ABlogtoWatch Founder to Swiss Watchmakers: Spend 15-20% Of Your Revenue on Marketing


Writing for watchpro.com. ABlogtoWatch founder and Editor-in-Chief Ariel Adams offers the watch industry something between a right royal kicking and a pitch for a marketing consultancy gig. Mr. Adams doesn’t come right out and say “give us a job,” but if he did and I was a Swiss watchmaker, I’d be temped to give it to him. Listen to this . . .

How serious is the watch industry’s marketing problem?  In a recent study of watch-brand marketing weakness, I came to the probable conclusion that without Rolex’s marketing investments around the world to promote the notion of a “luxury watch as success symbol,” the entire watch industry would fall flat on its face.

According to Mr. Adams, the rest of the Swiss watch industry is pinching pennies as it rides Rolex’ coattails. I was shocked to learn that some of the [unnamed] big players don’t even have a marketing department.

Too often, I hear managers at a lot of today’s finest watch brands say things like, “We should really do some marketing this year,” only to have the entire year go by with their time being allocated by other important responsibilities.

There is an increasing awareness in the Swiss watch industry that they are getting something about marketing really wrong or simply not doing enough. That isn’t, however, being immediately paired with a solution to the problem. 

Mr. Adams’ solution for Swiss watchmakers: assemble a marketing team, funnel 10 – 15% of total revenue into their budget and don’t hassle them by asking for specific return-on-investment data.

The culture of justifying spending is not only entirely deleterious to morale, but it is antithetical to the needs of marketing where initiatives build on one another over time and tend to influence consumers in unpredictable ways.

Spoken like a true marketing maven; one who knows the importance of the Wizard of Oz’s command to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” Who’s not in love with precise analysis of consumer engagement enabled by Ye Olde Internet.

Mr. Adams has tremendous charisma and horological chops. I doubt he’d be averse to running a Swiss watchmakers’ marketing department. Just remember Mr. Adams, culture eats strategy for lunch.


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