A once-thriving, fast-growing fashion brand succumbed to stasis and six years of flat revenue because understanding of its target customer lacked clarity and cohesion across geographies.
Without a global strategy to retain and engage customers or acquire new ones in its not-yet-defined sweet spot, the brand missed opportunities to optimize product development, assortment, pricing, marketing and distribution in both physical and online channels.
The inconsistent global brand identity led to eroded market share in the Americas and reduced overall category share for the billion-dollar brand.
ZS designed and conducted a massive consumer segmentation study to arm the brand with foundational information needed to plot next moves for its turnaround effort. Research centered on consumer needs, attitudes, motivations and brand perception in different parts of the world. The chief finding—that there exists one optimal customer across all geographies—revealed compelling strategic implications for different aspects of the business. The research quantified how customer segmentation and data-driven tactics could be exploited for better execution. Specifically, ZS:
- Analyzed consumers via an exhaustive global consumer segmentation study of tens of thousands of respondents across multiple countries that yielded millions of data points. Findings brought into focus a clear definition of the brand’s target, the optimal customer type that exists around the world.
- Identified hundreds of new go-to-market opportunities built around this newly defined target customer and quantified potential business impact of each; winnowed down recommendations to those with greatest promise to drive sales, profits and customer loyalty.
- Validated that the target customer is not as deal-driven as presumed, enabling higher price points and reduced reliance on retail outlets, resulting in a 5-point profit margin increase.
- Mapped out additional moves to increase sales and profits, including reduction in stock keeping units and a direct-to-consumer strategy that contributed to 3x growth in online sales.
The proprietary research informed strategic moves to jolt the brand out of stagnation, growing both revenue and profitability. Findings freed marketers of their myopic perceptions about the brand—such as upscale/affluent in one country versus blue collar/comfort in another—making it possible to unify and rally around a consistent global target consumer.
As the company began to enjoy early successes, it grasped how a consumer segmentation approach is vital to bring cohesion and clarity about what the brand stands for in the eyes of the global consumer. Blending this type of primary market research together with analytical rigor now available with advanced data modeling puts brands in a formidable position to meet and exceed their goals.