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 improve their marketing strategy. Fashion marketing is concerned with meeting the needs, wants, and demands of your target consumer, and these goals are achieved through the marketing mix.
Fashion marketing differs from fashion PR in that fashion PR is solely concerned 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 niche-niche rather than mass-market. 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 to which 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.
As an example, imagine that the luxury brand Louis Vuitton was a mass retailer and did not serve a niche market. Essentially, this would mean that Louis Vuitton would market its products to the masses, when in reality this is unrealistic. Louis Vuittton’s pricing does not allow the brand to cater to the masses, so the brand channels all its marketing communications to the luxury market. However, that does not mean that the brand is out of reach of consumers who do not 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 by-product of this phase. The most important component of this phase is the consumers. Consumers dictate all components of the marketing plan and consequently dictate what the product is. Keep in mind that today’s highly competitive global market requires companies to be consumer-centric and focused on meeting their needs. Consumers dictate what the pricing strategy, the distribution points, the communication strategy and the end result of the product will be. In the example 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 company may be product-oriented and choose to develop products first and then market them to its target markets. Alternatively, the company may be more market-oriented, segmenting its markets first to determine their specific needs, wants, and demands, and then creating the product to meet those wants.
Due to the transitory 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.
2) Price: cost vs value
The pricing strategy is strictly based on market segmentation. With a consumer-centric approach to marketing, 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 who buys a luxury brand perceives that the product is 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’s exposure and the greater the availability for 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 with the target consumers. Activities in this phase include brand and identity development, sales promotions, public relations, product placement, advertising, event marketing, and sponsorships.