Integrated Marketing Communication Strategy for a Clothing company
Communication is the most important and crucial aspect of any organization to interact with its internal and external stakeholders. These involve employees, customers, competitors, investors, suppliers, distributors, regulators, etc. The ways and methods of communication have to be developed to suit the requirement of the target audience (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010). More so that modern organizations are adopting an integrated approach to interact, communicate, persuade and attract the customer segment towards their organization and its offering in terms of products and services.
This medium-sized organization has to communicate effectively with the young target segment in order to build its brand identity and equity in a manner to again bring in sales and profitability. For this purpose it seeks to identify and define the right segment and their profiling, under the creative positioning which would be most appropriate, build on a comprehensive IMC plan, execute it in the market, allocate budgeting parameters to it, develop measurement metrics and monitor it for effectiveness (Shaw, 2012).
Identify Customer Segment
The clothing company has identified the youngsters in the age bracket of 14-22 years as their target audience. This is the category of teenagers to early higher education students but before they join the workforce. Their consumer profile can be as follows:
Demographics- age 14-22 years, both gender, student category, pursuing education.
Socio-Cultural- culturally liberal, modern values, western influence, independent, fashion-oriented,
Geographical- urban, metros, sub-metros, modern style living
Psychological- motivation to follow the peer pressure, perception towards fashionable brands positive, perception towards new offering open and ready to innovate, personality extrovert, outgoing, readiness to change, sociable.
Behavioural- purchase fashion clothing for regular wear, parties, an occasion like birthday, medium to heavy users of fashion garments.
Creating Unique Value Positioning
For the purpose of developing the market again and rebuilding the market share, the company is seeking to change its strategy for the brand. Till recently it was being sold like any other fashion garment. But now the company plans to change the brand positioning to a product or brand which makes the teenager an opinion leader (Keller, 2012). As these days peer pressure is very high on the youngsters they always desire to become the leader in their group. Hence the branding identity to portray that if the customer adopts this brand, he or she would be looked up to and everyone would follow as a leader. This is the subconscious desire which every young consumer has deep inside his heart. But it is never spoken about but it can be understood by their behaviours and actions.
This new value proposition has to be effectively communicated to the target audience in the most rightful way through those channels and medium which have the maximum influence on him.
IMC Plan and strategy
IMC or Integrated Marketing Communication is a marketing concept where a company uses various kinds of communication methods and tools to have a greater impact on the target audience. These include various methods like advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, direct marketing, public relations and digital marketing (Kotler & Keller, 2006). To again win back the confidence and liking of the consumer segments who are very young in age and are hooked on to the digital media and message.
To again win back the market share of the youngsters the company should develop the following IMC media plan:
Advertising- traditional advertising on the broadcast media has to be changed and a new ad campaign portraying the consumer as the opinion leader has to be brought out in the market (Clow & Baack, 2007). This would include a series of campaigns with a new look to be released on TV, Radio, Fashion Magazines, Newspaper in the entertainment and fashion segment, hoardings, etc. It should also be done around the colleges and schools that they visit.
Sales Promotion- to induce a trial of the new version of the brand, some coupons, free samples should be offered during college festivals and programs to create awareness and bring in sales.
Public relations- the company should look at conducting shows, events, roadshows, musical concerts, sponsoring college festivals, etc in order to promote the brand name, identity, and positioning in the minds of the consumer segment (Homburg et al, 2009). These efforts would build a very positive brand image and a reputed name.
Direct Marketing- the company should plan to set up kiosks and canopies outside and inside the malls where these age consumers are regular visitors in order to directly approach them and showcase the brand to them (Hooley et al, 2012). These can also be outside McDonald’s, KFC, Costa Coffee which are favourite hangout places for youngsters. Direct mailers should be sent in their email ids and Facebook accounts. Messages should be directly targeted towards their phone number and WhatsApp, etc.
Digital Marketing- this would constitute the most important component of the IMC plan as this media has the highest consumption of this segment. They spend more and a number of hours online whether on their email, Facebook, Google +, Twitter, e-commerce websites. Hence more emphasis should be given to digital and electronic ways of approaching them and that will directly reach their attention span (Trusov et al, 2009).
Detailed Action Plan for 12 months
First 3 months- the company should focus on spreading awareness in the first three months and build brand awareness. This would be achieved by building a digital brand for themselves. As the online medium is the fastest and quickest to create knowledge and preference for any product in the market, it should be used extensively (Blythe, 2009). Creating a Facebook, Twitter and Google+ page, having videos of the brand uploaded on YouTube, having a website for the company and a separate community or forum for the club members and fans.
Second 3 months- the company would focus on persuading consumers to buy their product through conveying their benefits and positioning. Hence more emphasis would be laid on mass media advertising to build the brand, giving away sales promotion offers to induce trial and liking. Sponsoring events and shows in colleges and schools to build brand liking and preference. This would be followed by making it available through offline and online modes of selling.
Next quarter- After 6 months of initial awareness building, efforts would now be focussed towards strengthening the brand presence and its brand equity. This can be done by launching a series of ad campaigns showing some young celebrity who has achieved success at a very young age. This would help in developing a role model for them and also build strong reliability.
Last 3 months of the program- in the last quarter of the allocated 12 months, the company would further strengthen their communication by interacting directly with the young consumers, taking their feedback, offering discounts to the regular purchasers, make loyalty cards, declare winners of their promotional programs.
The entire 12 months would be executed to achieve certain important tasks and communication objectives and then appropriate evaluation and measurement would be done to understand the effectiveness of the communication strategy.
Budget Allocation for the IMC plan
An amount of $ 1 million has been earmarked for the entire IMC plan to be executed and achieve the desired objectives. The allocation would be done considering the target audience and their media habits (Jensen & Jepsen, 2008):
Advertising- 30% of the budget should be allocated towards the broadcast media or the traditional forms of advertising like mass media channels.
Sales Promotion- around 10% of the total budget should be allocated towards giving away freebies and coupons.
Public relations- 10% of the budget to be allocated to conduct events, shows, sponsorships, etc in order to build the brand name and awareness.
Direct Marketing- another 10% would be allocated towards direct marketing and direct selling efforts through direct interaction with the customers.
Digital Marketing- this aspect of marketing would be allocated to the major portion of the IMC budget as this is the most widely consumed media channel. Around 40% of the budget would be allocated to promoting the brand digitally and reaching directly in the consumer’s eyes and minds.
Evaluation and Control
The company needs to develop metrics to measure the success of the IMC plan. It will also help to know how it is being accepted and communicated to all the stakeholders. After every three months review will be done to understand the awareness the brand has been able to create. This would also mean both quantitative and qualitative measures to judge the standards which the company wants to achieve (Kerr et al, 2009).
The various metrics would be brand awareness, brand recall, preference and liking, acceptability, conversion into sales, digital clicks, website reviews, Facebook reviews, etc (Finne & Grönroos, 2009).
Apart from this, the entire IMC plan has to be explained and accepted by all the other business partners. For example, marketing channel partners, marketing personnel, vendors, etc. This will allow all the concerned people speak the same language of the brand. This would help in the development of a single kind of communication from the company’s end (Ewing, 2009).
IMC’s plan is targeted to achieve a common objective to communicate the same message to the target consumer. This is done through various mediums. Depending upon the profile of the target segment, the IMC would be modified. This would serve the purpose of the organization and help them achieve their communication and marketing objectives. This will also build their fashion brand in the market strongly.
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