So the question resounds aloud in my head. What is fashion marketing? People are asking me that. Though I’ve covered it briefly in the FAQs section, it cannot justify why i call myself a Fashion Marketing Consultant. This post will once and for all, hopefully, explain what i fancy my job to be. And you as a boutique owner or fashion follower will know precisely what makes fashion tick.
I realized that in trying to answer this question, I will have to answer some more pressing questions. The answers perceived by people vary considerably, but from what i know to be true, the following is what i could make of it. Let’s break it down right away.
What Is Fashion?
We all know that fashion is a personal expression of style and creativity.But if we had to look at it from the standpoint of fashion marketing, here’s what it looks like:
1) Fashion is change.
Fashion is essentially the rising and falling of trends and fads. It exists in every industry, from medicine to pop music. But solely concentrating on garments and accessories as fashion for the purpose of answering this question, we will see that this kind of fashion depends on seasonality.
Seasonality brings with it the task of developing new products for the customers at the expense of existing products. This process is criticized for the amount of loss it entails, but keeping the customer forefront in mind, who like continual change in fashion products, fashion keeps evolving. However, the major drawback for the industry is that this rate of change and evolution is much slower and unpredictable than the industry would like.
2) Fashion is about creating.
In order that fashion change continually, the industry must create new fashion. This involves a lot of design skill and has a creative component to it. In fact, fashion design is viewed as a work of art in its own right but this is confined to places like France and Italy. The majority of fashion products sold do not come under this category, but the inspiration for that may very likely have come from art. Consequently, fashion and creativity go hand in hand.
3) Fashion as a market research.
This seasonal change of fashion may require high design skills of some creative personnel who produce goods from very basic to almost rare and elaborate. But at the same time it is necessary to know what the customer is willing to wear, buy and needs. Fashion has to stand on market research if it wants to evolve in a way that businesses can grow successfully.
What Is Marketing?
Does this question bring to your mind an annoying salesman knocking at your door? I thought so! I’m afraid to show you wrong, but marketing is much nobler than that at the least.
Marketing is a management process concerned with anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer needs in order to meet the long term goals of the organization. There are many activities and techniques used to promote and communicate a fashion product to the general public.
More than anything else, marketing is a philosophy from the customer’s viewpoint. This way all businesses have to pass the acid test of “if we do not meet the needs of customers, we do not thrive”. Notice that the notion of seeing the business from
the perspective of the customer does not preclude concern for proﬁt. In fact, if proﬁt is not actively sought then the ﬁrm’s ability to meet customers’ needs in the long term will be greatly diminished.
Fashion firms depend on customers making repeat purchases and this customer loyalty comes from providing fashion products which are stylish, durable, comfortable and perceived value for money is met.
What Is Fashion Marketing?
“So is fashion marketing simply: fashion + marketing?”
Yes, fashion marketing begins at fashion + marketing. And that in itself is very complicated. Really, merging two different types of creativity is no mean task. But it goes much beyond that by having its own process of implementation. It is also different from all other types of marketing. The very nature of fashion, where change is intrinsic,
gives different emphasis to marketing activities. Fashion is the only industry where marketing has to be excessively glamorous and visual.
Thus, as my answer to the title of this post:
“Fashion marketing comprises of creating such experiences for customers that increases their desire for fashionable garments and understanding of their personal image in those garments. It helps connect people with designers while giving them what they need and what they want. It is a means through which creativity spreads from the designer to the wearer. Fashion marketing also plays a significant role in the dynamics of human groups, by directly impacting how people dress up and, consequently, their collective behaviour.”
But this is not enough I know. You may want to also know what fashion marketers do. Practical question. The title in itself comprises a variety of tasks, but mostly here’s what they do:
1.Fashion Marketing Research
Research involves learning about competitor shares and trends shares. It also includes interviewing or discussing with potential customers to make discoveries about their or competitor’s brand.
2. Fashion Product Management
A design manager may be concerned with producing a range of shirts for a major retailer. The shirts must co-ordinate with other garments such as jackets, trousers and ties, all of which may be provided by other manufacturers.The design manager must collect and pass on information to ensure that designers are adequately briefed. Later the manager will be required to sell the designs at a presentation to the retailer, usually in the face of ﬁerce competition. The design manager’s knowledge of the retailer’s customers and an awareness of his/her own company costs will enable an effective marketing function.
3. Fashion Promotion
How will you communicate to a small cafe that your manufacturing unit has produced a new line of work-wear for the staff of cafes? This can be done in so many ways, so that the cafe will buy those uniforms from you. On careful research, you may settle on brochures as a means of communication. The brief to be given to the person preparing visual and textual material for the brochure will include the copy for it, an estimate of the number of brochures needed and a list of addresses – essential fashion marketing tasks.
4. Fashion Distribution
An owner of a retail outlet selling her own specially designed millinery wishes to expand. She needs to research a few options including franchising her business, obtaining concessions in selected department stores and linking with a leading womens-wear designer to produce new complementary ranges each season. Marketing research and analysis of the status of the business along with the preparation of a future marketing strategy are the major fashion marketing activities needed here. And beware, each type of fashion business will need it’s own kind of strategy, and that requires we start the creative process of planning from scratch. Every time.
5. Fashion Product Positioning and Pricing
A major retailer discovers that a competitor is selling imported silk lingerie similar in design and quality to its own, but at prices that are 20% lower. A fashion marketing decision must be made about the positioning and pricing of the product, taking into consideration the strategic goals of the company as well as the price sensitivity of its customers.
And what does a fashion e-marketer do? [If there’s such a title, you say. But now-a-days, that’s the trending one 😉 ]
Apart from the above tasks, e-marketing will also consist of:
1) Website brief and design draft- we want the most conducive UI for the customer to partake in and enjoy the shopping experience.
2) Technical aspects of Promotions Online- includes coupon creation and pricing matters and how smoothly a customer can receive a promotion (includes email marketing).
3) Search engine Optimization for the brand- we want to bring the fashion brand ahead of all other brands on every search engine.
4)Social Media planning and Management for the brand- fashion being so visual and social, social media is an indispensable channel for marketing a brand.
5) Content writing for all the brand’s online presence- creating copy for the online channel is a whole different ball game together. Because here content can be dynamic, interactive and excessively graphical.And sometimes, real-time too.
And with this, I hope I have answered the question in question to the best of my ability! If you have anything you would like to ask or discuss, I’m just a comment away!
*NOTE- Much of my reference for this post has been made from Fashion Marketing, 3rd Edition, by Mike Easey.