How Bose Can Teach The AV Business How To Sell More Systems For More Profit

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As an audiophile and AV professional, I am not really a fan of Bose speakers, nor have I ever been in my 20 year consumer electronics career. With their massive market share and well-funded engineering department, I don't understand why they voice their speakers the way they do - but even their most enthusiastic detractors have to admit that Dr. Bose and his team really know how to sell speakers. I have always said that the most impressive element of Bose is their ability to market into nearly every channel - for that I am a fan of the company's marketing.

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• Find more original stories like this in our Feature News section.
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• Read the review of the Bose SoundDock II.

Look how other AV companies are now hurrying to get into big box stores, warehouse stores, Apple stores and online retailers. Bose is already there and already dominant. And Bose has a dozen other channels that they milk for millions of dollars of sales per year, including print newspaper ads, door-to-door, TV infomercials and beyond. They might be the single best multi-channel marketing company in the U.S. economy - not just the consumer electronics business.

There is a new place that Bose is leading the way into, which is as a finely tuned audio and video retailer. A lot of ink goes to Apple for their massively profitable and uber-cool Apple Stores but Bose quietly does what Costco, Target, Wal-mart, Best Buy and sadly, many brick and mortar specialty AV stores fail to do - Bose does one hell of an in-store audio-video demo. Walk into any shopping mall or outlet location with a Bose store and simply saunter into the store near the home theater demo. It won't take 30 seconds until a well-trained salesperson will invite you in and show you their best demo.

The demo is to-the-point, dynamic and well designed. It highlights the strength of their products and the unity of their systems, while leaving the weaknesses far from your consciousness. Most importantly, anyone with a heartbeat gets the show if they even walk close to the theater. Even if a consumer couldn't buy one of the interconnects in the system - they get the demo so that they can tell their friends that Bose is the best. And who could blame them for spreading the good news after being treated so well at the Bose store? More than one high level AV manufacturing executive has experienced this level of sales expertise and has been left the same way I was - WOWED by the sales skill, the production value of the demo and the I-care-to-make-a-sale enthusiasm that you don't get in the big box stores.

Realistically, I don't think you can expect to get this level of sales expertise and AV demo at Costco as they don't really "sell" anything - they just allow the consumers to take home discounted items that are pre-sold by online publications (like this one and many others), TV, magazines and other outlets including other retailers. Ironically, if you were a consumer shopping simply on price, there are better HDTVs sold on the Internet than at Costco, Wal-mart and Target; however the convenience of just dragging home a new set does have some appeal for some consumers. For about 10 percent more there is likely a local store that might deliver and setup the HDTV for you at your home, might offer a better warranty and possibly a better demo. Ask them what they can do for you over the well-known players and don't be surprised to see them offer a nice package to earn your business. Many California specialty stores are offering to recycle old CRTs and other sets for consumers who buy a new set. Others offer ISF video calibration for the HDTV sets at little to no additional cost. Depending on your needs - it's nice to be treated well as a customer shopping locally and looking for both performance and value.

Read more about what Bose does right on Page 2.

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