The CEO of NY PR Firm 5WPR, Ronn Torossian, discusses whether or not – the Smartwatch craze – is warranted or a fad.
Apparently everyone in the mobile sector thinks you are clamoring to wear your phone on your wrist. This obvious assumption has market analysts asking another very important question. Is there really even an actual smartwatch market?
A few tech industry insiders are convinced. They say the smartwatch is the obvious progression in the mobile sector. Some market analysts remain unconvinced. They say the rash of smart watches hitting the market are nothing more than monkey see monkey do. The mobile industry is now so tightly competitive that companies cannot afford to fall behind in any aspect of consumer market. To do so could risk valuable market share. So even brands that don’t want to take risks on “innovations” such as the smart watch jump into the fray with the mindset that they can’t win if they don’t play.
This “throw it against the wall” approach has led to some interesting – some would say, frustrating – market realities. For one thing, no one is quite certain what a smartwatch is, nor what they should expect it to do. Currently, buzzwords such as “syncing” and “interface” are getting tossed around, but no clear dynamic has been set.
Is the smartwatch a replacement for your smartphone or an addition to it? Should there be some crossover functionality, or is the watch best marketed as an addition? Is it a more convenient accessory or an entirely new tool?
Currently, no one is able – or, at least, willing – to say for sure. And that leads to the worst possible problem for any marketing effort, no matter what the product is. If people don’t know what it is or why they should want it, there’s really no way to sell it in the long-term. Sure, there will be novelty buyers. But tech brands can depend on these buyers no matter what new gadget they push out. It’s the more mainstream marketplace that needs more convincing.
And it’s that mainstream marketplace that, for better or worse, the current mobile industry has embraced. Consider, when smartphones first hit the market they had obvious business applications, so that was the direction of the marketing. Apple changed all that with the iPhone, and Samsung rode those coattails in impressive fashion. Now the average consumer is the target market. They know why they need – or want – a smartphone.
But why do they need – or want – a smart watch?
And that brings all of us back to the original concern. If even the brands don’t know what the market is…or even if there is a market…no one else will give the smartwatch the time of day.