Get expert tips for making your fashion and apparel brand stand out in this enormous market.
Here you’ll find:
- How to use the Ps of marketing for your fashion and apparel brand
- Tips for building your fashion marketing plan
- How to conduct proper audience targeting
- Tried-and-true strategies for long-term success
Few industries have a target market that can be filed under “everyone on the planet.”
Clothing is one of those industries.
I mean, from a legal standpoint, pretty much everyone has to wear something, right?
But even with such a huge customer base, fashion itself is subjective and hyper-segmented. There are countless styles and aesthetics across generations, cultures, and more.
That means that, if you want to succeed as a fashion brand, you’ve got to find your customers — and make it easy for them to find you. That’s where marketing comes in.
The 4 Ps of fashion marketing
It can be intimidating to enter the fashion and apparel space. So when you’re crafting your advertising plan, it can help to start by following the 4Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
These four elements basically apply to all industries and fields. Each piece of your marketing efforts will fall into one of these categories.
Let’s dig into how you can use each factor in your fashion marketing plan, ways to make them work for your unique business, and tips for mixing, matching, and modifying each element for a plan that’s perfectly tailored (see what I did there?) to your brand.
When planning your fashion marketing strategy, it’s wise to start with your target market or ideal customer persona.
Every choice you make should keep the end customer in mind. This can be especially helpful if you find yourself stuck in a business decision or with ad copy writer’s block.
Because consumers have a lot of options, they need a reason to pick you over the competition. Get to know your target audience by gathering as much information as possible about your existing customers and the wider market. Go beyond basic demographics like gender, age, and job title.
Begin building ideal client personas by asking questions such as:
- What terms do they use to search for your apparel online?
- What social media platforms do they like best?
- What’s their income range?
- What do they look for in an apparel brand (price, inclusive sizing, sustainability practices, etc.)?
Work towards having a deep understanding of your customers’ values, needs, and wants. From there, you can use all the marketing channels at your disposal to speak directly to them about your products in a way that resonates.
Understanding your audience and keeping them top of mind includes knowing what your ideal buyer can afford.
More importantly, you have to know what they’re willing to pay for, aka what factors they consider when it comes to price. Knowing what their price point as well as what qualities matter to them will be the reason they pick you over every other brand in their price range.
For example, fast-fashion brands probably have a different pricing model and creation process than brands with a focus on sustainability. It also means their customers have different priorities when it comes to the clothing they buy and why.
Brands that focus on quality, long-lasting pieces often come with a higher pricing model — for good reason. Often, these apparel items are more evergreen and made by skilled, fairly paid workers with quality materials that can last years.
When you’re thinking about pricing, consider what you’re selling and what your target customers can and will pay for them. If your items are on the pricier side, help the buyer understand why through messaging and product descriptions that highlight value.
Pro tip: Word choice matters. Terms like “timeless” and “elegant” will appeal to a different audience than “edgy” and “sporty.” Using the right descriptive terms in your SEO and PPC campaigns can be instrumental to their success.
Unsurprisingly, the fashion and apparel e-commerce (and even m-commerce) market has exploded in the past few years. More brands continue to crop up online, through digital marketplaces, social media storefronts, and their own selling sites.
Of course, where you sell your products will affect how you market them.
Apparel items sold in a physical store that stocks a variety of high-end goods will likely attract buyers with a higher budget. If you have your own brick-and-mortar location, you may have fewer shoppers overall but more high-intent customers.
These days, the ease and convenience of online shopping is hard to beat. And with social selling, customers can purchase items without ever having to leave their favorite apps.
Promotion efforts take all the other marketing factors into consideration. After all, what good is a stellar campaign if no one ever sees it?
Determining the best outlets for promoting your fashion brand may take time and experimentation. Depending on your budget and goals, you can test out channels like paid search, paid social, and display campaigns, then analyze results to see what resonates most.
Creating a fashion marketing plan
If you’re just starting to map out your apparel marketing plan, go ahead and create your mission statement. This can be your North star to refer to when making future marketing decisions.
Next, add some goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can track how your campaigns are measuring up and performing. Don’t forget to include your detailed buyer personas so you can ensure your plan is in line with them at every stage.
From there, detail what strategies you’ll use and which you’ll avoid. When it comes to choosing social media, advertising, and content channels, use the ones your buyers use and avoid those with little to no members of your target market. Let data from market research guide these decisions, along with your budget.
After that, you can begin to create paid campaigns and organic content to start building up your search engine marketing efforts.
Lastly, take time to identify your competitors. You can analyze their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses to help you compete. This is also the time to define who will be contributing what elements so that every team member knows their responsibilities and expectations.
Pro tip: Eco-friendly fashion brands in the U.S. and Canada now have greater visibility on Microsoft Bing thanks to its new ethical shopping hub, according to Search Engine Land. (Just another reminder that Google’s not the only game in town!)
Tips for long-term fashion marketing success
Creating a strategic, well-thought-out marketing plan will keep your fashion marketing efforts organized and on track.
But long-term success requires regular testing, iterating, and analyzing to stay in the game. Here are a few strategies for long-term success.
Be flexible. Brands with rigid strategies have a harder time shifting tactics when something isn’t working. They’re also less able to pivot when challenges arise. When the pandemic began, the ones who made it had multiple sales channels on and offline and/or immediately switched strategies to adapt.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. It may seem like a good idea to saturate the market — start advertising on every platform, maintain accounts on all social media, start a blog and YouTube channel, and create an email campaign all at once. But spreading yourself and your team too thin can result in unmet expectations and unhappy customers.
Draw attention to abandoned carts. Most of us have experienced an interrupted online shopping experience, whether you get distracted by another tab or have to hop on a call. And since nearly 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts at some point, it’s wise to have an automated email or remarketing campaign in place to circle back with potential buyers.
Make your mark on social media. From hashtags to carousel ads, there’s a world of (cost-effective) marketing possibilities on the major social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. Plus, apparel brands of all sizes have seen success with influencer marketing partnerships. Spend some time exploring to see which platforms and ad types are right for you.
As the fashion and apparel industry grows and evolves, brands have to do the same if they want to stay relevant.
By having a strong, thoughtful fashion marketing plan in place and understanding your audience, you can focus on creating cutting-edge digital campaigns that speak directly to them and keep them coming back for more, season after season.