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FANtastic Marketing Don’t: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

January 16, 2020

Vistorias Secret Fashion Show

Are you a business owner? Then you probably have goals in mind when it comes to your organization. Goals that go a little something like this:

  • Discover which marketing trends and tactics will give me the biggest ROI
  • Grow my business through increased website traffic, inbound leads and ultimately sales
  • Build a fan base of loyal customers who want to use my products and services again and again

Most businesses focus on creating fans after the sale. They see this as the point when the customer experience (aka: CX) journey begins. But you’d better believe that in today’s digital world, creating fans begins long before the first sale. Where you may ask? With your MX (aka: marketing experience) of course!

And that experience? It had better be FANtastic. But not only because you see it that way—another stumble many businesses make. No. It must be FANtastic because the FANS see it that way. Your MX must be designed for the fans, about the fans, and ultimately user-generated by the fans.

Easier said than done. After all, the number one reason brands fail to create a FANtastic MX is because they don’t know who their fan base is nor what motivates them to buy.

Case in point: Victoria’s Secret.

At the time it was founded in 1977, Victoria’s Secret was standalone in its offerings. Padded push-up bras and lacy thongs were far from the dowdier undergarments that saturated the market. What was more, they were being marketed primarily to men buying for women. The company was sold in the 80’s, which is when marketing turned from being male-focused to being female-focused.

Then, in 1995, Victoria Secret launched the Annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show as a signature event. And supposedly it was designed to inspire women all over the world by featuring the hottest names in entertainment and fashion. Heidi Klum. Tyra Banks. Adriana Lima. The list goes on.

But let me pause here and ask you a question. Do regular women relate to super models strutting down runways wearing ten million dollar, diamond encrusted bras? I sure as heck don’t! And I’m willing to stake a lot on the fact that most of us ladies don’t!

Which brings me to our next question. How well does Victoria Secret know its fans? They say the fashion show was for women, but it’s been argued since inception that it was more about appealing to men. The original Victoria’s Secret audience. And this despite the fact that it’s no longer men going in to buy underwear for women—we can do it ourselves! Funnier still is that the store that was originally designed to make men buying lingerie less embarrassing has done a complete 180. Men no longer have the desire to shop at Victoria’s Secret—they haven’t for years!

The last few years, the debate over the fashion show had gotten more and more heated. Finally, only a few weeks ago, this event is effectively CANCELLED leaving millions of women a little more room to breathe this winter. Because no matter what Victoria’s Secret was SAYING about whom their product was for; their actions were the complete opposite. Every marketing tactic they were utilizing was selling to the fantasy men have of women.

Here’s the bottom line: FANtastic Marketing has nothing to do with what you think your fans will like—and everything to do with what your fans actually like. Moreover, it’s important to stay on top of trends in your industry. Similar to what Victoria’s Secret experienced, your target audience could go through a complete transition. Fifty years ago, this giant was focused on selling to men. When they had the opportunity to pivot selling directly to women through an empowered campaign—they ignored it fighting tooth and nail against change. Do NOT be Victoria’s Secret when it comes to your MX. Understand your audience. Get to know them. Be relatable. It’s when you have a solid commitment to those who need or want your products that you can truly turn them into your fans!

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