This writing will present a strategic marketing plan for Psyche. In the following marketing plan, a clear strategy, the rationale for the selection of marketing strategy and the specific strategic actions to be taken at both the strategic and tactical level will be presented. The writing will be structured in a logical sequence in the marketing plan formulation process. The marketing formulation process will be designed according to a seven step process, as follow: (a) defining business mission, (b) conduct of situational analysis, (c) development of marketing objectives, (d) formulation of marketing strategy, (e) design of marketing organization, and lastly (f) implementation of marketing control. For the information of the reader, Psyche is a fast growing online fashion stores operating in UK, Europe and US. The company is also having retail shops in UK. The company is selling many types of branded and cutting edge fashion and stylish fashion, apparel and others for men, women and children. The company caters for the sartorial needs of the customers. More information regarding the company can be obtained from http://www.psyche.co.uk/.
Before a detail and effective marketing plan can be formulated, the marketing philosophy guiding the development of the marketing plan as well as the execution of marketing activities for a firm should be firstly defined. For any successful company, it is found that the often adopted marketing or management philosophy is a customer-oriented philosophy (Day, 1999). Thus, it is important for Psyche to adopt the marketing philosophy on a company-wide level. Under such philosophy, it is important for the management to instill the customer-oriented culture in all departments and workforce in the company (Hulbert et. al., 2003). To satisfy customer needs and to think from customers’ perspectives are the responsibilities and duties of all level of employees from all functional departments. Only though such a marketing and customer-oriented culture, Psyche can improve itself from the customers’ perspectives and ultimately to enhance customers’ satisfaction and loyalty in the marketplace. As the customers are happy with the services and products provided by the company, the long term growth and profitability of the firm can be ensured.
Any successful business has a strong and clear mission, so the entire organization knows the direction it is heading (Brown, 2005; De Witt & Meyer, 1998). From a research of Psyche, it is noted that the company aim to become the one stop fashion solution, primarily through online web portal to provide the necessary sartorial needs for the customers. However, such a mission is not clearly written or presented in the web portal of the company. As the mission statement is not being clearly written, it may be unclear from the customers’ perspective on what the corporation is standing for. Thus, the company should clearly define its mission statement, on what the corporation truly stands for in the marketplace. Only with that, the customers can understand the clear positioning of Psyche in the marketplace.
Before viable and precise plans can be formulated, it is critical for the marketer to analyze the broad macro-environment in the first place. Only with in-depth understanding on the business surroundings facing Psyche, the ‘strategic fit’ between the company with the business landscape can be defined and formulated (Burk, 2007; Johnson et. al., 2008). In the following section, three components of the situational analysis (i.e., market analysis, competitor analysis as well as SWOT analysis) for Psyche will be presented.
Under market analysis, the business environment facing Psyche will be analyzed under the PEST framework. In this framework, the political, economic, social and technological factors affecting the business or the industry will be analyzed and presented.
Political factors affecting Psyche. The political factors that possibly affecting the business profitability and operation of a firm include the government regulatory policies, industrial policies, environmental policies as well as the respective fiscal or monetary policies in the respective nation (Doole & Lowe, 2004; Doyle & Stern, 2006). As currently Psyche is operating mainly in Europe, US and UK, the changes or threats of governmental rules and regulations are minimal. The regulations in these countries are already developed, and major changes on the regulation related to the fashion industry are not to be expected. However, the monetary and fiscal policies in these countries may be adversely affecting the business profitability of Psyche. For example, the monetary tightening as well as the fiscal austerity program implemented by various nations in Europe may affect the macroeconomic of the region, and hence affect the consumer spending in the respective countries (Cardarelli et. al., 2010; Schmidt, 2010). Thus, as the consumer spending reduced, the expected business profitability of the firm may be adversely impacted as well.
Economic factors affecting Psyche. There are many economic actors that can affect the business viability and growth of a firm, and some of the widely known powerful economic factors that may impact businesses include inflation rate, interest rates, the unemployment rate, and the prices of energy (Doole & Lowe, 2004; Doyle & Stern, 2006). Currently, the unemployment rate in US, UK as well as Europe is high, and this indicate that the consumer spending power will be low as people that do not have any job will less likely to buy fashionable apparels or clothing for stylish living standard. At the time of this writing, the economic situation of Europe and US is in the process of recovery, but the process is slow, and may uncertainties still persist in the economy (Cardarelli et. al., 2010; Schmidt, 2010). It is expected that the economic outlook in the future will be volatile and challenging (Schmidt, 2010). Thus, it is critical for Psyche to think out of the box to implement innovative strategies to cope with the gloomy economic outlook in the near future. From the other perspective, the long term economic outlook in the emerging countries, particular those from the East, such as China, India, Russia, and nations from South East Asia are expected to be on a long term growth path (Cardarelli et. al., 2010). As the globalization process is hastening in the recent decades, such factor is not something can be neglected by the management of Psyche if the firm intends to grow fast and profitably in the global landscape.
Social factors affecting Psyche. Social and cultural factors are important and influential elements that can affect the marketing and business strategies aspects of a business. Among the social factors widely discussed in the context of business management include life styles, demographics, changing values of people as well as the changes in consumer preferences and tastes (Doole & Lowe, 2004; Doyle & Stern, 2006). Particularly for a fashion related business as for the case of Psyche, the social factors are the key factor impacting the strategies and value offering to the customers. Luckily, Psyche is concentrating in the Western countries, where the social and cultural factors from these countries are pretty similar. However, it is worthy to mention that the cultural factors in the other region of the world, such as China, India, Japan, Korea and even the Middle East, are of very different from the cultural tendencies in the Western world (Dicken, 2007). Such factors should be taken into consideration if Psyche intends to expand to the other region of the world.
Technological factors affecting Psyche. Technology is playing an increasing important role in affecting the business process and value delivery channel of the business (Doole & Lowe, 2004; Doyle & Stern, 2006). Internet and information technology is expected to change the way businesses are conducted around the world. The various technological factors often considered by marketers in structuring a strategic business plan include the issues related to products or process innovation, the threat of substitutes due to changes in technology, information technology, e-commerce and the ability to deliver services at a lower cost with the help of technology (Fahey, 1999). Psyche is a firm that is capitalizing on the usage of internet and the cutting edge internet marketing platform to reach the target customers. From the web-portal of the firm, it is found that the firm is utilizing Facebook, Twitter, RSS, blogging, and many other forms of e-commerce marketing techniques and strategies to tap into the market. Psyche is doing pretty in such dimensions. However, technology is changing fast, and it is important for the business to keep in pace with the changes to capture opportunities when possible while to handle any new threats due to changes in technological factors in the future.
There are many competitors in the marketplace in the fashion, apparel and design industry. The main reason is that the barriers to entry are low, and many entrepreneurs are apparently seeing great potential in the industry. Secondly, people used to get in touch with the fashion industry, and thus, it is not something not popular that is often ignored by potential entrepreneurs in choosing an industry to enter into. Thus, the competition in the industry is great. Different competitors are available in different market segment, and it can be reasonably expected that new entrance into the industry is great as many designer or entrepreneur with a passion in fashion may choose to start its new venture in the industry. Besides, the competition of selling fashion related clothes and apparel online is great, as the costs of starting an online business are very low.
In conducting an analysis of the situational analysis in the industry, both internal and external factors affecting the industry and firm is important, as in-depth understandings on the macroenvironment as well as the firm related issues will enable market to formulate relevant and viable marketing plan for the organization (Adams, 2005; Hill et. al., 1997). In this context, the SWOT framework will be used, whereby the strengths or the weaknesses of the firm will be analyzed and identified, and to predict or identify the potential threats and opportunities facing the firm due to the industry or business landscape. The SWOT analysis will be presented as follow.
Strengths of Psyche. Psyche is a pretty successful and fats growing firm, due to the competency and committed management working in the company. The management is ambitious, having wide experience and marketing savvy. As the management in the company is of high quality, the firm able to slowly stand out from the competition. Besides, the company is also having a wide business network, where the company able to access to distribute many of the different brands of clothes in the fashion and apparel industry in an economical manner. Not only that, the products offered by the firm cover most of the normal needs demanded by the customers, from watches, clothes, bag, footwear, jewellery, accessories and etc. The company is also offering the products to many market segment, covering men, women, office, casual, children and many others. This essentially put the company as the one-stop solution in the fashion industry. Another striking strength of the company is that it is having a new and lean business model, capitalizing on the information technology and internet marketing technologies to reach the customers. This effectively lower the operating costs of the business if compared to the other traditional operators in the industry.
Weaknesses of Psyche. The main weakness of Psyche from the marketing perspectives is that the company is not having a concentrated market positioning. The company engaged in too many types of products, and the brand name of the company may not able to hold strong impression among the customer mindset. Besides, when compared to other larger retailers, the company may be lacking strong financial supports or capabilities in launching aggressive or large scale marketing campaign. Thus, lacking of financial resources to compete against the big boys may prevent the company from carrying out certain strategies in advertising and promotion activities. Not only that, due to the special business model of the firm, it is also uncertain if the customers are loyal to Psyche, or they are still price sensitive customer that buy from Psyche because they are the loyal customers for the famous brand promoted by Psyche, such as Armani, Boss, Ted Baker, D&G, Paul Smith and etc. There is apparently little efforts spend on building up own brand name through the development of self-branded products to be marketed to the marketplace. This essentially put the company in an unfavorable position as people simply can buy from other trading companies if the price offered is low enough.
Opportunities for Psyche. As the economy and technological landscape is changing fast, there are many opportunities for the company. One of the obvious opportunities for businesses is to capitalize on the advancement of technology information to market its products, and this had already been performed by the company. However, there are still many opportunities in such a context not being captured or utilized by the firm. For example, Psyche is not utilizing Customer Relationship Management program to keep in touch with the visitors to the webpage, and Psyche is also not having any mechanism to generate leads or to request information from visitors to the website so that promotional or company related information can be sent to the visitors in the future. The blogging efforts performed by the company is also minimal, and is it hard to imagine that visitors will come into the web portal of the company often as no exciting or entertaining materials are posted there often. Another opportunity for the firm is that the rising economic activities and wealth of the emerging market offer Psyche a huge marketplace to venture into. Many of the emerging countries, particularly those in Asia, accepted the cultural concepts, ideas from the Western world. Besides, the market potential of these emerging markets is big, and it is possible that the spending power of the citizen from the emerging countries may exceed those from the Western world by 2050 (Cardarelli, et. al., 2010), and thus this offer Psyche the opportunity to tap into a new market segment in the other part of the world.
Threats to Psyche. From the macroeconomic perspective, the economy of the world is volatile. Besides, the economic outlook of the Western world, particularly in the US and Europe, is volatile and uncertain, despite there are sayings that these countries are setting on a recovery path (Schmidt, 2010). The unemployment rate remains high, and the consumer confidence and spending remain sluggish (Cardarelli, et. al., 2010). This will definitely affect the pricing power of strategies of Psyche. Besides, other huge threats for Psyche are that the competition in the industry is great and intense (as we had discussed above). As the competition is great, the margin for the industry ends to decrease.
Overall, there are both good and bad points of Psyche and the macro-environmental factor facing the firms. By incorporating the various issues and findings discussed above, a comprehensive marketing plan can be developed in the following sections.
Considering the facts and discussions presented in several sections above, a few marketing objectives can be outlined as follow. The development of marketing objectives will start with defining the general strategic marketing direction of the firm to the more tactical plans for the attainment of the strategic direction of the firm. The marketing objectives developed are as follow:
To enhance customer-oriented culture in the firm. In order to become a successful and fast growing customer, it is important that the management and the firm focus intensely on fulfilling customers’ needs, to understand the customers well and to deliver the value proposition and promises honestly and passionately to the marketplace.
To define the brand name and positioning of Psyche in the marketplace. It is critical to further define the positioning of Psyche and to craft strategies to enhance the brand name of Psyche in the marketplace.
To further leverage on the internet marketing technologies and platform. Consistent with the changes in the technological landscape, it is critical for Psyche to tap into the full potential of internet marketing technologies and infrastructure to reach the targeted market.
To tap into emerging market in Asia. It is important to set the company presence in the emerging market such as in China, India, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other developed countries such as Japan, Korea, Singapore in Asia, as these countries offer gigantic market opportunities to the company.
To promote and advertise Psyche more frequently and seriously through effective marketing channels and strategies. It is important for Psyche to engage in continuous improvement and to carry out persistent and aggressive marketing promotional and advertising events and activities to enhance the brand name and its presence in the marketplace. It is crucial to keep in good contact with the customers and to enhance the brand awareness within the consumers’ mindset and perceptions.
The section above outline the general marketing objectives to be fulfilled in the long term, but to achieve that requiring viable and effective formulation of marketing strategy for the attainment of these objectives. In The following section, a five step approach is taken to formulate marketing strategy for Psyche. The steps by steps approach are: (a) development of strategic focus, (b) selection of market segment, (c) selection of competitive battleground, (d) defining competitive advantage, and (e) formulation of marketing mix.
The strategic focus of Psyche should be oriented towards growth and profitability in the marketplace. Instead of concentrating to increase the volume or the productivity of the business, Psyche should aim to enhance both volume and productivity simultaneously. Similarly, instead of focusing to enhance selling price or to reduce costs of the business, the management should focus on improving both the revenue and costs dimensions simultaneously. Thus, the key theme for strategic direction for the company it so engage in continuous improvement efforts to growth the company, while at the similar time control the costs in an effective and prudent manner. For that reason, the strategic focus of the firm is to enhance profitability through both enhancement of revenue while at the similar time having conservative control on the cost structure incurred in the business delivering process.
Currently, Psyche is focusing on a lot of categories of customers, ranging from women, man, and children and is selling all sorts of fashion related products. The market served by the company is huge, and it is hard to define the precise market segment the company is focusing on. However, it is noted that all the fashionable products sold are trendy and stylish, and is promoted as high quality and high-class in the marketplace. Thus, the market segment served by the company should be defined very clearly as to serve the fashion conscious and stylish individuals in the marketplace. All the marketing efforts of Psyche will then be focused on delivering information, education, promotional and advertising materials to such group of individual. The products and value offering will also be concentrated to fulfill the needs and requirement of customers that seek to demonstrate a stylish, fashionable, noble, sexy and high class impression in the society.
As we had discussed before, competition in the industry is great. The battleground is complex, dynamic and intense. Commons sense will inform us that the battleground can be divided into two main sections, namely the traditional boutique retail shops as compared to the online-oriented web portal. There are also many players that have both traditional retail shop and online web portal to reach the target market segment. Psyche should belong to the third category. As it is easily understood that having both channel to reach the customer is crucial for the profitability of the firm, it is suggested that Psyche should remain so.
From another perspective, there are businesses targeted to quality conscious or price conscious customers in the market. Each type of business aim to fulfill the respective demand of the customers, either lower price or higher quality. However, that presents a strong opportunity to Psyche as the firm can continuously and simultaneously focusing on delivering high quality products to the marketplace with a cheaper pricing than the competitors. Consistent with the marketing philosophy discussed above, psyche should try hard to fulfill customers’ needs. It is not hard to understand that customers needs, as all customers would like to buy high quality product with the lowest price possible. If that can be done by Psyche, the business can be brought to greater height in the industry.
As discussed previously, it is critical to be able to focus on both quality and pricing of the business. Thus, the competitive advantage to be furnished and sharpen by Psyche is to be able to deliver the high quality products for customers at the cheapest possible pricing, to wipe out the other small retailers that lack economic of scale or is not having such passion to truly deliver what is required by the customers.
Having defined the key strategic focus and the competitive advantage to be pursued by Psyche, the following marketing mix can be formulated (Hollensen, 2006; Noel & Hulbert, 2007).
Price. It is hard for Psyche to become the lowest price leader in the market place, because the key products sold are of high quality and trendy, which is supposed to be expensive. However, Psyche can lower the price of these stylish and trendy products slightly lower than those offered by the competitors, to shows its commitment to deliver value to the customers. This, discounted price is to be offered through its online web portal, and emphasis should be given to build layers of loyal customers so that the wide public will believe that Psyche is sincere in offering the very best quality products at the cheapest price in the comparable marketplace.
Product. The products to be offered should be stylish, and marketed ad trendy and of high prestige. Thus, the branded products should be continuously marketed to the customers. Besides, it is also important for the company to start selling products of its own brand name, to enhance the brand presence in the marketplace. By selling own branded products, the profit margin can be further enhance, while at the similar time building brand awareness, brand presence and customer loyalty in the marketplace.
Promotion. Promotional activities are the most critical part of marketing mix in the fashion industry. The promotion activities should be focus on the internet platform as that is consistent with the biog direction of the firm to enhance profitability while lowering the operational costs. Online marketing is perhaps cheaper if compared to the traditional methods in reaching the target market.
Place. As discussed before, Psyche is having both the traditional and online distribution channel. However, going forward, the company should focus on building up the marketing power of the online selling channel, as that is consistent with the changes in the technological and societal trend in the world. However, the different channels of the online business can be further improved. For example, more attractive and frequent blogs should be presented. Email or SMS related marketing should be conducted. The proper Customer Relationship Management and Customer Management System should be established, to collect the leads and prospect email and contact information. Free e-book on the company products, designed with beautiful graphics and state-of-the-art designs should be provided to websites visitors that they are informed on any promotion of new products offered by Psyche. Besides, this offer Psyche the opportunity to collect email from those who sign up to obtain free e-book from the company. Overall, such measures will deliver value to the customers, while enhance and support the marketing activities of Psyche online.
Considering all the points and the suggested marketing strategies to be implemented, it is best if Psyche can form a market-oriented organizational structure (Markey et. al., 2007; Doyle et. al., 2006). The organizational structure should be similar to the one presented as follow.
This article had successfully presented the crucial elements in a strategic marketing plan for Psyche. The strategies formulated are viable and logical, and now it is dependent on the execution skills of the management to implement these strategies, while continuously improve it in the process of growing the business in the future.
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