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audioXpress Magazine

January 2022

 

Audio Industry In 2022
Audio companies should continue to explore the "product drop" concept.
Editorial By J. Martins

 

audioXpress Magazine January 2022

 

  We have wrapped this edition of audioXpress with full expectations for CES 2022, hoping to reengage with the people from the many technology companies we regularly write about — including in this edition. However, we don't know at this stage if that will happen. We are sincerely wishing it will and it's important to state that in print for this first edition of 2022. Precisely the one that we are supposed to be handing out at CES.

And given the circumstances we are all going through globally — it is becoming clear that we will continue to be strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2022, even with all the positive effects of vaccines — I want to use this space to write directly for those companies. About important strategies that I wrote earlier in 2020, and remain particularly relevant two years later.

 

Stay In Business
Instead of manufacturing tens of thousands of products, sending containers to warehouses, and then generating demand, audio companies should continue to explore the "product drop" concept, which is proving successful given the absence of relevant trade events in the calendar. This is a strategy that focuses on fostering emotional attachment and brand loyalty, but also generates a new type of demand. A brand announces a new innovative and unique product, promotes it on its website, media channels and social media, and schedules a strict deadline for orders. This can be a limited-edition product, but more frequently, by creating this sense of "uniqueness" and urgency the brand is effectively restricting orders to a limited timeframe — after which it ships just the quantities ordered. In a few weeks, months, or a year, the cycle is repeated — unexpectedly, and again with limited availability.

Now, with all of us more receptive to buying online and receiving products at home, this could be even more effective if duly planned. Even for relatively new brands and completely new product categories, the "drop" culture is an effective way to differentiate products in very competitive categories.

Reorganize, focus on product development and other essential activities, and get ready for a full force return. Communicate more, not less. Work on your product releases and promotion calendars.

Keep your products available. Revisit your supply chain to make sure you can keep up with demand. Expand the online tools and offer the best options. Remember that going online is not the same as direct-to-consumer. You still need to work with a distribution channel to get closer to your clients in every way — for deliveries and technical support. So, make sure your channel partners are also ready. Make "must have" products a priority and reward your users.

These are strategies that have been validated in the current circumstances and are also reflected in many of the product announcements and market trends that we report in our regular Market Updates.

 

audioXpress Magazine January 2022

 

In this edition, we have tried to look ahead, and show some examples of different areas of innovation in speaker technologies. An interesting take, after we closed this report, was on how the speaker companies are using much more sophisticated engineering approaches through the design and optimization stages. That's almost mandatory to leverage the benefits of some new advanced materials and certainly the use of metamaterials, as illustrated in the examples selected for this edition's report.

Custom-designed and highly engineered approaches to speaker driver designs have been a common practice for most high-volume consumer audio companies, and certainly in automotive audio applications. In recent years, that expanded significantly with companies approaching audio product designs using modeling and simulation tools at the core of the development process, permanently evoked every time experimentation with prototypes show deviations from the intended performance.

The result enables important incremental qualities in products, as long as the correct goals are established earlier at the design stage. The audio industry is increasingly able to tailor speaker performance targets and provide consumers with the best possible sound solutions for a given application. Maybe the missing link that needs to be addressed is correctly identifying the expectations and preferences of the end users. Clearly, we can create much better audio products than were ever possible, we just need to agree on what really matters.

 

J. Martins
Editor-in-Chief

 

 

 

 

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