Handmade Knitwear Company’s Marketing Plan

Introduction

Being a new entrant to the existing fashion and apparel market, Handmade Knitwear needs an elaborate strategy for promoting its products and attracting target customers. In order to become successful in the target market, the organization will have to deploy an efficient marketing approach and make the product not only attractive to the target audience but also easily recognizable. Since Handmade Knitwear is entirely new to the target market and is restricted in terms of its budget, the use of the social network as the basis for the company’s marketing strategy should be considered as an option.

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Branding, Pricing, and Distribution

In order to make the product of the company memorable and develop a strong brand name recognition approach, the company will use the slogan “Handmade Knitwear keeps you warm and fuzzy” and promote the idea of coziness as the key characteristics to be associated with the company’s products. In advertising, a pastel palette of colors will be used in order to keep the visual elements aligned with the company’s vision and mission, which are to create the products that will keep customers physically and emotionally comfortable.

The price for the product will range from $6.99 per piece (for sweater tops) to $69.99 per piece (for patterned sweaters, ponchos, etc.). The product will be distributed directly with the help of an online catalog. In addition, a printed catalog will be issued for ordering Knitwear. Thus, the company will be able to save an impressive amount of its financial resources for developing the R&D department and enhancing the process of customer communication.

Marketing: Competitors

Handmade Knitwear is likely to face several competitors on its way to market domination. Among them, both inter and intra competitors can be identified, as the organization will have to compete with both similar companies and strategic groups. Table 1 shows, Handmade Knitwear has three major competitors and two minor ones in the inter competition department. As far as the intra competition issues are concerned, the organization will have to face substantive rivalry in the specified domain, as the number of competitors is very high.

Table 1. Competition in the Apparel Industry.

Intra Competition Inter Competition
Retailers Manufacturers
Sibling Independent stores Textile manufacturers
  • Apex Mills;
  • Hamrick Mills;
  • Bekaert textiles.
Sonia Rykiel Specialized chains Clothing manufacturers
  • Paramount Apparel; International;
  • All USA Clothing.
Missoni Large retailers Knitwear manufacturers
  • Mona Lisa Fashions, Inc.
Louise Goldin Itinerants
Tim Ryan
Mark Fast

Despite the fact that the competitors listed above seem quite hard to fight, they have not only strengths, but also weaknesses. The latter can be used as the basis for Handmade Knitwear to create its differentiation strategy on. Specifically, the lack of emphasis on customer feedback needs to be addressed.

Table 2. Inter and Intra Competitors’ Strengths and Weaknesses.

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Inter Competition Intra Competition
Strengths
  • Brand name recognition;
  • Loyal customers
  • Experience;
  • Connections in the market
Weaknesses
  • High prices;
  • Lack of innovative ideas
  • Rigid set of marketing strategies;
  • Lack of efficient promotion

Based on the information provided above, the Handmade Knitwear Company will have to develop a strong marketing strategy and a vast promotion campaign in order to succeed in the target market. A combination of an innovative approach (i.e., handmade products) and an efficient feedback system will propel the company to the top of the market.

Leading and Following

The organization aims to be a leader in the area. By taking the niche of handmade clothing production, Handmade Knitwear will be able to succeed in the target market; however, to attract new customers, the organization will have to become a leader in the target area. An efficient promotion campaign will help attain the above-mentioned goal of becoming a leader in the handmade knitwear niche.

Salient Marketing Elements and Trends

The knitwear industry does not seem to be affected by major outside factors, including political, financial, and economic ones. However, changes in the intensity of environmental concern may affect the demand rates for the products that are made of natural wool, which will require the enhancement of woolen knitwear production.

Marketing Research Tools

As it has been stressed above, retrieving feedback from customers is essential for a company that has only recently entered the target market (Mooi & Sarstedt, 2011). Hence, the tool known as Survey Monkey will have to be incorporated into the research process. Helping one create surveys, the tool in question is free and quite useful as a means of acquiring essential data, including customer feedback.

Implementation Strategy

In the course of the strategy implementation, Handmade Knitwear will have to provide elaborate advertisement pieces in order to attract the attention of the target audience. In the specified scenario, the social media engagement (SME) approach can be viewed as the basic tool, as it allows for understanding the customers, their buying behavior and choices (Kietzmann, Hermkens, McCarthy & Silvestre, 2011) and, therefore, will help put the company promotion to practice successfully. Among the key activities, the use of social media as the promotion tool will be considered. The key responsibilities, therefore, will include promotion related activities.

Timetable.
Figure 1. Timetable.

Five-year Expansion Plan

Executive Summary

Handmade Knitwear has only recently entered the home market, yet is willing to expand into the global market. The organization is going to use social media as the key promotional tool and the means of communicating with the target customers.

Company Overview

The company has recently entered the apparel industry. It produces handmade woolen and acrylic knitwear for women, children and teenagers. The organization aims at providing the customers with the products of the finest quality and values communication with all stakeholders involved.

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Industry and Consumer Trends

A closer look at the target market will show that customers are getting increasingly aware of sustainable use of resources in the apparel industry (Phau & Ong, 2007). Therefore, it is expected that natural wool is going to be the preferred material chosen by the customers.

Future Profitability

It is expected that the company will increase its profitability by 10% in the first two years of its operations by acquiring a larger amount of customers.

Market Share Growth

It is assumed that the market share of the organization will grow consistently by at least 0.5% per year. The specified rate of development in the target market can be attained by enhancing the popularity of the organization with the help of social media.

Social Media Tools

In the light of the fact that the recent IT breakthrough has transferred the process of interpersonal and business communication into the realm of online reality, the use of modern media tools should be considered by Handmade Knitwear as one of the cheapest and at the same time most efficient options. When it comes to choosing specific tools that will allow for the most efficient promotion, one will have to consider the tools that allow for sharing textual and visual information. For visual data, the tool known as PhotoSync, which allows for sharing information across mobile devices, deserves to be mentioned.

Since the company offers clothes, it is important that customers should be able to see what the organization has to offer. PhotoSync, in its turn, will allow for capturing the works that represent the company in the most beneficial light.

Photosync
Figure 2. Photosync (PhotoSync: Wirelessly transfers your photos and videos, n. d., Fig. 1; Alexander Wang seamless chunky hand-knit sweater ShopBAZAAR, 2015, Fig. 1)

Another media tool, the use of which the organization will need to consider, the PostPlanner for scheduling posts in Facebook needs to be mentioned. The specified tool will allow for updating the news feed in Facebook on a regular basis and, therefore, keep the target audience interested. Being free, the media tool in question will help the company allocate its financial assets in a more elaborate manner.

An Example of a PostPlanner Schedule
Figure 3. An Example of a PostPlanner Schedule (Why Buffer, HootSuite and Post Planner are the holy trinity of managing social media, 2012, Fig. 2)

As the picture provided above shows, the tool helps post the news feed in several Facebook groups at the same time. Therefore, the company will be able to embrace a vaster amount of target customers. More importantly, the tool will help analyze the trending content in the apparel industry.

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Performance Standards

For the company to be successful in the target market, it will be necessary to make sure that the company meets several crucial performance standards. Particularly, the efficient completion of tasks and factual justification of the choices made by the staff members (Summary of GPhC performance standards 2014-15, 2014) need to be mentioned.

Monitoring Methods

In order to monitor the performance of the staff, the company managers will have to employ monthly audits and demand that the staff should send daily or weekly reports to managers.

Financial Controls

The financial control of the company’s key transactions can be carried out with the help of a combined approach of using manual transaction controls and automated transaction controls, as it will help process data faster and make sure that no mistakes or instances of financial fraud have occurred (Tay et al., 2013).

Potential Performance Assessment

The performance assessment process should be carried out with the help of individual performance assessment. Thus, each member of the team will feel values (Vodolazhskaya & Pratchenko, 2015). The integration of group performance assessment based on the success of specific teams should also be incorporated into the framework. Thus, the efficacy of communication and cooperation among the team members will be assessed.

Integrated Marketing Communications

In order to implement the marketing plan mentioned above, the organization will have to choose the integrated marketing communications known as direct communication and events organization. While the former will help make every customer feel valued, the latter will help shed light on the organization in local media. Thus, the integration of the traditional and the modern media in the promotion of the company will become possible (Castronovo & Huang, 2012).

Conclusion

Despite the fact that the Handmade Knitwear Company is facing major risks as a comparatively recent entrant into the existing apparel market, the chances for the company to succeed are rather high, as a reasonable marketing approach based on the use of the organization’s strengths has been chosen as the basis for the promotion campaign and attraction of the target customers. As long as the organization carries out market research on a regular basis and searches for the ways of using its assets for benefitting in a specific environment, Handmade Knitwear will be rather successful among the target customers. Seeing that the target market still has a plethora of opportunities for a new entrant the Handmade Knitwear Company is more than likely to succeed.

Reference List

Alexander Wang seamless chunky hand-knit sweater ShopBAZAAR. (2015). Polyvore. Web.

Castronovo, C. & Huang, L. (2012). Social media in an alternative marketing communication model. Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness, 6(1), 117–133.

Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P. & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54(3), 241–251.

Mooi, E. & Sarstedt, M. (2011). A concise guide to market research: The process, data, and methods using IBM SPSS statistics. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

Phau, I. & Ong, D. (2007). An investigation of the effects of environmental claims in promotional messages for clothing brands. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 25(7), 772–788.

PhotoSync: Wirelessly transfers your photos and videos. (n. d.). Funky space monkey. Web.

Summary of GPhC performance standards 2014-15. (2014). London Pharmacy Education and Training. Web.

Tay, S., Peyton, W. L., Story, P. & Briedis, J. (2013). Financial and environmental costs of manual versus automated control of end-tidal gas concentrations. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 41(1), 95.

Vodolazhskaya, E. L. & Pratchenko, V. O. (2015). Methodical approaches to staff performance assessment. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(3), 685–670.

Why Buffer, HootSuite and Post Planner are the holy trinity of managing social media. (2012). Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Web.

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