Canary Finds Its CMO in Marketing Vet From Yahoo & Virgin Mobile USA

[Updated 2/8/16 11:50 am. See below.] The executive team at Canary just got more seasoned, with the addition of Bob Stohrer as its chief marketing officer.

This particular hire, announced last week, is interesting because Stohrer has been chief marketing officer for such companies as Virgin Mobile USA and iHeartRadio. His latest gig was as senior vice president of brand creative at Yahoo.

Canary is a New York-based startup that makes a home-monitoring, sensor device controlled by smartphone. Last year the company moved into the former offices of Quirky—putting it in the same building as smart home controller–maker Wink.

Stohrer says he has worked with consumer brands over the breadth of his career, and his time at Virgin Mobile USA began when that company was just a couple of months old. “That job was very much about building brand and educating consumers on a whole new category,” he says.

Now as Canary enters its next period of growth, Stohrer will work on figuring out how to help the company gear up as it expands and looks to attract more customers. “Part of my job is going to be distilling down who is our target audience,” he says.

But can Canary grow beyond early adopters and make its way into the mainstream? The company had a meteoric crowdfunding campaign in 2013 on Indiegogo, which ultimately raised close to $2 million. Canary has since spread its wings with other key hires, such as ex-Googler Julio Pekarovic as its COO—however Pekarovic left Canary last September to join Dataminr, according to Business Insider. [Detail added to note Pekarovic’s departure.] Canary is still trying to make itself a household name.

Part of Canary’s appeal, Stohrer says, is that its cameras can capture evidence of break-ins, which homeowners can provide to police to assist in the arrest of the culprits.

Canary is available at more than 7,000 retail locations across North America and Britain, Stohrer says. What the company is working on now, he says, is better understanding when consumers might consider purchasing a home monitoring and security system. Such moments can include when people plan to travel and be away from home, and around the holidays. “Those things inform our marketing calendar,” he says.

Among Canary’s early adopters, Stohrer says, were tech-savvy crowds, people who were in the market for security at home and discovered Canary, and families looking to outfit their homes with more smart, connected features in general. The task now is figuring out how to get the masses interested as well. “There’s still some work to be done in terms of defining who we go after first, second, and third,” he says.

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