Friday, January 8, 2016

Rule #8 from Barry Hearn Applied to the Watch Industry

8.     Never let the tail wag the dog

Watch companies need customers.  That has always been irrefutably true.  But as the new century dawned, a new reality emerged which morphed into a bit of reality distortion - it also seemed that watch companies needed FANS.

The unshakable belief being that fans would, inevitably, convert to customers.  In the watch business these supporters of the brand are often unkindly referred to as "fan boys", but that is a topic for another day.  

So the brands both big and small have invested A LOT OF MONEY trying to figure out how to get the elusive watch "fan".  And this has led to the recruitment of a LOT of millennials who know a LOT about social media, but sadly do not know a lot about the watch business, and in some instances business in general.  

Gee, that sounds pretty harsh doesn't it?  Sounds like something a "grumpy old fart" would say?  Possibly, but the thing that the watch industry (and a lot of industries for that matter) don't understand is that social media, in many ways works exactly the same way as any other form of media.  It is just a faster, (sometimes) more efficient delivery system for your message.  And it can cut both ways.  Tag Heuer tasted the lows with the "Super Model" and the baby lion, then the highs with the Super Model" auctioning her personal Tag Heuer watch to benefit the research of lions.   From the depths of failure to the pinnacle of success!  

The majority of brands have not fully grasped the notion that social media, when used intelligently, can in fact be one of the most powerful research tools in their marketing arsenals.  But just as the people who are selling watches need to know a bit about them,  the folks promoting them through social media on behalf of the watch brand need to know about the actual product that they are promoting, and they need to have an understanding that a fan does not necessarily convert to a customer.  Moreover, while as a brand you ALWAYS want to attract new demographics, you do not want to appear to abandon your previous demographics.  Or to put it more bluntly - you don't tend to see a lot of Porsche advertisements in Archie comics.  Archie comics sell all over the world, but by and large the typical purchaser and reader of an Archie comic is not in the financial demographic to afford a Porsche.  Just as the typical 20-something dance club aficionado is not as likely to be able to afford a $2,500 - $3,500 watch, where as that cranky 45 - 50 year old who falls asleep at 10:00 PM is.

We all want to be loved, and brands do need fans to be sure.  But those making the pr and marketing decisions, ask yourself a serious question - 
As the big dog, are you wagging your tail, or is it wagging you?

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