Emerging technologies have been vital in improving operations of firms in the currently competitive marketplace. However, watch manufacturers have found themselves facing a new threat that they had not anticipated. There has been a shift in tastes and preferences when mobile phones were introduced to the market. Mobile phones have become almost a necessity in the society, and people currently prefer using it instead of watch to tell them time of the day.
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Some of the top brands in this industry moved with speed to change their marketing proposition in order to attract the market segment that was being lost due to the invention of mobile phones. These top watch manufacturers have found other sophisticated uses of watches other than telling time.
However, some of the players in the market that were manufacturing simple wrist watches have found themselves in an awkward position as their products are currently considered meaningless in the market. One such firm is Quartz, a brand that is known for its low quality low cost wall clocks.
Its wrist-watches are cheap, with minimal or no functionality beyond telling time. It may not survive the next decade if it continues selling the low-priced limited quality wrist watches. It must understand the market needs by increasing the functionality of its products. It must move from the dying watch industry into the fashion industry that has a huge potential.
This firm must find a way of competing with the giant brands in the fashion segment in order to survive. This paper will focuses on how Quartz can be repositioned to become a leading brand in luxury watches industry using some of the modern digital technologies.
Current brand positioning
The current brand positioning of Quartz Watch is outdated because it is still emphasizing on the function of the product as telling of time. People are no longer interested in this functionality given that their mobile phones do the same function besides being a communication gadget. Some of the new electronic appliances such as radios, television sets, and even cameras can tell time.
It would not be enough to convince the market that they need the watch on their wrist because its basic function can be performed by other products. This brand positioning was very appropriate when wrist watches were the primary gadgets that were used to determine time of the day.
However, the world is changing due to changes in technology, but this brand has failed to adjust its positioning to reflect these changes. This led to a massive drop in the sale of this firm’s products. According to Dent (2011, p. 27), analogue watches have lost over 95% of their market share over the past fifteen years. It is even more worrying that this 5% that they currently hold is also moving away slowly and very steadily. This firm must transform its positioning if it expects to remain competitive in the market.
Figure 1: Quartz Watch
According to Rolnicki (1998, p. 49), competition in this industry has taken a whole new approach following the change in preference of the consumers. The figure below shows two of the leading competitors that this firm must outshine in order to achieve the market share that would make it attractive.
Figure 2: Rolex Watch
Whenever one is talking about the industry of wrist watches, Rolex is the first name that would be mentioned as the leading brand. This may be because of the social market niche that this firm occupies in the industry. Rolex is arguably the market leader in the luxury watch industry for the past several years.
This brand has been considered superior to its rivals because of its product offering. As Guirdham (1972, p. 72) notes, this brand offers more than just a wrist watch. The watch is an ornament made of precious metal to reflect its quality. The proposition that it brand has taken in the market is also very effective.
This product’s primary role is not to tell time. Telling of time is just an additional service it offers. Its primary role, as stated in its market proposition, is to demonstrate a sense of class. People who wear Rolex watch are identified with a higher social class in the society. As mentioned in their advertisement, you wear Rolex watch to show your class, just like other top brands in the market. It is more of jewelry than a watch.
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Figure 3: Omega Watch
Omega is another top brand in this new market for wrist watches. Just like Rolex, Omega has positioned itself as an ornament, targeting male clients. In one of its famous advertisements, a gentleman is seen equating Omega to a golden necklaces and earrings that women wear to bring out their beauty (Lambert 1978, p. 32).
The message in the advert is very clear and it helps in bringing out the proposition of this watch in the market. Men cannot wear some of the ornaments that women do, but this does not mean that they do not deserve these ornaments. Omega wrist watch offers them this opportunity to have something that is masculine and attractive.
This has made the product very popular with men. Other major market players in the luxury watch industry include swatch, TAG heuer, and Rado. All these top brands have learnt the secret that the market is no longer interested with a time telling machine. This can be obtained from other gadgets. They have to go beyond this if they expect to remain relevant in the market.
Current consumer profile
Consumer profiling is an important marketing strategy that enables marketers to segment the market based on various demographic factors. As Wind and Mahajan (2001, p. 56) say, it is irrational for a firm to target the entire market. Different market segments behave differently. They have different preferences and purchasing powers. In this industry, Quartz must understand that it is no longer offering a time-telling machine to its customers.
This firm will now be offering a jewelry that must demonstrate a sense of class. It will be a symbol of status, and this must be demonstrated in the true value of its products. The current consumer profile that this firm targets include the poor and middle class members of the society who can afford cheap prices it is currently charging.
However, it is unfortunate that this consumer class is always sensitive of the worth offered by their purchases. For instance, this group has come to realize that there is no value in having a simple watch and a mobile phone at the same time.
The service that was rendered by the watch can easily be offered by the mobile phones they have. For this reason, they would avoid buying watches and get this service from their phones. This is a way of saving to them. This is a clear indication that this group is no longer a desirable market segment to target. This current consumer that this firm targets do not value brand. They value quantity and pricing that is offered.
Quartz was their favorite brand before the introduction of mobile phones because of its low prices. Currently, they do not need this product anymore, and this has led to a massive drop in sales for this company. This target market should be completely ignored by this firm in its long term strategies. They cannot afford the prices that luxurious products carry.
Relevance of technology to the brand
Technology which helped in the creation of this product has been its main undoing because the firm failed to see the dynamism in the market. This brand is faced with the threat of extinction if it fails to define a new approach that it shall take to manage the market forces. The recent emergence of technology has not only been irrelevant to this brand, but also very disastrous. For instance, the major market segment for this product was the low income earners.
The watch had become so common that awareness creation was of little use. Those who did not know the product would easily know it once they were in the market. Given the fact that this segment would always be looking for cheaper products, Quartz would always be the ultimate choice because it was charging the lowest prices.
The management therefore, never made use of some of the modern technological tools such as the Social Media for the purpose of marketing their products. This must have been one of the main undoing of this brand, a mistake that it must correct now. In the planned new strategy, this brand must use online marketing to reach the new market segment. It must also embrace Social Media in its awareness campaigns. It is through this new approach that the management of this firm can achieve success in the current market.
Marketing Campaign Plan
It is stated above that the brand Quartz will be introducing itself into the luxury watch industry as a way of remaining relevant in the market. This is a completely new industry for this brand, and it may take time to achieve success. According to Ryan and Jones (2012, p. 78), customers associate specific products with a given social class in the society. For instance, Mercedes Benz and BMW are brands of cars that are associated with the rich.
On the other hand, Toyota was introduced into the European market as a cheap and cost effective car for the low income earners in the society. When Toyota realized that it had ignored the rich who formed an attractive market segment, it came up with other sub-brands such as Prado. However, the tag ‘cheap’ car has never been erased from the mind of the consumers. This means that the rich do not consider Prado a superior car to Mercedes Benz or BMW.
The India motor company, Tata, was keen not to follow the footsteps of Toyota when targeting the rich in the society. When it bought Land Rover and Jaguar car brands, it retained their name and all other brand attributes. It continued producing its cheap Tata branded cars, but the Land Rover and Jaguar were produced under their original name. This worked magic. These two classy cars are very popular with the rich.
This is the strategy that this firm will employ when targeting the customers on the higher end of the social class. Fenwick and Wertime (2013, p. 86) says that it is always easy for luxury brands to attract lower end consumers. However, it is very challenging for firms that have been associated with lower end customer segment to target the rich. This is a challenge that must be overcome.
According to Ryan and Jones (2011, p. 36), consumers will be more willing to try a new brand than to go for an existing brand that was serving a market segment of lower social class. Quartz will be forced to develop a new sub-brand and try to dissociate it from its main brand. The proposed brand name for this new product would be Digit Control.
It would be difficult to associate such a name with the known Quartz brand. The new product will carry this new brand name in the market. The digital marketing campaign plan for this new product and brand will be reflected in the 7 Ps of marketing as shown in the diagram below.
Figure 4: 7 Ps of Marketing Model
This new product must be able to give the desired value in the current digital world. For instance, the watch should be able to receive a message sent from a mobile phone. Another desirable value would be its ability to monitor movements of a car within a given range. This is what the brand should stand for in the market.
As the name suggests, this new product will be more than a watch. It will be something like a remote control used to monitor and direct different machines. The pricing strategy should be completely different from the parent brand. The price should reflect the quality offered, and the segment that is targeted.
The place factor would play a very important role in this new product. It would be necessary to define new distribution models that reflect the new market segment that is targeted. The following innovating model may be appropriate when entering this new market with the new product.
Figure 5: New distribution model
As shown in the above figure, the marketing team should identify the trends in the market in regard to distribution channels used by other major competitors. The team should then adopt emerging technologies in order to determine how they can be relevant in this distribution model.
The team should then scout for relevant technologies that would help achieve the desired results. Online marketing and Social Media marketing may be used as the digital options available for this new product in the market. When the marketing team is convinced that the new model is appropriate, they can then make the last move of entering and operating in this new market.
The promotional strategy of this new product should be an integration of online and offline channels. The Social Media such as Facebook, YouTube and Tweeter can be very instrumental in the promotional campaigns. Traditional promotional strategies such as television commercials and newspaper advertisement should also not be ignored when introducing the product to the market.
People who will be engaged in various marketing strategies should be adequately trained in order to ensure that they deliver the desired output. Given that this product will be majorly marketed digitally, it may be important to define how the physical evidence would be presented to the customers. This may be in form of clear photos of the products being displayed demonstrating all its features, and how it is used. Such displays should be available in the company’s website and in the social media.
This is necessary because the consumers would want to understand why it would be prudent to stop buying Rolex, and instead buy Digit Control. This means that its uniqueness must be clearly elaborated in such displays (Hayes & Dredge 1998, p. 54). The process of delivering the product to the market should be conscious of the environmental dynamism.
The internal factors must be made compatible with the external factors. This means that if the firm embraces online marketing, it must be able to accept online payments from its customers. The process should be safe enough to protect its customers from cybercrime. This will help it define a new successful path in this new high end market.
It is clear from the discussion above that it may be challenging for a firm that was serving low income earners in the society to target the rich. The two social classes are completely different in their profile. However, Quartz has no choice but to target the rich in the society because its preferred market segment is no longer buying this product.
To achieve this, the firm will need to come up with a new product that meets the needs of the rich, and give it a new brand name that is not associated with the original brand. It must embrace the emerging technologies in manufacturing and distributing the new product in this new market.
List of References
Dent, J 2011, Distribution channels: Understanding and managing channels to market, Kogan Page, London.
Fenwick, I & Wertime, K 2013, Digimarketing: The essential guide to new media and digital marketing, Wiley, Hoboken.
Guirdham, M 1972, Marketing: The management of distribution channels, Pergamon Press, Oxford.
Hayes, J & Dredge, F 1998, Managing customer service, Gower, Hampshire.
Lambert, D 1978, The distribution channels decision, National Association of Accountants, New York.
Rolnicki, K 1998, Managing channels of distribution, AMACOM, New York.
Ryan, D & Jones, C 2011, The best digital marketing campaigns in the world: Mastering the art of customer engagement, Kogan Page, London.
Ryan, D & Jones, C 2012, Understanding digital marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation, Kogan Page, Philadelphia.
Wind, Y & Mahajan, V 2001, Digital marketing: Global strategies from the world’s leading experts, Wiley, New York.