The global company, which has one of its main offices just down Washington Street from Suffolk University, approached the Sawyer Business School last fall and asked if students in the Marketing Program would help them with some research. It went so well that Sonos came back again this past spring.
“Because of Suffolk University’s downtown location, the Sawyer Business School is within walking distance of well-known local and global brands,” said Marketing Professor Pelin Bicen. “Our department had done work recently with Roche Bros. supermarkets and George Howell Coffee. But this was a chance to take it up a notch and work with a multinational consumer brand, which the students found really exciting.”
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
The company already puts lots of marketing muscle behind what it calls the “Modern Music Lover”—25-to-65-year-olds who have a passion for music. That’s who the marketing students focused on last fall for their research presentations.
But this spring Sonos came up with a new assignment: The company had entered the world of voice-assistant speakers last fall and wanted to better understand how consumers interact with them.
More and more, people are using their voices to control their devices, whether it’s Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, or Google Home. By one estimate, more than 50 percent of all searches worldwide will be done by voice within four years. That’s a lot of chatting to Alexa and her kin.
With that marketing challenge looming, Sonos asked the students to research the 18-to-24-year-old demographic to learn more about how these late-millennial consumers interact with smart speakers.
“Sonos likes working with Sawyer Business School students because the analysis and recommendations they present are often different than the approach we would take,” says Dennis Brosnan, consumer insights manager at Sonos. “This pushes us to think about our landscape from a fresh perspective, which is critical in an increasingly competitive industry. Not only that, the Suffolk students represent this exact demographic, which means they’re able to provide extra insight.”