What’s in a fashion marketing campaign?
This article explores the components of a fashion marketing plan and how fashion brands can improve their marketing strategy. Fashion marketing aims to meet the needs, wants and demands of your target consumer, and these goals are achieved using the marketing mix.
Fashion marketing is distinct from fashion public relations in that fashion public relations is all about communication and how the brand communicates and resonates with its target consumers.
A fashion marketing plan focuses on four essential concepts: 1) product development, 2) distribution management, 3) communications, and 4) cost. In order to implement an effective marketing campaign, the marketing mix must be consumer-centric and focused on niche markets rather than mass markets. This concept simply means that the marketing strategy and implementation should have the consumers and their needs, wants and demands at the forefront and with a very defined market that it intends to target.
Niche marketing is more targeted and profitable and allows the marketer to focus on a particular market segment. Otherwise, a mass marketing campaign is everywhere and has no defined consumer to market.
As an example, imagine if the luxury brand Louis Vuitton was a large retailer and did not target a niche market. Essentially, it would mean that Louis Vuitton would market its products to the masses, when in fact that is unrealistic. Louis Vuittton’s price point does not allow the brand to meet the needs of the masses, which is why the brand is channeling all of its marketing communications to the luxury market. However, this does not mean that the brand is prohibited to consumers who do not exactly fall within the luxury market; it simply means that the communication strategy and brand identity would resonate more with consumers in the luxury market. This approach allows the company to remain competitive and efficient in its strategic approach.
Components of a fashion marketing plan
1) Product development
The most important part of the product development phase is not the product itself. The product is only the by-product of this phase. Consumers are the most important element in this phase. Consumers dictate all components of the marketing plan and, therefore, dictate what the product is. Keep in mind that today’s highly competitive global marketplace demands that businesses be consumer-centric and focus on the needs of consumers. Consumers dictate pricing strategy, distribution points, communication strategy and the end result of the product. In the example given above for Louis Vuitton, the targeted consumers dictate the associated cost and value for the brand.
There are two directions of the product development phase. The business may be product-oriented and choose to develop products first and then bring them to market in its target markets. Alternatively, the business can be more market oriented and segment its markets first to determine their specific needs, wants and demands, and then create the product to meet those wants.
Due to the transient nature of the fashion industry, fashion marketers are subject to short marketing cycles as product requirements are seasonal. As the seasons change, so do trends and tastes. Hence, marketers are required to constantly adjust their product offerings over time.
2) Price: cost vs value
The pricing strategy is strictly based on market segmentation. With a consumer-centric marketing orientation, the pricing strategy would take into account the associated costs to the consumer and the value placed on the consumer. Prices may vary depending on the market segment and the perceived value of the product or brand. A consumer who purchases a luxury brand perceives the product to be more valuable and, in turn, is willing to pay more for the product compared to a price-sensitive consumer or a mass-produced product with minimal differentiation.
3) Distribution management
The distribution strategy determines the convenience and availability of the product. Traditional distribution channels for fashion brands include branded flagship stores, independent retailers, department stores, and online distribution. The more distribution channels used, the greater the exposure of the brand and the greater the availability in consumer markets.
4) Promotions and communications
The promotional strategy involves how the brand will attract its buyers and the series of activities used to communicate to the targeted consumers. Activities in this phase include brand and identity development, sales promotions, public relations, product placement, advertising, event marketing and sponsorships.