Sonos’ new chief commercial officer dishes on her plans to overhaul its marketing strategy and turbocharge its share of the audio market

  • Sonos has appointed Deirdre Findlay as its new chief commercial officer.
  • She has a remit to transform Sonos’ marketing strategy to grow its share of the audio category.
  • Sonos is in 14 million households globally, but has only 2% of the audio market, Findlay said.

The date has been changed to November 15, 2023. Findlay was described as Sonos’ first chief commercial officer in an earlier version of this story. While previous Sonos executives held the title of chief commercial officer, Findlay’s position is a hybrid of CMO, CRO, and CCO.

Deirdre Findlay began her first day as Sonos’ chief commercial officer on Monday. While others have held the title, Findlay’s is a newly created position that combines the roles of chief marketer, chief revenue officer, and chief customer officer.

Findlay, who had been on the Sonos board for over three years and had previously worked at Google, Stitch Fix, and Condé Nast, arrived with a big plan to overhaul the company’s marketing strategy.

Sonos, as a high-end speaker brand, has found itself in an extremely competitive category plagued by weakening consumer demand.

“The categories of consumer electronics that we participate in remain challenged, as conditions have not yet returned to what we would consider normal, and we continue to see unprecedented levels of discounting by our competitors,” CEO Patrick Spence said during the company’s August earnings call. While Sonos’ products have gained market share, the company’s revenue has struggled to grow in recent quarters, and Sonos cut its fiscal guidance for 2023 in May.

On Wednesday, the company will report its fourth-quarter earnings.

Sonos is in 14 million households worldwide, but has only 2% of the audio market and only 8% of the 172 million affluent households, according to Findlay. Her mandate includes determining how to significantly increase that share. Findlay stated that her team will begin investigating what Sonos knows about its customers next week.

“The good news is, we actually have a ton of really rich insights on consumers,” she told Business Insider. “We’ll start with what we have and then figure out where there are gaps and opportunities for us to fill those gaps, so that the entire org is working from a common idea of who the customer is today, and who the customer is that we want to think about moving forward.”

If Sonos can persuade more of its existing customers to buy more Sonos products, the company will have tapped a $5 billion opportunity, Spence said during the company’s May earnings call. He also stated that the company will invest aggressively in order to pursue it.

Findlay must also figure out how to persuade new customers to purchase Sonos products. The company has mostly focused on outfitting high-end home theaters, but in September it released the second generation of its portable product Move, as well as a cheaper speaker product called Roam about two years ago.

Findlay is still unsure whether Sonos will continue to target new consumers looking for more affordable electronics. “We have grown to have much more approachable price points, but to me, that hasn’t signaled that’s where we’re going yet,” she went on to say. “The reason why I want to start with the audience development work and consumer insights work is so we can weigh those trade-offs as an organization and make an informed decision moving forward.”

Findlay also wants to ensure that her team collaborates closely with Sonos’ product team, as she did as a senior marketer at Google, promoting products such as Chromecast and Google Home. “My job was to work very closely with product and engineering and bring the voice of the consumer into the room early in the process to help shape product,” Findlay said in a statement.

She’ll also use her Google experience to help Sonos strengthen its relationships with its retail partners. Retailers have reduced Sonos inventory in recent quarters due to lower demand, and Spence stated during the August earnings call that this trend will continue through the end of the year.

Findlay mentioned her experience at Google optimizing relationships with retailers. “We showed up across the different channels, and did different marketing to optimize the relationship with Best Buy or Amazon,” she went on to say. “I’ve been connecting those dots as a partner for many, many years.”

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