sales: Bose vs JBL
    By Akira in forum General Audio Discussion
    Replies: 109
    Last Post: 06-22-2009, 08:07 PM
  3. Bose Impresses
    By Titanium Dome in forum General Audio Discussion
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 04-05-2009, 11:25 AM
  4. BOSE integrated amp
    By SEAWOLF97 in forum Consumer Amps
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 04-15-2007, 08:30 PM
  5. its about bose...
    By lgvenable in forum General Audio Discussion
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 05-13-2005, 03:01 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts