Andrea has completed part two of her series which appears below. Thanks Andrea!
In the previous post I did an overall introduction to advertising in relation to marketing and PR. In response, I got messages of support and suggestions which I greatly appreciate -I’ll try to sound less like a textbook this time- and encourage you to write me if you have more questions and ideas.
Now I want to talk about how to go about your budget for advertising, keeping in mind that it is a necessary expense. A start up company will spend approximately 1-5% of their projected annual sales for marketing. This includes websites, advertising, direct mail, any collateral materials, brochures, trunk show expenses, etc. So if one expects to do 1 million in sales for the year, the estimated annual expense for marketing will be $10,000-$50,000. Once you look at that number match it up with your goals and see if you can safely accomplish them for the amount you set aside. You may have to increase your budget, or decrease it depending.
It’s also very important to know how to allocate that money into different categories. Some people use percentages, but I prefer the crystal ball method (my highly technical term). I know that as a DE, I will need a very nice website, I know that I will probably do one or two trunk shows in a year, I know that I will need postcards printed up for both events, I know that I will need a lot of media kits for my sales reps. Just those alone would eat up a few thousand dollars. I then have to decide where to place my advertising. I will now say something that you won’t hear too often from me:
Print and online advertising are the most effective forms of advertising for a fashion company.
I usually don’t make broad assertions like that, but it has been my experience that radio and television are just not the right media for a DE. Pay attention to your local stations and see how many designers are on there.
Just because you are small and have a small budget, doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in advertising. Think about the size of your company and what you can effectively handle. Are you going to advertise in Vogue or Nylon? Probably not. The reason being that you couldn’t handle the response from that kind of exposure (not to mention the $50,000 you would need for one print ad). There is a kind of balance you need to achieve with your advertising that keeps things level. You only want to advertise where it will do you the most good.
X-Fashion is a small start up company specializing in street wear in SF. They have a small following and have about 10 accounts around the city. Their goal is to grow their existing accounts and gain a few new ones inside the bay area. What will they do? They want to influence their local market where they already have a consumer following. By advertising in their local entertainment publication (targets young hip dudes and chicas) or their local news outlet (fashion section/lifestyle targeting fashion forward dudes and chicas) they will be influencing the end consumer who will create a demand for more retail outlets, which will make X-Fashion more desirable to retail outlets that don’t currently carry X-Fashion. I mention this possible scenario because of the business plan post. The only time you do this kind of marketing is when there is already an established customer base in a region, otherwise you are trying to influence customers that don’t know you, and have no reference point for your productâ€¦so in essence, it would be futile. Let me give another example on the other side of things
Example: Figment of my Imagination Clothing, LLC
Figment Clothing is an absolute industry newbie producing fashion leg wear and accessories. They would like to target hip boutiques in urban as well as non urban areas. They have registered for their first trade show, sent invitations and media kits to all their prospective accounts, as well as a press release announcing their coming out to local and regional news outlets. Traditional advertising will not work for this company. They want to get buyer’s attention. The way to do this is to advertise within the wholesale networkâ€¦i.e.: putting ads on the tradeshow website (if allowed), advertising in the market programs (tradeshow guide), etc.
So, you see the difference is in the target. When you nail down who the target is, you can choose the right media for your message.
So now that we have gone over budget and allocations, the next post will deal with your actual campaign and how to compose it. I will post some examples of ads that I feel are effective. I will also go over the golden rule of print mediaâ€¦Size and Frequency.