You paid HOW MUCH for those headphones?

Philip Morgan

I'm a part of an online group of headphone nerds.

The group takes donations, buys some equipment, and sends it around to members to try out.

Nothing beats an in-home audition for figuring out whether those headphones you've read about on Head-Fi are worth it. (They probably aren't because Head-Fi is a shill-powered hype train.)

But some are worth it.

Anyway, this is how I came to try out some $4,000 headphones recently. Here they are...


The Focal Utopia headphones retail for $4,000. Are they worth it?

They do sound amazing. Even my wife agrees. But I can't tell you if they're actually worth 4,000 US dollars. That depends on you :)

What I want you to notice is how they're marketed in the screen shot above. These headphones are a luxury good, and they're marketing as such.

Now look at how the Sennheiser HD-650s are marketed:


And finally, check out the similarly-priced Beats Studio Wireless (I say similarly-priced because the HD-650s can often be purchased for $350):


In general the marketing message goes like this as you move from luxury to enthusiast to mass market:

Focal Utopia: Message focuses on company pedigree, luxury materials & design, performance, and the high price anchors high expectations

Sennheiser HD-650: Message focuses on the product technical specs that enable high performance and the moderate price promises good value

Beats Studio Wireless: Message focuses on style and experience and simplifies the description of specs and materials

Some of you are selling services that need the Focal Utopia or Sennheiser HD-650-style messaging.

How do you know?

Your buyers will tell you by speaking in terms of the geeky stuff you care a lot about. Tech stack differences, for example. Large extra expenses for marginal gains in output. That kind of thing.

Others of you are selling services that need the Beats Studio Wireless messaging. Very simple terminology that less sophisticated buyers need. Much less about technology, much more about business problems and your solutions to those problems.

Again, how do you know which approach to use in your messaging?

Listen to your buyers.

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