Yesterday, Apple announced the new Apple Watch Series 7 which will be available later this Fall. Of course, this tiny computer is way more than a “watch” that tells time. Reading all the buzz about the launch got me thinking about marketing the various categories of timepieces and what that can teach any business about how to market their own product or service.
As I speak with people about their marketing, many don’t really know who their buyer personas are, how to position their offerings, and what that means for how they create content to market and sell them. Are you selling the product with the most advanced technology? Perhaps you sell the product offered at the best overall value? Or maybe you are the tried-and-true choice that has been around for decades? Or perhaps you are the luxury brand?
Lets look at watches to see examples of these various categories. I hope this provides a way for you to think about your own marketing.
Apple Watch Series 7 is all about the technology
Apple is marketing the new Apple Watch Series 7 as all about the technology. It’s new and exciting and provides features you didn’t know you needed. I use a Fitbit to track my exercise, heart rate, calories burned as well as an alarm to wake me up. Sometimes, I even use it to see what time it is! The Apple Watch Series 7 has much more than my older Fitbit, including a new feature to measure blood oxygen level with a revolutionary sensor and app. The marketing on the Apple site is all about the new and exciting from yesterday’s launch event. This is a very distinct way to market a watch.
A watch to tell the time
When I surf, I wear a simple waterproof quartz watch. I think I paid $20 for it. While there are specialized surfing watches that use GPS to track how much swimming you’re doing and the distances and speed of the rides you catch, all I want to know is how long I’ve been in the water. Since this simple and functional type of timepiece is a commodity, these watches tend to sell based on price.
An historical vintage watch
In my collection of artifacts from the Apollo lunar program, I own a 1960s Omega Speedmaster Professional ST 105.012. This is the exact model watch with a 321 Calibre movement worn by both Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission, in July 1969. Aside from its primary and obvious function of being able to keep time in zero gravity (and on the moon's gravity of roughly 1.6 of the earth's), the Omega Speedmaster Professional also incorporated a chronograph (stopwatch) via the large third hand on the watch dial. Watches like this one are over 50 years old and quite rare so they tend to sell at specialized watch dealers and on sites like Chrono 24.
Expensive wristwatches as jewelry
Still another category of watch are the modern and expensive Swiss brands that can sell for many thousands of dollars. As such the marketing must be firmly focused on the luxury marketplace. At the super high-end, Patek Phillipe watches are made in Geneve at an independent, family-owned business, are “hand finished”, are not allowed to be sold in airport duty free shops and may only be sold in Patek owned “salons” and authorized retailers. For example, the Patek model 5520P is described as “a new self-winding grand complication that combines its exclusive dual time zone Travel Time system with a 24-hour alarm mechanism, complete with a hammer that strikes on a classic gong.” Of course, those features are likely in your smartphone right now or you could by a digital watch for twenty bucks that has dual time zones with an alarm. However, if you're up for some serious bling the Patek 5520P is available for USD $250,000. Yep, a quarter of a million dollars. Some Patek models sell in the secondary market for more than the issue price, and some have wait lists to get one from the factory. Considering the company was founded in 1839 and is thriving in 2021 says that their marketing is working.
All of this is to illustrate that smart companies understand their buyers and don’t just market a watch. The best, such as Apple and Patek understand deeply who they are targeting and focus relentlessly on that marketplace.
You can’t be all things to every buyer, yet many companies try. It’s much better to focus.