Tag Archives: Product Placement

Consumer Psychology: Understand your Customer

“…the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” ~ Peter Drucker

Introduction
Markets have influenced our acquiring/buying habits from the earliest days of our evolution, perhaps as early as bartering systems in pre-historic times. One tribe had an excess catch from hunting; another tribe had an excess of hides from last season’s catch and the market is born. The exchange of goods is motivated by need and its reptilian drive, “survival of the fittest”.

Fast forward to today’s modern marketing. As the science of marketing has developed, several concepts have gained wide-spread application. The primary focus today is that fully understanding and tapping into the consumer’s motivation, which can be deeply subconscious, results in brand loyalty in purchasing products and services. An example is Clotaire Rapaille’s approach that to understand the “collective unconscious” and thereby articulate the “code” opens the way to desired marketing success.

The foundation of marketing science is based on market research strategy, to know the customer and to fill needs that need filling. Understanding the customer can produce high-quality products, such as Apple has done. On the other hand, some marketing approaches have turned into manipulative endeavors to sculpt the customer to believe they need what’s being sold. This form of marketing is distorted and disturbing. This BLOG post reviews the history and development of marketing as a science, then explores the power of modern customer-centric marketing updated for the digital age, and then looks at the downside of manipulative marketing.

Background – Development of Marketing as a Science
Early development of marketing as a science included Louis Cheskin and Neil Borden. Cheskin contributed the “customer-centric” approach, rather than the top down approach that had been previously popular. The earlier approach to marketing was top-down, where a company would create a new product with the assumption that it would sell. A customer-centric approach is based on consumer feedback, often through customer focus groups and observation. This approach defines the needs of the customer thereby providing products and services that meet those needs. For example, through customer research, Cheskin helped engineer the success of margarine by changing it’s color from white to yellow, and advertising it’s similarity to butter (Cheskin, 1959).

Borden, in his seminal article, “The Concept of the Marketing Mix,” named the 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion (Borden, 1964). The evolution of technology has brought with it increasing speed as well as additional Ps: People and Performance. We have moved from a top down approach, where the consumer was thought to be one amongst many and easily influenced, to a customer centric approach, where individuality, instinctual desires and inner drives have become the focus of marketers.

Purpose of Marketing
I believe there is a true purpose to the original intent of marketing. Discovering human needs and providing the products or services that support those needs is the most effective formula for exchange in the marketplace.

In Making Meaning: How Successful Businesses Deliver Meaningful Customer Experiences, the authors state, “We envision a time when customers increasingly make their purchase decisions based on deeply valued meanings that companies evoke for them through their products and services – in other words, meaningful consumption – as opposed to simply responding based on features, price, brand identity, and emotional pitches” (Diller, Shedroff, & Rhea, 2008, p. 1).

For example, Apple captured the MP3 market with the iPod and iTunes. The iPod became an emotionally constructed appendage that represents much more than just a music device. It has become a cultural icon that people purchase not only for usefulness but also for a sense of belonging, an image of appearing “cool,” and much like a stylistic piece of jewelry, it comes in hip colors and unique styles.

The Evolution of Marketing Research
Concept Engineering, a market research approach developed by Gary Burchill at MIT, uses an ethnological immersion process called “Voice of the Customer.” Key people on a new product team visit customers, interviewing and observing them in order to discern what the true need is. They are especially trying to discover “latent needs,” needs or wants that the customer has but is not consciously aware of. They then target their new product or service to fill that need or want. This process of listening to the customer allows the new product developers to make meaning of the consumer’s direct experience. Innovation and customer satisfaction can follow (Burchill & Brodie, 1997).

Apple – A Case Example

Apple is a great example of the power of understanding customer needs and providing products and services to fill those needs. Apple has become a cultural icon for our technological era and this digital age. As I wrote in this week’s forum post, Steve Jobs announced Apple’s newest, latest, greatest and COOLest product this past January with global fan-fare: the iPad.

In typical Apple marketing fashion, Apple required customers to wait several months for the iPad’s release. During this time Apple launched a marketing blitz, including an iPad frenzy on Twitter. iTunes has just launched an update for interfacing with the iPad, just in time for the iPad’s release. There was a Netflix app available for the new iPad even before the iPad’s release. Many people tweeted that they were downloading it in preparation for getting their iPad. There were 240,000 pre-orders awaiting the iPad.

Apple has found the “code” for “cool,” at least for this digital generation. Apple is a cultural phenomenon, as the MacHead photo illustrates – “the cult of mac.” There are many who are fervently dedicated. The iPod is jewelry in addition to music, an emotional as well as pragmatic piece of “cool,” coming in different colors and styles to match each person’s individual uniqueness. Apple understands its customers and has successfully tapped into their latent needs, capturing the market by storm.

Daniel and I picked up our iPads on Saturday, documenting and interviewing folks in line. On the whole, the Saturday crowd are early adopters who do respond to Apple’s advertising. There were 2 mechanical engineers and another student, among many others. The wait was short. The Mac Genius who waited on us was knowledgeable and responsive. We left with our questions answered, our iPads and leather cases in hand, and BIG SMILES.

The picture below shows four generations of Apple users: Stephanie, her Mom, her Grandmom, and her son. This was a family adventure for them. Their smiles and excitement might indicate a bit about their psychology. They said they considered this a bonding experience as they upgraded their technology together and supported one another. They were really enjoying playing with their “new toys.” 

Apple sold 300,000 iPads on Saturday according to reported figures. This first rush of purchases is the “early adopters” phase. Apple’s next marketing target is to reach more of the general population.

Downside of Manipulative Marketing
There is a downside to current day marketing. The episodes we watched from Frontline highlighted the hidden and manipulative side of marketing in our digital culture. For example, the use of “product placement.” Product placement is a form of embedded marketing.  Branded goods are placed, without explicit advertising, in the storyline of movies, TV shows, or other programming. This is often not disclosed at the time the product is being featured. (Wikipedia).

Consider that the star of this week’s episode of “Modern Family” is YES: The iPad.  On the eve of the iPad’s launch – Phil Dunphy, one of the main characters in this season’s runaway hit sitcom and touted to be the best new comedy of the year, celebrates his birthday. He is all encompassed in his desire for an iPad. His wife misses the early morning rush to stand in line at the Apple store, eventually getting there only to find they are “sold-out”. Message to audience: get there early, get there or you will miss out. Eventually, Phil’s son manages to get an iPad from one of Phil’s friends through social networking. Phil gets the iPad, everyone is happy, all is right with the world.

Advertising Age reports that this was just a very clever storyline; using Apple is like using a cultural icon, and not product placement. How it’s perceived is another thing though. Advertising Age states, “Even without Apple plunking down any cash, last night’s episode was tantamount to a huge wet kiss of approval for a product that has yet to be tested by actual consumer use (Steinberg, 2010).”

Whether it was product placement or not, it caused significant stirrings and fans perceived it as such reporting being furious. A typical post on IBDb forums stated, “Tuned in for comedy, sat through a 30 min iPad commercial (Bershad, 2010).” Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and critical of manipulative marketing, either actual or perceived.

Marketing’s Message: CONSUME

The message most marketing is driving home to the consumer is MORE IS BETTER. While this is a fallacy, the marketer’s job is to create more and more desire linking satisfaction or fulfillment to their product or service, to continuously consume.

In The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, Barry Schwartz explores the world of excess and its impact on our daily lives. In a local supermarket, he found over 30,000 grocery items available, including 285 varieties of cookies. He concluded that having too many choices is bewildering, erodes our psychological well-being, and becomes restrictive rather than freeing (Schwartz, 2005).

So, in fact, this culture of consumerism is in a crisis of sorts. Product and service images come rushing towards us from every channel of media available, print, web, movies, tv, mail, email, and others. The message is clear and in many ways enticing. BUY! This onslaught has effected us and our culture. We have become a nation of consumers.

“If I were dictator of my own small island, it’s not capitalism that I would get rid of, it’s marketing. That ever-present force telling us we should be more beautiful, happier, drunker, skinnier, hipper, and whatever else it takes more money to attain.” ~ David “Oso” Sasaki

The Future of Consumerism

Internet marketing continues to develop forums for making the strong voice of consumers heard. Dee Dee Gordon, founder of Look-Look, an online trend tracker, focuses on the younger demographic, those 14 – 30. She is a key contributor to product development. She provides the voice for this younger digital generation by gathering data about their needs, wants, habits, and lifestyles, listening to them and describing their world.

Marketing will continue to be a major influence on our decisions. The more we understand our own motivations as well as the marketing techniques used by professionals, the more discerning we will become.

Source: catherineaseo.blogspot.com

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Gucci’s Digital Flagship: Crafting an Intensively Attentive Online Environment

On the eve of Gucci’s 90th anniversary as a luxury retailer, the firm’s CEO, Patrizio di Marco, describes why digital innovation is more than just a matter of relevance and modernity.

2681_patriziodimarco_mediumBesides being one of the most active luxury brands in the social media space – with nearly 3.2 million Facebook fans and a host of online initiatives including the live streaming of its catwalk shows and smart phone applications – Gucci is also the first luxury brand to launch a digital flagship.

“Gucci was in fact a pioneer when it launched its US e-commerce site in 2002 and we [still] believe that new media and new technologies represent a valuable complementary communication and business channel.”

“ The digital flagship is destined to become our highest volume store in the world ”

According to Di Marco, Gucci’s new online retail destination takes advantage of the most innovative technologies available today, integrating rich content, shopping and social networking to provide the site’s monthly 2.5 million unique visitors with an aesthetic and customer-oriented experience that replicates the one customers have when immersed in one of the brand’s signature flagships stores in Rome, New York, London or Shanghai.

From a strategic perspective, Gucci’s recent aggressive foray into digital media channels is a concerted effort to drive the digital flagship to outperform all brick-and-mortar store sales.

“The digital flagship is destined to become our highest volume store in the world, and should be the final destination for any search on the net: whether you are seeking out Gucci through a search engine, or are one of our 3.2 million Facebook fans, or are one of the over 840,000 people who have downloaded our Gucci App or are one of our 32,000 Twitter followers.”

While traditional luxury marketing focused on the protected environment of exclusive networks and publications, Gucci has been at the forefront of the movement which challenges the status quo by utilizing the web to expose the brand. In September of 2010, for instance, the brand invited its fans to virtually join the womenswear fashion show and even showcased the commentary and digital content of fans on a global site alongside the show’s live stream.

“One of the reasons Gucci has been successful in reaching new customers is because of the attention we have paid to the internet… The current site operates in 17 countries in 8 different languages, while e-commerce is offered in 12 countries with over 2000 skus available online.”

The brand has also integrated social media into the heart of the online shopping experience. A live Twitter feed, an interface with the Gucci official Facebook fan page and product page link to ready-to-wear items straight off the catwalk, allows visitors to truly engage with the brand.

Di Marco, together with Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director, have championed social networks as an integral part of the new site, suggesting they are a natural extension of the fashion shopping experience in the real world which is often shared and enjoyed with friends as well.

With such an active role in digital media, Gucci is not only using these channels as a very direct and content-rich form of outreach to tap into a broader audience but also to uncover metrics and insight on the site’s visitors in order to become a more attentive luxury brand – something which is difficult to do with customers entering brick-and-mortar stores.

“[Digital] is allowing us to develop more personal and constant relationships with current and prospective consumers. We are also able to understand the desires and attitudes of our customers more quickly and easily through the information that is available to us, which is helping us to be more responsive. Ultimately, our aim is to offer the same values and experience to an online customer or visitor as we do in our stores.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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Oscar de la Renta’s CEO: “why e-commerce works & how social media serves the fashion brand’s designers & merchandisers”

When the Improbable Is Also Profitable

2680_alexbolen_mediumBecause today’s luxury goods consumers are present across numerous channels, being there for them wherever they may be is a crucial aspect of business to get right, says Alex Bolen, Oscar de la Renta’s chief executive – and the man responsible for the fashion brand’s foray into e-commerce and social media.

“Our presence online has suggested to me that consumers are very quickly adjusting their behaviour to new modes of shopping and we need to really be out at the forefront of it. We have had many surprise anecdotes from having our brand online, anything from a $50,000 chinchilla coat sale through our website to completing a sale for a bridal dress via Twitter.”

For many luxury fashion brands, e-commerce has still not yet eclipsed the performance of physical stores but a very significant consumer appetite is present.

“ Our customer has taught us that there are moments where she will want to spend hours in a store shopping and there are moments where it’s a quick impulsive purchase ”

“When we first began thinking about e-commerce three to four years ago I was very sceptical that our brand would not fare well as, at that time, we were not particularly optimized in products that don’t have size requirements. Our bread and butter product is a $4 – 5,000 cocktail dress which is very fit intensive, in fact the perfectly fitted garment is an important part of our brand and this is something that seemed to me didn’t jive well with an online shopping experience.”

“I was wrong about that. Surprisingly we have had a very good reaction to our fit intensive products online. What we found in retrospect is that customers will order two different sizes and keep one of them.”

“Our customer has taught us that there are moments where she will want to spend hours in a store shopping and there are moments where it’s a quick impulsive purchase – as a luxury brand it’s important to us that we are present wherever our customer is.”

According to Bolen, e-commerce currently drives only 10% of the luxury fashion brand but it is growing very quickly. In a relatively short period of time, he forecasts Oscardelarenta.com to become the brand’s most prolific door.

One of the ways that the brand is extending its outreach to drive customers back to the site is through social media. Oscar de la Renta has taken a very creative approach to emerging media platforms such as creating a unique online personality for the brand on Twitter called OscarPRgirl. The brand uses Twitter as a channel to provide unique insight into the world of Oscar de la Renta and to engage with entirely new audiences as well supporting the interests of existing ones.

“We want to broaden our array of services to our customers as much as possible and services include consuming content. Everyone who goes to Oscardelarenta.com is a potential shopper – maybe they are a shopper today maybe they are a shopper in six months. As a brand we need to figure out a way to engage them and we need to offer services for wherever that person may stand on the potential customer spectrum.”“As a brand, we want to augment the initiatives online started by OscarPRgirl and speak more about what we are doing by explaining what our brand is about in more than just 140 characters. This means we want to extend our communications to areas such as rich video content and audio content.”

For a luxury brand like Oscar de la Renta, social media is proving to be much more than just a PR tool but one that is feeding business insights about the brand back to the company. “For Oscar de la Renta, social media has provided us with information on what our customers think, what they need, what they want and what they expect of us. From our jewellery offerings, accessories, scarves, etc. we have made many merchandising choices [and] many design choices based on feedback we got online.”“I am a big believer that you have to listen to your customers, and the online world has given us a new way to listen to our customers and we have learned to position ourselves based on what we hear.”

Source: Luxurysociety.com

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Four Powerful Strategies For How Luxury Brands Should Use Social Media

Luxury brands have a specific challenge in using social media: the need to retain the aura of exclusivity around their brands even as they embrace the inclusive, accessible nature of social media.

Here’s the solution: luxury brands should use social media in a manner that awareness of the brand’s promise is accessible while achievement of the brand’s promise is exclusive.

Here are four powerful strategies for how luxury brands should use social media to become accessible to fans but still remain exclusive for customers –

Luxury Brands Social Media

 

The four strategies are positioned along the accessibility-exclusivity continuum

1. Create awards, magazines and communities to interpret luxury lifestyle, fashion and design with your brand’s unique lens. Examples include LMVH NownessThierre Mugler WomanityD&G SwideWyndham Resorts Women on Their WayBMW Mini Space and Rolex Awards.

2. Leverage your brand’s desirability to create sharable digital artifacts. Examples include the Godiva virtual gift shop on Facebook and Hermes ties posters on Facebook.

3. Bring together designers, artists and customers to share how they interpret your brand. Examples include Burberry Art of the TrenchMac Artist TweetsCoach Design a Tote Contest and Sheraton Resorts Better When Shared.

4. Create a private invite-only social network like A Small World to underline your brand’s exclusivity. Examples include the Generation Benz community.

For more, do read (and share) our comprehensive guide to how luxury brands should use social media to become accessible to fans but still remain exclusive for customers.

Source: Thesocialcustomer.com

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Google Boutiques.com, a World of Fashion

Google unveils a new shopping portal, Boutiques.com. It showcases the power of search in the world of fashion. You can shop and choose from a variety of styles, designs and collections of famous designers and stylists. Shoppers can easily catch up with the trend because it allows users to save likes or dislikes in the site.

Shopping is the watchword today. Almost everyone around the globe is on a Shopping spree. Google understands this and thus, has launched a new shopping portal entitled Boutiques.com to add on to its almost full kitty of world class products and services. The portal, as they say, combines the goodness of both social and search. It allows for finding and discovering styles and fashions collections that have been put together by renowned celebrities, designers, stylists and fashion experts, to name a few.

Through this site, Google will be able to analyze the tastes of consumers by ways of a number of clicks, Google Trend data, computer vision and machine learning technology and ultimately, letting them know the entire world of fashion. As is the case with Youtube,  whenever a user logs into his/her account, the site would know the user’s taste for fashion and recommend those results that suit the taste.

Google got the technology from its acquisition of Like.com, along with which came the technology team behind it. They were already working hard on that and had also launched a site of their own called WhatToWear.com. The team at Google now consists of PhDs in Computer Science and Fashion Designers and Stylists. In fact, it is an amalgamation of computer nerds and fashion nerds. Altogether, the team is working on creating a new route to browse, find and buy world class fashion under one roof.

Source: Marketingconversation.com by ROBIN PANGILINAN

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DMD Lab Shares Fashion PR/Marketing Integration Tips

DMD Lab is a unique integrated fashion marketing agency working to establish up-and-coming fashion brands with a sustainable focus. DMD Lab is a pilot project of DMD Insight, an integrated marketing agency based in New York.

Agencies that offer services in integrated marketing have the capability to serve brands across various communication touch points. At it’s core, integrated marketing focuses on the consistent and strategic creation and delivery of marketing messages and materials, which may include media relations, events and other tactics in the PR realm.  The idea is that by taking an integrated approach to brand management and promotion, brands can develop more fully online as well as offline, so that over time, brands can enjoy greater sustainability and coverage.

Melanie Bender, DMD Insight associate and DMD Lab ‘Chief Scientist,’ sat down with her team and came up with 6 Tips on Integrated Marketing for Emerging Designers.

Enjoy!

First things first, get your positioning straight.

A great place to start is with mood boards. We recommend keeping it visual AND verbal, gathering images and words that reflect your label or its target customer(s). Begin broad and don’t be afraid to throw a lot out there, and then edit it back as you suss out exactly what the brand stands for.

Invest in your brand’s ‘look and feel’.

As you’re just starting out, logo and website design may not be on the top of your list. However, we urge new labels to really get behind it from the initial phase – we can’t tell you how often we see brands needing to do a logo or web redesign within their first 5 years, which is always a bit tricky as you must be careful not to confuse or alienate existing followers. To keep in mind: your logo, website ‘look and feel’, and hantags and collateral (1) should reflect your brand, but not be overtly tied to one collection such that it won’t make sense a few seasons down the road, and (2) should work together to create a cohesive brand identity.

Modular isn’t just for furniture.

When you’re just launching, you may have only limited funds for your website. Complex sites utilizing flash or extensive databases are pricey, so we recommend starting out simple and keeping it modular so it’s easy to add on as funds become available. Here’s a good place to start: Homepage, Collections, About, Contact, and Stockists, as well as a strong Content Management System (CMS). Keep in mind how you might implement e-commerce or other desired functionality in the future.

When it comes to PR, be strategic.

Do your homework, and make a list of outlets and sections you’d really like to see your brand get coverage in – think in print AND online. Keep in mind what’s on target and within reach for your label and clientele – you may well determine that Vogue is not right for your brand! Find out what editors are responsible for those sections, and send them a succinct but informative email introducing your label (PR Couture has some great resources on this) and don’t forget to include a few images. As you’re cultivating relationships with editors and bloggers, keep those big placements in mind.

Ready for your media launch?

Have your nuts and bolts in place. Prior to putting your brand out there and engaging media, you’ll want to have everything ready to quickly accommodate editorial requests that come in. That means loan sheets, an inventory tracker, a system for getting press hits up on your website or Facebook page, and someone to follow up on any outstanding sample loans. You may find that some of your best opportunities result from short-lead requests (lie ‘we need it tomorrow’), so it pays to have a good system in place from the get-go.

Get connected in online AND in person communities.

We’re seeing two distinct worlds emerging, and as an emerging brand you need to be active and engaging in both. You may find that you gravitate towards just one, but you know what – that’s also true for many of the people out there that you need to be connecting with. Choosing to explore only online OR in person networks could mean a host of missed connections and opportunities for your brand. If you’re really comfortable in only one of those realms, don’t be afraid to identify someone else on your team to take charge of the other.

Source: PRcouture.com by Crosby

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About Fashion Marketing

Very few industries influence our everyday lives as thoroughly as fashion marketing. From personal style to home style, it would be impossible to turn on the television, open a magazine or surf the Internet without some type of fashion targeting our senses.

History

  • From the flappers in the ’20s showing women how life could be, to the home improvement shows on television today, fashion has always been an important part of our daily lives. Before the advancements of the current media outlets, fashions were marketed in newspapers, magazines and other print media. With the advent of television, the fashion world exploded with new ways to market to the masses.
  • Significance

  • The fashion industry dictates style and creates millions of jobs worldwide. Fashion marketing is the face of this global giant, influencing people of every walk of life. From the style of our hair to the tip of our shoes to the colors in our home, fashion marketing plays a significant role. Whether you choose to follow the trends, your choices in the marketplace are determined by these corporate conglomerates.
  • Function

  • Once a style has been determined by the designers and the corporations, the marketing arm of fashion begins to create the vision for the public. Product placement in popular television shows, commercials, online and magazine ads, as well as billboards and newspaper articles are all dedicated to creating desire for this season’s trends.
  • Effects

  • After the industry establishes a trend, the general public makes purchasing decisions based on the choices made available by the fashion marketing machine. As popularity grows in a certain sector, the marketing venues expand. If a separate item can be created from the acceptance of one style, then the door is open for more development and the cycle continues. The end result is reflected in our individual style and in the way we live.

  • Potential

  • The efforts of one designer can have the potential to influence a generation. Consider the possibilities a new type of tennis shoe or backpack might have on the buying habits of young people. Think about the pictures we see daily of rail thin models and how this portrayal affects self-image. The fashion marketing industry not only helps create trends, but strongly affects how we see ourselves and our world.
  • Original Source: eHow By Katherine Kally, eHow Contributor

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