Marketing Lessons From the Wearable Tech Boom

male hands with white smartwatch with mobile app health sensor on the screen over a wooden table

In 2014, wearable tech generated $29 million in sales, according to CCS Insight. That number is expected to jump over 150 percent in 2015 and reach $350 million a year by 2018. Wearables are a new tech, fashion and sports frontier, and the biggest names in all three industries are jumping on the bandwagon to get a piece of this huge new pie.

As a marketer, it’s a great time to learn from the multi-million dollar ad and marketing campaigns. Here are three tactics used by big names that you can apply to your own marketing strategies as your industry evolves:

Apple: Keep It Classy and Simple

Apple took out 12 pages in Vogue, which is no small feat. According to’s rate card, a single-page advertisement goes for almost $200k.

Even though the new Apple Watch can unlock hotel rooms, locate your BMW in a crowded parking lot and receive push updates from airlines, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the 12-page ad campaign. Apple didn’t clutter the precious ad space with features or specs. These ads don’t even give you a price.

This is because the almost 12 million readers have a median household income well over $60k, according to Condé Nast, so Apple is talking to an audience that can afford a $350 watch. Apple also shows off its best features, mainly being its modern designs and elite reputation. It doesn’t need to show off all its features, it simply needs to advertise to one of its largest markets, which is exactly what the Vogue campaign does.

The Lesson: Get outside the box. In new competitive markets, you have to drop your preconceived notions to find your market. You can market the same product to both sci-fi nerds and fashionistas if you know how to sell it to them.

Fitbit: Bring on the Celebrity Endorsements

There’s nothing like a big celebrity to attract the attention of the general public. In 2014, Fitbit enlisted the help of Tory Burch, a name that gave them instant clout among the high-end consumers. Burch was awarded Accessory Designer of the Year by the CDFA and has been called one of the most powerful women in the World by Forbes. She’s respected in the business community as well as the fashion industry and has been there for less than a decade.

But Burch is not just a name for Fitbit to associate themselves with. Burch understands business marketing. Her debut brand, the Reva ballet flat, sold over 250,000 units in two years at almost $300 a pair. Burch employed old-school supply-and-demand tactics with retailers to keep sales strong. She often sent retailers only 90 pairs when the order was for 100, which helped helped build anticipation, and she sold 5 million pairs of the Reva shoe between 2006 and 2013. So, by collaborating with Burch, Fitbit now has its product in the highest-end retailers in just about every mall in America.

The Lesson: Borrow credibility from a familiar, fashionable and financially-viable face to connect with a new audience.

Samsung Gear S: Do Something Different

Samsung knows it’s not the biggest fish in this pond, so it aims to be the best swimmer. With a giant 2-inch, curved display and the ability to function without a cellphone companion, which is unheard of in this market, the new Gear S has carved out a place for itself in the wearable market. And it’s leading the Android wearable tech market with a 61 percent share, according to research Strategy Analytics’ Wearable Device Ecosystems service.

You have seen its ad campaigns range from techie to vintage to non-nonsense simplicity. And in a sea of fashion-tech advertising, Samsung stands out from the crowd.

The Lesson: Not everyone wants the status quo. Don’t try to be like everyone else in your industry. Embrace what makes you unique, and present that honestly to your consumer.


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