The J. Crew College Girl


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The J. Crew College girl, is a marketing concept I developed for the admissions board of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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The J. Crew College Girl

  2. 2. 2MAKETING PLAN OVERVIEWI propose to launch a new clothing line for J. Crew called, THE College Girl (TCG). TCG consists of the same J.Crew look, feel, and style but at a price more affordable for a college girl. It will offer selected event outfits suchas game day dresses and outfits with university colors, along with the genuine J. Crew clothing. TCG line isdesigned to draw in the future decision maker for the families clothing purchases and retain them as loyalcustomers throughout their lives.TCG line fills the one strategic gap that J. Crew hasin their business. This TCGstrategy is supported by both primary and secondary marketing research.J. CREW HISTORY AND BACKGROUNDJ. Crew has offered clothing for all ages of women for years. They make the sophisticated, young to middle agedwoman with an eye for class, and a love for a preppy outfit their target market.J Crew first started in 1983 with a look similar to Lands End. They opened their first outlet store in Manhattan in1989 and then opened forty-five more stores. J. Crew was an immediate hit. After opening twenty-three yearsago, J. Crew has created many more clothing lines for additional market segments. They not only have a women’sline but a men’s line, they created the bridal collection, Crew Cuts for kids, J. Crew Factory and accessories.Additionally they have a sister store Madewell. It’s very similar to J. Crew but hasa British edge.J. Crew now sells throughout North America. They reach their customers through three hundred and thirty-threeretail locations as well as, and mail order catalogs.In November 2010, JCG agreed to be acquired by TPG Capital and Leonard Green for $3 billion. J. Crew movedfrom a publically owned company to a privately owned company with deep pocket owners. TPG is a leadingglobal private investment firm with $48 billion of capital under management (19).They have become a powerhouse of a company; however, they have overlooked a very important consumer- thecollege girl.TARGET MARKETThe target audience is the US college girl between 18-24yearsold; they are located mostly in the Southeast,Midwest, and growing in the West (1) (18).The population of 18 to 24 year olds is about 27 million in the USgrowing to about 34 million by2050; and 51% are female. They are the smallest portion of 313,028,692 of USpopulation (2), but they are very important.This18-24 years of agesegmentof the Y Generation (last generation of children born in the 20th century) is goingto be the driving force behind big spending, and future brand loyalty.Women are a growing and influential forcein the family purchase decisions and purchasing power. Sixty four percent of all working women earn more thanhalf their family’s income and they make more than 80% of buying decisions in all homes(3).Furthermore, thissegment is influential because they will spend more money on luxury things than their parents, the Baby Boomers(4). This college age segment is very aware of fashion trends (5). ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  3. 3. 3This college girl market segment is agrowing and influential segment. Thepercentage of young people who are goingto college has increased (see graph) andwill continue to increase. Enrollment indegree-granting postsecondary institutionsincreased 38%, from 14.8 million to 20.2million between 1999 and 2009. Thenumber of enrolled females rose 40%while the number of enrolled males rose35%(6).These kids who go to college verses theones who only have a high school diplomaor a GED will earn $800,000 to $1.2million more in their lifetime (7).Shopping behavior emerging from this recession has shifted, with shoppers taking a more thoughtful, pragmaticand practical approach to buying (8).Furthermore research on this value seeking behavior of the YGenerationconsumer finds that they desire to make the best investment decision for the future and evaluate bothprice and quality (9).The Gen X and Gen Y shoppers will take the lead in the recovery. Gen Y has a greaterwillingness to spend(10). Ad Age further supports the value oriented fashionable expression saying “enablingthem to express themselves – affordability and with quality”(11)(also supported by primary marketing research).This is the electronic media and social media generation. The college girl communicates using Facebook, e-mail,and smart phones. According to (12) 51.7% of 18-24 year olds are on the web.College studentsdon’t have a lot of time for TV, they don’t tend to read magazines a lot, or get mail.I have initially focused on college women instead of men because of their growing power; they are the buyers ofclothes for their families, friends, boyfriends, and themselves. Additionally, women tend to care more about theirappearance than men at all stages of their lives.TARGET MARKET ANALYSISFocus is on college women with affordable style- “A surprisingly large number of companies continue to ignorefemale consumers. You do so at your own peril” says the Washington Business Journal (13). The target market isa driven, 18 to 24 year old college girl who has an eye for fashion and a love for J. Crew. She attends a privatecollege, an Ivy League School, or power house university. She is a motivated, sophisticated, classy young lady,who has an eye for J. Crew but not the money. She is a college fashionesta who is trying to make it big but haslittle to spend on looking good while getting there. Affordable style is just what is needed (supported by primarymarketing research).She is the future of the modern household. She will graduate from college, get a job she loves and earn the moneyshe wants. This earnings power will allow her to afford the sophisticated work clothes J. Crew has to offer, and togive her the look of a boss. She will get married and buy her bridal attire from J. Crew; she will then start buyingher husband’s clothes from J. Crew, they will become the powerhouse J. Crew working couple. Then a baby girlis born, and the powerhouse boss becomes a powerhouse mom who dresses her baby girl in CrewCuts. That babygrows up and the cycle starts again. The college girl starts out young and grows with J. Crew- this is the life cyclestrategy. ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  4. 4. 4 The college student may have little to spend on their wardrobe, but they will become the big spenders after college and that’s what matters in the long run. It is important to be tuned into and understand the Gen Y college age segment. They are the target market J. Crew has been missing.TCG buyer will be a young, driven, sophisticated, upward mobile college girl. This college girl will bring years worth of brand loyalty throughout their life. Additionally, they are the driving force behind conversion of friends, husbands, and kids to J Crew. COMPETITION AND ANALSYS J. Crew’s competition consists of American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, Lands End, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and many more. So just how will the College Girl line set them apart? Each competitor markets to a certain age group and each one is very different. American Eagle and Abercrombie and Fitchis strictly middle The Price and Quality of a shirt school to college. American Eagle has moderate quality clothes at a reasonable price. Abercrombie and Fitch has high prices and low 50 44 quality. J. Crew will provide high quality at a reasonable price. The chart reflects approximate value of J.Crew in relationship to its key 40 competitors. 30 24.5 These two companies may have brand loyalty from those age groupsPrice 16 but what happens when they mature andtheir taste and desire for 20 higher quality clothing change? They go elsewhere and the investment made to create brand loyalty stopsproducing a 10 return.Whereas, the investment made by J. Crew to capture this 0 college girl will pay dividends throughout this customers life. Lands American Abercrombie J. Crew Eagle and Fitch End, Ann Taylor, and Banana Republic market to the same age Quality group as J. Crew but they don’t have a bridal line or a kid’s line to keep them loyal customers. Furthermore, the competitors do not have a product line and marketing approach focused on drawing in these young upwardly mobile customers and keeping them as they grow older and more sophisticated in what they wear. The competitors lack a life cycle strategy. MARKETING PLAN Introducing the:THE College Girl (TCG) Business objective: 1. Profitability increase revenue for J. Crew by drawing in the future of the modern household and controller of the family clothing expenditures. 2. Increase market share of the female college aged target audience. Core Strategy Elements: 1. College female 2. College colors with quality fashion and design 3. Value oriented materials Core Marketing Strategies: 1. A targeted campaign to college girls 18-24 with a J. Crew look and style at an affordable price. 2. THE College Girl fashion line and the Life Cycle Strategy is a less expensive way to give their future big spenders a way to start buying J.Crew clothes much earlier in the life. ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  5. 5. 5 3. Distribute the College Girl Line on the J. Crew website, and devote sections in stores near the College’s. 4. Promote the line through electronic and social media and exploit the "helicopter effect," word of mouth.Strategies: Price Graph 200Pricing 200The TCG will be a value based strategy(supported byprimary marketing research). It will be lower priced than the 150current J. Crew product and slightly less thanAbercrombie 100and Fitch but higher than American Eagle (see chart). Price 100 60Product 40 50J. Crew has a unique style. When a girl has on J. Crewclothing she stands out from the rest, she is colorful andstylish. The TCG will keep the same J. Crew look but adds 0 American Abercrombie J. Crew THE Collegeadditional items with the J. Crew look and feel.Depending Eagle & Fitch Girlupon the success of TCG a men’s line maybe launched. CompanyThe additional items will consist of event attire, such as game day outfits and dresses. There will be fashionableaffordable J. Crew clothing with the colors of the largest universities with the biggest national following, likeGeorgia, Michigan, Alabama, UCLA, and Notre Dame and so on.These outfits will be carried at the local J. Crewstore. Online, all colors will be offered. The clothes will show that the college girl is proud of her school.TCGwill also consist of the same J. Crew style, similar to what is being offered from regular priced J. CrewClothing.My primary marketing research confirms that most college kids are not as concerned if their silk shirt is real silkor if their cashmere sweater is actual cashmere. Most college girls want to look the part but don’t want to spendthe money. To meet the value strategy price point without sacrificing durability and profit margins,TCG willsubstitute lower cost material without sacrificing durability.Additionally, this affordable style means J. Crew can draw them back into their company if they shopped there inhigh school when their parentsbought their clothes. Furthermore, TCG will appeal to a girl who has nevershopped at J. Crew, but have always admired the style and quality of J. Crew, thereby using TCG to attractanother segment of future buyers to J Crew.Promotion J.Crew has a persona to not over do their ads. J. Crew is very rarely seen in magazines, they never do TV ads,and they are not seen on the internet.TCG will keep that low key approach, but use high touch electronic andsocial media.TCG will have a focused and target campaign that reaches the college girl in the manner with whichthey want and need to communicate. TCG will only advertise through electronic media because that is where thisage group spends a lot of their time. Furthermore, these electronic communications will minimize cannibalization(impacting current sales) of the J. Crew traditional line.The initial product launch will have high levels of social and electronic media saturation. While18-24 year oldsare the electronic generation, electronic modes of communication are not a substitute for word of mouth. In factthe electronic communication media serves to accelerate the “word of mouth” communication. TCG will takeadvantage of this. Advertise on their Facebook and Twitter Accounts. ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  6. 6. 6  The number of 18-24 year olds using Facebook has increased 52% between 2009 and 2010 from 17.2 to 26.1 million (14). Apps will be created for customers to download from their smart phones.Females represent about 54% of the Facebook users(14). Text marketing is an untapped potential-overall, 51% of women use text  39% of women have opted into text marketing.  Mobile users are very receptive to marketing messages to their mobile devices – specifically 33% of 18-24 year olds are opting into text ads  31% actually seek out mobile coupons.  However only about 2.4 text ads are sent per month (15) Additional word of mouth methods will be used to exploit the “helicopter effect" used by this GenY segment with friends.This segment uses technology to influence others purchases. This influence is particularly active as they use the “helicopter effect" to hover over their friends and families influences (16).  Hire college students to do TCG blogs about the latest trending looks from TCG  Create the TCG fashion parties and events on campus Search engine optimization (SEO) and targeted web pages will be used to target and focus 18-24 year old college girl and game day event attire. Advertised on the J. Crew Website and the sister company Madewell with a TCG web tab.DistributionInitial promotion and distribution will concentrate on the South,Midwestand the West coastwhich shows thehighest population of 18-24 year olds (2) (18).TCG will be offered on the J. Crew website. There will be a tab labeled TCG where they can order TCG off thewebsite. A lot of the college girls tend to shop online because they get better deals and they don’t always havetime to go out shopping when they like to because of theirhectic life styles.The electronic media promotion canautomatically link to the web page for easy access and ordering.TCG will alsobe distributed in stores located close to Universities and selected stores that support the college agedwomen. There will be a section dedicated to the line.Additional customer demographic data analysis is needed tounderstand which stores can profitability support the line. Once the TCG is proven other selected boutiques willbe added in order to more effectively serve the college girl.SWOT ANALYSISStrengths:J. Crew has a reputation of being an upscale brand that sets fashion trends. They have a well-established retail and distribution network.They have the money to invest in TCG. They have a broad productline, and their clothing appeals to all ages. College aged Gen Y consumers find great confidence and trust in thebrand names of their choice (17) of which J. Crew is most certainly one such brand.Weaknesses: Their strength is their weakness. The college girl can’t afford the clothes because of the stage theyare in their life.Opportunities: To exploit their strengths, reputation, style, and universal appeal with a focused marketingstrategy on the college girl.Threats: It’s a big risk for J. Crew to lower their standards on certain pieces for which they are known. However,my marketing research confirms that the young college girl will not look at the fabric content label to determine ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  7. 7. 7the fabric. Therefore appropriate fabric substitutes can be made to bring the cost lower, such as substituting cottonfor cashmere or “silk like” material for authentic silk.TCG may cannibalize from the traditional J.Crew line, however my research confirms that this college girl is nota market segment they effectively reach. While there will likely be some cannibalization it will be more thanoffset by increased sales of TCG. Furthermore cannibalization will be minimized through very targeted promotionand distribution to the college girl segment.PRIMARY MARKETING RESEARCHPersonal interviews conducted by Morgan Jennings throughout the first two weeks of February.Objective:The main objective was to better understand the views of college girls relative to affordable fashion for J. Crew.Hypotheses: 1. J. Crew is a strong brand that is preferred over other stores but is very high priced for girls at this age of 18 -24. 2. If J. Crew had the same look and style but at a lower cost these girls would shop there even more or start shopping there. 3. College aged girls would like a look and style but with the major universities colors incorporated. 4. Girls these ages do not tend to pay attention to what the fabric content tag says.Questioner: 1. Where do you tend to shop starting from where you shop the most to the least? 2. Do you like J. Crew? 3. Do you think J. Crew is expensive? 4. Would you shop at J. Crew if they lowered the cost of their clothes? 5. What do you think if they offered Game Day Dresses in a major university of which you like or attend? 6. Would you shop at J. Crew if they offered a line directed straight to you? THE College Girl? 7. Do you tend to look at the tag of your clothes to see what it’s made out of?Summary of results: 1. Gap=4, J. Crew= 3, American Eagle= 2, Target= 1, Urban Outfitters= 1, Anthropology= 1, Ralph Lauren=1, Macy’s=1, Francesca’s= 3, Banana Republic=1, Old Navy=1, Madewell= 1, H&M=1 2. Majority said they did shop at J. Crew but only on occasion because the prices were so high. One person said she did not shop there at all because of the prices. 3. All of them said yes, it was expensive. One person said that she never paid attention to the prices because her mother paid for it but now that she pays for her things she was shocked. 4. All the girls said yes. They would be in there all the time. 5. The girls who went to a major university said yes, it would make finding a game day dress a lot easier. 6. All the girls said they would shop there a lot more because having a line directed to someone in that age range is something you don’t see a lot. One girl said “I’ll look for something I need at Gap or Target for a college event and they don’t always have what I’m looking for because they aren’t researching what girls my age need when it comes to the fashion sense.” 7. One girl said she looks to see if it is made out of cotton or not to know if it will shrink. Most girls said they don’t care about the material. “I only look at the tag for washing directions.”Interviews:1. Megan BergerAge: 20 ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  8. 8. 8College: KSU 1. American Eagle, J. Crew, Francesca’s, Gap, and Banana Republic 2. Yes I love it, It’s just hard to shop there a lot because of the prices. 3. Yes I do. 4. I would shop there all the time! It would be my number one place 5. That would be amazing. I’m not in Greek life but I do dress up for some of our games. The southern way. 6. Yeah. I already love their style. To see J. Crew style in an outfit directed straight to my age would be amazing.2. Kaligh KlineAge: 22College: KSU 1. American Eagle, Ralph Lauren, Macys, Gap 2. It’s alright 3. For a girl at my age trying to pay for college, YES 4. Probably, depends on how low their prices go 5. It’s a good idea, especially for how a lot of SEC schools dress up for their games. 6. It wouldn’t be a reason I would shop there for everything, but if I needed something for a college event I probably would think of them.3. Kaitlin OkeffAge: 19College: UGA 1. J. Crew, Gap, Target, Urban Outfitters, Anthropology 2. I love it 3. Well when I was in high school I didn’t pay attention to the prices but now that I have to pay for my own clothes, Yeah I do. $40.00 for a t shirt is ridiculous. 4. I would be in there all the time 5. That would be amazing! It’s sometimes hard to find game day dresses. And going to a SEC school where they dress up for every game you need a lot of dresses/game day outfits. 6. Yes all the time, having a line directed to someone my age is something you don’t see a lot. I’ll look for something I need at Gap or Target for a college event and they don’t always have what I’m looking for because they aren’t researching what girls my age need when it comes to fashion sense.4. Mimi TurrintineAge: 18School: Georgia Southern 1. All over the place. If I see something I like at a store I would never go to but I like it I buy it! 2. Yes 3. They aren’t like Gucci expensive but they are up there 4. Yea probably. 5. That would be nice I love SCAD and anytime I get to promote I will 6. Yep! That means to me J. Crew knows what a girl my age needs.5. Natalie VeraAge: 19College: Darter College 1. Francesca’s, and Old Navy 2. I guess, I’ve only seen and heard of it from friends; I’ve never bought something there. 3. Yes, Very. That’s why I’ve never shopped there. ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  9. 9. 9 4. I assume. They have some things I like. 5. It’s a good idea but I wouldn’t really care. I have no reason to buy a UGA colored dress unless I need a red or black dress. 6. Yes because they would probably have more things directed to what I need. like a dress for a business class. 7. Nope never.6. Meg LeoniAge: 21School: Georgia Tech 1. J. Crew, Madewell, Gap, H&M 2. I LOVE it. 3. Yea, it’s up there for my price range but I do some major sale shopping. 4. Um DUH! That’s a no brainier for me! 5. YES! I’m from the north and they didn’t really dress up for games a lot and now that I go to a big SEC school where they dress up for every game I need my options. Plus I know a lot of friends of mine who go to Ohio State and are starting to dress up for their games. 6. A line directed to my age group would be amazing, but no matter what I would shop there. 7. I do sometimes, to know how to wash and stuff.SECONDARY RESEARCH CITED1. Geo Commons. Census Business Week February 14th 2005 What drives college-age generation Y consumers: Journal of Business Research 62 (2009) 617-628). Department of Education, From Source: U.S. Census Bureau report titled The Big Payoff 2010 study by Price Waterhouse Coopers’ Retail & Consumer practice What drives college-age generation Y consumers: Journal of Business Research 62 (2009) 617-628 ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS
  10. 10. 1010. 2010 study by Price Waterhouse Coopers’ Retail & Consumer practice Q&A April 11, 2011 Washington Business Journal (June 12, 1998). Washington D.C. Mob AdAgeStat Q&As 2012 What drives college-age generation Y consumers: Journal of Business Research 62 (2009) 617-628)“Youth Demographics.” CIRCLE,, p. 1219. J Crew web site ORIGINAL MARKETING PLAN BY MORGAN JENNINGS