Stress should be provided in this specific study to evaluate the function of marketing, the function of product design, and the function of operation of the Swiss Watch industry. Swiss Watch and Clock Industry is one of the worldwide markets ‘ major sectors. Swiss watch and clock industry play a significant role in the economy as a whole. “The watch sector in Switzerland exports almost 95% of its manufacturing. Asia and Oceania account for 33.8% of Swiss watch exports, Europe for 37.7%, North America for 18.6%, Middle East for 5.3%, South America for 3.9% and Africa for 0.7%.” (Geneva, watch capital of the world, hosts 13th prestigious expo).
During the last few years, Swiss Watch Industry is holding a prominent position in the economy, by expanding its export operations. The brand name of Swiss, which provides its consumers the best quality goods with appropriate guarantees as well. This report is an overview about the Swatch marketing plan for the company to explore the market; and shows what strategies the company should adopt. The company should have clear objectives regarding the way market should be approached, because the market is highly competitive in nature. The major objectives of the Swiss industry are that evaluate the customer preferences, provide needful product, and capture the market and a proficient market share. It is necessary to understand the taste and preferences of new customers. Moreover, the company should follow a customer oriented approach, by understanding the strategy of its competitors. It is necessary to capture the market and maintain profitability through innovative measures and designs.
Like any other company the marketing function of Swatch too have a great contribution on the success of the product in the market. The company was formed after the merger of two largest watch makers ASUAG and SSIG. Swatch dominates the watch market of the world at present. The company actually took over this position after facing a severe crisis in 1970 that is they faced serious drop in its sales during that period. The peculiarity of Swatch products is that they range from very low priced products to that with very high price.
One of the important factors behind the company’s success is that they had very good marketing strategies. Swatch was considered in the market as a fashion accessory or product. This impression was created through the continuous advertisement and publicity portraying this impression. The marketing plan of the company was to make available in the market the cheapest as well as the costlier watch. In order to make cheaper watch the company introduced several technologies. “The bottom end of the market was the subject of a technological revolution, which made watches much cheaper to produce” (Hayek 1993).
The company offers products in various designs. Other success factor in its marketing strategy is that it sponsors many sports events the major one being Beach Volley Ball. The marketing aim of the CEO to make Swatch into a fashion accessory took the company to heights. In-order to achieve this objective the company focused on reducing the prices of the watch to make it available to every common man. The marketing strategy helped the company to make record sales of one million units after the implementation of the strategy. The major contribution of the company’s marketing function is that it helped the company to mark its presence in over 80 countries. The company has therefore sold over 333 million watches all over the world.
The other element that contributed to the success of the brand is the innovative product design. The company introduced many smart and trendy designs in the market The Company made trendy designs and made that available at every stores. Thus the brand gained wide popularity among the teenagers. Swatch made a landmark design in the 80’s that posted record sales in the financial data of the company. The watch used plastic and was slim. It contained only 51 components that helped the cost reduction of the product. “Introduced to the market in 1983, it is the most successful wrist watch of all time, with 250 million units sold to date, not only on the 80s” (Clifford 1988).
The Swatch watch was seen worn by every person along with other accessories during the 80’s. The wide popularity was also a result of the nature of the market. Later on buying a watch became a one time activity for every person. Thus Swatch introduced the high priced designer watches. One of the key factors for the success of Swatch in the market is its Artistic design. “The artistic design of the watch was a key factor in its success” (Clifford 1988).
The company introduced watches with good combination of colors and designs. They introduced the concept of different colors for different occasions. This made the customers to collect the product in order to use it for different occasions. They introduced new designs periodically in the market. Thus again the watch became popular among the new and existing users. They portrayed many famous artistic works in most of their designs. The company hired many artists to create designs for the company. This product design strategy reaped huge profits for the company. But the scenario is different at present. The company has stopped the production of those artistic design watches. The company introduced a new trendy watch which has no strap instead an air tube. Designs like this have made the company to market its product very widely.
Operations function refers to the management of the activities that begins from the collection of resources for the production of goods to the marketing of the goods to make it available and move in the market. The operations functions too had good influence on the success of the brand in the market. The production activity of Swatch is focused to deliver higher quality product in the market. The company underwent mass production and thereby it was able to take advantage of minimizing the cost per unit. When the company was able to make watch at lower cost they were able to provide it in the market at lower cost. Therefore, Swatch watch became affordable in the market.
It is necessary to make a proper comparison of Swatch watches with the other manufacturers, for assessing the marketability of Swatch. Swatch Company is holding a prominent position in the market avenues, as compared to its rivalries. Swatch is a brand name adopted by the Swatch Group for its wrist watches. For capturing the market, it is necessary to maintain or develop its products in a more attractive way. During the earlier period, Swatch group faced a lot of difficulties, but due to various innovative designs, and appropriate marketing measures, Swiss overcomes its complexity.
In addition to this, Swatch group decided to widen its brand range through out the world, for expanding its leading marketability “Swatch Group is the best conceivable strategic partner for Tiffany’s long-planned re-entry into watch distribution. It is the leader in the high-end watch business with unparalleled distribution capabilities and experience in the luxury segment of the watch business” (The Swatch Group Ltd. and Tiffany & Co. 2007).
Swatch Group is giving keen attention for undertaking various Research and Development programmes for introducing various advanced products with technological measures. It is clear that the product range of Swatch is very wide in nature, which helps the customers to select the most suitable one. Compared to the rivalries, Swatch is holding a marvelous position in the economy. Customer oriented approach is the relevant strategy of Swatch Group’s success. By taking in to consideration various other watch manufacturers, swatch group is distinguished due to its specified features.
Moreover, the Swatch Group is facing a lot of competition from its rivalries. It is occupying the second largest position in the global market, just behind the Citizen watch. Swatch group is the leading manufacturer of watch and clock; is in a position to compete with those of its rivalries. Competitive advantage is an advantage over its rivalries in respect of the lower prices, higher quality or any other services being provided by that firm. A firm is said to be competitively advantaged is mainly based on its return making ability. Competitive advantage of a firm is mainly of two types- cost advantage and differentiation advantage. It is possible to achieve competitive advantage, a firm must perform its activities in such a way that which is far away from its competitors. It is an advantage which allows the firm to survive against its competition over a long period. It will help the entrepreneur to survive in the prevailing market in a better way as compared with other rivalries. Sale of quality goods to its ultimate customers at an affordable price is the main reason of their existence in the market than their competitors. For the achievement of competitive advantage, it is necessary to identify the main competitors, make an analysis about competitive forces within the industry. This target is attainable only by making a comparison between the firm and the competitors. Competitors’ information should obtain from several sources like annual returns and other relevant publications and it is also necessary to analyze competitors’ promotional activities.
In addition to this, it is necessary to evaluate the SWOT of swatch watches. Better quality designs and reasonable pricing strategy are the major strength of Swatch. But at the same time, major difficulty of Swatch is that earlier it was dealing with online business, due to that there is lack of availability of adequate goods. Opportunity is that of to improve the brand image, and develop more advanced packaging facilities. Rather than this, major threat faced by Swatch is that of its competition from rivalries. Major competitors of Swatch are Timex, Casio, and Visage.
As far as the customers are being taken in to account, majority of the Swatch customers are young people who are more fashionable and trend conscious in nature. The brand loyalty and effective promotional measures are the crucial factors of the success of Swatch Group. “Most effective marketing communications measure market forecasts and build realistic business models gain insight into future trends develop the next big idea in the luxury watch market gather in-depth information about consumer target groups, including key demographics and media targeting information” (Luxury Watches UK. 2005).
The analysis of the marketing strategies and the strategies that are related to the marketing of the brand has been seen in detail in the literature frame work. The example of Swatch shows clearly how better marketing strategy, product design and reduction of cost of production results in the success of a product. A brief account of the competition faced by the company is also seen.
The case of Swatch shows clearly how the marketing strategy can be changed according to change in the market mood. The company introduced the artistically designed watches in order to reap the benefits of the market. Later on when the market mood changed the company also changed its market strategy. It can be noticed that one of the most important success factor of the company is that it satisfied the customers from both the lower and upper level in the market by making available cheaper as well as costlier watches. It is very interesting to see the strategy they used to cut the cost of production to make available cheaper products in the market. The introduction of the digital air tube strapped watch by the company shows clearly how it retains the market even in the continuously changing market tastes.
By evaluating the present scenario of Swatch Company, it is clear that Swatch Group is carrying on its operations in an effective manner. Marketing function, product design function as well as the operation function is contributing towards the success of Swatch to great extend. Not only this, by comparing with the rivalries of Swatch, it is holding a prominent position in the global market. It is necessary to integrate appropriate marketing theories and strategies with the operations of Swatch group are essential for accomplishing its business objectives. Moreover, the profitability and the growth rate of Swatch group is quiet outstanding. The technological advancement and innovative measures are significant factors contributing towards the overall development of Swatch group.
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- Geneva, watch capital of the world, hosts 13th prestigious expo. The Swiss Watch Industry Today. [online]. Geneva.ch. Last accessed 10 December 2007 at: http://www.geneva.ch/watch03.htm
- HAYEK, Nicolas (1993). Swatch. Technology and Marketing. [online]. Swissworld.org. Last accessed 10 December 2007 at: http://www.swissworld.org/en/switzerland/swiss_specials/swiss_watches/swatch/
- Luxury Watches UK. (2005). Description. [online]. All Biz report. Last accessed 10 December 2007 at: http://www.allbizreport.com/indexer_eng/Luxury_Watches_UK_14205.html
- The Swatch Group Ltd. and Tiffany & Co. (2007). Announce strategic alliance. [online]. Morning star. Last accessed 10 December 2007 at: http://news.morningstar.com/news/ViewNews.asp?article=/BW/20071202005055_univ.xml.