Because I Said So: The Marketer + the Consumer
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Marketer + the Consumer

I was a marketing major in college and I had this one professor, Dr. Smith, as my capstone professor. In his class, we had to analyze case study after case study and recommend to them what we think they should do. Y'all it was the hardest class ever--but I learned a lot and how to think critically.

Anyway, I bring that up to say, the Target/Lilly Collaboration seems like a case we would've have poured over (and what the execs at each company have likely poured over) for lengthy amounts of time. 

I've read so many comments about the collaboration and honestly, probably too many. Many along the lines of:  "Oh no now the poor people will be wearing Lilly" or "It's only for a limited time with it's own unique prints--quit being a snob" and "Lilly would be rolling in her grave." Ok really, who knows what Lilly is doing or what think--she's dead. And I'm not going to bring income into necessarily, but these are my thoughts.

I see it from both sides. Marketing + the Consumer.

Photo from @lillyfortarget Instagram


1. The marketer: Does this move cheapen the brand? Is it a last ditch effort to bring in the younger generation? What about the experience?

It sounds to me like they had a tough decision to make. Part of me thinks that they are losing their niche. The experience of shopping in a boutique, the exclusiveness of it all (albeit, there are other ways to buy Lilly: eBay, etc.) will be lost for many people. As a company, branding is easily one of the most important things. So many people seem to be backing this move based on only price. Price isn't everything.

Also, many of the boutiques are not very big, meaning like 5 employees. What happens when all business ceases at these stores because you can buy the items cheaper at Target down the street?

2. The consumer. On the other hand, I'm so glad Lilly will be affordable to so many more people (me included). Sometimes in not justifiable or in the budget to buy a 50$ plain black V-neck just because it has Lilly on the tag. 

 
My opinion: I'm torn. There are enough severely pissed off women of America that Lilly is no longer exclusive that will boycott or at least try to refrain from shopping. I'm not sure Lilly for Target sales will justify the dip in boutique/online sales. We will just have to wait and see if it was a bold, but rewarding move for this collaboration. And, I must note, at the end of the day, it's a collaboration. Collabs aren't full product lines. These items are exclusive to Target. Meaning if you want the other prints you'll still have to shop Lilly stores.

Is this the end of Lilly or at least the exclusive boutique as we know it? Hopefully not.  Will I be in line to buy a few Target items, yes. Will I still shop at my local flagship store, of course--some of my favorite people work there. 

What do you think?

 

9 comments:

  1. I have no way to buy Lilly locally, we don't have a single signature store and except for a small table of accessories (tumblers, planners, pens) it's not sold in any of the department stores in our mall anymore. This means there are tons of people where I live, a place where you can literally wear Lilly year round without looking out of place, who have never been exposed to the brand. Putting it in Target will introduce so many people to it, which I think in turn will drive demand for the original product, allowing Lilly to possibly even raise prices in the future. The Target line will be sold out within a couple of days everywhere except for the most random of small towns middle America. Will nobody buy from the Lilly stores during these couple of days? Maybe, but that's highly unlikely. Everyone freaking out that it'll no longer be exclusive need to calm down, because if the exclusiveness of it is why you're buying the brand you'll still be able to tell who's from Target and who's not because the prints will be different. I hope they do boycott it because that means less people I have to worry about buying my size before I get to it!

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  2. I'm not personally a huge Lilly Pulitzer person, mainly because I've never gotten into it, but as a marketing major (yay me too!) I think that it could be a smart move to transition younger buyers into buying Lilly. 12-year-olds buy a Lilly-Target scarf, and that gives them LP brand recognition. When they get older and are able to purchase with their own disposable income, like in their mid-twenties, they might head for Lilly at full-price. I think your arguments make a lot of sense as well. It's an interesting issue!

    Xo,
    Taylor
    acupoftay.com

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    1. I agree! It definitely opens the brand up to a wider range of customers.

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  3. Also as a marketing major (yay!) I can see where you are coming from here. Although, Target has done a lot of collections with higher end designers, since I haven't noticed those designers taking a hit after the collab, Lilly probably figured they wouldn't take too much of a hit either. I feel like people should look at it almost like they look at knock off designer purses. It's a way for someone who doesn't want to spend outrageous amounts to still look and feel fashionable, the people that can afford the full price items still know that they can afford them, so it shouldn't really be a hit to their egos (although, there will always be at least one consumer who isn't happy, that's just how business works sadly) I agree with Taylor though! It's a way to create brand recognition in younger people as well!

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    1. Too true. Someone will always be upset about one business move or another.

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  4. I'm torn right there with ya. On the one hand, I don't think their brand equity will necessarily take a huge hit if they're modifying a line exclusively FOR Target. If they take the same stuff from Lilly boutique shelves and pass it along to the red bullseye, they might have a major, major problem. Since Target has been known for pulling off some bigger designer collabs, I think the Target shopper will love and think of it as another collab and not the weakening of Lilly. But. Lilly girls might reaaaaaallly not like it, for all of the reasons you saw in comment forums. To them, they might LIKE feeling like they're the only ones who can afford it or like you're part of the club when you wear Lilly (because they DO have such a tight-knit club of Lilly girls!), and giving that opportunity to all of Target might not be the greatest hit. Awesome points you brought up here, from one marketing major to another!

    cominguprosestheblog.com

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    1. All of the "exclusive" comments about Lilly in those forums were absolutely ridiculous and not entirely fact based. Overall it will probably be a good thing and the "haters can hate". Lilly will go on being fabulous and continuing to thrive.

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  5. Interesting thoughts presenting from both sides. The recent "high-end" collaborations with Target intrigue me as a PR professional. One suspicion I have when it comes to the Lilly line is that they might be trying to reach a very specific market: Bloggers. Bloggers seem to have a love-affair going on with Target, nice stuff at good prices, often with Starbucks right there, makes it ideal for a lot of bloggers, so putting Lilly in Target and doing an online campaign as they have been encourages bloggers to talk about Lilly.

    We have a Lilly boutique in one of the high-end, outdoor shopping centers in the area and I've gone in several times to window shop (because I definitely can't justify the cost) and I've always had the store to myself, even when the rest of the shopping center is crowded. I applaud Target for expanding with higher-end brand promotions and Lilly for reaching out to more cost-conscious shoppers.

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    1. That's a good point! I hadn't really thought of that, but now that you mention it, bloggers were ALL over the behind the scenes look they had. Annd there have been tons of posts about this new collab. Well done #lillyfortarget, well done.

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