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Research Proposal On Tommy Hilfiger “an all American” company on “the European” market

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Tommy Hilfiger “an all American” company on “the European” market.




Companies today can no longer afford to pay attention only to their domestic market.(1)

Everyday you can read in papers or watch the news and it is about that companies are expanding their markets by acquisitions, mergers or just on their own by moving into new markets. In todays economic a lot off small companies are looking for partners to work together and to get ready to enter new markets.(2) Of course with entering new markets new problems will arise.  New countries require a total different approach. Within the marketing field, different management, different distribution and the consumer behaviour of people in other countries can be totally different. Also the segmentation of the market can be totally different. This might require separate products or marketing mixes for the different groups of buyers with different needs characteristics or behaviour.(3). Today’s successful companies share a strong focus and heavy commitment to marketing (1). Second I am interested in this kind of business since I like to develop skills within this particular field of business since this is an area I like to develop my career in the future.

The clothing industry:

It is often said that the only constant in retailing is change and it is certainly true that the pace of development within retailing appears to be accelerating. (4) I decided to choose within the retail business the clothing industry, due to the fact this business is dynamic, trend setting diverse and heterogeneous, but also an industry where the products are used by a virtually everybody from private households to business alike and of course clothing will always be in people’s lives no matter what.


(1)     Philip Kotler (2000) Marketing Management the millennium edition (1st edition) Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.                          

(2)     Difficulties for small companies to scurvies in today’s economic malaise telegraaf Dutch newspaper 14-11-2002.

(3)     Market segmentation theory Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J. and Wong, V. (1999) Principles of marketing (2nd edn), Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

(4)     David Gilbert (1999) Retail marketing management (1st edition) Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

This industry is one of rapid changes, new designing follow each other up very quickly. They must constantly change otherwise they will keep up with the market and remain their position within the market. Another factor that contributes to this is the heavy competition they should be innovative and come up with new designs and ideas to keep up their competitive advantage against other companies. The designers should have good knowledge of the customer’s needs and desires to produce the clothing the customer likes and of course will buy. Innovative is also shown through the ability of the companies to expand their market through new product lines like sunglasses and fragrances and so on.

The Tommy Hilfiger company:

Within the Clothing industry I choose the Tommy Hilfiger Company. An American company with the American way of thinking. Since the beginning Tommy Hilfiger (1985) was a success in America in 1997 they decided to expand their market to Europe. They let the whole American concept integrate into the European market unfortunately this did not work out well. People in Europe have got other desires and wishes for fashion than Americans. That is why they had serious starting problems in Europe. All over Europe everybody knew Tommy Hilfiger by name as research pointed out (5). So they thought that Europe was ready for a new brand but it did not fulfil the expectations of the customer. As we can see the Tommy Hilfiger Company is still in a sort of introduction phase in the new European market so I can get information, which is very up to date and related top today’s theories about entering new markets.


“Interpret, adapt where needed, position and develop the Tommy Hilfiger brand throughout Europe, creating the most desired pan-European American lifestyle brand for the young heart.”(6)


(5)     Market research report Tommy Hilfiger Company for the European market 1996 confidential

(6)     Mission statement Tommy Hilfiger Company Europe year 2001-2002 management report confidental.


This is the mission statement of the Tommy Hilfiger Company I think this really reflects the Hilfiger way of thinking. The clothing is for the young heart but anybody can wear Hilfiger clothes since it is a lifestyle brand.  “A lifestyle of a particular person or group of people is the living conditions, behaviour and habits that are typical of them or are chosen by them” (7). This means that for every lifestyle there is a clothing line available sportswear, casual and business. You can wear Hilfiger from baby to virtually till your death. That is one of the aspects that really attracted me to choose the Hilfiger Company since they must have a marketing plan and designers for every age group man or women. The marketing is also on of the critical success factors for a company when they are entering new markets and to keep up their market position within this market.

Research aim and objectives:

The aim of this project is to analyse the European clothing market and all its competitors for the Tommy Hilfiger Company and to identify the cultural and other barriers that will occur when introducing fashion items to a new market. The Tommy Hilfiger Company is still in its introduction phase in Europe but it is on of the biggest growing companies on the market how did they achieve this and what their future mission and objectives are. In order to enter new markets the company should perform a scanning of the marketing environment (9) this means they should look at the key demographic, economic, natural, technological, political and cultural developments within the new country itself. (9) Combining this theory with the market segmentation theory (8) the companies will get a good overview in the market they are going to enter. They have knowledge of the different buyer groups and have insight in the different developments of the country in the field of demographic, economic, natural, technological, political and cultural changes. This can contribute to several different marketing strategies to approach the market.


(7)     Colins Cobuild (1998) English dictionary (3rd edition) Harper Collins Publishers

(8)     Market segmentation theory Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J. and Wong, V. (1999) Principles of marketing (2nd edn), Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

(9)     Philip Kotler (2000) Marketing Management the millennium edition (1st edition) Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.


Research methodology:

I will use two types of sources: primary sources and secondary sources. The first one will be easiest but also one of the most important sources within this project. I am going to interview the people who have been with the company since the introduction of the company in Europe. By interviewing them and asking them how they looked at the problems and how they solved the problems that occurred by introducing their company on a new market. I will ask them what the future perspectives are for the company and how they will try to achieve this. I will also have the opportunity to talk to the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Europe Mr. F. Ghering (10). I would like to ask him several questions about special things like management structure and tasks, distribution channels and the marketing policy and how these things make Tommy Hilfiger Europe so different than the company in America These people know what they are talking about since they dealt with all the problems and made the company to what it is nowadays.


As part of my secondary data, I will use the following marketing models. (11) (12) 

·         Ansoff’s product matrix/market development matrix.

This model will helps to identify where companies new strategy, due to the new market fits into the clothing industry.

·         Marketing Mix (4P’s)


It will show how companies try to achieve their marketing objectives. The companies are likely to change their p’s, while they are dealing with new markets. 

·         Porter’s theory of competitive advantage and competitive strategy, 

This might become helpful to take a deeper look into the company internal workings.


(10) frame&seqnr0&ts=



·         Swot analysis

Though not strictly a model, but more of a tool, the objective of a SWOT is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a company on the one hand and the opportunities and threats of the market in which the company operates, on the other hand.


Market segmentation theory

This will help to get more insight in the European clothing industry.


  • Porters 5 forces model:


This is an important tool for analysing an organisation industry in strategic processes.

The model of pure competition implies that risk-adjusted rates of return should be constant across firms and industries.


  • BCG Growth-Share Matrix


The matrix displays the various business units on a graph of the market growth rate vs. market share relative to competitors. Like to use this model to indicate the differences between the American design and the European design.


(11)   Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J. and Wong, V. (1999) Principles of marketing (2nd edn), Upper    saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

(12)  Kotler, P. (2000) Marketing Management (5th edn) Upper Saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.



The following list will contain all the sources at this time, which I have used and the ones that I think will be necessary for the project:





  • Stanley J. Paliwoda & Michael J. Thomas (1998) International Marketing (3rd edition), The chartered institute for marketing.

  • Jeannet/Hennessy (1998) Global Marketing Strategies (4th edition), Houghton Mifflin Company.

  • Warren J. Keegan Mark C. Green (1998) Principles of global Marketing (1st edition), Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

  • Franklin R. Root(1994) Entry strategies for international marketing (1st edition) Jossey-Bass, Inc., Publishers.

  • Barry Berman, Joel R. Evans (2001) Retail management a strategic approach (8th edition)  Upper saddle River,.

  • Subbash C. Jain (1993 )International Marketing Management (4th edition) PWS-KENT publishing Company.

  • Chris Noonan (1999) The CIM handbook of Export marketing (2nd edition) Butterworth-Heinemann

  • John O. Shaughnessy (1995) Competitive marketing A strategic approach (3rd edition) Routledge

  • S. Young, J. Hamill, C. Wheeler, J. Richard Davies(1989) International Market Entry and development (1st edition) Prentice Hall Inc.

  • G. Lancaster, L. Massingham (1999) Essentials of Marketing (1st edition) McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

  • Olin Gilligan, Martin Hird (1993) International Marketing strategy and management (3rd edition) Routledge

  • David Jobber (1997) The CIM handbook of sales strategy (1st edition) Butterworth-Heinemann.

  • David Gilbert (1999) Retail marketing management (1st edition) Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

  • Philip Kotler (2000) Marketing Management the millennium edition (1st edition) Upper saddle River, Prentice Hall Inc.

  • Colins Cobuild (1998) English dictionary (3rd edition) Harper Collins Publishers

  • McDonald Malcolm (2000), Marketing Plans, (4th Edition) Oxford Butterworth-Heinemann.

  • Wilmshurst, J. (1995), The Fundamentals and Practice of Marketing, (3rd edition) Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford

  • Jefkins, F. (1993), Modern Marketing (1st edition) Pitman Publishing










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