How to position a fashion label for growth

Applying the Job-to-be-done framework to Carrefour Tex clothing line

Tex - a brand for the entire family, but is it "family" the goal that drives the purchase?

Tex - a brand for the entire family, but is it "family" the goal that drives the purchase?

Summary: Segmentation frameworks based on demographics are broken. Yet, frameworks based on psychographic traits are just as broken, or at least totally unable to better predict what would work from a communication point of view. Clayton Christensen famously established a framework called Job-to-be-done that not only enables more efficient communication but also allows you to spot untapped market segments and expansion potential. What follows is an exercise applied to Tex clothing line, owned by Carrefour and sold worldwide. 

We've known for years that segmentations based on demographical data no longer work. We are also seeing that frameworks based on psychographic traits are just as broken. You can easily test for this on your own; just do this exercise: what ice-cream would you choose for a romantic night in? now, what ice-cream would you choose for a day out in the park with your 4-year old? A different one, right? This is exactly the kind of insight that the Job-to-be-done establishes: Customers ‘hire’ products for a certain job (goal) that they have and within the same category, brands chosen can vary a lot depending on the job. If you'd like to read more on the topic, see this article.

This framework implies that all communication will be targeted at the goals customers are trying to achieve and therefore at contextual situations where they have specific goals (e.g. you want one type of milkshake for your morning commute, thick and hunger-satisfying and another type of milkshake for your kid’s desert: lighter, less sweet etc).

So I began to wonder what jobs are customers trying to fulfill when shopping for clothing in Carrefour. After some rudimentary market research (friends, Facebook groups and personal observation), here’s the list, in no particular order of importance:

 

The Identified Jobs

Job #1: I want some nice, but cheap clothes for my baby/kid. She’s going to spoil or tear them at first use, so I have to find an affordable solution. Convenience & nice designs.

Job #2: I need some basic pieces (socks, tights, underwear, pijamas) to renew my wardrobe. Since nobody’s going to see them, I can skimp on the price and the quality needn’t be very high since I throw them anyway in 3-4 months. Comfortable, basic design.

Job #3: My husband/kid urgently needs a new shirt and since I’m here shopping for food why bother go to another store? Convenience & Urgency.

Job #4: We go shopping every week together and I don’t have the time to shop alone in specialty stores; it’s best we all buy clothes from the same place, especially since there is something for everyone. Family shopping.

Job #5: I live in a small town where there aren’t any good clothing stores. So every month I travel to the nearest big city for supplies and there I also look for nice, affordable clothes for my entire family. Main clothing store.

It seems Tex fulfills several jobs depending on the circumstances the shoppers are in, not on the income level of the shopper or any other demographic or psychographic attribute. (I interviewed both high and low income customers) 

What This Means for Marketing

I could identify at least 5 distinct goals that all offer huge potential for growth, if approached individually. 

The growth equation is simple. For example for job #1 - if communicated to mothers, you can attract not only Carrefour shoppers that would buy from you anyway because they are in you shop, you could also attract more affluent mothers that choose Massimo Dutti for themselves and more affordable clothes for their kids. Or for job #5 - you can increase communication in smaller towns where there are no good clothes stores and thus use Tex as "bait" for consumers that wouldn't take the trouble of driving 50km to you hypermarket, to do so and even buy groceries in the process.

So you see? there is no rocket science here, we just can't lump people, goals and desires into a single message and expect people to go crazy about your brand. 

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation or relationship with Carrefour and the opinions expressed are my own entirely.

For an explanation of Job-to-be-done segmentation framework see:http://www.christenseninstitute.org/key-concepts/jobs-to-be-done/.