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THISTLE: ECO FASHION REVIEW BLOG & STORE MARKETING PLAN


WHO IS THE TARGET MARKET FOR THISTLE? GOOD QUESTION. THE ANSWER IS EVERYBODY.

Ideally everyone would be interested in the topic. Obviously, that’s not the case. We

can determine who is actually interested by stratifying the audience. It’s an online media, so only frequent Internet users. It is centered around fashion, so mostly people with an interest in fashion. And finally, its specialized in ecological and ethical fashion, so specifically those concerned with sustainability. While the goal might be everyone, Thistle’s beginning audience appears to be fairly focused.

INTERNET USERS FASHION INTEREST ECO FOCUSED

TARGET MARKET


TARGET MARKET CHARACTERISTICS I. DEMOGRAPHIC

www.alexa.com provided demographic information on the audience of a particular website.

Above is an example for treehugger.com. After running several of these I determined some of the vitally important demographic characteristics of Thistle’s target market. Cross referencing popular and sucsessful sustainable websites and fashion websites allowed for a wholly realized person.

The average thistle.com user is female. She is typically 18-24 years old with no

children. She is college educated and typically accesses the site from work. *

* data from http://alexa.com


II. GEOGRAPHIC

Using alexa.com, I was able to determine the country from which a site was accessed. I

used comparable sites such as treehugger.com. All of the sites showed more than 50% of their page views came from computers located in the United States. Countries that followed closely included Canada, Germany, India and the United Kingdom. It is evident that the United States would be the primary targeted market. The Internet platform would easily allow for international customers. *

III. PSYCHOGRAPHIC

Due to the specialized nature of thistle.com, the targeted audience will have strong

convictions when it comes to wearing ecologically and ethically approved clothing. The viewer will appreciate design, fit, texture, label and history when it comes to their fashion interest. The average user will have many blogs that she hits during the day, getting her information from the places she trusts most and forming her own opinions on what she finds on the website.

* data from http://alexa.com


MARKET SIZE DATA WHAT IS THE SIZE OF THE TARGET MARKET?

The market size for thistle.com is difficult to estimate. Although treehugger.com recieves

as many as 1.5M unique visitors in a single month, fashionista.com tops out at around 100K, and ecofashionworld.com (the first website on google for ‘eco fashion’) yields only 5k unique visitors within its most popular month. *

From this information we can conclude that with proper marketing and a customer friendly

interface, thistle.com can expect at least 5K unique visitors a month. By improving on the features found in competitor websites and offering new services such as e-commerce, thistle.com should be able to capture much of that huge gap between the compared websites.

* data from http://siteanalytics.compete.com


WHAT ARE THE TRENDS IN THE TARGET MARKET?

There has been a global 15% increase in online shopping for clothing, accessories,

and shoes. A 2008 survey showed that 41% of Americans have purchased in that category in the past 3 months. Within the same survey, results showed that the online customer tends to be extremely loyal. When asked the primary factor in deciding what site to buy from, 62% of Americans chose ‘Same site I buy from regularly.’ Once a shopper makes a purchase and is happy with the transaction, there is a greater chance of them becoming a repeat customer. **

** data from 2008 Nielson Consumer Report on Trends in Online Shopping


WHO IS THE COMPETITION FOR THISTLE? GOOD QUESTION. THE ANSWER IS A LOT OF THINGS. Deciding who is a threat can be difficult. Using a comprehensive list of similar sites, the following competitive matrix provides a look into where Thistle stands among its competitors. I judged sites against four attributes that are definitive and essential to Thistle. While none of the web sites could garner all four, some came close. However, competing blogs are not the only threat. The green trend bubble is in constant question of validity and the ease of reproduction makes the information Thistle provides valuable for only a short period after posting.


HOW SIMILAR ARE YOUR COMPETITORS TO YOUR BUSINESS? Utilizing my competitive matrix, it would seem that none of Thistle’s competitors are identical in terms of features. There are, however, similarities between some sites that offer e-commerce and reviews (the two main advantages). I would have to conclude that Thistle would be able to provide a unique source of information and content compared to the comparable web sites.

DO YOUR COMPETITORS OWN A MARKET SEGMENT? Some of the listed web sites do cater to a different target market that Thistle. Treehugger.com provides information on a plethora of green products, making it a one-stop-shop in terms of ecofriendly reviews. Kaight has a brick-and-mortar storefront, making it unique in the line-up of web sites and most likely dominating that particular market segment. Grist.org offers content that is a definite threat to Thistle, it being fashion focused and offering a constant blog stream. That is a huge portion of the market segment Thistle hopes to capture.

HOW ARE THE COMPETITORS FUNDED? PROFITABLY? The funding and profitability of the competitive web sites is very difficult to determine. None of them are traded publicly, and most are not focused on being profitable.


WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS VALUE PROPOSITION? By providing a comprehensive online definitive guide and taste-maker, Thistle aims to educate, inform and aid its viewership in becoming part of the eco-friendly fashion trend. This goal ultimately provides funding to Thistle in terms of online sales and advertisements, while simultaneously helping the viewer to make a smaller carbon footprint.

HOW MUCH OF A MARKET SHARE WILL THISTLE DEMAND? Based on the monthly unique visitors to treehugger.com (1.5M according to alexa.com) we aim to capture 1/3 of their total monthly visitors. If an average of 500K consumers visit Thistle monthly, there will be both interest from advertisers and a valuable foundation to develop e-commerce.

PORTER’S FIVE FORCES On the opposite page I have developed a Porter’s diagram of competitive forces threatening Thistle. Defining these forces was tricky considering they are most effective when it comes to a definitive product or service.


HOW DOES THISTLE MAKE MONEY? GOOD QUESTION. THE ANSWER IS A COUPLE DIFFERENT WAYS. Thistle’s main revenue stream is through online advertising. By providing consumers with an unparalled guide to green fashion, viewers will be loyal to the site and visit frequently. This provides an optimal enviroment for potential advertisers. The market is niche enough to be easily segmented, however not too niche as to exclude a large audience. Thistle will begin with simple ads on rotation and will proceed to a CPC revenue model.

PRICE POINTS

Competitors price points on advertising are not available to the public. However industry

advertisers pay an average of $23.54 to reach 1,000 viewers.* Thistle plans to posistion its advertising on par with its competitors. There will be an agressive advertising progression as Thistle gains more monthly viewers. Because Thistle is service based, markup is tricky to determine. Our costs include labor and hosting.

* http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/13/magazine/13DEMOGRAPHIC.html


DIRECT COSTS Direct costs are difficult to estimate because there are so few. Defining a unit is also difficult because of the nature of what we are selling. Although Thistle sells to advertisers, we must be attract both advertisers and consumers.

hosting

$100/yr

labor

$0

direct cost

$100/yr

UNIT ANALYSIS By providing a comprehensive online definitive guide and taste-maker, Thistle aims to educate, inform and aid its viewership in becoming part of the eco-friendly fashion trend. This goal ultimately provides funding to Thistle in terms of online sales and advertisements, while simultaneously helping the viewer to make a smaller carbon footprint.

500K Visitors/mo. $23.54/1K Visitors advertising $11,770/mo revenue

$100/yr 12

direct cost

$8.33/mo

profit per unit

$11,761.67/mo


STRATEGIC GROWTH HOW THISTLE IS GOING TO GROW.

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS GOING TO LOOK LIKE ON DAY 1? Because Thistle is online only, it can really start at any time, from any Mac at any location. Because I want it to be successful, there are a few other things that need to be set in place. A competitive, intuitive and obviously attractive web site design is imperative to the future of Thistle. While an office is optimal, there is no immediate concern for a professional location (there is a ton of down time between starting the web site and actually attracting advertisers). Keeping expenses to a minimum is essential in the first few months of operation, therefore staff would be have to volunteer or paid a low stipend. By keeping payroll and rent to a minimum, Thistle essentially cuts out the two most significant parts of start-up costs.


+ BECOME THE LEADING ONLINE ECO-RETAILER + MULTIPLE LOYAL ADVERTISERS + STRONG DAILY VIEWERSHIP

+ ECO FOCUS BECOMES A FAD + STRONG COMPETITORS + ECO APPAREL BRANDS BLOG

+ BECOME AN AUTHORITY + DEVELOP EXCLUSIVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH VENDORS + SECURE ADVERTISERS + DOMINATE ECO-FASHION BLOGS + E-COMMMERCE NOT PROFITABLE + ADVERTISERS DO NOT SEE IMMEDIATE RESULTS

+ DEVELOP A COMMUNITY + CREATE A LOYAL AUDIENCE +ATTRACT ADVERTISERS + CREATE A RELATIONSHIP TO THE INDUSTRY

+ NO ONE IS INTERESTED + VIEWERS LOOSE INTEREST + TOO NICHE FOR ADVERTISERS

+ FEATURES OF PHASE I & II + PRIVATE LABEL + CO-BRANDED APPAREL + EDITORIALS SHOWCASING PRODUCTS

+ FEATURES OF PHASE I + E-COMMERCE PROVIDING SUGGESTED ECO ALTERNATIVES + PRINT MEDIA

+ DAILY BLOG FUNCTIONS + COMPREHENSIVE REVIEWS + SYSTEM FOR RATING + STYLE SUGGESTIONS & TIPS

PHASE III

PHASE II

PHASE I

OBJECTIVES

RISKS

FEATURES


MARKETING PLAN HOW THISTLE IS GOING TO ATTRACT.

WHAT IS YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION? Thistle’s unique selling propisition is that of service. We provide an extensive knowledge base to draw reviews on. These reviews help viewers make the most educated choice possible. The blog provides an outlet for all of the creative and significant happenings in the eco-fashion world, and the forum for people to comment. The e-commerce allows viewers to purchase what they just read about and make a decision that helps both their personal style and the planet. Thistle’s differentiation is that its on Earth’s side, making the right choice a little more obvious.

HOW MARKETING WILL AID STRATEGIC GROWTH? Marketing will aid in the general growth of Thistle. By blanketing other web sites and blogs with links to our own, we offer an alternative to viewers who are already interested in the topic. Often there is a community blogroll of which there are several participating similar blogs. These are essential to finding new viewers and potential customers. By providing quality information in an intuitive and easy-to-use way, there is a higher percentage of returning viewers. More viewers means advertisers, which means opportunity for growth. Producing editorials and collaborative efforts is also essential to creating a sense of authority around the styling and merchandising of Thistle.


WHAT MARKETING CHANNELS WILL YOU EMPLOY? Social marketing is probably one of the most essential channels that Thistle will utilize. Using networking sites with specific focuses will allow Thistle to reach its absolute niche target demographic. By collaborating with other blogs and linking among each other, a sense of community will be created and allow viewers to easily reach Thistle. Eventually print media and editorials with the merchandise will allow viewers to have another media with which they can associate with Thistle.


Market Section