Vogue Australia has faced stiff competition in its women’s fashion magazine industry recently. Vogue Australia has relatively small market share compared with its competitors. The purpose of the marketing strategy is to help Vogue Australia change its profile and increase its profitability. In doing so, Vogue Australia would use a combination of offensive and defensive competitive strategy.
Defensive strategy would allow Vogue Australia to protect its current niche market share while offensive strategy would permit Vogue Australia to penetrate to a newer market segment, which represents a higher growth opportunity. The aim of the competitive strategies is for Vogue Australia to enter the younger market and leverage its prestige image to appeal to its new target audiences.
The tools of marketing mix would be implemented to achieve the objective of increasing sales while protecting the niche market share. The marketing mix tools include, product, price, place/distribution, and promotion/communication. The main message to be communicated to the target audiences is “ A Breathe of Fresh air”, which indicates the intent of Vogue Australia to change its traditional image of being old fashion. The message is also a sign of Vogue Australia’s intention to move into new market segment – younger female professionals.
The actual product provided by Vogue Australia would not be changed dramatically. There is a need to maintain the consistency of the product provided, so the loyalists are not being alienated. New changes would be introduced to correspond to the needs of the younger segment of the market. Pricing would not be changed while there would be slight modification with respect to distribution. An easier access for its target audiences to Vogue Australia would be the main point of distribution. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the communication campaign of Vogue Australia the mediums, message content, and the presentation of the communication used would reflect the target segments.
To survive the competitive market Vogue Australia has to enhance customer value by improving the perceived benefits and/or reducing the total costs of ownership. The competitive strategies and the marketing mix tools are designed to maximize the prosperity of Vogue Australia in this volatile and ever changing industry.
Vogue Australia is one of the magazines, which Condé Nast publishes in Australia along with various products such as Vogue Kids, Vogue Entertaining & Travel, and Vogue Living. As part of the international group, The Condé Nast Publications Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Condé Nast Publications Inc (CNP). CNP is a publishing company incorporated in the United States. Through its subsidiaries, it is engaged in publishing in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Greece. Condé Nast Publications Pty Ltd launched Vogue in Australia in 1959.
The mission of Condé Nast Publications Pty Ltd is to provide its readers with the latest information on fashion, living, traveling and gourmet cooking. The customers targeted by their range of products are typically in the higher end of the society, whom often demand superior product quality and products that reflect their status in the society.
In recent years, there has been a boom in the range of women’s fashion magazine in Australia; with the launching of B in 1999, Harper’s Bazaar in 1998, Marie Claire in 1995 and SHE in 1993. Along with the traditional women’s fashion magazines such as Cleo, Cosmopolitan and InStyle, the market is extremely competitive.
The purpose of this marketing plan would be to investigate the dynamics of the market at the moment in order to formulate a marketing strategy plan which would be best suited for the market environment and the prosperity of Vogue Australia. The scope of the marketing plan would cover both external and internal analysis and with the help of portfolio analysis tools, a competitive marketing strategy would be formed. In order to achieve the marketing strategy objectives the marketing mix tactics need to be addressed. These are product, place, promotion and price. The guidelines and marketing budget would be implemented for the controlling purposes to ensure the success of the marketing strategy.
Primary research was conducted primarily by interview. 40 people who fall into the target audience category were interviewed with the questionnaire (See Appendix A). The questionnaire consists of both closed – end and open – end questions. Quantitative and qualitative data were extracted from part A and part B of the questionnaire from the interview.
All of the interviewees were female, the age ranged from 20 to 40, which was within range of the target audiences. The average income was about $50,000. With some exceptions of extremely high and some at the lower end of the income scale. Most of the interviewees were married. The occupation was well diverse but with majority of them being managers.
With regards to product features, the interviewees generally view them favorably, however a few exceptions have been identified. Vogue Australia has been identified as an old fashion and European magazine by the younger segment of the people interviewed. The suggestions from the target audiences are that Vogue Australia should include more feature articles that are more relevant to Australia women while maintaining its global perspective. It is also suggested that Vogue Australia should change its traditional approach to fashion in order to appeal more to the younger segment of the audience. The uses of the magazine range from passing time to using the magazine as the fashion information provider. The price charged for Vogue Australia has generally been acceptable by the consumers. Friends and advertisements mostly exposed the magazine to the interviewees, providing Vogue Australia the chance to explore the effect of positive word of mouth and promoting via other mediums.
External – Market definition and brand segmentation
The industry, in which Vogue Australia is in, is to provide information to its readers. Vogue Australia competes with the information providers such as fellow publication houses, newspaper, radio, TV, movies, and all sorts of information communication medium. Vogue Australia is in the market to provide women with the latest fashion tips, entertainment and gossip. Its main competitors are InStyle, Marie Claire, SHE, Harper’s Bazaar, Cleo, Cosmopolitan and B. They also face somewhat indirect competition from all media types that provide information for the latest women’s fashion, entertainment news, and gossip.
Market segmentation is the corner stone of a market-based strategy. A market segment is a specific group of customers with unique customer needs, purchase behaviors and identifying characteristics. Market segmentation opens the door to multiple market-based strategies and greater marketing efficiency. Organizations that sell to consumer and business markets recognize that they cannot appeal to all buyers in those markets, or at least not to all buyers in the same way. Buyers are too numerous, too widely scattered and too varied in their needs and buying practices. Different companies vary widely in their abilities to serve different segments of the market. Rather than trying to compete in an entire market, sometimes against superior competitors, each company must identify the parts of the market that it can serve best.
In trying to segment the market in which Vogue Australia operates in, several of variables can be utilized: demographics, psychographics and behavioral.
It consists of dividing the market into groups based on variables such as age, sex, family size, income, occupation, education etc. Demographic factors are the most popular bases for segmenting customer groups. These demographic variables are often used in marketing for three reasons: (1) they are easy to identify and measure (2) they are associated with the sale of many products and services (3) they are typically referred to in describing the audiences of advertising media so media buyers and others can easily pinpoint the desired market target2.
Under this category, the segments can be formed from the different needs of the consumers. According to Maslow the needs can be divided into the following 5 areas; physiological, safety, belongingness, self – esteem and self – actualization.
This variable is the third major element that shapes the customer needs. It is concerned with how the product is used, how much it is used and when it is used. All those elements are likely to shape consumer needs of Vogue Australia.
With the aid of primary research, a conclusion can be reach that the potential consumers of Vogue Australia is most likely to be young females who have relatively few financial burdens, tend to be interested in fashion and are recreation oriented1. The typical psychological profile of readers of Vogue Australia are associated with characteristics of being young optimist, having a look at me mentality and often socially aware.
Age 20 – 25, most of this target segment is still at university, works part time, affectionate fashion followers and trendy, they usually are the fashion leaders in their environment, they hope that one day they would be just like the young female professionals in segment two (2).
Young Professional Female:
Age 25 – 35, earnings in the top 20% of the population, usually in the managerial positions, have tertiary education or higher, affectionate fashion followers and trendy and they are usually opinion leaders who try new things and being admired by general female population for their achievements.
Trendy Middle-aged Women:
Age 35 – 45, usually belongs to higher end of the scale of the society most of them in the managerial positions or housewife of top income households, usually had higher or tertiary education, likes to look elegant, young and trendy, they are fashion followers as well.
External – Market analysis
The general trend in the women’s magazine publishing is that they have capitalized on every woman’s need to learn what is new quickly and where to find it by providing them with one easily digestible package – “A one stop shopping guide for a girls every whim”. These magazines have engaged in differing marketing strategies but have similar goals: to engage modern, young women and to increase the number of their advertising pages.
The magazine industry, in particular the women’s sector is continually being challenged by the times. They are always struggling with how to keep current and thus they always have to change. High-fashion magazines like Vogue Australia, Harper’s Bazaar, and Marie Claire were once tailor made for an elite group of people wearing clothes that only an elite few could afford. The big challenge today is to engage the modern woman; new consumers, especially young women. This has led to the growing trend of reworking the classic model of the fashion magazine. Magazines are reinventing fashion in a more cultural or social context. It is no longer enough to merely produce a commercial photo anymore, “You have to tell more of a story, and you have to supply more of a context or personality”
The analysis of the market can be demonstrated more thoroughly by the analysis tools such as the Porter’s Five Forces Model and the PEST analysis.
Porter’s Five Forces Model:
This model puts emphasis on the five (5) elements that shapes the competition of the industry in which Vogue Australia is in. the elements are: Suppliers, Substitutes, Buyers, Potential Entrants, and industry competitors (See Appendix B).
The focus of this element is to look at the bargaining power of the suppliers and how they shape the industry. The suppliers for the magazine industry would be the firms providing papers, inks, and any other material that would be used in the production of the magazine. The power of the suppliers is limited because there are a large number of the firms who provides the materials necessary for the production for magazines which means that the publication houses can easily replace suppliers without having too much problem.
The threat of substitutes for Vogue Australia and fellow magazines publishers are great. The industry, which Vogue Australia is in, provides information on women’s fashion, entertainment and gossips. The information can be distributed through a number of mediums such as newspaper, TV, radio and other printed advertisements.
The buyers have a great influence on the contents provided by the magazines. The buyers have great bargaining power due to its sheer number of consumers for women’s fashion, the publication houses have to provide information that is sought after by the public and information that is relevant, interesting to the targeted audiences otherwise they would lose sales to its rivals.
They represent another form of threat to the publication houses. The overhead cost of the magazine industry is not great however the new entrant would have to be able to secure the distribution channel to ensure the exposure to the customers otherwise it would not be able to make an significant impact on the overall industry. The threat of new entrants could therefore be relatively large since the only major factor keeping the new competitors away is channel access. Information and other elements for publishing a magazine can be obtained without too much trouble. This is illustrated by the late boom of the total number of magazines launched in recent years.
The competition within the market is very intense. The competitions for Vogue Australia cover an enormous range. Vogue Australia faces competition from other titles or media, which provides same type of information such as women’s fashion, entertainment and gossip. Vogue Australia also faces indirect competition from magazines and media covering other topics because they are all competing against each other for the disposal income of the general public.
The political situation of Australia is reasonably stable. The media has rights to publish any thing that they wish to, there be freedom of speech in place, which allows the publishers to release information that might be controversial. The freedom that the media enjoys facilitates the exchange of information from the publishers to the public. The women movement can also have come bearing on the contents covered by the magazines.
Recent economic downturn has made operation for the publishing houses difficult. The increase in interest rate would definitely have some effect on the purchasing power of the households or individuals. Due to the increase of the interest rate, consumers would save more and consume less, which ultimately leads to even more fierce competition for the share of the consumer expenditure experienced by the magazine sector. The profitability of the publication houses could decrease as a result of the increase in interest rate.
Socio – Cultural:
Due to the recent changes in women’s rights, women are seeking more recognition from the society for their contribution. They no longer see staying home and taking care of the children the only means of their life. Women these days are actively seeking to achieve their dreams and fighting for the equality of the two sexes. There is a tendency of integrating the global perspective into the magazines; the articles in the magazines cover a wide range of issues faced by today’s women. There are less and less boundaries of different cultures around the world. In Australia, there are many women who come from different cultural background, therefore the magazines would have to cater for the diversified needs of its readers.
There is also a trend that emphasis on convenience of products, which leads to the introduction of pocket size magazine by B. The introduction of pocket size magazine could transform how the magazines are presented as the smaller size would mean convenient for the consumers to carry in their handbags and the reduce in production costs due to its less need for materials for production.
Condé Nast is operating in an extremely competitive industry and as such has to maintain and develop the skills of its staff to compete. Technological advances within publishing have developed rapidly and CNP Australia’s magazines were some of the first in Australia to be produced utilizing ‘computer to plate’ printing technology, which enhances the quality of the product. Vogue Australia can utilize recent technological changes to improve its value creation for the customers and find new ways to manage the information exchange more efficiently.
External Analysis – Competitor Analysis
Vogue’s major and direct competitors are the larger publishing companies, including Marie Claire, In Style, Harper’s Bazaar, SHE, Cleo, Cosmopolitan and B. These magazines have engaged in differing marketing strategies but have similar goals to engage modern, young women and to increase the number of their advertising pages. The indirect competitors include any media that provides information on women’s fashion, entertainment news and gossips; for example, radio, newspapers, TV… etc.
The competitive position and the market attractiveness for each of the major publisher of women’s fashion magazine is summarized below:
Vogue Australia – Competitive Advantage: 67%, Market Attractiveness: 60.5%
Harper’s Bazaar – Competitive Advantage: 65%, Market Attractiveness: 56%
Marie Claire – Competitive Advantage: 69%, Market Attractiveness: 60.5%
InStyle – Competitive Advantage: 54%, Market Attractiveness: 58.5%
SHE – Competitive Advantage: 58%, Market Attractiveness: 59%
Cleo – Competitive Advantage: 75%, Market Attractiveness: 64%
B – Competitive Advantage: 67%, Market Attractiveness: 62%
Cosmopolitan – Competitive Advantage: 75%, Market Attractiveness: 65%
With the figures shown above, it is clear that Cleo and Cosmopolitan are the two major women’s magazine in the Australian market with their competitive advantage factor reaching 75% whereas for all other titles the average mark is 65% with InStyle and SHE scoring the lowest in the competitive advantage section (See Appendix C).
The market attractiveness mark is about the same for all the titles since they all operate within the same type of the market. The variation of figures is contributed by the differences customer familiarity and customer loyalty between the titles.
Harper’s Bazaar has total readers amount to 168,000, total circulation of 52,234 and it has the market share of 6% (See Appendix G). Harper’s Bazaar is proven to be a Dog in the BCG matrix due its relatively low market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, Harper’s Bazaar belongs to the area in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to either harvest or leave the market (See Appendix F).
Their competitive strategy involved making a magazine more accessible, with profile clothes that women really wear, with humorous gossipy articles and easy to follow fashion tips. Harper’s Bazaar’s strategy involves a high degree of change in order to “…recharge a once great brand that’s gotten old and stale”.
Marie Claire has total readers amount to 580,000, total circulation of 94,969 and it has the market share of 11% (See Appendix G). Marie Claire is proven to be a Cash Cow in the BCG matrix due its reasonably high market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, Marie Claire belongs to the area in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to protect its market share and/or an offensive strategy to grow its presence in the market by increasing market share (See Appendix F).
Marie Claire (a joint venture between Hearst Magazines and Marie Claire Album SA) are currently matching high fashion with street-ware, endeavoring to provide fashion at every price point. This can be seen in the November 2000 issue, which featured “100 Best Buys Under $100”. Marie Claire also contains features about women form all around the world. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Marie Claire’s circulation has jumped up by 8.6% in 2001.
InStyle has total readers amount to 290,000, total circulation of 60,173 and it has the market share of 7% (See Appendix G). InStyle is proven to be a Dog in the BCG matrix due its relatively low market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, InStyle belongs to the area in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to either harvest or leave the market (See Appendix F).
SHE has total readers amount to 218,000, total circulation of 70,416 and it has the market share of 8% (See Appendix G). SHE is proven to be a Dog in the BCG matrix due its relatively low market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, SHE belongs to the area in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to either harvest or leave the market (See Appendix F).
Cleo has total readers amount to 728,000, total circulation of 206,784 and it has the market share of 24% (See Appendix G). Cleo is proven to be a Cash Cow in the BCG matrix due its relatively high market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, Cleo belongs to the top right hand corner in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to protect the market shares they possess (See Appendix F).
B is the first magazine to introduce the “pocket” size magazine which fits into the female carry bags easily prompt the convenience factor. It realizes the fact that some female carry smaller handbags and the only to take their magazines with them comfortably wherever they go are for the magazines to fit into their handbags. B has total readers amount to 370,000, total circulation of 125,000 and it has the market share of 14% (See Appendix G). B is proven to be a Cash Cow in the BCG matrix due its relatively high market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, B belongs to the area in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to protect the market shares they possess and/or a offensive strategy to growth its market share to compete with the market leaders (See Appendix F).
Cosmopolitan has total readers amount to 910,000, total circulation of 206,127 and it has the market share of 24% (See Appendix G). Cosmopolitan is proven to be a Cash Cow in the BCG matrix due its relatively high market share and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, Cosmopolitan belongs to the top right hand corner in the GE matrix, which calls for a defensive strategy to protect the market shares they possess (See Appendix F).
The marketing strategies of the titles shown above are generally similar; to appeal to younger audiences by changing their traditional approach to the delivery of the women’s fashion magazine. The costs of operations would also be quite similar across different titles as well with a few exceptions such as Vogue Australia who uses high quality paper.
Internal – analysis of organizational competencies
Vogue Australia has total readers amount to 314,000, total circulation of 51,039 and it has the market share of 6% (See Appendix G). Vogue Australia is proven to be a Dog in the BCG matrix due its relatively low market share compared with its major competitors in the market and the fact that the market growth is limited because of its maturity. According to its competitive advantage and market attractiveness factors, Vogue Australia belongs to the quadrant where in the GE matrix calls for a defensive strategy to protect the market shares while also engaging in offensive strategy to grow its market share (See Appendix F).
Vogue is one of Australia’s leading fashion journals. Vogue, the leading fashion journal has survived two world war, and met the challenge of women liberation, effortlessly claimed a century of style as its own. Vogue has proven to be one of the most successful in its industry, considered ‘untouchable’. While most magazines are facing a steady long-term decline, Vogue has been showing a stellar performance in a tough market. The latest figure shown that Vogue Australia has grown 9.8% between the period of September 2001 and December 2001 (See Appendix D).
Graphic design is especially evident in this kind of product – magazines. In the Vogue website, it also states that “ technological advances within publishing have developed rapidly and CNP (Condé Nast Publications) Australia’s magazines were some of the first in Australia to be produced utilizing “computer to plate” printing technology, which enhances the quality of the product.” This states CNP notices the importance of quality and what it does to maintain the quality and consistency. Coupled with the technology progress and the prestigious image of Vogue Australia they would be able to take advantage of any market opportunities as they arise.
Summary of the external and internal analysis – SWOT analysis
• The unique “Vogue” brand image, which creates brand awareness, recognition and provide emotional value to its target audiences.
• The main strength of Vogue Australia is their prestigious and up – market image which their readers aspire to.
• The “computer to plate “ printing technology used in the production enables Vogue Australia to produce magazine that is on the top end of the scale enhancing the graphic presentation of the magazine. The increase in the quality of the magazine has helped Vogue Australia create customer value compare to its competitors.
• The enduringness of Vogue Australia.
• Vogue Australia is the most subscribed magazine on the Internet.
• The main weakness of Vogue Australia is its reach to the target audiences. Based from primary research, Vogue Australia is not readily available in some areas of Sydney, hence jeopardizes its chance of reach of consumers and restricts its market share and growth.
• The contents are relatively foreign to the Australian public due to its European style, which could restrict the sales of its magazine because the readers are not interested in the contents.
• The main opportunity for Vogue Australia is in horizontal integration. Vogue Australia can leverage its brand image and prestige reputation to provide consumers more products than just its magazines. Vogue Australia can launch products such as cosmetics and handbags.
• The revolutions of information technology could help Vogue Australia manages its information and production system more effectively and efficiently.
• Due to the increasing popularity of the Internet, Vogue Australia could reach more people via advertising on the Internet.
• The improve in the Internet technology and increasing trust of consumers in providing personal information on the Internet could see Vogue Australia receive more online subscription and build an extensive consumer database for monitoring consumer needs and provide them with the chance to create customer value.
• The improvement in the information technology could see women’s fashion, entertainment news and gossip delivered electronically, which could force the printed media industry undergo major changes. For example the music industry has to change the way to provide entertainment because of the boom of MP3s.
• There is always the threat of new entrants to challenge the existing players in the industry due to the low fixed costs associated with the media industry.
• The economic situation of Australia could also threaten the well being of Vogue Australia, such as increasing interest rate.
• The threat could also come from the current competitors.
Strategic objectives and issues
The strategic objectives for Vogue Australia could contain the two (2) following categories:
In the financial aspect of the business Vogue Australia would first of all like to increase its market share in order for them to move from being a Dog in the BCG matrix to a Star (See Appendix E). In moving from Dog to being a Star, Vogue Australia would increase its profitability in the long run, which is beneficial to the firm.
With regards to the marketing objectives, Vogue Australia should improve its market share and customer loyalty. Those are the two (2) main factors that are separating Vogue Australia with Cleo, and Cosmopolitan; the market leaders. In order to achieve improvement in market share, Vogue Australia needs to make progress in their distribution channel, which ultimately affects the exposure and access of customers to the magazine. With wider reach and increase customer loyalty, Vogue Australia would be able to increase its market share and hence move from being a Dog to the more desirable Star position.
Competitive marketing strategy
With the aid of GE matrix analysis (See Appendix F), it is clear that the competitive strategy best suited to Vogue Australia would be a combination of defensive and offensive strategy.
The defensive strategy is used to protect its existing niche market share in order to maintain its position in the market, while the offensive strategy is used to increase its market via penetration or development of the market.
The defensive strategy in this case would be used to protect the niche market share held by Vogue Australia. Vogue Australia belongs in the niche market due to its selective target market. The target markets chosen represent a niche of the female population (high education, high income – top 20% earners, career oriented, and relative young age ranging 20 – 40). Vogue Australia is able to enjoy its profitability because they provide high quality product and it fits with the mentality of the target customers, who can associate themselves with the magazine. Although Vogue Australia has small market share compared with Cleo and Cosmopolitan, they were able to continue to be profitable because of its focus on serving the particular niche in the market.
In order for Vogue Australia to increase its market share, they need to implement a strategic plan to increase its market share potential. With the analysis of Vogue Australia in previous sections of the report, it is clear that the ways for Vogue Australia to increase its market share potential are either of the following or a combination of the following: increase its product availability, increase its product preference, and increase its purchase intentions. The various issues would be addressed in the marketing mix tactics.
Marketing mix tactics
The marketing mix tactics consists of product, price, place/distribution, and promotion/communication. The role of the marketing mix tactics is to help implement and achieve the goals of the marketing strategy of Vogue Australia.
“A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need. It includes physical objects, services, persons, places, organizations and ideas.”
Vogue Australia’s core product is “Fashion”. The magazine offers the latest information on fashion to its target audiences. Its actual products are the brand name, packaging, and quality of the articles, styling, and all the feature stories that is covered in the magazine. The augmented products that are provided by Vogue Australia are horoscope, online services, travel, and membership club (See Appendix L).
A product positioning strategy targets to provide a good source of cash flow a business by creating an attractive product-price position. It is crucial for having a greater market share. A desired level of market share depends on the product positioning and the marketing effort of the business.
A business must develop a product positioning that reflects target customer needs and provide them with superior benefits than the main competitors’ product positions. A lower price is powerful in price sensitive markets whereas in some markets where differentiation is possible and customers are willing to pay higher prices for the products that deliver greater benefits. In these markets, various strategies are possible. Meaningful product, service and brand image differences offer potential to create a more attractive product position. Main goal of a product positioning strategy must be creating superior customer value than those offered by competitors.
In the very competitive women magazine market, offering a superior value to the customer will absolutely improve the competitive edge. Vogue Australia offers customer value through its high quality product and prestigious brand image. Vogue offers the latest fashion trends from European fashion centers namely, London, Paris, and Milan. Additionally, great range of cosmetics and beauty sections are included as core products. In order to create a greater customer value Vogue Australia offers additional products such as horoscope, travel section, membership club, online services, stories about successful women, health and diet and where to buy. Despite the superior product offering Vogue Australia’s market share is limited due to the fact that its appeal is limited to middle – aged women. In order to reach greater proportion in the market, it should reposition the product. Women fashion magazine market is not a very price-intensive market, and most of the magazines have prices with smaller marginal difference, reducing the current price will not provide desired outcomes. Therefore, product-positioning strategy should be targeting to create superior benefits than those offered by major competitors. In the process of repositioning, because of having a brand reputation already, Vogue should focus on service and product differentiation. It should target younger women by containing more about lifestyle, gossip, news about famous people, issues about real life, feature articles, photographic essays, stories and greater range of fashion with those target middle income levels but still trendy. Survey results show that most respondents are seeking greater range of fashion and more articles about lifestyle. Also, horoscope and travel sections are amongst the most popular sections that customers are after. (More information concerning product attribute, branding, packaging, labeling and product – support services please refer to Appendix M and N).
The current consumer price for the Vogue Australia magazine is $7.95. This is affected by both internal company factors along with external environmental factors (See Appendix O). The internal factors of setting the price of Vogue Australia should take into account of the production costs, marketing objective, marketing mix strategy, and organizational considerations.
Pricing decisions are also buyer-orientated. Vogue also delivers readers that spend well in excess of the female average. It is evident that many Vogue readers are high income earners and spenders, they are elegant and assign great value to knowing current fashion and lifestyle trends and finding out about them from Vogue. Other factors in the external environment such as economic conditions have affected pricing decisions at Vogue. The recession in Asian markets in 1998 and the increased costs of postage and paper for example, has led to Vogue passing increases to the advertisers using their magazine. Vogue Australia is doing this by introducing a larger than usual ad rate (See Appendix P). Vogue Australia should also take into account of the economic conditions such as the effect of the new budget plan released by the Australian government, when considering the price to charge its readers. In addition, Vogue designs its magazine in A4 size. This is a common form in the magazine industry. However, there is a new form now appearing: a handbag/pocket size, which is half size smaller than an A4 page. This size can only be found in two (2) competitive magazines in the market, but it may pave the way towards a new trend, as it is easier to carry, and of course cheaper to produce than A4 size magazine while content basically remains the same. Thus, if Vogue Australia decides to pursue the new design of the magazine, the pricing decisions would also vary due to the reduction of production costs.
In conclusion, price charged must match the value customers place on the benefits they receive from Vogue Australia while ensuring the continuity and prosperity of Vogue Australia.
As Companies grapple with globalization, trade liberalization and Information Technology they are forming complex network of alliances. These include outsourcing, co- branding, product development and Internet distribution designed to capture more customers and obtain as much value as possible. They are designed to enable firms to grow faster at lower cost and to gain competitive advantage. Companies need to combine their competencies to enable them to maintain strong global position in future markets.
Marketing logistics network is a system to deliver the products and services to the end users efficiently and effectively. Besides this, there is a major part within the marketing logistics networks, and is called marketing channel. “ A marketing channel is a network of interdependent organizations – intermediaries – involved in the process of making a product or service available for use or consumption by the consumer or industrial user.”
A distribution channel is a set of interdependent organizations involved in the process of making a product available for use or consumption by the end user. Vogue follows the distribution channel in the form of distributing Vogue Australia via retailer (an intermediary) (See Appendix Q).
The distribution channels chosen would both reflect the association that Vogue Australia wishes to attach with and the ability to reach target audiences that Vogue Australia value.
Newsagents & Convenience Stores:
Newsagent and convenience stores are common places that deliver the magazine to the consumers. Convenience stores are becoming more and more popular nowadays in Australia. “ Convenience stores (C-stores) are small stores that carry a limited line of high-turnover convenience goods, as Seven (7) – Eleven and Food Plus”4. These C-stores are normally located near the residential areas and open twenty – four (24) hours and seven days per week. Although selling prices of goods may be a little higher than usual, these stores are convenient and can satisfy customers’ needs and wants at anytime, even four (4) o’clock in the morning. Other than this, many convenience stores operate with petrol stations, like 7-Eleven. Selling Vogue through newsagents and convenience stores enables buyers to easily access “impulse products” like magazines.
Coles, Woolworths, Bi-Lo, and Franklins are the popular supermarkets in Australia. Delivering the magazine through the supermarkets creates the chance for Vogue to build a relationship with people who tend to buy groceries only. Supermarkets are normally clearly categorized different sections for different goods. While customers shop around and pass through the magazine area, there might be a chance to construct the relationship between buyers and producers. Thus, Vogue does not forget to choose supermarkets as one of its distribution channels as it offers Vogue Australia great exposure.
Trendy Coffee Shops:
Starbucks and Gloria Jeans could be seen as potential distribution outlets. Both coffee shops possess a young trendy feeling that echo the personality that Vogue Australia desires to be associated with in order to appeal to the younger market segment. They would be used as part of the promotional tools to boost the sales of Vogue Australia and increase exposure to the right target audiences. Whether they would become regular distribution partners of Vogue Australia would depend on the success of the promotional campaign.
Subscriptions means buyers can consume Vogue straight away, without any intermediaries involved. Again, this is the shortest and simplest distribution channel. Moreover, this also helps marketers to count its turnover easily, and helps marketers to notice whether its business is stable. Furthermore, following the steps of development of new technology, “E-Marketing” is getting more and more popular. Other than publishing the magazine, Condé Nast Publications offers Vogue on the website, thus people who are interested in the magazine can also subscribe through the net to save time and cost.
Alliances could also prove to be fruitful for Vogue Australia. By entering in arrangement with strong partners who share the same vision as Vogue Australia, the effect of reach of target audiences would be greatly influenced. Such partners could be Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, and other fashion outlets.
“ Promotion is the element in an organization’s marketing mix that serves to inform, persuade and remind the market of a product and/or the organization selling it in the hope of influencing the recipients’ feelings, beliefs or behavior”3. Mass communication would be utilized due to its ability to cover most of the intended target audiences. The main tool of mass communication is advertising. The other tools of promotion used would be sales promotion, Direct & Online, and special events. Sales promotion and Direct & Online are chosen based on their importance for consumer markets (See Appendix J).
Vogue Australia needs to understand the dynamics of the communication process. There are nine elements involved in the process of the communication (See Appendix R). Vogue Australia needs to know what audiences they want to reach and what responses they want. During the process of encoding the message, emphasis should be placed on how the target audiences would decode the message. The message sent must effectively reach the target audiences; the media chosen would be vital to achieve this. Feedback channels must be developed to enable the assessment of the customers’ responses of the message (The full detail of the process of determining the communication campaign would be found in Appendix R).
The following is the brief summary of the combination of communication and promotion tools:
In advertising, all media types would be utilized. These are broadcasting, printed, and display medias. Television would be the primarily source of advertising due to its potential reach of target audiences and it would also mean Vogue Australia can deliver the message to its full extent allowing Vogue Australia to incorporate all the elements of the communication into the message. A credible, trustworthiness and someone who the target audience can identify them with or aspired to would carry out the delivery of the message. The TV advertising would be shown during the times when there are shows which fits with the mentality of Vogue Australia. The suitable shows include Sex in the City, and Alias. Magazines, newspaper, billboards would be the secondary sources of advertising. The printed and display medias are used also because of its reach and they cost relatively less than television advertising. Attention grabbing headlines, eye – catching pictures, and other forms of visual stimuli would be incorporated to gain target audiences’ attention and achieving the ultimate goal of delivering the message. The advertisement would be shown mainly one week prior to the monthly launch of the new issue of the magazine.
Sales promotion would carry out the task of boosting sales and increasing the awareness of the target audiences. The venues for sales promotion events could be Starbucks, and Gloria Jeans. Both coffee shops possess the quality that Vogue Australia would like to see them attached to and both coffee shops capture the traffic flow that is sought by Vogue Australia. Starbucks and Gloria Jeans both have the trendy image about them, and provide high quality coffee, which attracts lots of people amongst them, many potential Vogue Australia target audiences.
Vogue Australia could also apply its new concept during special events such as Australia fashion week, informing the fashion industry and those who pay close attention to fashion news that they intend to change its strategy and move into a younger segment. The benefits of announcing its intentions in fashion week are not only the exposure it gathers but also the chance of getting feedbacks from the fashion industry, which help Vogue Australia determine the appropriateness of the strategy.
Direct & Online:
Internet has become the latest tool of advertising, revolutionized the method of communication. The benefits of advertising on the Internet are that it is low cost and reach of its target audiences, due to the vast number of people now engages in net browsing. Vogue Australia could link its website with other fashion sites and cosmetics sites, which share the same mindset or those who Vogue Australia would like to be associated with in order to achieve maximum effect of its communication campaign.
The practice with several years of continuous marketing history and more important, results data can use top-down budgeting to project next year’s budgets based on this year’s budgets and results. A marketing plan is then developed to meet goals and objectives and stay within the predetermined budget. It is necessary to begin marketing planning with some concept of what the practice can and will spend. The most important factor in setting appropriate budgets is having reasonable, measurable goals and realistic expectations. This is the time to be brutally honest about how much can be spent and exactly how much is expected in return.
The future sales of Vogue Australia would be steadily increasing due to the effect of the marketing strategy. At the first couple of years the effect might be minimal as it takes time for the communication campaign to take effect, however it is expected after the initial periods of introducing the advertisements, the sales of Vogue Australia would pick up (See Appendix S).
The purpose of conducting sensitivity analysis is to determine whether the project is still viable with difference levels of performance. As for Vogue Australia, the sensitivity of the project would be slightly high due to its limited budgets. Vogue Australia is only a subsidiary of the American company therefore its ability to raise significant funds to finance the project and suffer loss for a few years might not be viable. The continuity of the campaign relies heavily on the sales figure during the first few years.
Implementation and control guidelines
The success or failure of the marketing plan depends very much on implementation and control. To make sure the implementation of the marketing plan is successful, Vogue Australia has to pay careful attention to the following three (3) elements that set the foundation of sound implementation of the marketing plan. These are: owning the plan, supporting the plan, and adapting the plan (See Appendix T).
Vogue Australia has to assign a team of experts, who are passionate about the marketing plan to oversee the whole implementation of the strategy. Vogue Australia should also encourage involvement of its workers in the marketing strategies. The workers should be rewarded and recognized for their efforts in the formulation and implementation of the plans in order to keep them motivated and upbeat about the operations.
Sufficient support from the top-level management is also vital to the success or failure of the marketing plan. Without support of resources and skilled personnel, even the best marketing plan would be a failure. The plans should be given time to prove its worth, Vogue Australia needs to be patient about the marketing plan delivering results, however if the plans are proven to be inferior then Vogue Australia should terminate it immediately or find ways to improve its performance.
Finally, Vogue Australia should encourage constant feedbacks from the target audiences and its employees. In doing so, Vogue Australia can better the marketing plan to suit the circumstances, adapt to changes in the external environment. This is a particular important stage of the implementation of the marketing plan, because the management should not blindly follow the original marketing plan without making any adjustments to suit the ever changing, volatile business environment and customer demand.