The desire of the HiFi hobbyist – insights from marketing

For those of us for whom HiFi is more than a hobby, and verging on an addiction, there is sometimes (often) a moment when we catch sight of a piece of kit and there is an immediate sense of “I have to have it!”. It happened to me recently, when I was browsing eBay, risky behaviour in its own right and I saw a used Audio Research D125 valve power amplifier with 6550 valves for the bargain (!) price of £1500. I have many happy memories of listening to wonderful systems using Audio Research valve amplification at HiFi shows in systems which at the time came with price tags roughly equivalent to the value of the house lived in.

The thing is not only do I not need a big valve power amplifier, it does not fit sensibly within either of my systems. But I keep sneaking a peek on eBay to see if it’s been sold, like a child looking at a longed-for Christmas present in a shop window before the big day.

This morning, I was at a sales and marketing event, hearing how to sell things to clients. I was introduced to the AIDA model. From the perspective of a business seeking to sell to a client, the AIDA identifoes four stages:

  • Awareness: creating brand awareness or affiliation with your product or service.
  • Interest: generating interest in the benefits of your product or service, and sufficient interest to encourage the buyer to start to research further.
  • Desire: for your product or service through an ’emotional connection’, showing your brand personality. Move the consumer from ‘liking’ it to ‘wanting it’.
  • Action: Move the buyer to interact with your company and take the next step ie. downloading a brochure, making the phone call, joining your newsletter, or engaging in live chat

I thought about this process in terms of my visceral reaction to the Audio Research amplifier. Years of exposure to HiFi shows, magazine reviews and advertisements have accomplished the first two steps.

Creating desire and an emotional connection is often a challenge in a business context. However, the memory of listening to music on similar kit is sufficient for me to generate the desire on my own without further intervention.

Which means that if I really believe that in the context of my home and my systems the desired result would not be realised, or more simply that £1500 is an uncomfortably large amount of money to spend at present, then I have only one stage left to prevent an undesired outcome. I need to recognise that although the desire has been created, I need to use rationality to overcome the emotional connection and prevent me acting upon it! Which is all very sensible, but where’s the fun in that?

My conclusion is that the marketing teams of many HiFi manufacturers are very good at their jobs – and I am susceptible to completing the process for myself!

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