Workshop: Fashion Marketing & Predictive Analytics

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Last week we were pleased to welcome marketing expert, book author and Professor of Brand Management at the Brand University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Jörg Igelbrink to our company for the workshop “Fashion Marketing & Predictive Analytics”. In a relaxed atmosphere, Jörg gave us answers to fundamental questions such as..:
  • Is there a basic understanding of the topic “Trend”?
  • At what point do we speak of a “trend”?
  • Which perspectives are relevant?
  • Where, how and when do trends arise that influence the industry?
  • Which success factors influence trends?
  • What role do opinion leaders, early adopters and influencers play in generating trends?
  • How will the demand for our product develop?

With many case studies and expert knowledge from the fashion industry, Jörg was able to bring us closer to this complex topic and even provided some insights from his forthcoming book “Perceived Brand Localness: An Empirical Study of the German Fashion Market (Business Analytics)” (published by Gabler Verlag in December 2019) in cooperation with IBM Cognos Analytics.

After the workshop we had the opportunity to ask Jörg and some workshop participants a few questions.

Interview with Dr. Jörg Igelbrink

How come you know so much about fashion?
During my time at adidas as Product/Brand Manager I was responsible for the Soccer Department. The players’ equipment is now highly functional. Anatomical cut, breathable Climalite fabrics, capillary effects, etc… The knowledge in this area was the basis for the change to the Business Unit Manager Tennis. At that time tennis became more fashionable. The pure “white sport” became more colourful and fancy with types like Andre Agassi and Anna Kurnikowa. I was responsible for collections for Anna Kurnikowa and discovered my passion for fashion and current trends. The pragmatic eye for sports function has always remained. That’s why the “Athleisure” trend is so exciting.

Why did you quit your job as a product manager at Adidas and decide to go into teaching and research?
After years in management at adidas, I was budget director at a large advertising agency, responsible for a 20-person team in Hamburg. It is a great pleasure to pass on this practical experience to students and start-up labels. With my dissertation on the perception and consumer attitudes of local brands, I investigate which factors lead consumers to have a positive attitude towards local fashion brands.
What does “trend” mean to you?
In the first moment trend is “increasing quantity over time”. For me, a fashion trend becomes apparent when a larger number of fashion-interested people of opinion leaders, influencers and early adopters adopt a certain product or buying behaviour, which then becomes an attractive self-image in the masses. Recognizing trends from a marketing point of view, i.e. recognizing trends at an early stage in order to generate premium prices for “optimal” market entry, understanding TREND VALUES in order to adapt “marketing”, and TRENDS INFLUENCES in order to expand them and earn them for a long time on the product; these are exciting topics for me! This requires a deep psychological understanding of the consumer and his habits and patterns.

How important will data-driven marketing be in your eyes?
The topic is very relevant from Big Data’s point of view. In particular, the real-time data generated from social media data is important for customer-oriented marketing control. And also the quality of the information, a more individualized and precise allocation becomes higher. On the one hand, it can be used to analyse buyer behaviour even more precisely, what motivations and attitudes individual consumers have towards a product or service and what demands are made on the product as a result. The information generated from this will produce individual, specific product solutions. But I would like to emphasize that this is not possible without a digital ethical handling of information. This is the only way we will be able to create meaningful solutions in marketing.
How do you see the future of fashion marketing? Where will the journey take us?
The question is too general to be answered in 2 sentences. Basically I see the development in the area of brand development and management as the most challenging in fashion marketing. Against the background of an increasingly digital world and the growing sustainable, ethical demands of consumers, people need to build strong, meaningful brands, maintain them, and design them attractively so that they provide orientation and are a trustworthy partner in their own search for identity. This is what I want in an increasingly complex world.

Interviews with the workshop participants

Interview with Julia from Peek & Cloppenburg

What’s your job title, what’s your position at P&C?
I am responsible for all shop management. This includes merchandising, graphic design, but also shop administration and operation, i.e. the entire shop development at P&C.

What appealed to you about the workshop topic? What was your motivation to come here?
E-commerce and fashion are already special areas. I was with Otto for a long time and I know Sebastian from that. There I also developed the topic “personalization” a lot for the online shop and afterwards I was at Alba Moda. So this fashion theme in combination with predictive is very exciting. Just get a little inspiration and also to talk to you on different levels about “meta-data of pictures”, i.e. visual recognition. So also to look again in this direction, how far you are (Picalike, editor’s note). And I think it’s great that you’re doing such an open round.

Did you like the workshop? What did you think was especially good? What would you have expected a little differently?
Yes, I absolutely liked the workshop. I had actually expected it to be different from the main focus. But I think it’s always very exciting with such a topic how you represent it in terms of numbers. That’s also something we still lack in business. And what really comes, what works, what doesn’t. The speaker has really brought fashion know-how with him, I wouldn’t have expected that in this context. I have to say that I would have expected it to be a little more technical, which is also due to the constellation with you. But I found both perspectives very valuable.

Is there a topic that you would find interesting for a workshop? Is there perhaps an area that you are currently working on that you would like to learn more about?
We actually have the topic “Generate images meta data on the article”. Towards Fashion Cloud, i.e. data generation for the articles. That was also briefly addressed and what you can tap everything in order to collect all data to an article freeware-wise. Perhaps as an idea: If articles are posted in social media, perhaps you can also generate and save data on the article. That would be interesting for us.

And how would you use that? For personalization?
For personalization, for the entire shop control and for content.

Interview with Sven-Robert from S24.com

Which job title, which position do you have at Shopping24?
I work at Shopping24 as a software developer in the backend area. More in data management than searching now.

What appealed to you about the workshop topic? What was your motivation to come here?
On the one hand, it was interesting for me because I had also worked in the fashion sector before. On the other hand, it’s also interesting from a professional point of view: At the moment fashion24.de is our strongest portal. The data that is collected about it, the data that you need to work with it in order to earn money, to do business is very demanding, but also associated with many possibilities and this is basically an area that offers an incredible number of application possibilities from the programmer’s point of view. It is simply a completely interesting area in itself and also the whole connection with the term “trends”, which is also extremely relevant for us. Besides, I actually had an idea a few days ago for my own little experiment or what I wanted to do, and I was hoping to get some incentives.

Did you like the talk? What did you find particularly good? What did you expect a little differently?
I had thought a bit now, because it’s Picalike, that it also has something to do with computer vision/image analysis. I found the presentation very good, very interesting. I also thought it was obvious that the speaker had practice in it. He is used to speaking in front of people and knows his field. He really transferred competence and it was a top presentation. As if I had attended a good lecture at the university.

Is there a topic that you would find interesting for a workshop? Is there perhaps an area that you are currently working on that you would like to learn more about?
At work I have recently used the opportunity to get to know all areas. Which terms are used in the different teams? An example: When we say “feed”, other people say “app” and when we say “client”, the answers are very different. That’s why I took some time to do my onboarding myself. But apart from that, there are topics such as graph databases. That would be a very interesting topic because of the data structures behind it. What is also interesting, because it will become more and more important in the future, is the GPU programming in Python. So where the calculation is not executed on the processor, but on the graphics card. Such a thing as image analysis is extremely computationally demanding and how can I avoid running my calculations on a cluster of 1000 processors if it were possible with three, but a thick graphics card is in it.

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