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  • Writer's pictureRachelle Millar

Minis & Masks: Keeping up with fashion post Covid

Why you have to understand the art of marketing and selling stuff before you go racing to get a social media presence. And even if you did go for social media; is organic still possible in today’s social media algorithms? Answering this and more.

Rachelle Millar has 35 years in sales, marketing and understanding buyer psychology. She has taught sales for the last 20 years most especially after leaving the fashion industry and seeing the rise and fall of the mini skirt.

Literally the skirt’s hemline rose and fell throughout my life. I remember as a young high school student taking up my hem in the mid-80s. Then as fashions fell towards the knees in the 90s. The horror of the mini skirt as it tried to make it’s way back into our hearts in the new millennium and today as a pair of short shorts and the mini skirt are the de rigour, asking why would you wear anything different!

The thing that I really want to talk about is being to market at the right time.

You see, the issue was not when the mini skirt was right or not, it was about our ability as fashionistas to predict it’s timing. As we move out of Covid 19 and face masks come into fashion, it is not this that we are to predict. That ship will have sailed, the 3D printers would of taken care of that need right away. No it is about what and when are we ready for the next level of fashion and I am not just talking about clothing or footwear.

Fashion is not whether to wear a mini skirt or not and be seen as hip, fashion is about whether or not it is fashionable to go outside and be seen in less than six feet/2 metres of someone else. Social distancing therefore is the new fashion.

If this is the case, then what else might be the new fashion at the moment and what could be predicted going forward? In true fashion and marketers fashion (lol, see my pun?) then we will look back to look forward. Looking back we see old fashions come forward. Over the last few years I have noticed that the fashion of the 80s, mini skirts and Wayfarers (Rayban style) have come back into fashion, so 30-40 years later. What might have been fashionable in the 1800s may have been fashionable 100s of years previously. Who knows the time scale?

So, what was the fashion of marketing that we have only recently adopted; Social Media. Yes, social media has had its rise to fame. But actually, whilst the late adopters have finally taken up Facebook and we have all taught the Boomers how to be Zoomers, this is not going to be the new platform in the 5G/Covid 19, 2020 era.

And it will not be the same as what was emerging in October 2019 which was the use of groups to market in Facebook, there will be a new era for marketing through social media.

Online shopping also, is not the new thing. Many have been online for a long time. Yoga teachers may have moved to the online space. But is this a new trend, no it was quite simply supplying your same product quickly to the same market. When you are allowed to turn up to a yoga class, there will be some itching to come back and others not so. Have their needs changed since they started doing yoga in their own homes? Perhaps, perhaps they have stopped yoga all together? Maybe with less stress they didn’t need anymore!

So whilst there will be marketers that will state you should have a group or a page or followers in Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Please stop and think? What exactly is it that you were trying to achieve in the first place and PLEASE START WITH THE END IN MIND!

If you have not got set up your easiest to market offer that buyers are capable to buy first, then just don’t even keep going on the rest.

So there are a few marketing principles:-

  1. The Product Adaption Cycle

  2. Growth/Share Matrix (BCG)

  3. The 4 P’s of marketing.


If you have a new product during or Post Covid 19 do not expect that it will be taken on straight away. Here are a few questions to think about:-

  • Who might be your ideal client in the current (low growth) market?

  • How will you get the first few sales and manage the Early Adopters?

  • How will you manage your client base when it starts to grow?

  • When the Early Majority come in, how will you automate your services or grow your business (new employees/contractors) to ensure that your new customers are taken care of?

  • When it moves into the late adopters phase, how can they still take advantage of your service/product in this phase without it costing you too much to make or deliver?

  • How will you envision the phasing out of that product, still service the laggards, but ensure that you get the full profits from it without it costing you the same as when you were encouraging the new customers/early adopters to the fold?

2. BCG MATRIX or GROWTH/SHARE (Cash Cows, Dogs and Stars, ?)

The Boston Consulting group’s product portfolio matrix (BCG matrix) is designed to help with long-term strategic planning, to help a business consider growth opportunities by reviewing its portfolio of products to decide where to invest, to discontinue or develop products. It's also known as the Growth/Share Matrix.

The Matrix is divided into 4 quadrants based on an analysis of market growth and relative market share, as shown in the diagram below.

  • 1. Dogs: These are products with low growth or market share.

  • 2. Question marks or Problem Child: Products in high growth markets with low market share.

  • 3. Stars: Products in high growth markets with high market share.

  • 4. Cash cows: Products in low growth markets with high market share

How to use the BCG Matrix?

To apply the BCG Matrix you can think of it as showing a portfolio of products or services, so it tends to be more relevant to larger businesses with multiple services and markets.

However, marketers in smaller businesses can use similar portfolio thinking to their products or services to boost leads and sales as we'll show at the end of this article.

Considering each of these quadrants, here are some recommendations on actions for each:

  • Dog products: The usual marketing advice here is to aim to remove any dogs from your product portfolio as they are a drain on resources.However, this can be an over-simplification since it's possible to generate ongoing revenue with little cost.For example, in the automotive sector, when a car line ends, there is still a need for spare parts. As SAAB ceased trading and producing new cars, a whole business emerged providing SAAB parts.

  • Question mark products: As the name suggests, it’s not known if they will become a star or drop into the dog quadrant. These products often require significant investment to push them into the star quadrant. The challenge is that a lot of investment may be required to get a return. For example, Rovio, creators of the very successful Angry Birds game has developed many other games you may not have heard of. Computer games companies often develop hundreds of games before gaining one successful game. It’s not always easy to spot the future star and this can result in potentially wasted funds.

  • Star products: Can be the market leader though require ongoing investment to sustain. They generate more ROI than other product categories.

  • Cash cow products: The simple rule here is to ‘Milk these products as much as possible without killing the cow! Often mature, well-established products. The company Procter & Gamble which manufactures Pampers nappies to Lynx deodorants has often been described as a ‘cash cow company’.

Use the model as an overview of your products, rather than detailed analysis. If market share is small, use the 'relevant market share' axis is based on your competitors rather than entire market.

HOW to USE THE BCG MATRIX during or after Covid 19.

You may have had time to work on Question Mark products during lockdown. But not to the detriment of feeding your family or your own soul. There were some people who could learn a new skill or apply focus to areas of their business they hadn’t been able to before and then there were some who just needed to keep operating as best they could during lockdown. If you are emerging into Level 2 and back to work then it is important to make a decision on these question marks and how much money you may have to invest in these to move forward most especially as they may require Early Adopters and are those people needing this product or service at the moment.

Drop the dog products, or sell them out now…clear the way to put more money in the coffers.

Star Products, in a low growth economy, are these really going to be Stars? Are they going to be the next cash cow? Where are you going to get the money from to keep investing in these? It might be that they just go on the shelf for a while.

Cash Cows – your focus is on feeding the cow lots of nutrients so that it produces a higher level of milk than before. What services can you add to this product? What packages could make this cash cow more lucrative? How long is this cow going to be relevant in this new market? In the short term restructuring may be important to how you are going to ride this one out.

BCG Matrix Example: How it can be applied to digital marketing strategies?

The BCG Model is based on products rather than services, however, it does apply to both. You could use this if reviewing a range of products, especially before starting to develop new products.

Looking at the British retailer, Marks & Spencer, they have a wide range of products and many different lines. We can identify every element of the BCG matrix across their ranges:

  • Stars

Example: Lingerie. M&S was known as the place for ladies underwear at a time when choice was limited. In a multi-channel environment, M&S lingerie is still the UK’s market leader with high growth and high market share.

  • Question Marks/Problem Child

Example: Food. For years M&S refused to consider food and today has over 400 Simply Food stores across the UK. Whilst not a major supermarket, M&S Simply Food has a following which demonstrates high growth and low market share.

  • Cash Cows

Example: Classic range. Low growth and high market share, the M&S Classic range has strong supporters.

  • Dogs

Example: Autograph/Signature range. A premium-priced range of men’s and women’s clothing, with low market share and low growth. Although placed in the dog category, the premium pricing means that it makes a financial contribution to the company.

You can also apply the BCG model to areas other than your product strategy.

For example, you can apply the same thinking to your marketing channels. In 2012 I worked for Noel Leeming a leading technology retailer is you don't live in NZ. Getting savvy about which channel to go was aligned to the Growth/Share Matrix. Moving from predominantly Newspaper and TV to Social Media and You Tube advertisements sat in each of those quadrants. It is not an exact science. You have to keep what works (Cash Cows) and invest into the stars, You tube advertisements at the time and the question marks, Facebook. It is easy to see where a digital strategy has paid off for both Noel Leeming and other large clients such as Hyundai.

The marketing strategy is not the be all and end all to success, it is a factor. Looking at the 4 P's is key too. If you cannot deliver to market then the marketing channels don't work. Getting that product right is key.

What to watch for?

The BCG Model is seen as simplistic and it can be difficult to classify products in smaller businesses where the relative market share is too small to quantify. It’s also based on the concept that market share can be achieved by spending more on the marketing budget.

This is not entirely true. It is important to flex in any market and economy, most especially the Covid 19 economy. Applying tried and true strategies from marketers pre Covid 19 that worked then, will not increase your success now. Social Media is not always the answer. Online is not always the answer. Prior to online we had a phone system and email systems. Be aware that these are still highly relevant ways of reaching and retaining customers when you cannot see them face to face. Social Media communities are no more than your local hall or restaurant/ meeting place was before.

Well known social media platforms are useful, but like a public square with far too many people can be fraught with overwhelm or danger. You may arrive with your children into a safe space but they or you can become distracted with the next shiniest object.

Go into those public spaces with caution and discernment both online and off.

Set boundaries and goals of being there. Get in and get out. Alive and better off for it.

3. THE 4 P’s OF MARKETING – The Marketing Mix

This quick clip has a very quick way of looking at what you are doing if you want to sell something. In this instance a Hamburger.

The more focused you are on the target market or your ideal customer the easier it is to find them and sell to them. It is also a good way for you to work out whether or not it is a lucrative idea.

Basically it is: Product, Price, Promotion and Place

What I am seeing much of are people making decisions based on the place first as a reason to try out a business idea. For example, the place is the Virtual Environment.

The question is, if this is the place that I am going to operate, what can I do online? Well many things. And the reality is why are you choosing this as a priority. There are a lot of people saying, if I am going to buy online, then it has to be cheaper.

Well in Covid 19 Economy, is this actually the best reason?

The best thing is to work out how your skills, or a need exists now more than ever before that you can get to market.

The key though is to always consider what you why is, so that you can sell whatever you want to the same customer that has the same principles as you.


Okay, so instead of the channel/place, let’s think of the product that you think you have the skills to make or offer (if it is a service)?

One of my clients makes knickers, so let’s apply the 4 Ps to her Marketing Mix, given that she was going to distribute through markets or at festivals and all of those have been postponed or cancelled for the rest of the year.

We had to look at what was the ideal client:-

  • Target Market: Women in her late 20s -30s, financially secure and keen to look sexy, is purpose and environmentally driven. Looking to increase her confidence and sex appeal. Has disposable income to spend on fashion. Wants cutting edge fashion. Buys from NZ Designers

  • Product: Brazilian cut thong, lace and Organic cotton, Ethically sourced, Designed and Made in NZ, Branded – colouring – classy. Fit and comfort are key. European Styling. High Quality materials, - Lingerie laundry Bags

  • Price – $49 each, Limited Editions, Piece of Art, Each handcrafted. Opening Special price, moves to $89 each after first year.

  • Promotion – Website/SEO, Social Media Stories, Alignment with other design stores, Visual Representation, Paid ads, Alignment to NZ Designers and European

  • Place – Online Store, Delivery (Post)


Every one has money issues. If you have not looked at your own value and self worth issues before working out your marketing mix, then you will potentially never sell anything. Or you will but you will not make any money doing so.

It is key not to sacrifice everything to be in business for yourself. Ultimately the goal is to be in business. If you cannot match your current skill to something that is commercially viable. Then let it go for the moment.

There is bound to be another skill/product etc that you can invest in that will be commercially viable.

Secondly, it is key to know what and how you wish to run your business going forward. Many people get excited about the start. But you have to know how you are going to sustain it in the future.

  • Does it need cash injections or reinvestment of all profits into the business?

  • How will you manage child care in the future?

  • What if you are more successful than you ever thought and you simply cannot keep up with demand? Is your family ready for that? Or your premises etc?

Be open to what the future may hold and how you will grow. It may also be important to understand the legacy you wish to leave, when you leave this business behind. Is it a business or is it a private practice that is quite simply you and your IP (Intellectual Property) All is okay, but they have different decisions that are far better set up at the start than in the middle sometimes asking you to rebrand or restructure. At the same time do not analyse so much you never start.

Test the idea in the market place and then move forward with your marketing mix.

If not working, do you need to change one or all of the P’s?

Many people say to me they NEED Social Media presence. They need presence socially or in the community. But they may not need the same system of social media presence.

I have been selling and teaching selling since before mobile phones and social media and even the internet. So I have seen the growth into these spaces. Much of the same rules and systems apply.

Hence this article.

So here is a bit more on Social Media Marketing:-

Use of Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Instagram to promote a product or service through digital marketing process is called Social Media Marketing

How Social Media helps you in marketing your products/service

Your are marketer who is looking to reach target audience, but you don’t know where is your audience.

People come to social media for entertainment, to get information and consume content. It is easy to use these platforms to reach out to your audience, engage with them with valuable content and market your products and service for sales.

Social Media platforms provide every marketer like you with capabilities like

  • Your Target Audience 

  • Options to make your brand visible to your target audience (Groups, Pages followers)

  • Platform to Engage Audience with your content (Post Content in the form of Images, Text, Videos , Live Options to Pages)

  • Powerful Advertisement Tools to Reach, Engage, and Convert into sale (Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Linked-in Ads, Instagram Ads)

  • Insightful Analytics capabilities to know your advertisement effectiveness, ROI and more details about audience behaviour

Very Important thing for you to know is every platform provide two options to reach people and do marketing

  • Organic Reach ( you put content in platform and try to reach people, if your content is very good then people may share it with other people its reaches more people, here you don’t pay to platform to reach people, means its free of cost but as a marketer you don’t have control over whom to exactly reach like you want to reach people who are from particular location, gender, age ,interests, etc.

  • Ads (Inorganic, you need to use platform ad capabilities by paying to make your ads reach target audience with control on location, gender, age, interests, behaviour, device)

Many marketers or businesses think using paid ads is wrong and try to do only social media posting thinking it will bring sales, but you should use both organic as well as Inorganic ads to leverage complete capabilities and achieve higher sales. e.g.  Ads give you very good control, especially if you want to reach people who are more likely to buy from you.

Now with know why we should social media platforms, it make sense for you to know where to learn social media marketing properly.

Please feel free to make a booking with me today to check out what is the best way to market your business or products in the Covid 19 economy.

Today I have launched a new product to market:

Our focus was to create a platform and space for people to have access to mastering the art of sales and attracting the right customers.

Feel free to book a discovery call with us if you would like to learn more about how we can help you Launch, Profit and Scale a Virtual Business Successfully Any Where and Any Time.


Barksdale, H. C. and Harris Jr., C. E. (1982). Portfolio Analysis and the Product Life Cycle. Long Range Planning. (Vol. 15 Issue 6). p74-83.

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