Marketing – 7 Lessons From J. Crew’s CEO

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E-Commerce - 7 Lessons From J. Crew’s CEO

What J. Crew‘s CEO Says About Marketing

A headline – J. Crew’s CEO: There Are Too Many Retailers – caught me eye.  I read the piece and watched the video interview.

Given my recent post on the need to get started with one’s marketing planning efforts, I thought J. Crew’s CEO, Millard “Mickey” Drexler, had a lot of solid and timely marketing advice to offer those in retail and, frankly, to any business owner seeking growth and long-term success.

Here’s what I heard:

  1. There is always a choice – The retail marketplace is becoming more and more commoditized by big brick-and-mortar and online discounters, driving down prices.  There is the option of playing the discounting game or creating a product offering that continues to capture customers’ interest and maintain healthy margins.
  2. Differentiation matters – It’s not enough to have great a great retail product line these days.  One has to pay attention to all of the little product, customer service and marketing details to remain competitive and to have a long-term future.
  3. Be prepared for the inevitable change – At some point in time, “consumers will stop buying logos”, which means there will be an increased emphasis on product creativity and customer service.
  4. Focus on the basics, not growth – There are too many competitors in the retail game, which means pushing for growth isn’t necessarily a good game plan.  A crowded market spells consolidation and some who will disappear from the scene.  Sometimes the best thing to do is to put your head down and focus on the basics of good delivery.
  5. Stay conservative – Don’t count on growth.  Growth is always nice, but stay conservative in your growth projections and keep inventory and costs in check so you don’t have to take major mark downs.
  6. Key to long-term success – Drexler defined J. Crew, not as a retail establishment, but as a “design company with retail stores”.  His strategy is to dominate the designer/retail space his company currently owns.  Understanding the company’s niche and its competitive advantages is critical to its long-term success.  This is true on a global, national or local scale.
  7. Social media isn’t a Holy Grail for marketing – The proof is in the numbers, according to Drexler.  He looks for a correlation between social media efforts and sales.  Yes, one has to be engaged in social media, but it is but one piece of a comprehensive marketing game plan.

Those are the seven marketing lessons one CEO had to share.

You should share your thoughts below in the comments section.  Do you agree with Drexler?  How can you use these lessons in your marketing planning efforts for your business?