BOSE: the value of design in marketing

I walked by the BOSE booth in Denver's airport on Friday and watched in fascination as one customer after another put down $299 for a set of BOSE noise-canceling headphones--and then I did too. The clerk didn't have to cajole or persuade; she only had to ring up the order. The clerk quickly explained the set of wires and adapters (including which airlines used which adapter!) and demonstrated how to install the battery (included). A savvy sales person, she also explained that this pocket holds your CDs or DVDs and your iPod will fit here. She knew her product and she knew how it was used. What better place to buy noise-canceling headphones than at the airport before a flight? The sales person appeared to have sold more than a dozen sets as of 10am. Behind her stand was a PILE of discarded packaging left by customers who bought for their upcoming flights. BOSE advertises in travel magazines but the best marketing is the implicit customer endorsement by all the frequent flyers on my flights. While waiting for my credit card to be processed, I gawked at the BOSE SoundDock for the iPod. Just place your iPod in the cradle and voila! superior sound. The system has a remote control and also recharges the iPod. And with BOSE's reputation for great sound, this will surely be my Christmas gift to myself this year. Audiophiles--the technology elite--are rather annoyed at BOSE's success because BOSE products are neither the best nor the cheapest. Instead BOSE products are elegantly designed, well placed, and never discounted. BOSE customers care about brilliant design, and are willing to pay extra for it. great design + great placement = great marketing

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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