Headphone Review

Because of how we work, our team has been in an open office since our start. While this style leads to outstanding results, the resulting noise can be a real concern sometimes. Knowing this, our move into the LRH earlier this year came with a new perk: a $150 headphone allowance for each team member.

Thirty people with the same environment, the same budget, and access to the same information. So it was particularly interesting to review the processes that went into choosing each pair of headphones, and seeing the diversity of results. Did they shop in person, or go online? Did they stay within the allotted budget, or go over? What research did they do? How, ultimately, did they decide which headphones to purchase?

How Much Were They?


These are the types of questions that are important in marketing, and help us understand how we can aid sellers in connecting with their buyers’ unique decision-making processes. In the case of our headphone purchases, it wasn’t simply about being where the buyer was, but the attributes of the product, the marketing, the price, and largely word of mouth that influenced our relatively small pool of colleagues about a decision that could affect them for up to seven hours a day.

One fifth of our combined team went with Bluedio qR+ Legends ($100-$200 from Amazon). This was word of mouth in action—still one of the most potent forms of marketing, despite everything we can do digitally. Gavin Blair started the trend; five of his co-workers across both companies, Ellipsis Digital and Engine SevenFour, joined him. However, despite the group think on the purchase, the ratings ranged from two to four stars out of a possible five:

Thumbs up: sound quality, ability to roam between multiple devices effortlessly (when it works; see also “Thumbs down”), battery life, MicroSD slot so they can play tunes independently of another device

Thumbs down: build quality, finicky connectivity

CEO David Billson usually keeps his wireless Bluedio headphones plugged in because of his ongoing struggle with the Bluetooth connectivity: “Technology, it seems, is not without its sense of irony.”

Where did you get them?

(20 responses)


Word of mouth continues to be important. Next lesson: to paraphrase the famous misquote of Mark Twain, the reports of the death of the bricks-and-mortar store have been greatly exaggerated. Despite being big fans of e-commerce (it is one of the things we do), 30% of us bought our headphones in an actual store (how quaint). But headphones are a particularly subjective purchase: while you can read all the reviews you like, there’s nothing that will match a real, live test drive.

And here’s another place where all the digital marketing cannot help if you’re not good at it—customer service. Two of the five people who reported buying their headphones in person talked about the experience. And they’re two people you don’t want talkin’ trash about you: our no-holds-barred VP Strategy, Shawn Adamsson, and Rachel Berdan, Ellipsis Digital’s VP Sales. The good news is that Target Hi-Fi and Canada Computers treated them well and they rated their buying experiences as highly as they did their purchases.

Mind you, barring dismal and widespread word of mouth, good digital marketing will get those people in your door the first time.

And that “getting them in the door the first time” is a big part of what we do here. Good digital marketing creates a place where potential buyers, supporters, donors, fans discover you, learn about you, and if we’ve done our work well, begin the process of falling in love with you. In our highly e-connected world, this may well be the only place where you’ll connect with your “tribe,” and start to build the relationship that may lead to a sale, a donation, a lifelong fan.

In the case of our headphones, online is where many of us did our research, weighed our options, and made our purchase. It’s a space we work and play in, and we like it here. Even when it gets noisy around us, and we need some headphones...

How would you rate your headphones?

(20 responses)


Looking for a digital agency that listens to you? Send us an e-mail or give us a call, which we might take while wearing headphones, the better to hear you with…


We don’t know what copywriter Laurie Bursch is listening to through her headphones, but whatever it is, it sometimes makes her dance.


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