Marketing & Sales
Marketing is an essential function in any business and is largely focused upon within ELLE. The Group’s principal strategy is to develop the ELLE brand both in the wholesale and retail sectors, and to acquire clothing rights for other brands. A marketing strategy that was incorporated from the beginning relates to the company name: ELLE. The largely known and widely distributed fashion magazine ELLE has no relation to the fashion outlet stores other than the use of the brand name. Actif Retail takes advantage of ELLE magazine’s position at the forefront of women’s media. It entices customers by relating the two and it gives either side publicity and more recognition. ELLE stores also use the ELLE magazines as part of shop floor displays.
Marketing collects and analyses data on markets and consumers / customers, and then uses this information to guide business decisions as to which products they should produce and the best methods to promote them. Actif Group’s strategy is to acquire the clothing rights for well-known, quality clothing brands and to use its team’s expertise and skills to profitably develop these brands through a variety of routes to market in the UK and Europe.
Marketing is responsible for knowing what a customer wants and sales is responsible for getting the customer to want what the company produces. The marketing department sets out to identify, anticipate, establish and satisfy a customer requirement profitably. For example, recent product strategies have been to develop and produce “Icon-based/ Fashion statement” styles eg. Farrah Fawcett T-shirts and the “Essentials” for the basis of the collection, embodying “must have” products within the wardrobe.
In applying marketing techniques such as PEST and SWOT analysis, ELLE is able to look outside itself at the environment in which operates, identifying opportunities and threats in the external environment. Whilst internal marketing audits raise awareness of the strengths and weakness of the business. DB Actif Ltd and subsidiary companies present a SWOT analysis as shown.
Market research is carried out in many forms, for example, investigating trends on the catwalk, questionnaires, sales of certain products so that the next version can be improved or predicted as a good seller. Therefore the right quantities can be produces and less wastage or failures would result. ELLE uses a variety of marketing strategies, eg market segmentation to identify the customer they are selling their products to. This can be done through various ways, eg. socio-economically and behaviouristically. Various marketing activities such as packaging, advertising, promotion and distribution and pricing are carried out in the department of the company.
ELLE’s marketing and sales help achieve objectives by identifying the correct customer and satisfying their needs and wants profitably. Marketing helps to take individuals’ needs and wants into account and it cuts down waste if the product was aimed at everyone. Products can be developed or changed as necessary to consumer tastes. They can then price their products accordingly. Being market-orientated is advantageous in that they can predict or analyse what customer want or need and in that way establish their brand, provide the customer service and increase their sales. ELLE is flexible and adaptable to the demands of the market.
The finance department functions in that it keeps the records of all financial events that take place in the business. They also need to provide financial summaries e.g. a balance sheet. The accounts section must keep a detailed record of all money paid in and out and present the final balance sheet, sources and use of funds, profit and loss account, and other financial records at regular intervals. As well as keeping Accounts need to be kept of all moneys paid to or by a company, and records must be kept of all debtor and creditor transactions. The payment of wages will also require calculations involving deductions for national insurance, pensions and other factors.
Wages in the finance department are not dealt within ELLE, the holding company: Actif Retail Ltd calculates wages for employees within ELLE as well as those directly employed by Actif Retail Ltd themselves. The finance department within ELLE helps meet objectives, in that ELLE are aware of the profit, loss, reinvestment figures etc., therefore they can calculate future budgets and expenditure.
Administration This department within ELLE is concerned with dealing with enquiries, communication within business and also with the paperwork involved. It is important as it is necessary for all business to relieve bureaucracy and to organise documents. Instead of having a large central office responsible for controlling key aspects of the paperwork, ELLE have separate administration departments within each section i.e. in sales, mail order and production (as seen in the basic organisational structure map).
The administration departments helps achieve objectives in that each department is responsible for their own paperwork, documents and other data handling and it ensures that their tasks are completed. Without the administration function within the business, ELLE would lose sight of its objectives because problems would arise when there is too much “red tape”. Databases need to be maintained, websites need to be updated, filing is always important to be organised and access to information is easier. Mail is also an important aspect, as it contributes to the communication within the business.
Research ; Development
Research and development aims to create and improve new or existing products. It can also provide expert advice to the rest of the company and to customers. Without a flow of new and improved products and processes, ELLE could not hope to remain successful within the market. R;D also contributes to extension strategies of various products to lengthen the product life-cycle, however, there would be little point of using extensive R;D into a product with a short product life-cycle. R;D looks into market research findings and directs development accordingly.
The product groups are developed based on the activeness of the consumer and are tapered to different lifestyles eg. home, sport, nightwear and casual. Babywear has also been incorporated and ELLE extends into home interiors, multimedia and merchandising. R;D is closely related to ELLE’s objectives, in that it helps the company to stay competitive and innovative. It would help to designs products that are cost-effective but with the style and suitable consumer attraction. Trade-focused marketing, elevates brand awareness at the point of sale.