Wearable Technology: Developing Global Products Through Marketing Intelligence

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These last few weeks have been all about fashion week: New York, London, and Paris. We can always observe the latest market trends that customers are interested in or that brands are hoping to push to market and consumers will take interest in them. One of the newest popular brands, Rebecca Minkoff made a huge announcement: wearable bracelet technology that works with your phone: notifying you of emails, texts, etc, but no screen. This piece of technology is very fashionable and focused on the professional woman, more so than previous wearable technology in the market. How did the company know that this was the direction that they wanted to go? Marketing Intelligence. I personally would buy this product because it’s fashion-conscious, doesn’t scream “look at my technology” from a mile away, and is designed to fit my smaller wrist.

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The first time I heard about wearable technology was when my husband bought a Pebble. If you look at it, it does its job: it has a screen, you can program apps if you like that sort of thing, and read your emails. My cousin then referred to it as “girl repellent”, since most women would not wear a device that large or would consider it dorky, even though it comes in a variety of colors, it only has one size. LARGE. Where does that leave females in the market that want something a little more visually appealing? Samsung was one of the first successful “smartphone” companies to enter the wearable tech market with their Samsung gear smart watch. How has it done in the market? They recently launched it in Dubai.

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Other competitors have tried to appeal to a fragmented technology market like Nike Fuel band and Fitbit. What does the customer want the most? Do they want to answer their emails and use a personal assistant like Siri and make calls, or do they want to monitor their health and fitness metrics? Both the fuel band and fitbit have seen a lot of success. A lot of tech blogs like Engadget and Pando.com post reviews and critiques of this wearable tech, but most agree that it is overhyped and just a fad- you wear it for a  while and then it ends up in a drawer somewhere. Is this what companies are looking for? Do they want to get the dollar out of the customer or pursue a longer term strategy with more loyalty for products that people actually want to use, not just have what they think they need? Do you really need a smart watch, because I don’t. I haven’t had one for my entire life. Although arguably, this is what most people said before smartphones appeared. Business Insider claims the “smartwatch market may reach $10 billion by 2018” from a Citi Research report.

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Apple has tried to combat the clunky dorky tech watch perception with their recent release of the Apple Watch. (see above). I’m interested that they entered this market, even though they are considered late with Samsung now releasing their 6th iteration. But I will be honest: I wouldn’t wear these watches. It looks like something my dad would buy: still a larger man’s collector’s watch. My dad hopes that in the future we will all live his dream of being like Dick Tracy and have our watch do everything for us. (see below)

dicktracy

Apple usually listens to customer complaints, input, and tries to anticipate what their market wants. Did their marketing intelligence fail them? Are they only trying to reach a small section of their customers? I’m sure that the Apple watch will be very popular, especially with people that like to wear watches as status symbols, and track any health metrics on their wrist. But until something subtle, smaller, and less noticeable comes out: I won’t be buying an Apple watch. I will consider the Rebecca Minkoff accessories when they come out. Will most 18-26 year old women buy the Apple watch? I’m curious. Until then, how did business intelligence and looking at the market help Apple and fashion brands like Rebecca Minkoff? I’m curious to see where the wearable tech trend goes.

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1 thought on “Wearable Technology: Developing Global Products Through Marketing Intelligence”

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if more tech companies specializing in wearable technology were to partner with fashion designers for special products. Fashion designers are already coming up with their own versions of phone cases and iPad covers, so maybe wearable technology (ie: Kate Spade may partner with Pebble for more fashion-forward designs).

    Great post!

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