Aarti, Head Marcom – Retail, PR & Social Media Marketing, TCNS Clothing Co Pvt Ltd. is a versatile and result oriented senior marketing professional with 15+ years of experience in the aforesaid domain. Aarti is a passionate marketer who loves challenges, is keen to learn new things and is a team’s person. She is perceived as a mentor in the marketing department, honing the professional skills of the team members and preparing them for the future, leading from the front. She has been recognised by the World Marketing Congress as one among the 100, most influential marketing personalities in 2019 & 2015.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Together with sales, it forms the most critical part of any business, the one which is going to drive revenue.
Both sales and marketing work in tandem for any business to generate leads and convert them in to actual selling of products or services. Traditionally, marketing faces challenges of measuring, correlating, and quantifying marketing efforts against sales volume. In the 21st century, brands are reinventing marketing by leveraging modern technologies to more accurately determine the impact of all promotional activities on sales. Using the rapidly evolving new-age technologies, enterprises have aligned marketing with sales seamlessly. Today, marketing communication is successfully driving high conversion rates, building brand credibility, and creating brand recall value, so much so that for many brands, it is creating an environment of assured sales even before products are launched. However, unlike brands from other sectors, the fashion industry has its own set of marketing challenges.
Fashion and apparel space is highly subjective. It caters to style, fitting, demography, tastes and preferences of various consumer segments. Hence, brands find it difficult to promote a huge product range for selling to a really segmented customer space. In the current times, when visiting stores and physical selling are continuously being impacted by a range of disruptions, driving sales and understanding consumers can get really difficult for fashion brands. The fashion retail sector has witnessed marketing and sales emerging from silos and getting integrated into almost one entity.
In order to reimagine their marketing strategies, fashion brands are increasingly investing into digital technological solutions to create creative marketing communications and drive conversions for the brands like never before. Through all the new-age digital channels, marketing communication is guiding people from awareness to purchase stage.
Since the pandemic has stuck, more people than ever before have switched to the digital medium for various reasons, from office work to pursuing education to entertainment. As per Statista, social media, streaming TV, news, and DIY video consumption has gone up by 75%, 71%, 64%, and 61%, respectively. This is creating an immense avenue for brands to connect to their target customer more frequently. The ongoing second wave of the pandemic has posed challenges to brands which are similar to the first wave, especially when it comes to connecting and communicating to consumers. However, having learned from the lessons of last year, most fashion brands are better prepared this time around.
Fashion brands are aggressively redesigning their marketing strategies. By going digital, brands are directly connecting with the customers, building their market presence, undertaking appreciative advocacy, and gaining more mind space of the consumers. The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption amongst people, which has boosted sales online. Today, more people (73%) as per a Google research describe themselves as channel agnostic as compared to pre-COVID times (65%).
This is the age of hyper-personalised marketing communication, which is targeted to the customers basis their preferences and taste. Tools like emails, calling, SMS, and WhatsApp messaging helps brands reach out to the customers directly and have been successfully driving sales by providing customized solutions to consumer needs. From the Zeroth Moment of Truth (of consideration) to the Second Moment of Truth (of purchase), the continuous communication nudges the customer to make a purchase decision.
The fashion retail industry is using both online and offline channels to connect to the customer base at any hour, location, or occasion. The channels include personalized campaigns, influencer engagements, or strategic digital promotion campaigns.
While traditional physical stores are still highly popular with buyers for the tangible store experience, the digital marketing communication is triggering a change in behaviour, convincing customers to make use of online channels safely. And herein, fashion brands are putting in all their efforts to create a unified experience for the customers with an integrated physical stores and e-marketplace.
Furthermore, these factors and consequent transitions have caused brands to reinvent marketing altogether, and technology is emerging as the biggest enabler and change maker. Fashion brands have begun taking an omni-channel approach and marketing strategies show a stronger digital focus. Brands increasingly are investing on digital marketing products integrated with physical stores, inventory and supply chains.
Brands are also investing in augmented and virtual reality technologies to extend a unified shopping experience to the consumers. Whether it is through strategic communication campaigns, digital advertising, unique loyalty programs, high-end technology interface, mobile applications, or cloud technology models, brands are leaving no stone unturned in reinventing marketing to accelerate customer engagement and delight. In reinventing marketing, brands are aligning sales and marketing more strongly and seamlessly, as marketing of the 21st century is converting directly into sales.