Guidelines for DTC Marketing for Fashion Brands

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May 17, 2023

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15 min read

Whether or not you are mindful of it, fashion engulfs all of us in varying degrees. We are constantly involved in the consumerism that fashion and the subsequent lifestyle bring. However, that doesn’t mean that we know what goes on at the other end.

Fashion Marketing is an art in itself, a delicate dance that blends aesthetics and strategy. It goes beyond simply showcasing beautiful garments and accessories; it is about crafting captivating narratives, building connections, and capturing the hearts and minds of fashion enthusiasts worldwide. But navigating the intricate realm of fashion marketing can be a daunting task; as for its landscape, change is the only constant. It demands constant adaptation and innovation.

In this article, we embark on a journey through the realm of fashion marketing, unraveling its mysteries, and uncovering the secrets to achieving prominence in this ever-changing industry. We will delve into the subtleties of what to do and what not to do in fashion marketing, unveiling the strategies that can elevate your brand to new heights while avoiding the pitfalls that can lead to obscurity.

Drawing inspiration from real-life fashion marketing examples, we will unveil the tried-and-true tactics that will set you apart from the crowd, ensuring your brand shines like a beacon of style and allure.

What is Fashion Marketing?

When it comes to fashion marketing, a delicate balance needs to be struck between artistic expression and strategic prowess. It sits at the nexus of advertising and promotion, where fashion is showcased and connected with the right audience through various channels, both traditional and digital.

Fashion marketing extends far beyond clothing alone. And these elements form the tapestry of personal fashion narratives, enabling individuals to make a statement and connect with others through their chosen aesthetic. Within this realm, where aesthetics meet analytics, where artistry meets algorithm, fashion marketers deftly navigate a world of high-end language and technological jargon, weaving a narrative that will connect with the people. Since the subject matter itself is so varied and vast, the strategies need to be reflective of that.

What Makes Fashion Marketing So Different?

DTC Marketing for Fashion brands encompasses both practical considerations and deeper motivations that influence consumer choices. While the primary function of clothing is to provide protection, fashion marketing goes beyond this by guiding individuals on what to wear. It addresses the obvious pain point of our need for clothes.

However, fashion marketing delves into the underlying reasons behind our fashion choices. It recognizes that style is not merely about shielding our bodies from the elements, but also about participating in a community and expressing our individuality. Brands have the opportunity to tell compelling stories that resonate with consumers through their marketing campaigns.

In addition to understanding consumer pain points and motivations, fashion marketers must navigate seasonal changes and identify optimal purchasing periods for each season. They must also stay ahead of style trends while offering practical options to cater to diverse consumer needs. Price points pose a challenge as well, ranging from affordable and economical to high-end and luxurious.

While luxury marketing provides valuable insights, it is essential to recognize that fashion marketing encompasses a broader and more inclusive market. By considering these factors and employing effective strategies, fashion marketers can successfully engage with their target audience and drive sales.

What are the Current Trends?

Let’s look at some of our favorite campaigns in recent times to help you better understand how the industry works when it goes digital.

Ted Baker:

The brand implemented an innovative approach to their marketing efforts by creating an interactive catalog or lookbook through a 360-degree film experience. This unique video features a midcentury family in various vignette scenes set within their home and neighborhood. The deliberate minimalism of the scenes effectively emphasizes the clothing showcased. Complementing this, a series of commercial-style videos were released under the hashtag #MeetTheBakers . This creative strategy allowed Ted Baker to engage with their audience and highlight their clothing line’s versatility in every day or aspirational settings.
While Ted Baker’s production was undoubtedly well-funded, the concept of utilizing videos to showcase clothing can be applied by anyone, regardless of budget constraints. By featuring the whole family, such videos provide an opportunity to demonstrate how the garments can be worn by different individuals and integrated into various aspects of life. Whether portraying everyday scenarios or creating fantasy narratives, videos offer a powerful medium to effectively communicate the style and utility of fashion items.

DKNY:

Th brand effectively harnessed the influence of hashtags and the distinctiveness of its brand name in its
#DKNYStateofMind
campaign. This hashtag gained significant traction among influencers, bloggers, and content creators. Alongside the campaign, DKNY introduced a new line, complemented by visually compelling graphics that highlighted the letters D, K, N, and Y. This strategic approach allowed DKNY to showcase its clothing and convey its brand identity and message.
By leveraging the power of hashtags, DKNY successfully engaged with its target audience and fostered a sense of community and excitement around its brand. The campaign’s graphical messages served as both inspirational and promotional elements, effectively capturing the essence of DKNY’s brand identity. Through this cohesive strategy, DKNY demonstrated its commitment to its unique fashion aesthetic and conveyed its brand message to consumers in a visually compelling and memorable way.

Nike:

Fashion marketing can extend beyond merely selling garments and encompass broader causes or philosophies. Sometimes, advertisements adopt this approach, focusing on aspirations that are inherently connected to fashion. The clothing we choose to wear serves as a means of conveying a message or aligning ourselves with certain ideals.Nike, renowned for its memorable ad campaigns, exemplifies this approach. From the iconic “Just Do It” slogan to the impactful Colin Kaepernick “Believe in Something” campaign, their marketing efforts go beyond showcasing products.
These campaigns spark conversations and generate significant attention. By taking a stance on social issues and building campaigns around them, fashion brands can align themselves with specific ambitions or ways of thinking. This can, in turn, persuade consumers to purchase and wear their products, associating themselves with the brand’s mission.Such fashion marketing strategies demonstrate the power of aligning with a cause or philosophy to create a deeper connection with consumers. By effectively communicating their values, fashion brands can inspire individuals to buy their products and embrace the brand’s mission as their own.

What are its Types?

Print Marketing:

Despite being one of the oldest forms of fashion marketing, print advertising is still relevant in promoting clothing brands. However, its application in the fashion industry differs from other sectors as its primary objective is not immediate sales conversion. Instead, print advertising serves to establish and enhance brand awareness.
Within the fashion industry, print advertising plays a crucial role in creating a distinctive brand image, conveying the brand’s values, refining its messaging, and crafting its unique story. While the ultimate goal is to drive sales, the approach adopted in print advertising is more subtle and focused on influencing consumers subconsciously.
Rather than bombarding individuals with explicit deals and promotions, print ads subtly shape consumers’ perceptions and preferences. For instance, by consistently exposing them to a brand’s line of products, such as hoodies, the brand establishes a subconscious connection. Consequently, when the weather turns cold, and individuals seek warmth, they are more likely to consider the brand as a viable option instinctively. In this manner, print advertising in the fashion industry cultivates a sense of familiarity and association, making the brand top-of-mind when relevant needs or occasions arise. By leveraging the power of print media, fashion marketers can successfully influence consumer choices and foster long-term brand loyalty.

Online Marketing:

Online marketing has emerged as a potent tool for fashion brands, aided by the increasing presence and influence of social media. It has become evident that e-commerce marketing holds significant value, with over 80% of fashion marketers acknowledging its thriving nature.Online marketing encompasses various forms of advertisements, each serving a distinct purpose. Among them, “pay-per-click”(PPC) marketing stands out as one of the most popular and effective approaches.PPC advertising enables companies to target their desired demographic more precisely, resulting in cost savings and greater impact.
By leveraging this strategy, fashion brands can optimize their marketing budget by reaching the right audience with tailored messages. The inherent targeting capabilities of PPC advertising allow for a more efficient allocation of resources, ensuring that marketing efforts resonate with the intended recipients.With its ability to enhance visibility, engagement, and conversions, PPC marketing has become a preferred choice for fashion brands seeking to maximize their online presence and drive sales. By embracing this type of online advertising, fashion marketers can capitalize on the digital landscape’s vast potential and effectively connect with their target audience.

Influencer Marketing:

Influencer marketing, a strategy that leverages the internet and the growing influence of social media, has become increasingly prevalent in the fashion industry. Fashion brands recognize the power held by influencers and utilize it to their advantage.Fashion influencers hold a unique advantage in that they are trusted by their followers. When these influencers recommend a brand, the likelihood of increased sales is significantly higher compared to traditional marketing channels.
This has led 89% of marketers to affirm that influencer marketing provides equal or superior return on investment (ROI) compared to other marketing methods.Fashion holds a significant role in shaping people’s identities, making influencer endorsements particularly impactful. If individuals see someone they admire promoting and wearing a specific brand, they are inclined to desire the outfit for themselves.

Newsjacking Marketing:

Newsjacking refers to a marketing technique where brands leverage popular and trending topics to attract a larger audience and enhance customer engagement. Fashion brands have the potential to take this strategy even further by delving into the realms of politics and cultural movements.By incorporating political slogans on clothes or releasing clothing lines that align with cultural relevance, fashion brands can generate increased visibility and brand recognition. This approach allows brands to establish a sense of authenticity and human connection with their audience.
Consumers seek brands that understand and relate to their concerns, and that can either address societal issues or playfully mock cultural phenomena.The effectiveness of newsjacking lies in its ability to capture the attention of individuals who may not have previously noticed the brand. Moreover, it strengthens the brand’s image and resonates with consumers, as they appreciate brands that have a clear identity and values.

The Do’s of Fashion Marketing

Branding:

Successful fashion industry names have achieved their status by maintaining a consistent and recognizable look throughout the years. Brands like Nike, Ralph Lauren, and Victoria’s Secret serve as prime examples of this approach. Their distinct and cohesive brand image extends beyond social media accounts to encompass clothing lines and print advertisements, resulting in lasting memorability. So much so that they have become integral to pop culture itself.Branding holds exceptional significance, surpassing many other sectors. Fashion marketing revolves around creating a desire in individuals to be at their best, to embrace the most fashionable brands, and to possess stylish clothing.
Without a clear and confident branding strategy, it becomes challenging to evoke such emotions in potential customers. Branding is pivotal in establishing value and resonance with the target market. Every aspect of branding must harmoniously contribute to reinforcing the brand identity. Central to this process is understanding and embracing the values that matter to both the brand and its target audience. By aligning with these shared values, a meaningful connection can be forged with customers.

Social Media and Influencers:

Social media marketing for fashion brands shares similarities with print advertising. Its primary objective is not immediate sales but rather to enhance the brand’s reputation and increase overall awareness. Utilizing social media platforms, such as Instagram, offers various strategies to achieve these goals. One effective approach is leveraging Instagram stories, which provide opportunities to share sneak peeks of new trends, behind-the-scenes footage, and glimpses into the company’s culture and values.Influencer marketing, on the other hand, represents a more traditional marketing strategy for fashion brands. It aims to drive direct and measurable sales through collaborations with influential individuals who promote the brand’s products.
Additionally, influencer marketing serves as a powerful tool for spreading brand awareness. The growth of influencer marketing has facilitated the identification of verified influencers, and there are now excellent influencer marketplaces and platforms available. Alternatively, fashion brands can enlist the services of dedicated influencer marketing agencies to handle the entire process on their behalf.

Partnership Marketing:

Once a fashion brand has established its branding, it becomes essential to seek partnerships with other brands. These partnerships can either be within the fashion industry or with companies outside the industry. Collaborating with another fashion brand involves jointly developing a product that reflects the distinctive characteristics of both brands. By doing so, the brands can tap into each other’s customer base, reaching a demographic that might have remained untapped otherwise.
Alternatively, partnering with a brand or company from a different industry aims to benefit and attract customers from both brand’s consumer bases. Such partnerships often involve offering discounts and deals across both companies, incentivizing consumers to engage with and purchase products or services from both brands. To establish effective marketing partnerships, engaging an expert partner marketing agency proves beneficial. These agencies possess the expertise to identify and connect fashion brands with suitable strategic partners aligned with their partnership marketing goals.

The Don’ts of Fashion Marketing:

Ignoring Audience Segmentation and Targeting

A common mistake in marketing is attempting to appeal to everyone. However, this approach often leads to failure as it dilutes the brand’s message and confuses potential customers. While it may seem logical to promote products with a broad audience in mind, the opposite effect occurs. Inconsistency in promotional content can frustrate visitors and deter them from following or engaging with the brand. When a brand promotes various offerings that are not aligned, it becomes challenging for individuals to anticipate what to expect. Consequently, they may lose interest and choose not to follow along anymore. Instead, a more effective strategy is to focus on a specific target audience. By identifying the ideal customer and tailoring the brand’s promotion to their specific needs and interests, a deeper connection can be established.
This approach may repel individuals who do not align with the brand, but that should be seen as a positive outcome. If someone is not a good fit for the brand, they are unlikely to make a purchase anyway. By being highly specific in marketing efforts, a brand can forge stronger connections with potential customers. This focused approach not only helps attract customers initially but also fosters loyalty, encouraging them to remain engaged and return for future purchases.

Unilateral focus:

Another common mistake in marketing is relying too heavily on social media platforms. While social media can be a valuable tool, it should not be solely relied upon for driving conversions. Research, such as a recent Forbes report, indicates that the conversion rate on platforms like Instagram is relatively low, with only around 3.1% of people becoming buyers. This statistic highlights the need for a more comprehensive marketing approach.Customers typically require multiple touchpoints with a brand before they transition from initial awareness to becoming a customer.
Merely posting aesthetically pleasing pictures on social media is not sufficient. To increase the likelihood of converting potential customers into buyers, a well-rounded marketing strategy is essential.One effective approach is to create a sales journey, also referred to as a sales funnel or marketing funnel. This strategy involves systematically guiding potential customers through various stages of interaction with the brand. It aims to build trust and engagement, gradually nurturing individuals from their initial encounter with the brand, such as on social media, to more involved interactions.For example, a potential customer may initially discover the brand on social media, then proceed to visit the brand’s blog, sign up for the email list, and eventually become a loyal customer. This comprehensive approach allows for multiple touchpoints and opportunities for the brand to create a deeper connection with the customer.
Rather than solely focusing on social media, implementing a well-planned sales journey ensures a more holistic marketing strategy. By strategically guiding potential customers through various brand interactions, trust is built, engagement is fostered, and the chances of conversion are increased. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that goes beyond posting on social media platforms alone.

Sleeping on Email Marketing:

Stop neglecting to build your email lists! Despite the increasing complexity of email marketing in recent years, it remains a highly effective method of reaching your audience. Unlike platforms such as Facebook or Google, where algorithms limit the reach of your content, email marketing gives you more control. You determine who receives your emails and can employ catchy subject headings to increase open rates.Moreover, most people check their email regularly, providing multiple opportunities for them to see your message. In contrast, social media algorithms may prevent your posts from reaching all of your followers.
Therefore, focusing on growing your email list is essential.Even if you don’t have a business yet, it is crucial to start building your email list early on for email marketing. Launching a business without an audience to sell to can hinder your success. An email list should be one of your top priorities as it offers higher conversion rates compared to many other marketing methods. With email marketing, you have greater control over communication and can ensure your messages reach a larger portion of your target audience.

Skipping Automation:

Without proper automation systems in place, marketing efforts can become a time-consuming task, especially for small businesses or startups with limited budgets. It’s crucial to establish processes that automate various aspects of marketing to save time and resources. Implementing scheduling tools, automation software, and task bundling can significantly streamline marketing activities. For instance, using scheduling tools allows you to plan and schedule social media posts in advance, ensuring consistent and timely content delivery without the need for constant manual intervention. This approach not only saves time but also promotes consistency in your marketing efforts. By automating marketing tasks, you free up valuable time to focus on other important aspects of your business, such as product development and customer service.
It enables you to strike a balance between marketing responsibilities and other operational areas. Additionally, automation helps ensure that marketing activities remain consistent and on schedule, even when you’re not actively engaged in them.To optimize efficiency and maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s recommended to upload content in bulk and schedule it for release according to a predetermined plan. This approach eliminates the need for constant daily involvement in marketing activities, allowing you to enjoy your personal time without being consumed by marketing-related tasks.Saffron’s Work