The other day I was on a plane and got in a conversation with my seat mate. When she found out I worked as an advertising guy she told me her husband designed neckwear and wanted to sell his ties via the internet. What free marketing advice did I have?
My first thought was, uh oh. Fashion is a very fickle industry. I had some experience early in my career when I was an ad manager for a large department store. In that bricks-and-mortar era a men’s fashion manufacturer had to sell a network of retail buyers each season, starting with the MAGIC Show (is it still around?) and other industry events and and once you had a few retailers signed up, manufacture and distribution was the next channel. Maybe online sales have broken down some of those barriers, but the subjectivity of the ultimate buyer probably hasn’t changed.
Then it occurred to me: Warby Parker. Here’s another niche fashion product that seems to be very successful, based on the frequency with which I see their Facebook ads. So I advised her to study Warby Parker, or another single-line internet retailer, to see what they do. If it seems successful, then consider emulating their strategy.
I don’t think this is bad advice. One of the great things about working in marketing is its transparency. It’s not like the technology industry where a company’s special sauce is kept under lock and key so competitors won’t steal it. To the contrary, retail advertising is in plain view and the more you see it the more successful it probably is.
“What advice can you give me as a marketing pro” has just been added to the topic list for my DMA Ignite session on Monday, October 17 at the DMA &Then conference. This session is evolving into a sort of town hall meeting in which creative practitioners and ad managers will share their ideas and frustrations with their peers. Come join us at 4 pm at the Los Angeles Convention Center. And in the meantime, if you have any free advice of your own, please comment below.