Creating a marketing plan for your fashion brand gives your brand clarity and direction. It ultimately becomes the heart of your business, by giving you a space to explore your brand, get it down on paper and a tangible product to be able to share with investors and team members ensuring that everyone understands and is working from the same intent. Creating a marketing plan will help you to ……
- Summarise your business
- Understand the industry situation
- Recognise and explore your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Strengthen your success rate
- Add value to your brand
- Research and analyse your competitors
- Define your customer
- Analyse and define your brand identity
- Strengthen your product
- Create a clear strategy
- Set clear objectives and goals
- Explore business growth and expansion potential
“In essence the planning process aims to Clarify an organisations Current marketing position, define what the business is aiming to achieve and determine the most effective strategies to use.”
Every brand needs a marketing plan but within fashion, a marketing plan is quite specialised, this is why I have written a step by step guide to help you understand what needs to go into it. This manual will cover everything that a fashion brand needs to create a successful marketing strategy to help grow your business. Creating a specialised fashion marketing plan will help to identify everything from who your target consumers are, how you will reach them and how to create and implement a successful marketing strategy.
Fashion in its self is marketing and it is by this nature why it is of paramount importance that fashion, in particular, gets it’s marketing right! Without strong marketing would we have Valentino red or the channel jacket? However, it’s also important to note that fashion marketing should never stick to static rules just as fashion itself doesn’t, rules are there to be broken in fashion and so they too must be broken in fashion marketing but let’s not allow that dress to fall apart! To be successful with fashion marketing you need to build upon traditional Principles but be prepared to use innovative ways to stay ahead of the game. It’s also important to implement room for growth and pivot if necessary.
Fashion knows how to be at the forefront of today’s shifting tides in digital marketing and has a lot to teach other industries. Fashion knows how to be creative, how to lure and how to dream, and it is these qualities that are a winning combination for marketing. However because of this winning combination that consumers have an expectation. Consumers expect more from marketing these days, they need experience, trust, instant gratification and relevance.
Many of areas of traditional marketing have been turned on their head due to the fast pace in which technology is growing. Brands need to be ready to jump on to the next big social media platform, they need to interact personally with their consumers more than ever and listen to them.
Marketing fashion should take a holistic approach and bridge the gap between the certainty of business and the magic of fashion, it is as relevant to couture as it is to an independent label. Marketing is the common ground, Creating a successful marketing plan is where we join the dots.
“Startups also have a true North, a destination in mind: creating a thriving and world changing business. I call that a startups vision. To achieve that vision, startups employ a strategy, which includes a business model, a product road map, a point of view about partners and competitors and ideas about who the customer will be. The product is the end result of this strategy.”
What should be included in a fashion marketing report?
This area is used to write a summary of the marketing plan. The executive summary helps anyone that you will need to share your market report with whether that be staff or investors to get an overall view of your business and market situation. It should be written very concisely and act as an elevating pitch. The summary should outline the who’s, where, when, how and why of the marketing plan. There is no guideline for how long the summary should be, and it often reflects, to some degree, the length of your entire proposal. You should include a brief introduction to the business. If the brand is already established this should include a very brief history. Next, you can include your mission statement to help people understand your motives. The summary should concisely highlight the most important information for each section. Therefore this should include brief snapshots of the industry situation, competitors, consumers, brand positioning and marketing mix, your objectives and keys to success and implementation. Remember these should be just the key points from each of these areas so try asking yourself, what is the most important information in this section that makes a difference to my business? Think about key components of the market report, whats special about your brand what are your strength what makes you stand out from your competitor’s whats different about you? Investors are looking for the fundamentals, what you do better than anyone else.
Within this section, we look at two main areas the macro and micro-environments that include a PEST analysis and a SWOT analysis. (don’t panic if you are new to these terms all is revealed in the manual.) In this section, a lot of research should take place both within your business and outside of it. Many external factors can contribute to the success or failure of a business and if a business is able to recognise its strengths and weaknesses early on it will be in good stead to use them to their advantage and see both opportunities and threats before they arise.
Knowing your consumer is an imperative part of setting up and running a successful business. To understand your consumer’s behaviour, motivation, interests, lifestyle, shopping habits and desires will give you a head start to producing the right products and marketing your products towards your consumer. Now, remember the consumer is the person consuming your products (the one wearing it) So if you are selling children’s wear it is highly likely that your customer will be a parent and your consumer the child, in these cases its important to look at both customers and consumers. If you were, however, looking at selling your jewellery range to a store your customer would actually be the store and your consumer the one who wears it. In these cases it is up to you how you want to piece together this section of your plan, you should think about who you will be sharing your marketing plan with and what your main aims are for creating your plan. Within the fashion marketing manual we explain many methods that will help you collate your consumer analysis.
As a business, it is important to continuously monitor competitors but is of paramount importance when starting a brand to thoroughly research your competitors to gain useful insight. Research methods such as comparative shopping, observation and mystery shopping are all ways to collate useful information.
Researching your competitors is very important. After having completed some consumer research and market research you should have a fair idea who your competitors are however competitors will always depend on many factors. Let’s say you are setting up a fashion label that sells contemporary handbags to young fashion-forward ladies. These young ladies may also wish to spend their money on other items such as shoes, jewellery and make-up, therefore the other brands that these ladies are interested in also become your competitors, but not a direct competitor to your product. It will also be based on the way your consumer shops if you are an online brand you might choose to look just at other online brands however if you are a concession within a department store you would be looking at the other concessions within the department store and the high street outside the department store. Although you may see that your brand has some close and direct competitors it is important to think outside of the box as well.
“When garments leave the factory they are only clothes or apparel. Only when the marketers get hold of them do they magically become ‘fashion’.”
The word brand originally comes from farmers branding their animals, making a mark that will last forever. A horrible thought I know, but you get where I’m going with this. A brand is so much more than a logo, a tagline, packaging and a website. A brand is how people feel about you, What people say about you, a consumers experience and expectations.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Seth Godin – Marketing Author
So is your brand defined by your customer? Well strictly speaking it is, but if you do a great job of communicating your brand’s identity, essence, values and personality then your customer will see your brand for what you set out to achieve. Within our manual, we will look at areas such as your manifesto, marketing mix, and positioning strategy. In this area, you can delve deeply into possible promotional vehicles, in today’s world where these are ever growing and more exciting than ever. Startup businesses have so many options that are not only creative and unique but many are totally achievable for free or very small costs.
Strategy and implementation
Now its all very well having a great marketing plan but it’s no good if it sits in a draw and isn’t put into place. This is where strategy and implementation come into play. Your marketing plan must do more than just say what you want to happen. By creating strategies and implementation maps it turns your marketing plan from an ideas process to a practical one. It also helps to break big tasks down, making them more manageable and less overwhelming. By adding time frames and deadlines you are able to set structure and discipline, although it’s always good to remember to be open to pivoting if necessary. Within this area we look into:
- Financial strategy
- Promotional timelines
- Social media strategy
- Implementation maps
- Expansion goals
This is a space for you to summarise all of your findings. Recap your executive summary, however, do not repeat it just outline some key points and link them to your findings. Don’t be scared to make a subjective statement, if you have a point to prove, prove it. What were the benefits of your findings, is there a gap in the market that your filling? Use your conclusion as a chance to relate to your reader, if you want to share your report with investors or staff, aim the conclusion towards them. Give a human response and perspective.
Who is the fashion marketing manual for?
Fashion Marketing Thread aims to help fashion brands and marketers with their fashion marketing needs from research to branding to content strategies. This guide is written for entrepreneurs starting out, fashion designers starting a new label, existing fashion brands looking to re-evaluate and update their marketing plan, marketers working with fashion brands and students wishing to expand their knowledge.