Thursday, April 24, 2008

High-Value Retail Brands and Fashion Hops

Wal-mart is revisiting fashion wear once again. Remember how Target suddenly got all excited about Isaac Mirzahi? [designer dude. Designed clothes for Target. Big deal] Well, Wal-mart has a tougher sell—designer clothes are typically more expensive than the usual t-shirts and low-priced garments they sell currently. But get this, according to WSJ, higher fashion apparel and bedding have higher profit margins than other merchandise—almost 32 percent [10 percent above any other category].
I like Target [Wal-mart not so much, but that’s also coz I know the Target store map better. Go figure!]. I go there to buy my home supplies typically…sometimes cereal and such. Clothes? Not quite so much unless am looking for a basic black tee and the likes. Would I do an afternoon’s worth of fashion shopping there? Most likely not. Does the ‘designer’ label convince me? Maybe it will. The trick is, with places like Target that have a lot of value-shoppers anyway, there is no real differentiation between the apparels and the ‘designer’ apparel sections. Somehow I think that’s key—I don’t want my slightly pricier designer apparel bundled up near the discount section, where is the exclusivity of purchasing something that costs more?
I think with most of these stores, in-store design is never given a second thought. And it should be given its due credit—if you jump into fashion lines, mark out the space in your store that will reflect that attitude and make it desirable. Isn’t perception supposed to be everything?

Pharma Companies and Marketing

Pharma companies and Marketing

Pharma companies and marketing are a tricky combination. I came across a discussion on this in two separate instances last week. One at a work-related event and the other in discussion in class with Prof.Naik. Some interesting observations:
-Pharma companies seem notoriously out of touch with consumer perceptions. You only need to look at their ads on TV to realize that ‘differentiation’ is a tough sea for them to navigate [some ED ads notwithstandingJ].
-Pharma companies need to analyze the chain of events from the time a doctor prescribes a medication to the actual purchase of the medication—what are the gaps? You might have noticed this at your own doc’s office. Samples that I receive or prescriptions are not always filled, and heck the Walgreens pharmacist oftentimes recommends an alternate brand [Consumer figures, pharmacist probably knows better. Docs are wooed by sales folk all the time anyway right?].
-As Prof. Naik says, Pharma brands are only recently new to the concept of advertising [and heck, do they have some serious legal issues to overcome before each ad they put out]. Companies deep in research and science and studies are only recently opening up to ‘marketing’ and ‘advertising’. So predictably takes a while. But if I were to suffer from restless legs syndrome, I doubt this ad would convince me to consider medical help [and hey, couldn’t they just send folks to a website for disclaimers?]