If I expect to sell £1m worth of boxes (microphones, mic pres, whatever) World-wide, then my manufacturing costs should be about half that and marketing, another £500,000.
The pro-audio market is more than overcrowded. It is congested to a point beyond reason. There really are hundreds of manufacturers for just about every type of equipment and the manufacturers suffer from the same blue-eyed optimism that all those studio start-ups with £25k capital suffer from.
I would agree that Bose systems are no better or worse than others and I would never try to use them in a professional environment, as they just do not stand up against others in the same market. Even their car stereo systems (my car came with one installed) are not very good and to my surprise, a rented Kia that I had for a week in Germany came with a far better sounding stereo.
But Bose pour a ton of money - well, let's say, a significant portion of gross turnover - into marketing and so, despite the fact that it is one of many speaker manufacturers and licensing companies and despite the fact that some OEMs are significantly better and far, far cheaper, it is seen as a mark (and marque) of quality.
The same can be said of just about every audio product that is heavily marketed. Avalon - over £2k for a mic-pre! The very best mic-pre money can buy costs just £400 and is used to replace the pres inside and outside of a Neve 88R. But you have to know who makes it. The same two-man company makes a mic-pre kit for £24 plus everything (i.e. you have to add phantom, box, PSU and VAT!) that is as good as anything out there that is heavily advertised.
But you buy directly from the guy who bolts the bloody thing together. If he were to sell it in the pages of SOS or any other the other mags, many struggling to keep their noses above the water line, he would have to put it in a prettier box, set aside at least another £200 per unit for marketing - probably much more - and give some distribution company another £200 mark-up and the retailer yet another £300 or more for shop mark-up. Then he would have a £2k mic pre and be right there where the likes of Avalon, RME, SPL, Manley, Tube Tech and a thousand others, each producing simply fantastic boxes of unbelievable quality - but not quite as good as that £400 box.
One of the tasks of marketing an 'up-market' product is to generate what ecomomists call the snob-effect. I have Neumann mics in my studio, not because they are the best, but because that is what the customer thinks is the best.
The same can be said for Steinway pianos - good, but not as good as a couple of others and not even as good as an Estonia!
You, as a customer, have to decide whether you are buying quality, or the perception of quality, or a mixure of a bit of both!