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The contemporary approaches to marketing management are quite different from what they used to be in the past. Indeed, today companies tend to pay attention to a number of different factors and they never pursue the sole goal of maximising the profit at all costs. That is why they are much more likely to use innovative models which were developed by the scholars. In addition to that, one should also keep in mind that this evolution of business can be witnessed in virtually every segment. A good example is a relatively new phenomenon of fast fashion. These companies have redesigned their approach to business and operate using new business models that allows them to show outstanding results. This paper will focus on the approaches to marketing management used by Zara and H&M, paying attention to the manner in which they utilize integrated marketing communications.
Overview of Zara
To begin with, it may be rather beneficial to come up with a brief description of this company. Thus, Zara is a fast fashion company that sells clothes for women, men, and children. According to Muthu, one of the major competitive advantages of this company lies in the fact that it was able to shorten product development cycle to a minimum: it takes Zara approximately two weeks to produce a new product which many times faster that the industry average which is six months (126). This leads to a new approach to customer relations: people are expected to visit the store more often since they know that the clothes that are sold are likely to be removed several weeks after. As a result, instead of three visits per year which is the average in the industry, Zara was able to increase this up to 17. Zara owns seven brands and operates in approximately 90 countries in the world. However, it is very selective when it comes to outsourcing. Thus, the basic models that are changed rarely are produced in Asia, while the rest of the product, particularly the accessories are produced in three major facilities: in Spain, Portugal, and Turkey.
Speaking of peculiarities of marketing, one should point out that Zara has been a strong supporter of zero advertisement approach: the company prefers to open new stores and reach the consumers directly instead of investing into advertising. In addition to that, tries to situate its flagship stores in strategic locations which allow it to address a bigger audience. In addition to that, Zara positions itself as a company that is responsive to the tastes of the consumers. That is why it often creates products that follow the recent trends.
Two business models
This section will review two business models and show their marketing management aspect from the point of view of the marketing mix. Thus, one should note that in terms of product Zara is relying on short-lived, yet popular products that are delivered quickly to the market. As for the price, it has been traditionally affordable to the majority of the consumers. The place element has already been mentioned: the company operates in numerous countries and chooses locations that are justified by its strategy of development. Finally, regarding promotion, it utilizes zero advertisement model and encourages people to explore the range of product themselves (Freedman 82). All in all, one might assume that the fundamental element of the approach that is practiced by Zara is rooted in its ability to follow the tastes of the consumers and deliver new products quickly, stimulating the demand for them with relatively short periods of being available.
The next business model and its marketing management application that will be analyzed is practiced by H&M. Just like Zara, this company is also in the business of fast fashion. However, one should keep in mind that the product development cycle is somewhat longer than the one of its competitor. In addition to that, H&M puts emphasis on the quality and the desire of its products, often cooperating with famous fashion designers. The price is kept low in order to make clothes affordable to the biggest number of people. Unlike its competitors, H&M heavily relies on online purchases and offers this service in many countries. Finally, one should note that the company in question engages celebrities to promote its products quite often (Lea-Greenwood 67). As one can easily see, H&M stands on a completely different ground when it comes to marketing management: it puts emphasis on longer product life and engages celebrities in attracting the attention of the people.
Analysis of the marketing messages
If one carefully examines the marketing messages that are delivered by both companies, one will be able to see that can be found on different platforms. In the majority of the cases, they are distributed online. For example, Zara’s accounts in social media recently feature a picture by Estella Brons and Elizabeth Davison which contributed to the formation of a new trend among the followers. The Black Friday has also had an impact on communications: people were encouraged to buy, enjoying discounts as high as 40%. Quite surprisingly, one of the Twitter posts was devoted to Thanksgiving. However, the majority of the posts, as well as other communication methods, was devoted to raising the awareness of the new campaigns that were carried out by Zara.
H&M had a slightly different set of marketing messages. Unlike its counterpart who barely mentioned the Black Friday, H&M had a considerable amount of posts related to it: it described the lucrative discounts that were waiting for the consumers as well as presented the range of products that were on sale. In addition to that, the company also communicated new looks that the consumers were expected to evaluate and, possibly, try one. There were posts that were targeting men, women, even children. Each of them featured a relevant hashtag that allowed people to explore this theme. Finally, one should point out that a part of marketing messages focused on tutorials that showed who the consumers were able to use the products of H&M. They mostly were short videos that featured a single performer who shared her skills with the audience.
Commonalities in messages
It is worth mentioning that marketing communications of Zara were integrated in that sense that it often sent similar content across different channels. Ramzan suggests that this allows a company to save time while preparing content for different social media account (56). Indeed, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts were almost identical. This might be justified by the idea that a consumer will follow a single channel and will not miss the rest of the content. However, one should also keep in mind that active promotion does not fall in line with the zero advertising policy of Zara. That is why delivering similar messages across different channels may be a viable way to minimize straying away from this principle. Furthermore, it is obvious that marketing communications of this company are well-coordinated and there is no surprise that the content is similar.
Nevertheless, the examination of the marketing messages sent by H&M will reveal a completely different approach. Thus, the content varied in different media, except for the video tutorials, but there still were certain themes that united those messages. For example, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram featured posts that encouraged the users to enjoy high discounts: though the messages were different, they still pursued a single goal. In addition to that, one should point out the company distributed messages about its cooperation with celebrities. Funk suggests that this was designed to attract the attention of the consumers and elevate the perception of H&M brand to a new level (211). Moreover, the engagement of celebrities exposed the fans of the latter to the products of the company, contributing to its popularity. Finally, one should note that H&M sends out a lot of tutorials that are quite popular among the consumers. This might be seen as a form of indirect marketing since it is possible that the consumers will watch those in order to gain new information, not necessarily about the product.
Preference of communication channels
It has already been pointed out that companies in question use a number of different channels. However, one should keep in mind that they rely on different channels in a different way. For example, Zara does not seem to have active accounts with social media: it makes one or two posts at most. Furthermore, given the similarity of the content distributed, it is virtually impossible to determine which channel it uses more frequently. In addition to that, one should note that the time when the posts are made is also quite close which means that Zara developed a unified approach to all of its marketing channels and does not single any of them. This may fall in line with the zero advertisement model that it follows.
Contrary to that, the use of marketing channels by H&M is more interesting and can be analyzed in great detail. It is clear that the channel that the company uses most frequently is Twitter: they posts are extremely frequent. This might be explained by the nature of this social media and the role that constant update plays in it. The second channel that is used most frequently is Instagram. One should point out that this social media is associated with fashion to a certain extent: that is why reliance on it while reaching the target audience it justified. Facebook may be seen as the third most popular channel of communication. In spite of the fact that the company in question also utilizes a number of other channels, the one that were mentioned above are the most popular.
Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above, one is able to come to the following conclusion: the approach to marketing management that is practiced by Zara is completely different from the one which is practiced by H&M. The former relies on the short life of its product and tries to suit the tastes of the consumers by providing new products quite often. Combined with zero advertising campaign and strategic placement of stores, it becomes obvious that the use of marketing messages is limited for this company. Contrary to that, H&M tries to make the most out of the marketing communications, integrating them into a widely spread network that contributes to the formation of a positive image of the company. For example, it engages celebrities in order to raise the status of H&M and puts emphasis on the quality and design of its products.