What is 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 deals with satisfying the needs, wants and demands of its target consumer and these goals are achieved through the marketing mix.
Fashion marketing differs from fashion PR in that fashion PR deals solely with communications 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. To implement an effective marketing campaign, the marketing mix must be consumer-centric and focus on niche markets rather than catering to mass markets. This concept simply means that the marketing strategy and implementation must have 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 focused and profitable and allows the marketer to focus on a particular market segment. Otherwise, a mass marketing campaign is all over the place and lacks a defined consumer to market to.
As an example, imagine if the luxury brand Louis Vuitton was a mass retailer and did not cater to a niche market. Essentially, this would mean that Louis Vuitton would market its products to the masses, when in reality this is unrealistic. Louis Vuitton’s price tag doesn’t allow the brand to cater to the masses, which is why the brand channels all of its marketing communications to the luxury market. However, that doesn’t mean the brand is out of reach for consumers who don’t exactly fall into 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 effective in its strategic approach.
Components of a fashion marketing plan
1) Product development
The most important component of the product development phase is not the product itself. The product is just the byproduct of this phase. The most important component of this phase is the consumers. 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 requires businesses to be consumer-centric and focus on meeting their needs. Consumers dictate what will be the pricing strategy, the distribution points, the communication strategy and the final result of the product. In the example given above regarding Louis Vuitton, the target consumers dictate what the associated cost and value will be for the brand.
There are two orientations of the product development phase. The business may be product-oriented and choose to develop products first and then market them to their target markets. Alternatively, the company may be more market-oriented and segment its markets first to determine their specific needs, wants, and demands, and then create the product to satisfy those wants.
Due to the transient nature of the fashion industry, fashion marketers find themselves in short marketing cycles as product needs are seasonal. As the seasons change, so do trends and tastes. Consequently, marketers must constantly adjust their product offerings over time.
two) Price: cost versus value
The pricing strategy is strictly based on market segmentation. With a consumer-centric marketing approach, the pricing strategy would take into account the associated costs to the consumer and the value offered to the consumer. Prices may vary depending on the market segment and the perceived value of the product or brand. A consumer buying 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 product that is mass produced with minimal differentiation.
3) Distribution Management
The distribution strategy determines the convenience and availability of the product. Traditional distribution channels for fashion brands include flagship brand stores, independent retailers, department stores, and online distribution. The more distribution channels used, the more intense the brand exposure and the greater the availability for consumer markets.
4) Promotions and Communications
Promotional strategy involves how the brand will attract its buyers and the series of activities used to communicate with target consumers. Activities in this phase include branding and identity development, sales promotions, public relations, product placement, advertising, event marketing, and sponsorships.