As the overlap of fashion and tech increases, so too does the trend of wearable device makers promoting their latest devices with words like ‘elegant’ and ‘refined’, as Andrea Chang points out in her LA Times article, “Wearable devices get more stylish as fashion and technology intersect.” Chang links the change to the debut of the Apple Watch. There are also significant revenue opportunities for tech brands looking to use fashion to make their products distinct from the competition. Chang also cites research firm IDC which predicts that the wearable market will surge from 19.2 million units shipped in 2014 to 111.9 million units shipped in 2018. Given these trends, it's clear that as consumers increasingly consider wearables as another means of self-expression, the market for these products will become sizable. This means IMC marketers will need to understand the challenges this introduces to their current marketing strategy and become even more committed to "consumers first."
Similarly in the Content Marketing Institute article, “4 Ways Wearable Tech Could Change Your Marketing Strategy,” Erin Rodat-Salva discusses how quickly the wearable market is developing, basing her strategies from the observations of Redg Snodgrass, co-founder of technology accelerator Wearable World and Erick Schonfeld, executive producer of DEMO. In addition, Rodat-Salva suggests four ways that marketers can adapt their strategy to the wearable tech market: make messages glanceable, tap into location and emotion, integrated experiences and convenience, and interpret more data. From this article, we can learn that IMC marketing strategies will become increasingly crucial. Wearables will make consumer insights and information about customers even more accessible and as marketers we need to learn to use the right data to tailor the customer product experience.
After reviewing these articles and based on my experience in the graduate program at Northwestern Medill IMC, here are three easy action items fashion marketers should consider when creating a wearable tech marketing strategy:
- Elevate aesthetics – Consumer preferences must come before tech because they are becoming a means of self-expression - not just a set of functions
- Understand emotion and location – Consider the experience of the user to understand the best context and timing for your services. Technology embedded in wearables and smart clothing will potentially make it easier.
- Interpret All Experiments – Interpret your experiments to identify ways to solve problems and create convenience for your customers. Wearables add to the vast universe of big data, meaning you'll have even more information about your customer - use it wisely.