There is a common misconception that marketing revolves around advertising, public relations, social media, email blasts, offline promotions, direct mail and other forms of business communications. However, this is just one branch of the tree. All these activities fall under the ambit of marketing communication, commonly known as 'Marcom'.
Marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of any business, be it selling tangibles like apparel, accessories, footwear etc., or intangibles like services, banking, or hospitality. Similarly, fashion marketing is about advertising and promoting fashion or a brand to the target audience via print, online or in-person means.
Why is fashion marketing significant for a brand?
For any fashion brand, marketing is the right way to narrate the story of the brand, the designer and the product. It helps the buyers connect to the brand and its story. When done with the right approach at the right time, the chances of a higher success rate increase twofold. As good designs play a significant role in the success of a product, the correct type of marketing can push sales significantly.
In the fast-paced fashion industry, the marketing segment has become unique. Compared to other industries, fashion marketing requires frequent changes, and now with the success of fast fashion, the industry is taking giant leaps and that too in a very short period. This is why the fashion marketing cycle is short compared to other marketing industries.
The marketing process of a product comprises four key elements or the four Ps - called the 'marketing mix'.
What is the history of 'marketing mix'?
The term marketing mix became popular among the masses after Neil H. Borden in 1964 published an article, 'The Concepts of the Marketing Mix. Borden says, "When building a marketing program to fit the needs of his firm, the marketing manager has to weigh the behavioural forces and then juggle marketing elements in his mix with a keen eye on the resources with which he has to work."
Initially, James Culliton used the marketing mix to describe his manager as a sort of mixture of the marketing ingredients in the real sense. These ingredients included planning, product, branding, price, personal selling, distribution channels, packaging, advertising, promotions servicing, display, physical handling and analysis of the various facts. These ingredients were later grouped as the four P's in marketing.
The four Ps
These four Ps are the significant elements responsible for creating a perfect mixture and act as a catalyst in the growing sales of products/services.
The product is the heart of any marketing mix. It is a good/service that fulfils consumers' needs or desires and is marketed to the target audience.
It can also be defined as a bundle of utilities with physical aspects such as design, volume, brand name, etc. A good product strategy also comes with detailed planning. Some questions to consider when you are working on a product include:
- What is your product?
- What does your product do? Does the product meet an unfilled need or provide a novel experience?
- Who is your product's target audience?
- How is your product different from what others offer?
The type of product and the need it fulfils impacts its perceived value. This factor allows organizations to price products profitably.
The price of a product directly influences sales volume and business profits. There are two ways that pricing influences marketing performance- budget and efficiency. During product marketing, it is essential to set a price that reflects the market trends and is affordable for consumers yet profitable. When the products are priced lower than competitors, the chance customers will click on your ad and buy your product increases. These higher click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates are signs of healthy, effective marketing campaigns. In the last decade, the price has become the most critical pillar of the marketing mix as more people make their purchases online.
Several internal and external factors also affect the pricing, for example, marketing objectives, product life cycle, consumers, competition, economic conditions and government.
A place in the marketing mix is how a product reaches the end consumer or, in layman's terms, the site where the customers will buy the product. There are three specific aspects of the availability of a product- it should be available at the right place, at the right time and in the right quantity.
However, with the exponential growth of the e-commerce market, 'place' is becoming less and less of a differentiating factor as people increasingly make their purchases online.
Over the years, this 'P' of the marketing mix has garnered maximum attention as the number of marketing channels has increased enormously. Promotion plays a significant role in driving the sales of the service/product. In this step of the marketing process, the organization thinks about how to publicize or advertise its product. Along with it, the organization will discuss brand messaging, brand awareness, and lead generation strategies.
The step also involves decisions related to advertising, salesforce, direct marketing, public relations, and budgets. The promotion also aims at building an organization's reputation rather than just increasing sales; this kind of promotion is known as public relations.