The fourth quarter is a crucial proving ground for any CE vendor – and so was an altogether other fourth quarter for Monster.
The personal audio brand, in showcasing for the nation its story of audio legacy Sunday in a 60-second ad (below) that aired during Q4 of the “Big Game” Feb. 4 between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, trumpeted what Head Monster Noel Lee said was a “broad spectrum message to let people know, ‘This is who we are.’” Featuring Lee and a host of music celebrities, it set the stage, in effect, for the launch of a new chapter for Monster.
The ad was a super-sized presentation of Monster to a wider audience of music listeners. “The theme is ‘You Deserve Better’ than the white earbuds you get for free [with your devices]. We’re not fighting against anyone – we’re just doing a little legacy storytelling. I’m one of the few guys left who has a legacy in audio. The audio business is missing that today, and we’re taking advantage of that. We’re telling the Monster story and making it fun. Headphones that are $100-plus are only about seven percent of the market, so there’s 93 percent out there, up for grabs for retailers. We want every retailer to embrace the 93 percent of customers they’re not getting now…It’s not about shouting down competitors. I want to grow the pot,” Lee told Dealerscope during a visit to New York City ahead of the ad’s airing.
As part of the "You Deserve Better" campaign, Monster will institute a rebate program to incentivize consumers to trade up in headphone quality
Part of the strategy for what Monster is touting under the umbrella tagline “Takeover 2018,” as it relates to dealers, zones in on a “40 Retailers” strategy, with the inspirational seed of the idea coming from Nike’s recently announced plan of the same name, said Lee. The program evokes elements of Monster’s earlier and well-regarded M6 merchandising and training status program that focused on certain retail “messengers” to carry the Monster story to consumers, and will emphasize CRM (customer relationship management) practices. Monster is in the process of verbalizing the concept to targeted accounts now, Lee said.
In general, it will touch upon “respect for retail pricing with new products going forward,” said Lee, and will be designed to benefit the retailers involved by “helping them differentiate from their competitors” by leveraging Monster’s celebrity partnerships in things like in-store events and content-rich videos that can be featured on dealers’ websites. “Right now, online is often just product and a price. We want our Monster history and story to be told,” explained Lee. The program will also include a doubling down on sales force training.
“We want to approach the market differently based on how retailers are today – and on how consumers shop,” Lee said, noting that a return to some of the practices that proved so effective with M6 – resulting in incredibly successful attachment rates – would help to guide the path forward. “The ‘Takeover’ idea is that we want to be important to our retailers,” he said.
Monster’s 2018 product arsenal, announced at last month’s CES, spans multiple product iterations in headphones and speakers and features elements that tap into consumers’ desire for simplified voice activation and control, but with no need for a Wi-Fi connection.
For example, Monster’s SuperStar series consists of MonsterTalk voice-controlled speakers with Speak Music’s voice-powered Melody AI music assistant, which can access songs, artists and genres with a single button tap and access services including Spotify Premium and Tidal via voice command. And MonsterTalk is also integrated as a feature in headphones, as in the company’s wireless Bluetooth iSport Freedom V2. One tap on the headphones’ fourth button will permit listeners access to premium music services. “Our differentiator is on sound quality and agnostic library access,” said Lee.
The company also gave CES-goers a peek at future product and category initiatives, touting its collaboration with Volkswagen, as it showed a Volkswagen R concept car “powered by Pure Monster Sound.” It featured a system tuned by Lee himself. “High-quality audio is part of an incredible driving experience, and we can do extraordinary audio,” said Lee.
And what about cable, which the marketing of was the genesis of this company nearly 40 years ago? Monster, true to its origins, is still about serving that category to the market. Said Lee, “you still need high-performance cable and connectivity to carry the latest technologies.”