There are many iconic names in fashion industry. Ben Sherman is of the biggest names in London-based designer, marketer and distributor of branded sportswear and footwear. It was established in 1963 as a young men’s, “Mod”-inspired shirt brand and now it has become global lifestyle brand which focused youthful-thinking men and women ages 19 to 35. About 78% of Ben Sherman’s net sales were in the United Kingdom and Europe. The organization has adapted various business and marketing strategies which have earned Ben Sherman the position it holds in the fashion industry.
The discussion below enlightens about the business strategies of Ben Sherman which has earned Ben Sherman the place in the world it holds. http://www.bensherman.com/our-heritage/
Market segmentation is a marketing strategy which divides target market into a group of customers who have common needs and then setting the strategies to meet the desires and other touch points that best allow to reach them. The company is targeting the young generation and has developed the marketing mix which consists of ‘‘4Ps’’ that is product, place, price, and promotion.
Market segmentation divides a market into well-defined group of customers who share same set of wants and needs according to (Kotler and Keller, 2012). The duty of the marketer’s is to identify the appropriate figure and the nature of market segmentation and to decide which one to focus as a target. Market segmentation results companies to produce goods and services which are closely related to the requirements of specific types of customers. Instead of treating all consumers as a homogenous mass, companies have recognized sub-groups of consumers whose accurate needs would be more effectively met A. CAROLINE TYNAN AND JENNIFER DRAYTON, lecturer, Department of Marketing, University of Strathctyde, Gtasgew2002).
(Kerin, 2011) states that segmentation of marketing involves aggregating prospective consumers into groups which have common needs and will react in the same way to the market action. Marketing segmentation is designed to split consumers into similar groups; it is an indication of identification and evaluating potential target markets.
YOUNG GENERATION AS A MAIN TARGET MARKET.
Ben Sherman targets young people and the collection has a long history of selling an up to date variety of young men’s shirts brand. Analyzing the demographic factors like age, gender , occupation, social class, generation etc are to be specified to determine the individual market and then meeting the demand
Young generation at the age of 18-24 like to buy very stylish and modern clothes. Identifying the individual groups needs and meeting the needs of the consumer would earn greater market share which is the aim of strategy. According to the research there are various variables involved in consumer market segmentation which work alone as well as in combination. These are psychographic or lifestyle segmentation. demographic segmentation, media segmentation and behavioral segmentation. Ben Sherman focuses on a demographic and life style segmentation. Jerry W. Thomas, 2007 Decision Analyst. However, such segmentation has drawbacks as well like certain potential consumers can be ignored which could have be gained by choosing different segmentation. Another drawback could be the company might face expensive market and high production cost. Keeping all this situations in mind Ben Sherman has adapted such marketing strategies and techniques that it can well target the young generation.
In conclusion, (Lancaster, 2002) states that demographic factors are the most identified and significant one and purchasing of many products are related strongly to age. By analyzing the marketing strategies of Ben Sherman it could be argued that Ben Sherman is actually in the right direction of its business and it can well expect future success in fashion industry. Bearing the drawbacks in mind it could also be argued that Ben Sherman has no restrictions in reaching the consumers needs and fulfilling the demands of its target segment. It also suggests that the brand has earned such a position in market where it finds itself as an actually meeting the demand to gain the competitive means in the market. Greg Allenby, 2007 Ohio State University
PRODUCT AND MARKET ORIENTATION
Product can be developed using either market oriented approach or product oriented approach. A market oriented approach focuses on what the customers want. The activities are then organized around the costumers requirements. Whereas a product oriented approach is focused over the company’s skills and knowledge and more on the product itself and without seeking the customer’s input. There can be a choice as to use a market oriented approach or the product oriented approach but both work towards improving the organizational performance.
Market orientation gets the right product: product orientation get the product right.
The basic focus under product orientation is to produce maximum products at a minimum price. This technique has a major disadvantage that the product might not be very successful in a well established market. As an investment point of view product orientation technique is a cheaper option. Similarly market orientation has its pros and cons. It is very responsive to the market demand which results in a constant improvement in the organizational
performance. Most markets are preferring the market oriented approach because it has more knowledge of the market and knows what exactly customers want otherwise the business might lose its high revenue. A disadvantage is that it has a high cost involved because of continuous research and advertising cost.( Kottler ,journal of marketing,jan 1994)
RELATION BETWEEN PRODUCT ORIENTATION AND MARKET ORIENTATION. Numerous researches show that there is actually a deep relation between product and market orientation. In order for a product to become successful in reality it has to be according to the needs of customer and to find out what the customers want business has to obtain the knowledge of customers needs which can only be achieved by the market research. Therefore there is an inter link between product orientation and market orientation. Until the late 20th century many industries used to follow the product orientation approach which later proved to be unsuccessful because the product soon became out of date and the business did not know about the customer’s demand. Therefore business lost most of its market. Then the importance of market orientation was been compared and more appreciated as it mainly targeted the customer’s interests and then manufacture the product accordingly .however the importance of product orientation is still noteworthy as it is concerned about the product’s quality and core skills of the company . Majority of booming companies are familiar with the significance of the two approaches. (https://www.boundless.com/marketing/an-overview-of-marketing/the-marketing-orientation-evolution/product-orientation/)
MARKET AND PRODUCT ORIENTATION IN BEN SHERMAN’S CONTEXT.
The two approaches are closely linked in reality and similarly in case of Ben Sherman it prioritizes the customer’s demand bearing the latest fashion in mind it puts its own ideas in practice and at the same time at an affordable cost to sustain its revenue as well as maintains its brand within the competitive market. .
Conclusively, Ben Sherman works on a strategy that uses both product and market orientation approaches and it has proved successful by maximum
product sale and high market share.
LIFE CYCLE EXTENSION
The life of a product is an important factor to be considered in marketing. It has different stages from the start of the product into the market till the final removal of product after maturity from the market. The contents of product life cycle are introduction, growth, maturity and decline. However product life cycle extension is a step accounted by market holders to keep the profit and sales line persistent rather than carrying the usual trend of decline slope.
It is seen that PLC is more beneficial as compared to the casual style of life cycle because it helps in readjusting and reorganizing the project plan rather than closing the option and choosing entirely new one. It helps in promoting new budgeting plan that is it ideally helps in extending the product which in other words is called market stretching.
John Wiley & Sons , 8 feb2006 ( Business & Economics ) states that top brands offer most useful and actionable ways of expanding successful brands into new segments with no loss of sight of actual standard. Ben Sherman uses big fashion shows to introduce and advertise its collection. It has two main series spring/summer collection and autumn/winter collection. Fashion industry is sensitive sort of business and has considerably very short life therefore the company has to be very creative minded and have fast core competence areas to beat the current competitive market. In order to decrease the development cost the bargaining power of customers puts more pressure over the company. Ben Sherman then has to work over the reduced price strategy to sustain the customer loyalty. A large number of successful companies in the fashion field rely on Product Lifecycle Management in order to deal with the upcoming demand of potential customers. There are strategies that Ben Sherman can adopt.
Considering the brand positioning and product designing will help enhancing the market
Strengthen branding by enforcing the usage of brand definition, logos, messaging and other marketing standards utilizing templates and workflows.
Increase product appeal and consumer experience by utilizing cutting edge product design, virtual shopping, and store configuration tools. At the development stage a virtual product assessment can be carried out to make alternative decisions to keep the cost and quality inline which will later be kept for longer in the sustainability of the extension stage.
Reducing material costs by publishing material specifications across brands, regions and categories to create efficient procurement processes. Products need refreshing to avoid the dip in sales during the saturation stage of the life cycle, which could result in an early decline. The additions and changes help sales rise again, earning extra sales revenue and profit, so as to maintain the Ben Sherman’s brand in the market which is in the extension stage.
It is not so easy to extend the life of the product because of numerous factors, however an effort could be made by reducing prices , launching into a new market , or either other sales promotions.
In case of Ben Sherman, an iconic brand with high growth, it is very crucial to recommend an extension strategy at times, which encompasses frequent redesigning, and commences in new markets to accommodate the trends and fashion and meet up the challenges and market rivalry. In view of the fact that Ben Sherman produces medium priced products, which is highly affected by the seasons of the year, mostly existing designs are integrated to produce new products that is with minor adjustments, will create ecstasy in the minds of people with a view to keeping attracted to their products. Redesigning or modification as an extension strategy entails the alteration of designs so as to provide a great target audience of a product by focusing on a new part of the market. (Lorette, 2006) Overall the lifecycle extension plays a fundamental role in fashion industry particularly if the targeted party is the young generation who are style seekers and music lovers.Because
of the frequent changing factor of fashion Ben Sherman has made it essential to keep modifying and redesigning the products in style and fashion to go well with the current trends and to revive the product life at maturity level.
The scenario under discussion highlights how Ben Sherman started and became one of the world’s top bestselling brands. The business has made the right choice of certain strategies that are market mix and product and market orientation, product life cycle management, market segmentation and other promotional strategies. The efficient responsive behavior of Ben Sherman has a high profile at fashion and music event through communication campaign research techniques.
Marketing research has been defined by the European Society for Marketing Research as “a key element within the total field of marketing information. It links the consumer, customer and public to the marketer through information which is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; to generate, refine and evaluate marketing actions; and to improve understanding of marketing as a process and of the ways in which specific marketing activities can be made more effective ” (Malhotra and Birks, 2003).
APPROACHES OF MARKETING RESEARCH
There are various marketing research tools which a company can decide to use either on individual basis or may be in connection to the other.
There are several marketing research approaches available to be used for a research. An organisation can use one or decide to combine many approaches for the research. Below are some suggested approaches that Ben Sherman can adopt
To start with, the observational research is the approach that seeks to gather information on customers by observing them while they patronize the
organizations products or when they consume it. Particularly, it examines what they do instead of why they exhibit certain behaviors when shopping or using the product. It can be done by videoing customers in stores, at work or at home. ‘Sometimes they equip consumers with pagers and instruct them to write down what they’re doing whenever prompted or they hold informal interview sessions at a cafe or bar’. ‘A major advantage of observational techniques is that they may be used without the observed respondent’s knowledge. Understandably, use of observation without the knowledge of the respondents raises a number of ethical and legal issues. Greg Allenby, 2007 Ohio State University
Also the experimental research approach can be used by Ben Sherman. This approach is a scientific process embarked on to make a finding. It is an investigating process aimed at the effects of changing conditions of an item. Typically it has to do with product testing as far as an organisation is concerned. ‘This is a technique in which the product under study is placed on sale in one or more selected localities or areas and its reception by consumers and the trade is observed, recorded and analyzed. Performance in test markets gives some indication of performance to be expected when the product goes into general distribution.’ (Lancaster, 2011)
To add to the marketing research approaches the organization can use is the survey research. This refers to the process where questionnaires are used to obtain information from a group of people or respondents so to speak. It aims at evaluating the awareness, opinions, ideas, feelings, satisfaction and the like of respondents. Surveys are done through face-to-face interviews, telephone survey, mail survey and online surveys. ‘Many marketers are taking their surveys online where they can easily develop, administer, and collect e-mail and Web-based questionnaires’.
Furthermore, the focus group research approach can be used by Ben Sherman. ‘A focus group is a gathering of six to ten people carefully selected by researchers based on certain demographic, psychographic, or other considerations and brought together to discuss various topics of interest at length. Participants are normally paid a small sum for attending. A
professional research moderator provides questions and probes based on the marketing managers’ discussion guide or agenda.’ (Kotler and Keller, 2012) ‘By setting up focus groups with representatives from, e.g., young single persons, single parents, young families and elderly couples , chosen issues can be explored in a most creative manner.
Last but not the least approach Ben Sherman can use is the international marketing research. This emanates from ‘added complexities when marketing across international frontiers.’ ‘Social and marketing practices differ widely between countries, as can political and commercial institutions and of course language. In researching export markets, it is important to note that conditions may vary from country to country so each has to be investigated individually. It is important not to assume that because a product or service is a commercial success in one country, it will automatically be so in another.’ http://www.mymarketresearchmethods.com/an-overview-of-market-research-methods/
MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS CAMPAIGN
Marketing communication strategy is a pathway tool of communication between the company and the ultimate consumer. Its primary objective is to identify the consumers need through the information obtained from market and to give them right information at the right time about their product. In other words it helps organizations to keep chasing the organization goals.
(Burnett and Moriarty, 1998) defines marketing communication as “the process of effectively communicating product information or ideas to target audience.” Marketing communication is a mix. The marketing communication mix includes advertising, sales promotion, public relations, personal selling and direct marketing. (Lancaster, Lester and Ruth, 2002) states that “The basic purpose of such tools is to communicate with consumers in order to persuade them to buy the company’s products.” The communication process involves the communicator which is the organization, the message the organization wants to get to send, the channel or the method of
communicating the message and the target audience which the message is meant for.
Ben Sherman can effectively use this tool to bring in more faster connection between its potential customers and keep frequently updated with the need of the customers so that once the product is produced by the company it can immediately communicate to the consumers about the feature and specification of the product to enforce the consumer to buy the product and keep the relationship with the customers. “(Kotler and Armstrong, 2008) states that “All of their communications must be planned and blended into carefully integrated marketing communications programs.”
The campaign planning process, (Lancaster, Lester and Ruth, 2002) states that it involves the product strategy, the communication objectives, its tactics the campaign implementation which is the test market and the campaign evaluation and control. In conclusion, it is palpable from the analysis above that the importance of an organisation conducting a marketing research cannot be over emphasized. When the research is done and the product is finally made Ben Sherman, the organization, has to undertake the communications campaign to promote the sale of the products.
In the fashion industry Ben Sherman has made an excellent position by working on an effective proportion of strategic mix in terms of product and market orientation. It has utilized the life cycle management and the product life cycle extension in an appropriate manner and similarly it has adapted the right research approach which has enabled company to sustain in the market. However the market communication has also been successful to keep customers always in touch with the updated styles and features of the company products. The performance of Ben Sherman’s strategy of targeting the market at a right proportion has resulted so successful that it has become a world’s iconic brand
Kotler, P. and Keller, K. (2012) Marketing Management 14th e, England, Essex,
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