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Marketing Case Study: Bose

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I am an MBA student and have chosen to do a marketing case study on the Bose Corporation. I am looking for information and thought maybe some of you in the Head-Fi community might be able to help.

Specifically, I am looking for:

The major competitors for Bose

The characteristics of those competitors. I would be especially interested in seeing market share for these companies. So far, I have not been able to find this information. Is there a resource available that can provide this information?

Finally, I would like to get the opinions of this community on Bose products. In general, it seems that Bose is not well respected as an audio brand. I would like to know why that is. Is it because Bose has moved out of the niche market of audiophile grade products and become a mass market product and, yet still tries to sell it's product for a premium? Has the quality of Bose products deteriorated over time?

Please be aware that if you respond I may use what you say in my presentation and paper. I will gladly give credit or I can keep your comments annonymous.

Any input on this subject is appreciated.
post #2 of 31
In my opinion, Bose is not so much bad sound quality as awful sound quality for the money. Most of their patented/trademarked/watermarked designs serve solely and entirely to allow them to use extremely shoddy quality components. Essentially, their R&D department has taken standard ultra-cheap mass-market components (especially drivers) and found a way to make them sound better than they do normally. Then they bill these products as "hi-fi" and charge astronomical prices.
post #3 of 31
We just had a thread with some good links, if you missed it: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...threadid=45861

Also check out the review of the Triports in the Headphones forum.

Bose is in a unique position. They're marketed as hi-fi, in places like Best Buy where there's no real hi-fi to compare them to. They're marketed to the general public, most of whom haven't heard a really good setup in the same price range. And it always amazes me to find out how cheaply made their products are.

So, their major competitors are probably whatever else Best Buy and Circuit City sell, which are usually half or a third of the price for the same kind of setup, whether or not those products are worth their price tag.

For the opinions of the community, do a search here and in Headphones and pick through the flames that come up.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Interesting answer. Would you mind if I quoted you in my report? I can use your name or make it annonymous.

I read in your profile that you're a high school sophmore. Is that true? Because if it is that makes your answer even more interesting. Bose has admitted they have trouble with reaching the 18-35 year old market.

Checking Bose's prices, the most expensive speaker they have is the 901. I admit these are expensive, almost $1400. But their other speakers seem to be more reasonably priced. If they have found away to make cheap materials sound good then I would call that being efficient. This is what every company wants to do, find a way to make a well performing product for as little money as possible. Bose slogan is "better sound through research". Research costs money so isn't it justifiable to pass the cost of research onto the consumer if it results in a better product?

I have not heard Bose products except for a pair of Series II 301 speakers I have, which I've owned for 12 or 15 years. These are not the best sounding speakers I ever heard but they are certainly not offensive. I bought these speakers used at the time so to me they have been a pretty good value.
post #5 of 31
This is why I don't respect Bose Corp.-

Bose's practice seems to be to make claim that the products they offer are technically superior and advanced ,when in actuality they are renaming old, public domain technology with new names, make minor changes to these old designs, then patenting them. They then seem to promote these claims in advertizing that targets people without the background or technical knowledge to judge the merits of the claims Bose makes for it's products.

Additionally, they seem to support this questionable practice by discouraging retailers from allowing direct comparison to other products in a competative price range. (just try to get a Bose dealer to A/B Bose speakers against anything else.)

Bose also has a reputation of sueing anyone who makes disparging remarks about the products, in media. (maybe me, next?)

I suspect Dr. Bose's Phd might be in marketing, not engineering.
post #6 of 31
Erikzen you have to be carefull here you doing a marketting study and you ask audiophile what they think about bose. They will tell you how Bose is bad and craps which may be true but not the point. But from a marketting point of view they doing very well they have millions of follower that don't know better and think that Bose is the best. They are one of the world leaders in term of speakers sells.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Budgie
This is why I don't respect Bose Corp.-

Bose's practice seems to be to make claim that the products they offer are technically superior and advanced ,when in actuality they are renaming old, public domain technology with new names, make minor changes to these old designs, then patenting them.
Isn't this what we call progress? Someone invents something then someone comes along and improves on that idea in a subtle way. There was no way that man could have invented the space shuttle without the Wright Brothers first making a flying bicycle.

Quote:
Originally posted by Budgie
They then seem to promote these claims in advertizing that targets people without the background or technical knowledge to judge the merits of the claims Bose makes for it's products.
Isn't this called marketing? It is almost impossible to advertise to educated people. With education comes cynicsm and most marketing tactics do not work on cynics. So why should Bose spend money on an audience that probably will not buy their products. When I say educated, I mean in a particular area. Bose does actually target a rather high end crowd through magazines like "Smithsonian" and "The New Yorker".

Quote:
Originally posted by Budgie
Additionally, they seem to support this questionable practice by discouraging retailers from allowing direct comparison to other products in a competative price range. (just try to get a Bose dealer to A/B Bose speakers against anything else.)
I used to work for a small independent store that sold Bose products about 15 years ago. We would always let our customers compare the Bose speakers to any other speaker in the store. I will say that given the size of the store and the placement of the speakers it was difficult for people to get a good listen to the other speakers. It seemed to me that the direct/reflecting technology works pretty well. That's not to say that it's all that complicated but again, it's a tweak on an old idea that works for them.

Bose has come up with the idea of the "Bose Store". Of course, in the Bose store you're not going to find other products. But if you go to a Honda dealership will they have a Toyota there for you for comparison? I think having stores dedicated to their product is another tweak on a simple idea and it works for them. Needless to say, I am not commenting on their sound quality here, just the marketing idea. Of course, as with a car dealership, people have the right to go someplace else and do some comparison shopping.


Quote:
Originally posted by Budgie
Bose also has a reputation of sueing anyone who makes disparging remarks about the products, in media. (maybe me, next?)
Is this true? Can you cite a case? That would be very interesting to add to the case study. Any references you can provide are appreciated. Of course, if someone says something slanderous or libelous people and corporations do have the right to sue.


Quote:
Originally posted by Budgie
I suspect Dr. Bose's Phd might be in marketing, not engineering.
It could very well be. There are fewer business schools in the world better than Sloan.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by DanT
Erikzen you have to be carefull here you doing a marketting study and you ask audiophile what they think about bose. They will tell you how Bose is bad and craps which may be true but not the point. But from a marketting point of view they doing very well they have millions of follower that don't know better and think that Bose is the best. They are one of the world leaders in term of speakers sells.
Part of a marketing study is to do a SWOT analysis, the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a company. If Bose is a weak product, or is perceived to be a weak brand name among audiophiles that is a weakness that needs to be explored. Also, if their products really are crappy that needs to be explored, too. I don't mind at all if people here tell me that Bose sucks, as long as they qualify why they suck and don't mind me arguing back on their points. I am not trying to defend Bose, only expose every aspect of the company that I can, good and bad.

Does anybody know who is second in terms of speaker sales?
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by erikzen
Isn't this what we call progress? Someone invents something then someone comes along and improves on that idea in a subtle way. There was no way that man could have invented the space shuttle without the Wright Brothers first making a flying bicycle.
Yeah, but Bose products are still nasty and a bad design according to one of those Bose FAQ sites - rather like the space shuttle. It's overpriced for what you get, I think Saturn V was cheaper.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by erikzen
Does anybody know who is second in terms of speaker sales?
This might not be the best forum to ask this question on. In this forum and other audio forums the emphasis is on quality of the product rather than sales numbers. Bose does an effective job of marketing by targeting the average consumers willingness to take whatever is offered them. Most folks do not want to make the investment in time and energy required to really research products like audio ones and operate on the assumption that what they are told by the advertising is true or they wouldn't say it. As someone commented previously, Bose markets poorly designed products as high end products and has gotten aaway with it for years. What is offensive to those who know the field is that they have repeated the lie so often that many believe there products are high end. The case mentioned earlier is probably the Bose versus Consumer Reports case from a few years back.
post #11 of 31
I found some info that might be useful:
Harmon International's fiscal report
Boston Acoustics fiscal info
Polk/Boston info from a few years back

I can't find any info on Bose or their sales. I don't think Bose is publicly traded, so they don't have to reveal their fiscal reports.
post #12 of 31
Here someting interesting.

http://www.perrymarshall.com/marketing/bose.htm

Quote:
Simply put, Bose does not build the speaker that a typical acoustical engineer wants. They build the speaker that a butcher, baker or candlestick maker wants to buy.

Don't sell people what you think they should want.

____ Sell them what they want.

____ Do most people want flat frequency response?_

____ No.

____ Do most people want low Total Harmonic Distortion?_

____ No.

____ Do most people want phase coherence, imaging that's precise to the twelfth decimal place or superior impulse response?_

____ No.

____ What do people want? Small, unobtrusive design. Exciting sound. Glamorous, impressive technology that will make their friends salivate and their wives amorous. (Note: huge, room-dominating Klipschorns or Cerwin Vegas don't have that effect on most women).
and BTW Dr. Amar Bose is a professor in Electrical Engeneering at MIT. So we can supose that his PhD has someting to do with engeneering.

EDIT:

Here someting on Bose but it's not very comprehensive just overview numbers

http://cobrands.hoovers.com/global/c...tml?COID=40673 (not sure if you can access this)

From Hoover's, Inc

Bose Sales $1.6 billions
Main competitor they put
B&O $500millions
Harman International $2.2billions
But then they also put
Matsu****a (aka panasonic) $61 billions

But then panasonic has a very different market share.
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by DanT
Glamorous, impressive technology that will make their friends salivate and their wives amorous. (Note: huge, room-dominating Klipschorns or Cerwin Vegas don't have that effect on most women).
hahahha, i mean, damn...

edit: i just read the whole thing. interesting stuff. i especially liked the part about "if you want a new idea, read an old book." and the ending is also something i like to keep in mind.

Quote:
So does that make the people at Bose bad people?

No, just fantastically wealthy people, with happy customers, who get more respect than most speaker guys out there.

And there's a lot to be said for that.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by vrao81
I can't find any info on Bose or their sales. I don't think Bose is publicly traded, so they don't have to reveal their fiscal reports.
No, Bose is a privately held company and does about $950 million in revenue. They have a marketing budget of about $50 million.

Thanks very much for the links!
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
DanT, very helpful stuff. Thanks very much. I thought that article was very interesting and has given me some good ideas.

I might be able to access the Hoovers information through my school's website. I'll have to check.
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