Three Marketing Lessons I Learned From My Favorite Designer

shutterstock_132961508Anyone who knows me knows that I have a shopping addiction. Not an OMG-I’m-$100,000-in-debt kind of addiction, but a “healthy” one in that my closet is frightfully full of clothes (most with the tags still on). While I have a long list of designers that I love—Marc Jacobs, J.Crew, Vince … the list goes on—my favorite has to be Rachel Zoe.

Zoe, stylist to the stars turned designer, turned fashion brand mogul, has skyrocketed to fame. While hard work and an enviable amount of talent has certainly helped this pint-sized designer get to the front stage of Mercedes Benz Fashion week, it’s her business savvy that’s made her millions. In fact, Zoe has her own line, the Rachel Zoe Collection; a lifestyle website; The Zoe Report, a reality show on Bravo; and a slew of best-selling books. The woman does it all.

Zoe captured my heart (and the hearts of many others) not because her clothes are amazingly chic, which they undoubtedly are, but because she’s personable, forward-thinking and, frankly, a great entrepreneur. Marketers would be wise to take a page from her book (pun intended). Below are three marketing lessons I learned from my favorite designer:

  1. Lesson #1: Know Your Audience: Whether it’s creating content for her online publication or drafting designs for her new collection, Zoe always keeps her target audience in mind. For example, The Zoe Report gives insiders everything from fashion and beauty tips to the latest runway gossip. As a marketer, it’s important that you have a solid grasp on your target audience. Delivering interesting, engaging content that’s directly tied to your audience’s needs, interests and challenges is the foundation of content marketing—everything else comes after.
  2. Lesson #2: Find Your Niche: Zoe is most known for creating the “boho chic” look. In fact, she’s become the undisputed expert on the style. Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades or a master in nothing, find your own unique niche. Once you’ve determined what you want your company to be known for, become an industry leader by creating thought leadership content, speaking at events and networking with others on social media.
  3. Lesson #3: Push the Envelope: With over 357 new blog posts published every minute on WordPress alone, you need a way to break through the clutter and get noticed. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope and challenge the status quo. The worst thing you can do is simply regurgitate worn-out concepts, content and campaigns. Much of Zoe’s success can be attributed to her willingness to think outside the box.

While you might not be interested in fashion, there’s a lot you can learn from today’s top designers, particularly the way in which they market themselves and their brands.  What company or individual are you inspired by? We would love to hear from you!