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Case Study 2 Has the death of the watch been greatly exaggerated? Big tech companies get into the game
It used to be that putting on watch was just a standard part of getting dressed in the morning. How could you hope to move successfully throughout your day,
making it to appointments on time, if you weren’t wearing a watch on your wrist to let you know what time it is? Today however, we’re surrounded by technology devices at work, home, and even away from home that readily display the time of day. The outcome? Many have one to view the personal watch as an unnecessary device. As a result, the watch industry has been struggling to find ways to remain relevant, searching for the key to how they can motivate consumers to purchase a time-keeping device that many consider
redundant with the desktops, laptops, tablets, and cellphones to which they are so connected. As industry analysts have pointed out, watches may actually be “superfluous” and there are claims that “telling time is secondary today.” And even for those more diehard consumers who still wear a watch, according to Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst in New York at the NPD Group, “there’s no practical need for any watch-wearing holdouts to pay a lot for a timepiece.” Tech giants such as Apple and Samsung say, not true! They believe that the death of the watch has been greatly exaggerated and in response, these companies introduced many smart watches in the last years with pretty expensive price tags! These new watches, far from simply telling the time, are actually mini- computers that allow the wearer to check and send messages, surf the internet, monitor heart rate, and pay in a store. The watches’ introduction has been both praised and criticized. Some point to these Tech companies’ ability to interest consumers in any number of technology devices and believe that these smart watches will be yet another success story. An early reviewer, Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler,
believes that his dependence on other devices has decreased since putting on the Apple Watch and that it’s helped him to be more focused. But other cite consumers’ waning interest in watches in general, the difficulties in functioning with such a small screen, and they wonder who would really be motivated to make the investment in such products. So what does these companies think will motivate consumers to buy on of these new gadgets? They talk about consumers’ need to quickly and subtly get access to information, which is not always possible with a clunkier tablet or cell phone Tim Bajarin, Creative Strategies analyst says, “the flexibility of “glanceable information” is more valuable than people realize today.” He also mentions that the new watches will offer options for non-verbal communication, tapping a button to send a message, for instance. Apple CEO Tim Cook calls it “the most personal device we’ve ever created-it’s not just with you, it’s on you” and clams that it’s the most advanced timepiece ever created, period. While blogger John Gruber commented on a recent podcast: “I still have no idea why I would want to wear it,” early adopters of the Apple Watches and others who believe in the power of these big tech companies to
succeed were not surprised by recent announcements from the company about an upgraded operating system and improvements that will make the watches’ apps work even better. So, who knows how this story will turn out- will Apple be the game-changer that played a significant role in how we think about the evolution of the personal watch or will it be seen as having momentarily misstepped into an industry whose death was already a foregone conclusion?
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS CS 5.1 Discuss the possible reasons to buy a watch today. Connect each motivational theory from the chapter. CS 5.2 What does these big tech companies believe will motivate consumers to purchase these products? Are there different motivation at the low versus high (luxury version) price point? CS 5.3 How do marketers of watches use marketing and advertising to motivate consumers to buy them? Give specific examples. *use numbers to support your answer (e.g., sales, demand, etc)