Tuesday, September 19, 2017

New Marketing for Plus Size Fashions

Some sponsors of CurvyCon 2017
At CurvyCon, a recent fashion-week event featuring plus-size women's fashions, the CEO of plus-size fashion subscription firm Dia & Co observed: "We are so far away from true size inclusivity when it comes to fashion." In the words of entrepreneur CeCe Olisa, "if every brand carried every size, then we wouldn’t have to specify plus-size or not." CurvyCon attracted a lot of sponsors eager to reach this target market, estimated at $21 billion--and growing quickly.

It's a new marketing era for "plus size" amid rebranding to avoid negative connotations and signal a better understanding of consumer behavior in this target market. For example, after listening to customer feedback, women's clothing in larger sizes at Kmart will now be marketed as "fabulously sized."

More fashions for this market are on the way. PVH, which counts Calvin Klein among its brands, has recognized the profit potential in plus, and is marketing a new line of plus-sized lingerie. PVH recently acquired True & Co, which is established in the plus lingerie business.

A growing number of online marketers are targeting plus women, from ModCloth to EShakti and Eloquii. ModCloth's CEO notes: "There’s this belief that plus-size customers simply don’t spend as much — but that is only because of a lack of choice." His firm's research found that this target market would spend more if fashions in their sizes were available. And they tend to shop more frequently, another plus for plus size marketing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Food Trucks Roll into the Future

Food trucks have been a major fad since 2008, when the L.A. area saw the birth of the soon wildly popular Korean tacos served by Kogi BBQ trucks. Almost immediately, food trucks began popping up in streetscapes from coast to coast, offering both niche foods and mainstream foods.

Now food trucks represent an estimated $2.7 billion in revenues and a consumer behavior shift toward eating food on the move. Entrepreneurs, in particular, find food trucks a great way to test new products and new dining concepts without investing in high-overhead brick-and-mortar restaurants. Even restaurants are testing food trucks to reach customers interested in easy, casual food at easy, casual prices--competing with fast-food and fast-casual dining, in particular.

The most popular food trucks in 2017 are offering favorites like gourmet grilled cheese, burgers, and tacos (of course). Above, Mac Mart, which is both a food truck and a mac 'n cheese restaurant. Consumers are also flocking to food truck festivals around the country, enjoying different cuisines in one park or parking lot.

In some areas, the fad for food trucks is starting to fade a bit, partly due to overexposure and partly because of cities resisting the trucks to allow traditional restaurants some space to regain customers. Yet food trucks also represent a major opportunity for B2B marketers, including insurance firms that want to offer just the right coverage for food trucks.

The food truck fad is likely to evolve as the marketing environment develops and consumer behavior shifts, but for now, food on the move remains popular in many locations.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Multinationals Seek Growth, Niche by Niche

Pukka Herbs specializes in herbal organic teas
Nestle is buying a small California firm known for vegan and vegetarian foods; Unilever is buying a company that makes herbal organic teas. Both of these multinationals are seeking growth by acquiring businesses and products in niches that are attractive because of increasing consumer appeal and the ability to be noticed through distinctive brands/products.

Mainstream brands/products continue to sell--but certain niches are growing more rapidly and delivering customer acquisition (and profits) through specialization. Unilever, for example, pursued Pukka Herbs because it is unusually fast-growing in its niche. Unilever's top tea executive explains: "In the morning a lot of people still drink black tea as it picks you up, but in the afternoon or evening herbal tea is wonderful with different benefits." In other words, Pukka Herbs complements Unilever's existing tea brands and products.

Nestle bought Sweet Earth, a vegan/vegetarian food marketer, to get firmly established in the plant-based protein market. Nestle USA's CEO comments: "One of NestlĂ©’s strategic priorities is to build out our portfolio of vegetarian and flexitarian choices in line with modern health trends."

Watch for more multinationals to exploit niche opportunities by buying firms that have a following and a strong brand image.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Once Again, It's Pumpkin Everything in the Food World

Pumpkin everything season now begins in late summer. Starbucks showed imagination in launching its Pumpkin Spice Latte via live-streaming, building on anticipation from fans. Dunkin' Donuts is doubling down on pumpkin coffees and muffins: "We’ve seen our fans ask for pumpkin earlier and earlier each year," the company explains.

In general, pumpkin everything is turning everything orange in the food aisles and in cafes well before autumn arrives. Some marketers, like Krispy Kreme, really limit the limited-time pumpkin trend: It will offer a pumpkin-spice doughnut for one day only.

Other marketers are riding the pumpkin wave for weeks or months. How about a Kit Kat Pumpkin Pie bar? Or pumpkin spice breakfast cereals like Cheerios? Pumpkin everything reigns in food marketing for autumn.