Plan, Coordinate and Compete

There was an article in the business press recently about a large retail company known for it's moderately priced apparel going up-market with a large commitment in floor space and advertising budget to a well known fashion designer's line of woman's clothing and home products. The publication of the article coincided (imagine that!) With the kick-off of a coordinated multimillion-dollar, multi-media, multi-month advertising and marketing campaign using newspaper, magazine, billboard (including Times Square in New York City), radio, TV, and in-store displays and signage.

The article discussed the risks involved for the designer who might lose some of her high-end customer base when they see the brand in a "popular price" or (gasp!) "Discount" store. There are also risks for the retailer whose customers might be intimidated by the high-fashion image of a famous designer and the higher price points of the merchandise.

Not mentioned in the article, but the key element for me, was the obvious amount of thought and planning that went in this effort. Not only on the merchandise side with all the product decisions, sourcing, logistical and timing issues, but in the branding, the advertising and marketing themes and coordination, budgeting, media purchasing, even sending out the press releases that made the article I read possible . I contrasted that effort to the marketing planning of most small and mid-size businesses where the risks are just as important yet rarely given much planning, much thought, and very little coordination with other elements of a business. Most of the time, smaller businesses determine their marketing and advertising as an afterthought or a whim rather then one of the crucial elements of a businesses success.

The smaller businesses that do expend the energy and present a coordinated, well thought out multimedia advertising, marketing, and sales campaign will profit greatly from an elevated concentration of effort. Remember that they are competing against the resources and professionalism of a disciplined marketing machine and, if they are going to compete effectively, they must be up to the task which requires proactive thought and an eye towards informing prospects and customers in a coordinated, provocative, attractive manner.