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Nike remains the most recognizable and arguably one of the most successful global companies in history. Most people have heard of Nike “sneakers” and they will forever remain top sellers on the global market. However, it would be inaccurate to state that Nike has always achieved success in its endeavors. This is evidences by some of the proverbial bumps in the road the company has faced at different points in its history. Nike’s Global Women’s Fitness Initiative is an example of one of the more ‘up and down’ strategies that the company employed.
At one point in Nike’s history, it ran into several organizational problems.
Namely, it had several different divisions selling products that were loosely connected with one another. Often, sales did not deliver on expectations and were commonly reliant on cross promotional ventures with such events as the World Cup to deliver sales boosts. In time, management at Nike look towards providing holistic products covering apparel, clothing, and gear to cover all age demographics and appeal to all sports fans.
This is a very brilliant solution to booking the profits of the company. It attacked the common problems that were undermining Nike’s profits.
Within the success of such a plan was the concept of expanding the definition of athlete beyond a competitive athlete. It also included those that consider themselves athletic. That means are interested in fitness could be targeted as potential customer. This is a tremendous advantage in terms of expanding market base. The notion of directly targeting women as consumer expanded the market for Nike’s shoes.
This concept of expanding the market to include a female demographic greatly solved many of Nike’s profitability issues. However, there are also alternative approaches that could be taken as well.
Here are a few: Target the fan as well as the athlete or the athletic. Some people do not consider themselves athletic at all. Yet, they are fans. As such, targeting products to those that wish to express their support of their favorite teams or sports. The advantage here is that the demographics of the consumer base are expanded. The disadvantage is that there will always be “closet” fans of sporting endeavors that would not be interested in displaying such clothes. Another disadvantage here is that some non-athletic fans would not be involved in fitness endeavors reducing the practical need for such clothing.
Hence, the need would not be there which could undermine the desire. Another alternative would be to market towards very young children. Young ones look towards athletes as role models which opens the door to the very young consumer base being one that could prove to be connected to the women’s market. Namely, mother could purchase for daughter or son. The negative here would be that the target market is not the buyer. The child must rely on the parent to be the consumer. Additionally, another disadvantage would be the child’s inability to coherently convey to mother that he/she wants a particular brand of clothing.
Venturing outside the traditional advertising venues for Nike apparel and footwear to target an expanded female consumer base may prove to be a wise concept. This main advantage here is that Nike would be able to potentially reach a consumer demographic that otherwise would not even know such apparel exits. The negative is that a portion of the consumer base would simply not be interested in the clothing. Again, this is because the advertising will be reaching an audience which may have disproportionate number of women that will never purchase.
Another disadvantage is that unless Nike hooks a number of long term customers through such a process, the advertising expenditures could prove to be significant money drains on the company. Of the various alternatives that could prove to be highly successful, it would be the targeting of the child’s market that comes with the most potential for success. This is because one customer – the parent – becomes de facto two or more customers. The reason for this is that the parent could continue to purchase for her children for many years. This would boost sales of Nike products in terms of volume to a single household.
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