Fashion Marketing Planning
What’s in a fashion marketing campaign?
This article explores the components of a fashion marketing plan and how fashion brands can enhance their marketing strategy. Fashion marketing is concerned with meeting the needs, wants, and demands of your targeted consumer, and these goals are accomplished using the marketing mix.
Fashion marketing is distinct from fashion public relations in that fashion PR is solely concerned with communications and how the brand communicates with and resonates with it’s targeted 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 catering to mass markets. This concept simply means that the marketing strategy and implementation should have consumers and their needs, wants, and demands in the forefront and with a very defined market that it intends to target.
Niche marketing is more focused and cost-effective 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 fact this is unrealistic. Louis Vuittton’s price point does not 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 does not mean that the brand is off limits to consumers who do not exactly fall into the luxury market; it just means that the communications strategy and the brand identity would resonate more with consumers in the luxury market. This approach allows the business 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 are the consumers. Consumers dictate all the components of the marketing plan, and consequently, dictates what the product is. Keep in mind that today’s highly competitive global marketplace requires that businesses are consumer centric and focus on serving consumer’s needs. Consumers dictate what the pricing strategy will be, the points of distribution, the communications strategy, and the final product outcome. In the example given above regarding Louis Vuitton, the targeted consumers dictate what the associated cost and value will be for the brand.
There are two orientations of the product development phase. The business can be product-oriented and choose to develop products first then market it to its targeted markets. Alternatively, the business can be more market-oriented and segment its markets first to determine their specific needs, wants, and demands then create the product to meet those wants.
Due to the transient nature of the fashion industry, fashion marketers are under short marketing cycles since product needs are seasonal. As the seasons change so do trends and tastes. Consequently, marketers are required to constantly adjust their product offerings with time.
2) Price: Cost vs Value
The pricing strategy strictly relies on the market segmentation. With a consumer centric marketing focus, the pricing strategy would take into account the associated costs to the consumer and the value afforded to the consumer. Pricing may vary based on the market segment and their 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 branded flagship stores, independent retailers, department stores, and online distribution. The more distribution channels used the more intense the brand’s exposure and the greater the availability to consumer markets.
4) Promotions & Communications
The promotional strategy entails how the brand will attract its buyers and the series of activities used to communicate to the targeted consumers. The activities in this phase include developing the brand and its identity, sales promotions, public relations, product placement, advertising, event marketing, and sponsorships.