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Old 27 October 2020, 06:51 PM   #1
sinkholeninja
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Grand Seiko Marketing Strategy

Hello guys,

What are your thoughts on GS’s marketing strategy in relation to boutique-only, country-only, or limited edition models? I am personally not a fan as I believe that it dilutes the brand because of constant iteration. For example, the following pieces have the same dial but in different colour: SBGA415, SBGA413, SBGA433G, SBGA425, SBGA435G.

Cheers,

Z.
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Old 27 October 2020, 07:01 PM   #2
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There are a lot of watches with similar dials, bracelets and cases to be fair. Although that just makes it easier to find the one you want.

Things I like about GS marketing are that the shop walls aren’t plastered in photos of George Clooney riding a motorbike or whoever the current ambassador is.

The limited editions are limited to sensible numbers like 700 or less and not 7000+ like Omega.

Their boutiques are probably the best that I can think of.


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Old 27 October 2020, 07:10 PM   #3
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Flooding markets with too much choice can actually backfire. Although buyers are more likely to peruse when there is a larger selection, they are also less likely to buy anything.

There’s powerful human nature research behind this. So Seiko risks damping down sales by too much choice.


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Old 27 October 2020, 08:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsmith1974 View Post
There are a lot of watches with similar dials, bracelets and cases to be fair. Although that just makes it easier to find the one you want.

Things I like about GS marketing are that the shop walls aren’t plastered in photos of George Clooney riding a motorbike or whoever the current ambassador is.

The limited editions are limited to sensible numbers like 700 or less and not 7000+ like Omega.

Their boutiques are probably the best that I can think of.


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I agree that GS's limited editions are smaller than those of Omega, or even Panerai for example, but I don't think they are necessary. If feels like GS are trying to boost consumer demand with limited editions, but that rarely works and can definitely backfire if it becomes their modus operandi.
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Old 27 October 2020, 08:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 77T View Post
Flooding markets with too much choice can actually backfire. Although buyers are more likely to peruse when there is a larger selection, they are also less likely to buy anything.

There’s powerful human nature research behind this. So Seiko risks damping down sales by too much choice.


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I tend to agree.
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Old 27 October 2020, 08:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 77T View Post
Flooding markets with too much choice can actually backfire. Although buyers are more likely to peruse when there is a larger selection, they are also less likely to buy anything.

There’s powerful human nature research behind this. So Seiko risks damping down sales by too much choice.


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Seiko has been selling many, many different models all over the world since the 1960s, though, and is one of the most recognised names in watches globally because of that (from small third-world towns to the richest cities). I think boosting GS output and choice will work just fine for Seiko; it has a massive long-term global customer base that is getting richer as they get older and as their countries' economies grow.
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Old 27 October 2020, 08:57 PM   #7
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I am not sure what the strategy is and it is difficult to follow across the Grand Seiko, Seiko and LX lines as there is some bleed over. I really like the brand and have stopped trying to make sense of how they introduce models and just buy what I want and will wear.
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Old 27 October 2020, 11:14 PM   #8
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...just buy what I want and will wear.
Great point and that was my thought process too when deciding to buy SBGA415. I still think that multiple colour iterations of the same dial pattern is unnecessary under the "limited/special edition" umbrella, because it actually makes them less "special". Instead, GS could have easily chosen to have all those pieces as regular releases, which in my opinion would have been a better thing to do. Calling something limited, or special by simply changing a dial colour and limiting production so as to boost demand feels a bit gimmicky, and it's not something that GS actually need, since the quality of their watches is amazing and there is a solid following of the brand already.
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Old 3 November 2020, 05:10 PM   #9
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Producing more references and increasing prices are not tenets of a truly successful luxury marketing strategy.

I think GS is getting away with it because enthusiasts are still in the awareness stage, but one day....the fickle WIS will turn on them for "too many" and the general public will just be overwhelmed by too many choices and run away...
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Old 3 November 2020, 05:32 PM   #10
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Interestingly, the range of GS models offered on the international market is quite a small fraction of what's available in Japan.
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Old 3 November 2020, 05:42 PM   #11
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Grand Seiko Marketing Strategy

Rolex sub from 2008 till now has basically increased 50% in MSRP. A Patek 5711 while I’m not exactly sure the %, but I think has doubled in MSRP. But a GS snowflake has stayed pretty close in MSRP since it’s first introduction, some models actually decreased in MSRP.

Unlike the Swiss, which increases prices almost yearly, Seiko doesn’t really change MSRP of its models once it’s introduced. So I guess for them to increase MSRP, they use the strategy of reissues and limited editions.

Watch companies all play games, it’s either limited editions or limited allocations (like Rolex and Patek). Whichever ways they chose, the end goals are the same, to increase prices on us.


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Old 4 November 2020, 03:06 AM   #12
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I believe in limited and boutique offerings... just not on an ongoing basis as a continual strategy of marketing. the saturation point is VERY LOW on this strategy.
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Old 4 November 2020, 04:34 AM   #13
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If it's not numbered limited, it's not limited. The numbering is what makes it special to me. I don't care if they make 100 or 10,000.
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Old 4 November 2020, 06:28 AM   #14
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One reason why I never looked seriously into Omega, is because their collection is too confusing and every other watch is “limited edition”, especially in the Speedy category. I feel that neither Omega or GS need limited edition runs, because the quality of their watches speaks for itself, and that should be the main influencing factor on demand, instead of gimmicky marketing strategy.
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Old 4 November 2020, 08:28 AM   #15
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The more the merrier. If it means someone finds something they love, all the better.

Not everyone needs or wants to wear the same watch as their neighbors. ;-)
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Old 5 November 2020, 01:02 AM   #16
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The more the merrier. If it means someone finds something they love, all the better.

Not everyone needs or wants to wear the same watch as their neighbors. ;-)
Sure, but what I'm actually questioning is the merit of limited editions over regular releases. I don't understand the need for limited editions, especially when they provide only slight iterations in design (e.g. dial colour). Unless they bring something significant to the table, what's the point in them?
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Old 5 November 2020, 01:18 AM   #17
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The strategy is great. I don't need to buy the watch because it was in the movies or due to some Hollywood d-bag's interest in the brand.
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Old 5 November 2020, 09:28 AM   #18
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Quote:
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The more the merrier. If it means someone finds something they love, all the better.

Not everyone needs or wants to wear the same watch as their neighbors. ;-)
yup, this- I don't care if a watch is unlimited or pseudo limited or limited-limited. if it's an attractive watch that ticks the boxes for me, i'll buy it.
Couldn't give a flying one what anyone else thinks or whether it's the eleventeenth LE of a Speedy that's "diluting the brand". it is such little imprtance in my everyday life.

Seiko have been around a while, they have greater visibility to their global operations and distribution than probably anyone typing on here, and would imagine that they base their marketing strategy on some sort of "data", rather than what some nerds on the interwebs opine.

If you believe you have some incredible insight that they've managed to somehow overlook, perhaps write their boss a nice email with a copy of your resume ?
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Old 5 November 2020, 09:33 AM   #19
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Sure, but what I'm actually questioning is the merit of limited editions over regular releases. I don't understand the need for limited editions, especially when they provide only slight iterations in design (e.g. dial colour). Unless they bring something significant to the table, what's the point in them?
There doesn't need to be a "merit" other than some might find it attractive. Sometimes I kinda like a watch, but wish it had a blue dial. Or a red bezel or a dolphin skin strap. And sometimes those wishes align with an LE release. So I'm happy, box ticked and will buy a watch I was previously a bit on the fence about.
Sometimes I will find LE's repellent, sometimes lovely, but my taste is mine and no one else's....
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Old 5 November 2020, 09:51 AM   #20
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I think the problem is there are so many variants that a special edition isn’t special. It’s just another of the many editions. That’s why people pay $5000 markup on a submariner with a green bezel instead of a black one. Because there are so few variations any change is valuable.

I prefer when a company has less variants and more consistency and focuses on perfection rather than huge variety. Porsche (before suv and sedans) made like 2 cars, over and over and over.
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Old 5 November 2020, 03:31 PM   #21
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I think the problem is there are so many variants that a special edition isn’t special.
Exactly.
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Old 5 November 2020, 04:30 PM   #22
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yup, this- I don't care if a watch is unlimited or pseudo limited or limited-limited. if it's an attractive watch that ticks the boxes for me, i'll buy it.
Couldn't give a flying one what anyone else thinks or whether it's the eleventeenth LE of a Speedy that's "diluting the brand". it is such little imprtance in my everyday life.

Seiko have been around a while, they have greater visibility to their global operations and distribution than probably anyone typing on here, and would imagine that they base their marketing strategy on some sort of "data", rather than what some nerds on the interwebs opine.

If you believe you have some incredible insight that they've managed to somehow overlook, perhaps write their boss a nice email with a copy of your resume ?
There is no right or wrong answer here. It's simply a matter of personal opinion. I for one don't understand the necessity for limited/special editions, especially when brands overdo it, hence why I see it as a marketing gimmick. You think otherwise and that's fine too.
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Old 6 November 2020, 10:21 PM   #23
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I find it so interesting that unless I am really "Into a Brand", I am so unaware of this kind of thing.

I love Grand Seiko - and get updates, and Alerts, and my social media/Instagram follows multiple GS-friendly accounts - so I get a selection bias, and I agree that sometimes it feels like too much...

but watch brands in which I have only casual interest, a model will catch my eye based on its merit as a watch... when looking at a case, or seeing it on someone's wrist, or seeing a picture, I might later discover that it is a limited edition or special edition for xyz, or whatever -

but mostly when browsing - it will be a matter of whatever catches my eye, so more options are good..

A bigger question will be how many GS consumers are casual buyers who might go into a multi-brand store looking "for a watch" as opposed to looking "for model SBGFXTs465"

It does make you realize how much FOMO influences you. Being unaware helps, and also knowing that if you miss one LE GS, another will be coming up soon enough...

I am sure the decision makers have researched this extensively and determined this to be a good strategy.

Omega seems to have shifted strategy, likely because the previous approach was not proving successful enough for them. IF GS starts to see some negative reactions, the strategy will shift. The one thing about GS, as opposed to Swiss Brands, is that they seem to react and adapt more quickly to feedback and market trends.

hopefully they can pivot when needed to maintain their upward momentum.
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Old 6 November 2020, 11:29 PM   #24
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I find it so interesting that unless I am really "Into a Brand", I am so unaware of this kind of thing.

I love Grand Seiko - and get updates, and Alerts, and my social media/Instagram follows multiple GS-friendly accounts - so I get a selection bias, and I agree that sometimes it feels like too much...

but watch brands in which I have only casual interest, a model will catch my eye based on its merit as a watch... when looking at a case, or seeing it on someone's wrist, or seeing a picture, I might later discover that it is a limited edition or special edition for xyz, or whatever -

but mostly when browsing - it will be a matter of whatever catches my eye, so more options are good..

A bigger question will be how many GS consumers are casual buyers who might go into a multi-brand store looking "for a watch" as opposed to looking "for model SBGFXTs465"

It does make you realize how much FOMO influences you. Being unaware helps, and also knowing that if you miss one LE GS, another will be coming up soon enough...

I am sure the decision makers have researched this extensively and determined this to be a good strategy.

Omega seems to have shifted strategy, likely because the previous approach was not proving successful enough for them. IF GS starts to see some negative reactions, the strategy will shift. The one thing about GS, as opposed to Swiss Brands, is that they seem to react and adapt more quickly to feedback and market trends.

hopefully they can pivot when needed to maintain their upward momentum.
I also wonder whether GS' marketing strategy around limited/special models stems from a strong collecting culture in Japan. Whatever the case, it'll be interesting to see how the brand develops in the next few years, considering that they've only been selling internationally since 2010.
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Old 7 November 2020, 12:01 AM   #25
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I love GS. I believe it’s the best value for the money! A lot of its models would go for 10x the price if it had “Swiss made” or a crown on its dial. The craftsmanship and movement are spectacular. Their dials are the best in the business imho

The issue that I have with GS is the sooooooo many models, versions, special editions and limited editions they have

While that gives people the option to pick what they like but reality is, it reduces value by increasing availability! And like it or not, that’s a HUGE driver of watches value those days. While most people buy the watch they like and want to wear, reality is, no one likes to see the value of their possessions go down.
Most GS models go down in value once you leave the boutique and that’s a killer, compared to Rolex, PP or AP where their marketing strategy is completely opposite, creating the desire/NEED to own their watches by simply making less number of models and watches, creating more demand than the supply, a simple marketing strategy that allows value to go up and giving them the luxury of over inflating prices. Compare a sub with a GS diver, you’re not getting double the watch with Rolex but you’re paying more than double the price!
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Old 7 November 2020, 03:53 AM   #26
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I guess it depends on what you consider or prioritize as "value".
If my goal in selecting watches was to minimise loss on future sale, then I'd only look at AP, PP and Rolex. Unfortunately, a slew of other companies have cheekily made watches that I like- IWC, Blancpain, Breguet, Omega, Pam, VC and GS. Their precipitous residuals have not prevented me from purchasing and "valuing", or enjoying ownership. I don't consider them part of my portfolio for maintaining wealth.

"Compare a sub with a GS diver, you’re not getting double the watch with Rolex but you’re paying more than double the price!"

If i found the sub to be the most attractive watch ever- then I'd pay double the GS price and be happy whether or not it's "market value" went up or down.

You see LE's as diluting your investment, I see them as an opportunity to pick up a variation of a watch I now found more aesthetically attractive. Fair enough.

As to the OP's question- I'd trust Seiko to have a handle on their marketing strategy better than anyone here, regardless as to whether it's popular amongst WIS
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Old 12 November 2020, 12:51 PM   #27
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I love GS as a product (I have the SBGE257), but their marketing is trash. Maybe you can say that because I love their product, its the marketing that’s driving that. But no, I love the product DESPITE their terrible marketing.

The product is great because the quality of the product and technology innovation. As for their marketing - I mean look at this video about Spring Drive on YouTube that is published by Seiko

https://youtu.be/BQ4yxc7EviQ

Seriously, what is that.

Or this video that was published by GS:

https://youtu.be/eoMcXxMsDt8

Why the hell are they playing techno music in the background for a luxury watch?

As for the too many variants, I agree it’s also a horrible product marketing choice. People point to Seiko and the strong Japanese culture of collecting, which I agree as the genesis for their decision to do this. But it will not work with luxury watches. Seikos can cost a few hundred bucks, and you can have the gotta catch them all mentality with plenty of folks going deep into it to buy all the variants. It makes sense for Seiko. It won’t work with GS.

I hope they reduce the variants and focus on a smaller line of products, improve their branding (the partnership with Hodinkee and the videos + their more recent marketing is getting better), manage supply and demand of what’s released, slim down the thickness of their watches, and improve the bracelets. If GS does that, they’ll take a significant portion of the sub $10k market.


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