From humble beginnings, RØDE Microphones has become a world leading designer and manufacturer of high quality microphones and audio equipment. The company now exports over a million microphones each year to 115 different countries.
Since its conception in 1990, RØDE has been dedicated to its model of distribution. As Founder and Managing Director, Peter Freedman says, “We don’t sell anything direct, never have, and never will, it’s always through a distributer who then sells to a dealer.” The relationship with distributing partners is crucial to the business.
This has allowed RØDE to maintain its market presence and ensure that it always has the latest products available to customers. “I can release a product and it goes into 5000 stores immediately…it’s not like, oh I wonder how long it will take before this gets known, or gets out there – no, it’s bang, it’s exploding and it’s out there.”
Peter also describes a focus on vertical integration to combat the costs to margins and control from other suppliers. “We try to do as much as we can in-house, otherwise you’re paying a massive margin to somebody else, and they control you.” By forming a supply chain that does not primarily rely on outside suppliers, RØDE has gained a competitive advantage, as Peter explains. “We manufacture and assemble, but then in another area of my company in Silverwater, we’re making components, so in effect you could look at it and go, we are a supplier to ourselves… most of my competition don’t have the gear, and they buy from outside suppliers. But they’re paying 10 times the money.”
The marketing approach at RØDE is another defining feature of the company’s success, as the sales and marketing team has focused communications to the customer and changed the way the products are sold. Instead of talking about the products themselves, RØDE talks about what the customers do and how. “They don’t really care about the technology,” says Peter. “They want it to be good, but it’s a given. So, we stopped talking about that and we started talking about what they do with it, so they get a better result, and then of course we sell from that.”
RØDE’s success has been built on a balance between being technically competent and being able to sell. As Peter explains, “We’re really good at both of them, and it’s no good just being technically competent if you can’t sell, and you’re not going to get anywhere if you’re awesome at sales – but you’ve got nothing technically good…you’ve got to have both. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re successful.”
Peter shows a commitment to constant innovation and improvement that began with the first RØDE microphone, “I had a cheap Chinese microphone, and all I was doing was fixing it a little bit and then selling. How innovative is that – not.”
RØDE demonstrates that innovation does not necessarily have to be “high-tech technology”, but rather it can come from a unique approach and the consistent improvement of your business.
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