When people buy a luxury Swiss replica watch, they are first buying a name and second buying a product. In fact, you might say the same thing about most luxury products in general. People are more interested in being part of a brand that they have been marketed to, versus acquiring the utility or craftsmanship of a particular item they will appreciate. Of course, there are occasionally buyers who are more (though not completely) immune to marketing, and who tend to focus on particular elements of a brand that they subjectively appreciate. With that said, while they may not be buying into a brand’s particular flavor of product marketing, there is often “quiet marketing” in the form of storytelling that they are attracted to within that brand (such as how they make products or the materials they use). In most instances, people aren’t buying luxury products for utility any longer – and that is something which is difficult to deny. It is also something the traditional watch industry knows very well.
The purpose of this discussion is to explain why I feel that the Swiss replica watches industry today needs to take a very hard and long look at their marketing practices. It might surprise you that I am advocating for them to market more – but to do so in a more intelligent and organized manner. This comes at a time when the high-end watch industry is doing very poorly. No, they aren’t hurting simply because of competition from smartwatches – but the advent of emerging technology certainly doesn’t help them. The luxury replica watch industry (mostly Swiss brands) is hurting due to stubborn reliance on archaic business practices in the form of sorely outdated distribution and pricing models. On top of that, the industry massively overproduces inventory – and the volume of unsold watches both in the market and being hoarded by brands is appallingly high. Some analysts contend that actually up to 50% of some watch brands’ claimed value is in the form of unsold inventory assets.
The luxury watch industry is where it is today because of marketing, and that is coming from someone who has traditionally been rather hard on marketing because I am always skeptical of techniques used to persuade consumers. There is just too much opportunity for unethical conduct – but I digress. I recall a few years ago seeing a chart of the top luxury replica watches marketing spenders in the United States and comparing it to another list I had of the top sellers in the US. Guess what: those lists were exactly the same. Early on in my reporting on the watch industry, I noticed a very strong correlation between marketing spending and success in the market. Why is this?
Luxury watch marketing is actually quite weak. For an industry that sells much of its goods to men, they have taken a few too many lessons from women’s fashion marketing. In fact, the only upside of how luxury replica watch brands market is in that they know consumers like to buy from “famous brands.” How does a brand become famous? Easy: populate the world with your name. The most success luxury watch makers have with marketing is name awareness. Rolex replica does happen to make a truly outstanding timepiece, but that isn’t why they are so successful these days. Rolex replica is successful because of wide awareness of the brand name. Rolex is smart about the fact that their consumers want other people to notice the name on the watch on their wrist, and because of this the brand continues to enjoy wide demand. Having a well-made product without wide awareness will only make you a cult hit at best. Luxury brands like fake Rolex who spend money on both marketing and product have it figured out.
Unfortunately, many other luxury replica watch brands don’t. When times are tough, most companies inevitably cut back on marketing and advertising spending. This might seem like a wise short-term solution, and it can be if the brand is going through some type of temporary change or reorganization and sales aren’t a priority. When sales are a priority and the strengths of a brand must be asserted in order to assist in sales success, that is when smart marketers must be put to work.
In addition to having deep-rooted systemic problems, the luxury watch industry also has an innovation problem. Marketing success during the 1990s and 2000s helped many brands earn a lot of money by placing status symbols on people’s wrists, and making toys for rich boys (adults). Watch design and internal componentry has been for the most part stale. Innovation has been in the form of some new materials, and a small amount of new technology, mainly at the most high-end side of the industry. For the most part, consumers were being asked to buy new products that did not fundamentally offer anything different from previous generation products. Brands relied on collectors and value speculators in enthusiast communities to help them sell product. The problem was that these same collectors and communities are quickly becoming disillusioned with high prices, poor marketing, and a culture of discounting which has led to boredom at best, and distrust at worst when concerning many of the brands that formerly relied on their spirited enthusiasm. Thus, adding insult to injury, the luxury replica watch industry not only has to deal with the fact that they need to make some very painful changes to how they price, distribute, and sell their watches, but they also have a serious image problem when it comes to many of their core clientele.
When I said that the Swiss replica watch industry is a victim of their own success what I meant was that they relied on marketing for so long that they failed in many ways to adapt their business models and products to modern times. Moreover, I say “Swiss watch industry” often and not only “luxury watch industry,” because the majority are Swiss brands. Nowadays when consumers are increasingly being offering alternatives to traditional mechanical replica watches (smartwatches) and when luxury watch marketing is mostly of a poor quality (enough so that the majority of it casts a relatively unflattering light on the industry as a whole), the Swiss watch industry needs to focus on making marketing a priority once again.
So what is wrong with luxury watch marketing today? Before talking about the overall reduction in intelligent marketing activity, I’ll remark on what is fundamentally wrong with luxury replica watch marketing. In short, it doesn’t explain very well why people should spend so much on their products. One of the fastest growing areas in the watch industry is small boutique brands with production coming out of China. Many of these brands use suppliers who produce parts for the big luxury brands. While the larger brands typically have a more polished product, these newer brands come to market with prices so much lower it begs the question to many consumers why there are so many brands charging so much more money. Not only does the watch industry desperately need to realign their pricing models with consumer expectations, but they need to be more aware of the competitive market. In fact, many of these brands have decent reasons why their products cost a lot, but they don’t explain that very well in their marketing materials.
Much of the blame goes to the conservative decision makers in Europe who are scared to death of sharing the wrong message with consumers. For all they claim about boldness and originality, much of that is absent in the vast majority of their marketing and advertising materials. It has gotten so bad that a large proportion of luxury watch marketing actually doesn’t say anything at all. Imagine just a picture of a product and brand name. That passes for an advertisement in the luxury replica watch world. They forget that consumers don’t have a built-in need for timepieces any longer. People still to a large degree need things like cars and clothing, so the companies making those products don’t need to tell consumers why to want them in the first place. The same is certainly not true in the luxury watch market. If the brands that produce luxury watches do not tell people why they might want them, then many people are never going to get the message.
In fact, only specialized members of the media such as myself are helping consumers to understand why a high-end timepiece is a desirable idea – and frankly, I’m not compensated nearly well enough to do that as best as I can. All humor aside, this is actually a serious issue. The luxury watch industry has pulled away so much marketing budget that the entire media industry dedicated to discussing it with consumers is dying out. The luxury replica watch industry currently still doesn’t seem to fully understand that a strong luxury watch media is good for business. In a vividly self-effacing move, the watch industry has allowed the slow painful death of many business entities whose sole mission was to get people excited about purchasing a luxury watch.
So, if watch marketing isn’t creating enough desire for people to buy luxury timepieces (look at the market), and if there aren’t enough strong media voices promoting it (trust me, I am one of very few people) then how are people receiving luxury watch industry marketing? The truth is that many people aren’t. The only growth area is social media media marketing which brands hope is the answer to their woes. Will it be?
Social media marketing will have some success, but it certainly isn’t cheap. Moreover, brands need to invest in quality creatives and advertising campaigns so that they do not continue to make the mistakes of the past. For example, if you are going to market to men, then it is a good idea to produce marketing that is meant to be appeal to men. Further, the luxury replica watch industry has long been a fan of “exclusive” experiences, products, and availability. How will that be preserved if they use mass marketing techniques to shotgun blast their marketing to audiences who mostly cannot afford their products (even if, technically speaking, prices should go down).
This isn’t an easy time for my industry – the watch industry – but not all hope is lost. At some point, the watch industry will appreciate my claim that a strong market for smartwatches will be a strong market for luxury watches. Why? Well in any situation where you have a large population of people using a particular type of product, there is by default interest in a high-end segment for well-to-do people to show off their status. Thus, if more people wear replica watches (many people currently wear no watch), the higher degree of attention on that product will lead people to luxury watches who can afford them.
More so, the appeal of luxury watches hasn’t been about strict utility for a long time. Luxury watches are items of artistic craftsmanship often with appealing historic connections. The stories inherent to their heritage and construction are what get people excited about them. Luxury replica watch brand marketers need only to connect with many consumers on the right level to trigger their interest in the products. I’ve seen it happen countless times in person, and all the watch industry needs to do is refocus its marketing creation efforts on high-quality messages that reach the right people. They also need to dedicate resources to market to those people. The fastest way for the luxury watch industry to increase its pain is to further stop marketing. Again, the luxury watch industry is a marketing-driven industry. So they better put some more effort into it.