Future of Wearables
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Who’s Going to Lead the Pack through Strategic Marketing?

We recently attended the Wearable Technology Show in London and returned amazed and excited to learn about the developments that are launching in the industry. Whether it’s wearable health technologies, electric safety integrated into your cycling jacket or medical devices that can improve patient quality of life, this is a fast-paced and exciting sector to work within. Everyone’s passion and belief for the products and brands that they work with shone through at the show. What I’m not sure about is whether this is always being effectively and strategically communicated to the consumer. Wearables are challenged by a number of factors and effective marketing strategies could offer significant gains to brands that act strategically and rapidly.

What Should I Buy?

Image Credit: MobileGeeks.com

Image Credit: MobileGeeks.com

There is SO. MUCH. CHOICE. Wearable technology is exploding but the challenge for the consumer is often identifying the item that is relevant to each one of us. Do I need a bracelet to help me understand my calorie burn and intake or the impact of caffeine on my health and wellbeing? Maybe I could use wearables to improve my blood sugar levels if I’m a type 1 diabetic, or help me to be more efficient in the workplace. As a wearables consumer myself I know that one of the biggest challenges is deciding on the product I should buy. This uncertainty results in hours of online research for consumers, involving us scouring blogs, review sites and company websites to try and make the right decision. This can result in consumers purchasing the wrong products, ultimately slowing the overall pace of growth within the market. In such a busy market place most brands are dealing with a blood bath rather than a deep blue ocean of opportunity. Brands need to do more in their marketing to support customers in understanding their products and support the decision making process to succeed. This could be through targeted marketing communications to specific user groups, or working with trade retailers to ensure teams are able to support consumers in choosing the right product in-store. All of these activities will support wearables’ mass-market appeal.

Why Should I Buy it?

“I want one of those, they all seem similar, so which one should I choose?”

Consumers are being inundated with the latest wearable technology capabilities. That’s great and we’re all excited to learn more about them, but what does this mean for me? How is that going to improve my quality of life or health and wellbeing? Wearables are based on technological innovations and so often to sell the product, brands sell their product capabilities. But what’s the end user benefit? Brands that work harder to focus their marketing messaging on that will make it easier for consumers to get to a purchasing decision.

Where Can I Buy it?

Consumers interested in wearable technology can purchase from online retailers, the brands own website as well as offline in technology/ electronic retailers, department stores, local bike/fitness shops etc. The best place for us to go to purchase products can be confusing for consumers. If you go to a retail store will you find what you’re looking for and also will the sales teams be able to help you to identify the right product? Often online retailers offer consumers the easiest answer to this conundrum. However, this doesn’t mean that we will necessarily buy the right product. Brands need to work hard to carve out a niche with retailers for wearable technology distribution, or develop stronger partnerships with the trade to ensure that products are sold successfully to the consumer. Brands that are able to collaborate effectively with the trade and adapt their marketing as a result will clearly win this battle.

Collaboration Makes the Brand Grow Stronger

Nike Apple

You’ll know that we’re big fans of brand collaborations here at Emphasis, as is our sister agency Brandwave, who specialise in the sports sector. We believe that 1+1 = 3 when it comes to successful collaborations. Brands like Nike, adidas, Intel and Samsung have already developed very strong relationships with a variety of other consumer brands such as Nike through their Nike+ training wearables collaboration with Apple. Daniel Macaulay, MD at Brandwave recently ran a workshop on collaborations for the Outdoors Industry Association. His top tips for successful brand colabs are as follows:

 “Identify your brand goals and pick the right partner to support you in achieving this. Once you’ve identified your partner work together to unify your goals into something that both brands can win with. Ensure that there is a project owner for any brand collaborations. Ownership is key to ensure that projects move forward and agile changes are made throughout the lifecycle of the project.”

If you are marketing a wearable technology brand, look into collaborations. This could help you to raise your brand profile or expand the markets that you’re working within. We’ve seen it working well for large and small brands and it means your marketing budget will go a lot further.

And Finally, Marketing Budgets for 2015/16…

The other aspect of this equation to consider for those of us not working for a wearable brand is what level of marketing budget you will need to dedicate to wearables in the future. Will this supersede your mobile marketing budget for example? Being an early adopter of marketing opportunities provided via wearables could offer brands significant gains, as they are able to reach consumers in new and innovative ways.

The brand that answers the questions above and develops a strategy to implement it successfully will be able to penetrate the market efficiently. I’m not sure who the winner will be… who’s your money on?  

About Jessica Rouse

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