Huberry fashions has had recent trouble with for the first time in 90 years its profits and sales declining. This is in part due to its reliance on Product orientated business plan, believing that good products sell themselves. By adopting a marketing orientated approach to its business plan, using all of the marketing mix rather than concentrating one one aspect of it, Huberry can better address its shortcomings as a company and regain its profits and sales figures.
Huberry can help to strengthen its marketing by addressing its product. By conducting market research into its target market and what products would best sell to that market. It is first necessary to undertake exploratory research to determine what market audience is most likely to buy Huberrys products and collect preliminary data that can then be used in conjunction with more solid, specific research later to better market the products.
This exploratory research can be conducted in 2 ways, Primary and Secondary. By using secondary data to help identify a target market by using old data from sources outside the company such as news-papers, old research conducted into the clothing luxury clothing market, and fashion magazines targeted at high fashion. This allows a cheap, quick way for Huberry to amass lots of data, that whilst not specifically designed for the company, is helpful in outlining initial markets to target.
Primary research can be conducted in several ways. One of the most effective in this scenario is to conduct relatively small scale group interviews with a segment of society to see who would or wouldn't be interested in Huberrys products and what their opinions of who would buy those products is. This can help Huberry to better plan its marketing and advertising strategies.
Once a target market for Huberry has been established it can focus on segmentation of the market to make it easier for the consumer to find the products it wants or needs. The first way to segment a consumer market is through Geographic segmentation. This will put specific customers into groups due to where they live or work. Huberry can use this kind of market segmentation to find where to majority of its shoppers will live and then place its products in that area. Geographical segments are comparatively easy to distinguish as the data necessary to access them are available from government statistics offices. This kind of segmentation also cannot be effectively used on its own but rather in conjunction with other forms of segmentation as it is more often that different forms of segmentation within a geographical one will take preference in consumer choice of a product, such as lifestyle or income over their location. This also makes it easier for Huberry as to geographically locate a boutique store in each area is far more costly than a single outlet in a major city that caters to a far larger market audience than many smaller stores catering to smaller audiences, as being a luxury good it will not appeal to those in a lower wage bracket.
Demographic segmentation is more based around the consumer, rather than where the consumer lives. This includes, age, sex, race, income, occupation, martial status and more. As Huberry is more centric around income than geographic location of its customers due to the cost of the products, and the assumption that anyone who wished to buy the products could afford transport costs to do so, this is far more valuable as a market segment to focus on rather than location. When considering to use demographic segmentation it is good to consider whether your customer has any specific criteria that must be filled before they can use your product. Huberrys main criteria as that the customer is able to afford the product, as its a luxury item of clothing. Government statistics on income, could be used to give an idea of how much of the population Huberry will be focusing on. This could include waist size, age and income as its main demographic segment. E.g.// under 40s, wait size 38-50 inches and an income over £40,000. This type of segmentation gives a clear focus for the rest of the marketing mix to apply to, such as advertising, the quality of the product and where someone would be able to buy it from, such as a high fashion boutique.
Psychographic segmentation is more often called lifestyle segmentation as it attempts to segment attitudes and opinions rather than tangible, measurable quantities. A persons lifestyle is important as to why they buy Huberry over other brands and is important for the marketing team to grasp to help deliver a product that meets these persons needs and wants for a product, improving on their classic designs. A good way to measure Psychographic segmentation is with an AIO (Activities, Interests and Opinions) survey. This measures activities, interests and opinions, but can also measure the values of a customer and the attitudes people have towards a certain brand or company. Activities of a person will cover everything they do in their lifetime, be it going to the shops, planning a holiday or their day to day lives at work. A persons recreational time is most important to a marketeer as it lets them know what they want to do rather than what the need to. So hobbies, favourite pastimes, etc. Huberry can use this to find what kind of clothing people are most likely to wear, for example, if people walk around a lot in the target market perhaps the company should make more products aimed at keeping people warm and waterproof. Or if people go clubbing more it should make more thin clothes that let heat out but are also stylish. Interests are what is important to a customer, and how highly they rate them. This could include, work, friends, family recreational life, hobbies (such as fashion, computers, music). When a person is interested in something they are much more likely to buy related goods or services. By targeting individuals who take an interest in clothing or high fashion Huberry can better market orientate its business to take care of the customers wants. Opinions are what the customer feels about a company or product. Being able to evaluate customer opinions and thoughts on the Huberry brand means it will be easier to asses what has gone wrong with the branding and how to better market its business to stop it being associated with its cheaper imitators. This will hopefully lead to a restoration of the brand as a luxury quality good rather than a scallywags knock-off brand.
By segmenting a market Huberry will be able to better offer its products to those who would actually be able to afford and buy them, perhaps cutting its advertising costs of some of its products. It also allows the consumer to better find the products they are looking for, if the customer feels that Huberry is more interested in their custom rather than their peers, or are more focused on them than one of Huberrys competitors then they are more likely to buy Huberry products and be more brand loyal. Huberry itself benefits from the segmentation by being able to prioritise its decisions and how best to focus resources. Also, by looking at competitors and looking at how they have segmented the market they will be able to find gaps to focus upon.
The brand of Huberry has taken a recent hit from imitations that were often bought by the more crass of society and as such the brand has taken a PR hit from the general public and especially the fashion world where trying to disassociate from the plebs and stand out is a very sought after ability. Branding is a very powerful way to alter a customers perspective of a product or company. The company Unilever has done this fantastically by spliting its products into different brands and marketing them completely differently. E.g.// Dove is known as a woman's hygiene product and was recently the target of a marketing campaign of “real beauty”. Yet on the other hand Unilever also owns the axe/lynx brand, which often objectifies women rather than caring about “real beauty”. It is this branding that has allowed the same company to attract completely different audiences. If Huberry was to engage its target audience with a re-branding of its image with perhaps a series of advertisements establishing itself as a high fashion brand it would have a massive boost to its public image. By giving itself a larger brand image it helps the consumer too, by giving them an easily identifiable product that stands out amongst its competition it helps to eliminate consumer confusion over brands. A branding of a product also gives the consumer something to by physiologically attached to, this helps opinions form of the product giving it much more personality, in turn making the company much more personal with the consumer. A good product will act as a guide for the consumer for all other products to live up to. This trust relationship with the company will allow consumers to feel more relaxed about buying other branded products in the future. This leads to a far better customer experience.
The manufacturer also gets benefits, With a familiar product that customers enjoy using and trusts the manufacturer has established a product that they can ride the success of with similar products and brands. This makes it far more easy to market other products in the future with a solid brand to build upon.
Huberry appears to of neglected the product life cycle of its products, relying on many to succeed with a “classic” image. These products have been stuck in the decline phase of the cycle for many years and Huberry can no longer afford to cruise on the declining profits from these sales. The fashion Product life cycle curve is one that is far shorter than others and has a very quick introduction and growth stage followed by a high maturity and then a very steep decline, By ignoring this and continuing to fail to innovate Huberry is in danger of seeing its profits fall considerably in the future. Only by revitalising the product through innovation or mass advertising would it be possible to stop a naturally difficult decline. Another method is to let the sales petter out eventually dropping it when its no-longer economically viable to produce. This allows Huberry to “milk” the maximum amounts of profits possible from a product that is destined to eventually fade anyway. This capitalises on the useful lifespan of a product and allows it to slowly fade from public view as opposed to suddenly disappearing when it could still of generated more revenue.
One of the other major problems that Hubbery faces is