Sonos Marketing

  • 13 February 2017
  • 8 replies
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I have never identified with any of Sonos' marketing efforts. Each time I have peeked at the Sonos Blog I have not found anything interesting, other than vague company announcements.

Just this past weekend I spent way too much time attempting to navigate the Sonos client app trying to find my favorite podcasts so I might use the app to play them instead of using my PC speakers and browser bookmarks. I'm not sure what TuneIn Radio is, what, if any, relationship it has with Sonos, but will say the categorization of podcasts is a burden to navigate and the client Search feature is almost invisible and very rudimentary.

The well known shortcomings of the Sonos client app now make perfect sense. Sonos is out of touch with those that own Sonos products and those that would be interested in owning a Sonos product. I sincerely doubt the embarrassing commercial that aired during the Grammy telecast was intentionally bad in order to generate buzz. Even if so, I am now embarrassed to admit I own a Sonos product and am less likely to purchase any more.

Sonos needs to stop being at best aloof, or at worst being arrogant. Sonos has the potential make music/podcast/etc. not only easier to enjoy, but easier to discover and integrate into one's home. But at the moment it is a piece of geeky technology that is nothing more than an external speaker for smartphones for listening to iTunes or watching Netflix. There is a larger market Sonos is missing out on, but the product needs to cater to it as opposed to the market catering to Sonos.

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8 replies

Userlevel 7
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Join the Beta program and provide your feedback. The more you engage the more likely your voice will be heard.
"But at the moment it is a piece of geeky technology that is nothing more than an external speaker for smartphones for . . . watching Netflix." Huh?

This statement right here makes your entire post suspect. Sonos is much more than an external speaker for smartphones. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest misconceptions about Sonos is that they are an external Bluetooth-type speaker for playing apps from a single smartphone instead of a multi-room audio system.

And by the way, you can't play Netflix from Sonos. Are you sure you actually own the product?
"But at the moment it is a piece of geeky technology that is nothing more than an external speaker for smartphones for . . . watching Netflix." Huh?

This statement right here makes your entire post suspect. Sonos is much more than an external speaker for smartphones. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest misconceptions about Sonos is that they are an external Bluetooth-type speaker for playing apps from a single smartphone instead of a multi-room audio system.

And by the way, you can't play Netflix from Sonos. Are you sure you actually own the product?
Indeed, it is hard to imagine what anyone could say to demonstrate total unfamiliarity with Sonos than what the OP said. Very, very suspect.
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I am part of the beta program, specifically because I have some mp3 files that provide hours of audio. Versions prior to the current beta do not support support such a feat. I own a Sonos product. I struggle to use the Sonos product. Specifically the Controller client, which is far from winning any awards.

My point is missed by those who, apparently, make a habit of commenting on every post given the thousands of replies each has made. Instead of discussing constructive criticism, I am attacked.

All of my reviews of the product will include how hostile the community is to save others the aggravation. I can see why Sonos users want to throw their speakers through a window.
You start off with a hostile post and then criticize those responding as being hostile toward it? That's interesting. Personally I ignore the ads and go merrily along my way enjoying my eight pieces (and counting) of Sonos kit.
I am sorry if you were offended and if I misjudged your intentions. But Sonos is a robust multiroom music system that will play a huge range of internet streaming services, music from an iTunes library, music stored in other local drives, music stored on mobile devices and internet radio. It can cope with multiple streams, run up to 32 devices, and has a cinema surround system. Can you understand why we thought the suggestion that Sonos is "nothing more than an external speaker for smartphones for listening to iTunes or watching Netflix" a little off the mark?
Especially when one of the things it most certainly doesn't do is play Netflix. And I dont see why asking if someone actually knows about the product when they get so much wrong could be labled "hostile". Should we have just ignored your errors and gone along with your misconceptions just to save you any perceived discomfort?

As to the intent to pepper your reviews with a critique of forum members, the South Park episode about Yelp critics should be required viewings for those who level such silly threats. :8
Userlevel 5
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Hi Ekho,

I can't say I agree with you. Clearly you are a marketing expert and I'm not... So I can't comment on why the commercial was clearly designed to cause you embarrassment ... :?

We don't need to agree, that's the beauty of discussion.... but to discuss:

The core marketing message about the silent home will absolutely resonate with a large number of viewers - but from your reaction I'd definitely guess you are not in the Target Customer demographic. I may not have loved the Play1 Grenade approach, but it certainly isn't "embarrassing" and I'm happy to tell anyone who asks that I own Sonos Gear and readily recommend it.

You don't like the App... I get that - I've learned that apps are like room temperature - no matter what you do, some people are unhappy. Everybody here has recommended improvements... some conflicting, some bizarre, some exceptionally reasonable. We will see how quickly, if at all, Sonos adapts the Controller, but I certainly don't expect transformative changes, but I do expect incremental ones. That and opening the system so other Apps can manage the system - Like Spotify App integration will change how people interface with the devices.

Access to Content: sure TuneIn may not be ideal... but TuneIn isn't Sonos... (I'm curious if there is simply an arrangement here or if there is any co-ownership... but I digress) Yes, access to Tunein is provided with a Sonos Product, but being product manufactures, and not content providers, they need to work with whoever they can. and TuneIn does have a lot of content that is relatively easy to understand... Additionally Sonos are working hard to keep building Content out and make it easier... the Spotify integration is an obvious example of this.

I'm not criticizing in any way, but by having one Play 5 (If I understand your previous posts and profile), you do miss the core functionality of what Sonos does so well - and what the commercial is trying to convey. Multi-Room audio... it does it very well. From a personal perspective, I can say that my home went from a "Silent Home" to one with music throughout it only upon my investment in this system... it never did with investments in other solutions.... ever. No matter what they were and how top quality... they were always complex, limited in content and limited to very specific spaces...

IMHO, Sonos are targeting homeowners with discretionary income available to purchase 5-20 devices $2,000 to say $20,000 of investment... these people are going to typically be an older demographic, They carry certain values... and I do believe they do feel disconnected seeing houses where people are staring at phones with headphones on all the time, and absolutely will think "something is seriously wrong with this" seeing some of the images in the commercial. Others outside the target demographic will get it too... many people are beginning to push back against the isolated world tech is developing.... So I get the commercial, I understand the message and I think it will resonate with many target potential customers. Personally, I like that Sonos is getting in the game with the promotion. I think they realize they can win in a specific space, but need to run to stay ahead and will need marketing support to get them to the next level....

YMMV