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.

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Fashion Or Comfort – Which Is More Important?

It’s all over the magazines, frequently featured on television, and even some newspapers are in on the game. Advice on what to wear and what not to wear. The people we surround ourselves with tend to be all too happy to share their thoughts on our outfits. It’s hard to avoid, because the message is everywhere, and if we don’t follow the trend, we’re told we’ve “let ourselves go”.

But does it really matter? After all, the main purpose of clothing is to keep us warm and safe from the environment that surrounds us. Clothes are meant to be functional. Without fur or feathers to keep us comfortable, we rely on different materials to do the job for us. It certainly is nice when clothes look attractive, but no matter how appealing something is, if it doesn’t feel pleasant against the skin and if it is a pain to wear, why should we subject ourselves to it simply because it’s fashion?

One fashion statement has divided women’s opinions for decades – the high heeled shoe. Some women wear them because it’s generally thought that they make legs look good. Some wear them because they make you look taller. Some actually find them comfortable to wear, whilst others can’t manage to walk more than a few steps in them without twisting an ankle. They can cause foot problems, leg and back pain, all in the name of fashion. Is it worth it?

The answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Generally speaking, the older we get, the less we care about what’s in and what’s out. We’ve decided on what we like to wear and what we feel comfortable in, so when we go on a shopping spree, we’re likely to get more of the same or similar. We may get the occasional “fancy” item for special occasions, but if we like our jeans and trainers, that’s what we will return to on a day to day basis.

Like any industry, fashion is about money. The constant change in trends that makes people change the content of their wardrobes throughout the year is designed to keep us spending our cash. If fashion magazines told us that the latest must-have is, in fact, the same must-have as last year, and the year before that, people would only replace that item if it were damaged or if it didn’t fit anymore. To keep customers on their toes, and to keep people in the industry in work, fashion must keep evolving.

That doesn’t mean that we have to follow along. Not unless we want to. There’s no point in purchasing clothes just because they’re trendy if we cannot afford or long to do so. Yes, pretty clothes can help when we want to attract a partner, but unless that partner is part of the fashion industry or someone who follows the latest trends to the dot, they’re unlikely to care all that much.

My advice is to go for what you like, regardless of what the media tell you to wear. If you want to look good, just about anything will work if it’s suitable for your body type and skintone. If you like to dress to impress, go for it. If you like your high heels, go for it (though I wouldn’t wear them all the time – give your feet the break they deserve). If you like your clothes made for comfort, feel free. Don’t let anyone tell you you’ve let yourself go just because you like your hooded tops. They don’t have to wear them.

Everyone should be free to dress how they like. If you like what you wear, it helps you feel confident, and that’s far more attractive than the latest designer dress.

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The Importance of Following Fashion Trends

If you’re into fashion, you’ll understand why the world celebrates Fashion Week like it was Christmas. You’ll understand why they trip over their own feet trying to get a front-row seat and ogling at the super models who stride down the runway in the latest seasons’ collections by the several of the world’s renowned fashion designers. Fashion trends are something fashionistas cannot live without. It is their lifeline to what is hip, cool, fresh and fierce.

Fashion tells us a lot about a person, the way they dress, the way they put their outfits together indicates the kind of person they are on a daily basis. Even people who profess not to care about how they look still tell a story about who they really are or what they strive to be. One cannot say that they don’t care about fashion but not look a certain way, whether it’s to their detriment or success.

Fashion is not just wearing clothing that protects us from the elements. Fashion trends tell us what to wear when we are down in the dumps and when we are high up in the clouds. Fashion trends inspire chemistry and can be the start of a very beautiful love affair, as well as the end of one.

If the only permanent thing in the world is change, then this is certainly manifested in the world of fashion where change occurs as fast as a blink of an eye. It can quite challenging and confusing to follow fashion trends but follow them is what people do and do well in most cases. Case in point would be the purported fashion icons who are able to whip up outfits from the most casual to the most glamorous at any given day of the week or at any time of the day for that matter. They can be having a bad day but you wouldn’t know by their perfectly put-together outfits and the smiles they flash at the paparazzi. Paris Hilton could have just broken up with her latest guy during the morning while wearing designer jeans and top and party that same night in a silvery wisp of a dress.

But just who exactly starts these fashion trends and why do people follow them? Musicians like rock stars, athletes, actors and actresses and even political figures have been credited to start fashion trends. When someone influential decides they want to tell the world that being Emo is cool, expect the rest of the world to embrace the Emo trend and to see the world from one eye. People follow fashion trends are what categorize us as individuals or groups, what makes us stand out or what defines us to the rest of society. Fashion trends are frippery that makes us look like the rest of the world.

Another reason why people follow fashion trends is because they want to participate in a never-ending popularity contest. Trends in high fashion or “haute couture” are always carefully scrutinized and if found wanting, you can be sure to see it everywhere you look – on the runways, on TV shows, in the movies and even on your next-door neighbor. The trends can have price tags that can feed an entire third-world country but people would still go ahead and get the look. It all boils down to the fact that we all want to be liked and loved and this is one surefire way to have just that.

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