The primary purpose of this paper is to analyze the marketing management in the era of the social media marketing’s rapid growth and to retrieve a profound conclusion along with possible recommendations. To conduct this analysis, one particular company should have been chosen, and Gucci was selected since its marketing strategy combines the traditional means of the products’ promotion along with the employment of online tools. The paper’s scope comprises the investigation of Gucci’s approach to marketing in the context of several relevant theories and supporting information from scholarly literature.
It could be hardly doubted that the Internet and the development of social media have significantly contributed to the evolution of contemporary marketing strategies. Even though the traditional means of establishing and promoting the brand are still highly relevant, online marketing shapes the communication with customers, distribution of the product, and assessment of the market to a considerable extent. Therefore, it is evident that there is a significant necessity for the inclusion of social media tools in the analysis of contemporary marketing management. It is also apparent that the companies which make use of digital technologies appear to be more successful in the market (Ananda, Lamberti, & Hernández-García 2015).
For the purposes of this assignment, Gucci was chosen as a company for analysis since it is one of the most profitable and recognizable brands in the contemporary fashion market. This paper aims to analyze the brand’s marketing management, employing several theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this investigation is to address the following issues: how does Gucci maintains its high position in the market, which strategies are employed to improve marketing management, and what are key strengths of the company. The analysis will be supported by the scholarly sources to provide a profound basis for the assessment and investigation of the brand’s marketing strategies.
It is important to mention that all employed sources were published within last five years, which provides a significant level of credibility for the relevancy of the information. The first article under consideration is dedicated to the investigation of the employment of online marketing by large fashion companies, including Gucci (Godey et al. 2016). The second article is written by Hassan, Husić-Mehmedović, and Duverger (2015), and it dwells upon a critical question of the resilience of global luxury brands in the period of overall economic downturn. The authors suggest that the globalness of these companies might be the primary factor in their prolific performance. Also, several insights on better employment of marketing strategies, including promotion through social media, are discussed in the article. Further, the article by Paul (2015) should be mentioned since the author introduces the concept of “masstige marketing,” which refers to “a market penetration strategy for medium and large enterprises,” especially operating in foreign countries (Paul 2015, p. 691). Another reason for choosing this article is that it is based on the marketing mix theory to a considerable extent.
Finally, it is possible to overview the last two articles selected for this assignment briefly. They are discussed in one paragraph since they both were written by the same three authors (however, the order in which the authors are credited is different for each article). The first article primarily dwells upon the investigation of the employment of online marketing strategies, using Gucci as one of two primary examples (Ananda, Hernández García & Lamberti 2015). The second article represents a profoundly elaborated analysis of the use of SMM strategies to improve the perception and revenue of the brand (Ananda, Lamberti, & Hernández-García 2015). The observation of chosen scholarly articles reveals a distinct gap in the investigation of Gucci’s marketing strategies separately from other brands as well as in the employment of marketing management frameworks. The following section will discuss the theories which were identified to be applicable for this research.
Key Theories and Methodology
This research will apply three key theories, which will provide methodological basis for the process of analysis. There are three theoretical frameworks which are essential to apply: Segmenting-Targeting-Positioning (STP) framework, marketing mix theory, and the theory of consumer behavior. STP is a three-stage process which comprises (1) identification of distinct types of customers present in the market, (2) selection of the particular consumer group, which is the most appropriate focus on, and (3) implementation of a marketing strategy which is the most suitable for the identified segment. This framework allows developing a comprehensive approach to the distribution of the product. Secondly, marketing mix theory, which is also referred to as 4 Ps of marketing, is primarily preoccupied with the categorization of any given marketing strategy into four aspects: product, place, price, and promotion. This approach is also used to maximize the profitability of the company. Thirdly, it is essential to mention the theory of consumer behavior, which is dedicated to the investigation of business-consumer relationships from the perspective of the customer. The employment of this approach is essential for the adequate assessment of the consumer’s reactions.
Based on the mentioned theoretical frameworks, the methodology for this research can be developed. In the previous section, the literature review was conducted to provide profound support for this study. Therefore, mentioned scholarly articles would be employed to retrieve relevant information about Gucci company, its marketing strategies, and additional insights on the contemporary marketing management. Accordingly, the theories which were mentioned in this sections will be applied to the retrieved information to develop a full understanding of the company’s position in the market. Finally, based on the conducted research, the conclusion will be made, and possible recommendations will be provided.
It is possible to begin the analysis with the implementation of STP framework since it allows to acquire a considerably profound scope of the given company’s strategy. Therefore, the discussion should be started by the investigation of the first stage of STP process which is segmenting. Overall, this term refers to the method of distinguishing between particular consumer groups, existing in the whole market. The ultimate goal of the segmenting stage is to choose a distinct customer segment, on which the company will focus its marketing efforts.
Considering the Gucci brand, the following varieties of segmentation could be applied: demographic, psychological, behavioral, and geographic segmentation. First of all, it is possible to observe that the demographic segment which is served by Gucci is considerably vast since the products of the company are not strictly limited by age and sex of the customers (Ananda, Hernández García & Lamberti 2015). However, it is also evident that Gucci is a luxury brand, which is associated with a particular lifestyle and level of income, and thus the company’s products are primarily used by people from upper and middle classes (Ananda, Hernández García & Lamberti 2015). This segmentation policy does not take into account the lower ranks, which comprise the majority of consumers. Also, it should be mentioned that the company was adversely influenced by recent economic downturn due to the outflow of customers; however, Gucci was able to maintain its overall position in the market (Hassan, Husić-Mehmedović & Duverger 2015).
Further, other aspects of the company’s policy of segmenting are to be discussed. Recognizing the geographical factor, it should be noted that Gucci has always been a very concise and cautious brand regarding developing its geographic distribution (Ananda, Hernández García & Lamberti 2015). However, it is possible to state that the company has significantly diversified its presence in foreign markets, which positively affected the profitability of the brand (Paul 2015). Further, it should be mentioned that, regarding psychological segmentation, Gucci is primarily focused on the particular lifestyle of celebrities, which fits the luxury status and high quality of the brand’s products. Acknowledging the behavioral segmenting, the company’s success is vastly based upon the high level of customer’s loyalty, which is achieved by the provision of the products’ exceptional quality and association with successful lifestyle (Ananda, Hernández García & Lamberti 2015).
This section will dwell upon the peculiarities of the company’s targeting policy. It is evident that targeting, as well as the positioning stage of STP framework, is vastly based upon the particular segmenting approach, which is chosen by the company. From the previous subsection, it is evident that Gucci serves a significantly narrow segment of customers. However, since the selected portion comprises financially successful people from upper class, its size could be considered as irrelevant. Also, one of the company’s primary strengths is its reputation and recognizable brand name. Therefore, it should be observed that Gucci profoundly established its position in the market as the company, which provides exceptional quality products for the particular segment of privileged customers. The most apparent targeting issue for Gucci is the immensely high competition in the market because there are numerous brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Dior, Chanel, and others, which also serve the same consumer group (Godey et al. 2016). Therefore, it is evident that the company under discussion is in a significant need for the implementation of efficient positioning for the chosen segment.
In the implementation of the positioning stage of STP framework, it is essential to consider four primary factors: what is the nature of the product, what is its pricing, how the product is distributed, and how the product is promoted. According to the categorization provided by Perner (2018b), Gucci can be considered to be a customer intimate firm because it is primarily focused on the fulfilling of needs of a relatively small number of customers (Perner 2018b). The company also possesses the quality of a technologically excellent firm since Gucci provides products of outstanding quality, employing the best materials and manufacturing technologies available. Thus, the company positions its products in the premium segment of the market, considering their quality and price. The promotion is very prestige in the majority of cases; however, the company also employs social media marketing to improve the perception of the brand among the potential customers. The distribution of the company’s products is considerably selective, and in some cases, it can be exclusive to increase the loyalty and devotion to the brand. Since the process of positioning intersects with the marketing mix approach to a considerable extent, the following subsection will dwell upon the discussion of the mentioned theory.
The marketing mix theory is also referred to as 4 Ps of marketing since it is preoccupied with the categorization of any strategy in four positions: product, price, place, and promotion (Paul 2015). First of all, the product aspect should be observed because the particular commodity, which is produced by the company, serves as the basis for other factors distinguished by marketing mix approach. As it was already mentioned, Gucci offers various goods of exceptional quality, including ready-to-wear clothing, perfumes, handbags, and other accessories.
Secondly, the company conducts the policy of premium pricing because its products are considered to be a status symbol, and also the use of highest quality materials makes it impossible to cut the price significantly. Thirdly, the choice of distribution places is very selective, which emphasizes the customers’ privilege. Finally, it is possible to mention that the aspect of promotion is significantly diverse since the company employs both traditional marketing strategies and social media marketing to retain the relationships with highly loyal customers and to attract new consumers.
Further, it is of high importance to discuss Gucci’s social media strategy. First of all, their website is an example of well-thought design, which attracts customers and simplifies the process of online shopping (Danao 2017). Secondly, Gucci promotes a very distinct policy of posting image-driven content, which creates the aura of luxury and elitism (Danao 2017). Their website and product pages, especially Instagram account, provide a range of qualitative and appealing imagery of the company’s products. Since Instagram was mentioned, the collaboration of Gucci and several famous instagrammers exemplifies the distinctly successful employment of marketing tools, which are provided by the contemporary social media (Danao 2017). Also, it is worth mentioning that the company uses memes, a popular form of interaction between social media users, to promote its products, namely the new collection of watches (Danao 2017).
It should be observed that one of the most desired characteristics of consumer behavior for Gucci is the customer’s involvement. As it was already mentioned, the market in which the company operates is highly competitive since there are numerous brands which strive for the attention of their possible clients. Therefore, Gucci seeks to establish the enduring involvement of their customers by the provision of exclusive options and services because the company considers personal factor to be one of the most important aspects of interaction with customers (Perner 2018a). In terms of cultural and social factors, Gucci has always viewed its customers to be the part of high society. For example, the company had long-term partnerships with such actresses as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly to emphasize the connection between the proficiency in art and distinct taste in clothing. Mentioning more recent public figures, the collaboration with Lady Gaga, who wore a Gucci suit during her performance at the 2016 Super Bowl, and Beyonce, who used Gucci clothing in her several videos (Danao 2017).
Conclusion and Recommendations
Based on the conducted research and employed scholarly literature, several generalizing observations could be made. First of all, it is apparent that Gucci is one of the most successful brands in the fashion industry. It maintains its position in the market, providing products of exceptional quality for the precisely targeted segment of consumers. Secondly, the company actively uses social media marketing to attracts new customers and create an appealing brand image. Concerning the recommendations which could be proposed, one could suggest that (1) the company would extend its segmenting since it appears to be considerably narrow, and (2) the pricing policy could be moderated to attract new customers. The rationale behind these recommendations is that Gucci can significantly increase the diversity of its customer segment by the implementation of these assumptions. In conclusion, it should be stated that this paper has provided critical analysis of the reasons for Gucci’s success.
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