Comfy Heels is a new footwear company. Its goal is to create camel leather high heel shoes for women who want both comfort and fashion in their footwear. Camel leather products are extremely durable but can expand around the foot of the wearer which prevents pain and discomfort. In the near future, the company wants to launch its first product designed specifically for women who work in offices.
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The main goals of the project are to determine the most profitable supply chains for the product, analyze the purchasing habits of the selected demographic, select the most appropriate models for distribution and advertising, as well as consider possible branching out into less concentrated marketing. It is recommended to initially focus on selective distribution into stores that are popular among members of the target demographic.
Analysis of the Current Marketing Situation
Analysis of the Larger External Environmental Factors
The majority of the political factors around camel leather products and heels specifically are positive. The material is primarily produced in India and Abu Dhabi (Denman, 2018; Nasr, 2017). The latter has started to focus more on the manufacturing of camel leather products in recent years. Both counties are open to international partnerships and contain facilities that may be used for the production of both raw material and products, depending on which strategy is found more beneficial for the company. No active issues with tariffs, trade, or imports from those countries are present, and if the situation changes it would be possible to contact neighboring countries in those regions as potential business partners.
One very serious economic factor is tied to camel leather products. The creation process of this material is currently more expensive in comparison to the common cowhide that is used for similar purposes (Denman, 2018). It is also the main barrier related to the proliferation of camel leather products on the market. However, the benefits provided by the unique properties of this material may be sufficient to reduce the effect of the high price of manufacturing.
The primary demographic for our products is working women from 20 to 50 years old. Due to their busy schedules that require wearing shoes with high or medium heels for six, eight, or even twelve hours a day, the comfortability of their footwear is a priority. The socio-cultural factors of increased attention on female employment and equal opportunity for job placement are likely to cause a dramatic increase in this specific demographic (Albanesi & Şahin, 2018). This trend may be seen even in countries that hold very traditional beliefs. This could potentially lead to an increase in the international appeal of the product.
Two technical factors were mentioned previously. The primary countries of import are already equipped with tanning and manufacturing facilities that could be used to avoid building new factories. In addition, if our company uses local manufacturing, it could gain favor from the government due to the creation of job places in the region. It could also save costs on logistics because only the finished product would have to travel long distances. The second factor will affect the project negatively. The manufacturing process is currently expensive and maybe outdated in comparison to more commonly used materials. However, in recent years the material became slightly more affordable, and if we capitalize on this, our company may become one of the first to make a significant profit on camel leather footwear.
Ecologically, the manufacturing of camel leather products is similar to other types of leather. Primarily, leather is a byproduct of the meat industry. Therefore the ecological impact is tied to the amount of the available by-product. Cow leather is in great supply due to beef being a popular type of meat. Camel meat is a much less common food item. This lack of popularity means that the natural supply is only available in regions that use camel meat in cooking. To prevent ecological disasters tied to the limited population of camels, manufacturing would need to be done only in controlled numbers. This should be a sufficient precaution not to upset the ecological balance of the regions we may partner with (Guya & Neme, 2015).
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No legal factors should affect the project. There are no specific restrictions on the use of camel leather in footwear. In addition, there is a precedent of camel leather products being sold in almost every country. If our company decided to use manufacturing locally to the supplier, all necessary safety measures would have to be maintained and monitored to prevent unhealthy work environments from having an effect on the public image of the company, as well as prevent any issues caused by accidents.
Analysis of the Immediate External Environment
The footwear market is currently dominated by companies with a focus on athletic and leisure-oriented shoes. The company that currently holds the largest market share in the world is Nike. They are followed by Adidas, Converse, Crocs, Brown Shoe, and Boss Holdings (“Top 15 Vendors,” 2016). These statistics differ between countries, but Nike and Adidas hold the majority share in most. Both companies are focused on athletic footwear. These companies have extremely powerful brands and partnerships. In recent years, they capitalized on the trend of “athleisure” footwear.
Such footwear combines sports elements with leisurewear such as sneakers. While this trend does not directly relate to our products, it may be adapted to them as a counter to Nike and Adidas. Comfy Heels aims to create a female heeled shoe that would be significantly more comfortable than the ones currently available on the market. By doing so, we could create a new trend of fashionable shoes that can be worn without sacrificing comfort. It would be difficult to directly compete with the largest companies on the market but by introducing a new type of product that satisfies the needs of an untapped demographic our company may gain a competitive edge against them. Since the main focus of our product is on comfort, rather than fashion, it would be false to compete with designer female shoe brands, but by competing with companies that rarely produce female-specific footwear, there is a chance of success.
Market Description: The Consumer
The needs of the consumers are utilitarian and social in nature. Our potential customers are women who have to wear a professional style of clothes due to the dress code of their office. They are dissatisfied with their tight and uncomfortable heeled shoes, but they do not have an alternative to consider at the moment. They make their decisions based on the information available to them. Expensive purchases are carefully considered, and shoes are not bought on impulse. The customers are very involved in this product category because they always seek ways of improving their everyday routine.
However, despite our product being a solution to a routine problem, it would likely have an emotional resonance with the customers. The focus on comfort would counteract the sensations of pain they associate with footwear. The social need that our product would meet is tied to the social interactions that require our customers to wear high-heeled shoes. These events may include corporate retreats, holidays, job interviews, and others. In addition, our product may be appealing to women who often spend their leisure time going to social events, but dislike athletic footwear. The mix of these two types of customers is likely to consist of 70% women who are required to wear high heels due to their job, and 30% of women who are seeking more comfortable shoes for social events. These are only anticipated numbers, and they may change based on word of mouth or the general success of the product.
Conclusion Regarding the Current Marketing Situation
The idea is likely to be successful in the long term because our product would fill a niche that is currently overlooked by larger footwear manufacturers. It would provide an opportunity for our company to make a positive impression and gain a competitive edge over our competitors. Our customers need high heel shoes that would not cause them pain at work or during social events. By filling this need, we would be able to create loyal customers who associate our product with comfort.
However, there exist threats that our competitors would highjack our idea by introducing their own comfortable high heel shoes. To mitigate this threat, it may be beneficial to purchase exclusive rights on the production of such shoes from our manufacturers and patent all of our designs. Camel leather is produced in a limited number of countries, which makes it easier to hold exclusive rights to our products.
The Marketing Strategy
The Target Market
The market should be segmented very meticulously. This means that the strategy should be concentrated specifically on our demographic. In accordance with the estimated mix of customers 70% of the marketing should be concentrated on working women and 30% on women who prefer social activities. The segmentation dimensions are gender, age, and occupation. It is expected that the product would be most appealing to women older than 20 who are employed in office jobs. This target market is highly valuable because it includes millions of women working in a variety of positions from assistants and secretaries to executives and CEOs (Rocheleau, 2017).
The Value Proposition
Our product should be positioned in the following fashion. Comfy Heels offer the comfort of leisure shoes with the look of a high heel. Our camel leather high heel shoes perfectly take the shape of the customer’s foot. This allows for a greater sense of comfort for people who have to wear high heels throughout the day. In addition, camel leather is much more durable than its alternatives. In most cases, customers have to choose between comfortable athletic wear and fashionable high heels. This is a unique product that removes all the physical pain from women who have to wear uncomfortable shoes as a part of their daily life. Its price is slightly higher than an average shoe, but its benefits are one of a kind.
The positioning map for our product includes the customer’s knowledge that they need high heels for work and that they are likely to be uncomfortable. On the other side, our product provides comfort even when wearing high heel shoes. Rationally, our product’s features solve the issues that the customer experiences. Finally, the emotional benefit of our product is in the removal of pain that our customers feel daily. We are located between rational and emotional benefits.
Product and Branding Strategy
The core product is the combination of fashion and comfort since these are the main benefits that the project provides. The actual product is a line of high heel shoes made out of camel leather. The augmented product is the shoes with additional accessories made from the same material such as bracelets.
Our branding strategy would be focused on removing the problems that women feel on a daily basis due to their footwear. It would be important to position ourselves as the middle ground between fashionable designer high heels and comfortable athletic footwear like sneakers. This message should be consistent and create an image of a product designed deliberately with comfort in mind. While initially the brand would be focused on women who work in office settings, it might transition to a more general footwear brand for women who want to feel comfortable while wearing high heels. High-quality customer service would also be important to show that the company values extends its values of comfort to every element of its business. If competition attempts to launch a similar product the brand would need to be protected by emphasizing how it was the first and the most experienced brand of camel leather high heels.
The price elasticity of the product would depend on the manufacturing process and the availability of the materials. By examining camel leather products of the same complexity, it is possible to estimate the final price to be between 80 and 150 dollars. It would not be unreasonable to price the product at around 100$ because it would be both competitive against designer fashion wear and comparable to prices for athletic wear. Other pricing strategies could include an 80$ option which would have the simplest design. However, a more expensive option could include more extravagant designs as well as accessories such as bracelets, belts, or other objects that can be created out of camel leather without adding significant cost to the manufacturing.
Marketing Communication Strategy
There are five steps to developing a marketing communication strategy. The first step is to analyze the social marketing environment. This step can include analysis of the most popular types of marketing, dominating products, forms of retail, and other elements of the social marketing environment. The second step is to research and select the target adopter population. Since we have already decided to focus on women who work in office environments 20 years old or older, only the second part of this step remains. It could be done through research of customer behavior related to footwear and high heels specifically. It is likely that there are patterns to their purchasing decisions. The third step is to design social marketing strategies. The previously stated benefits of our product would be used in contrast to the pain and discomfort that women feel while wearing standard high heels.
The fourth step is concerned with the mix of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, sponsorship, and other types of marketing. Camel leather heels would be primarily marketed through the use of traditional advertising with a possibility of a sales promotion at the introduction of the product. The fifth and final step would be focused on organizing, launching, managing, and evaluating the marketing project. During this step, it would be crucial to pay attention to the public response to the product and adjust the message if any issues are found within. The product would be launched primarily in stores that were found to be most popular by our demographic during the second step. Then it would advertise through the use of standard channels such as magazine, television, and internet commercials. An early sales promotion could help attract people to our company who have previously never heard of it. Push communication is the main choice of marketing for this product due to its unique nature and need for promotion.
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It would be most beneficial to sell the final product in the same shoe stores that they purchase their shoes currently. Our initial line of products would be limited, which means creating a company store would be costly and unwise, especially since our company is new on the market. This method of distribution would also be consistent with our message of comfort without the sacrifice of fashion since these stores likely focus on dress and fashion shoes. The selective distribution model appears to be the most appropriate for our product. There is a limited number of places that our customers visit when they want to buy a new pair of heels. Therefore every one of these stores should have our product for sale.
Albanesi, S., & Şahin, A. (2018). The gender unemployment gap. Review of Economic Dynamics, 30, 47–67.
Denman, S. (2018). Camel leather is poised for the mainstream, but not quite over the hump. Web.
Guya, M. E., & Neme, G. (2015). Camel slaughtering practices and meat production in Eastern Ethiopia. Science, Technology and Arts Research Journal, 4(3), 123–128.
Nasr, A. I. (2017). Influence of some mechanical finishing processes on manufactured leather properties. Majalah Kulit, Karet, Dan Plastik, 33(2), 99–107.
Rocheleau, M. (2017). Chart: The percentage of women and men in each profession.