At the beginning of the semester, students in our Marketing course were asked to examine one national brand’s social media/marketing campaign and comment on two platforms and two campaign elements used. The companies they chose were quite varied. Below are two examples of their work.
By: Chris Rossi
Case Study: Spike
Spikeball is a product line supplying equipment for a yard/beach sport called round net that is best described as the baby of volleyball and foursquare. While Spikeball is technically just the name of the brand, it has basically monopolized the sport and the game itself is simply referred to as Spikeball. Spikeball itself is a physical product comprised of a net, a stand, an inflated ball, although Spikeball offers more with its name and such as a close-knit community of players. The logo and black and yellow packaging gives it its identity.
While seemingly high priced for a simple yard game, Spikeball offers their game at $60 to give it a sense of legitimacy and added value over a competitor. It is sold at the same price on it’s website as well as through retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI. While there are lower priced competitors, Spikeball is not concerned with changing their price, as they know they have a loyal fan base and that their brand reassures quality making the competitor’s versions to be lesser quality.
Spikeball is sold in a variety of ways, mainly being online and in large retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI as these methods help maintain the value perception of the brand. Selling online through their own website helps ensure customers that they are receiving the right product and can communicate directly with the company. Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI are both well known sporting goods stores and their customers have an expectation of the stores selling high quality goods. This route makes more sense than to sell their product at a big box retailer or somewhere such as Wal-Mart, which could diminish the perceived value.
IV. Target Market
Generally speaking, the target market for Spikeball is active, outdoorsy, men and women ranging from ages 16 to 30. The game is especially popular in college campuses as it is both marketed on campus and is even an official club sport at some colleges. The target market is definitely a group of people that live active lifestyles, as it is an exhilarating game, which helps differentiate it from the majority of other outdoor/lawn games.
Two platforms that Spikeball has used for their promotional efforts are TV and Instagram. While not technically an official promotional effort, the founder of Spikeball appeared on the popular TV show Shark Tank to pitch his product to the investors. This proved to be a successful promotional tool as it not only secured a major investment, but it also helped get the name of the brand out to the public on a large basis. From a social media standpoint, their Instagram is their main way of reaching their consumers. For the most part, Instagram has a similar target market in terms of age range, as Spikeball and they have been able to use this platform to promote their product.
Spikeball does use a reoccurring #campaign to reach it’s consumers and that is #JoinTheMovement. This hashtag is used mainly on their Instagram posts but is also seen on their Tweets and Facebook posts. Spikeball has a bit of a cult following right now due to their loyal fans and this hashtag helps spread that message by wanting to expand their fan base to more loyal consumers. While it isn’t a particularly unique hashtag, it is used constantly by the company and helps get their message across. Another Instagram strategy that the company uses is by posting their fan’s/customer’s photos on their company’s profile. This helps the company build a better relationship with their customers while also showing different ways of playing the game in a unique fashion. For example, there was a photo posted of hockey players playing Spikeball on an ice rink with full hockey pads and skates on. They also post several photos of their actual events and tournaments that are held all over the country, which helps promote the company as well as their official events.
Overall, I would say Spikeball has done a great job separating them from the competition and promoting their product effectively. While there are an enormous number of competitors in the outdoor/yard games, Spikeball has established itself as a company/game with a loyal following of a quality product. Their social media efforts have been effective as is shown by their 30,000+ followers on Instagram and the TV spot was clearly positive as it won the company a $500,000 investment. While it may never be as popular of a game as corn hole or ladder ball at picnics and beaches, Spikeball has done a great job at reaching its target market and also probably doesn’t want to be considered to be on the same level as those previously mentioned games (Tepper).
Tepper, Nona. “How Spikeball is recharging a sports market online”. B2B E-Commerce World. 11 April 2016. Retrieved from https://www.b2becommerceworld.com/2016/04/11/how-spikeball-recharging-sports-market-online
By: Angela Cena
Case Study: Under Armour
Although, brands such as Nike and Adidas existed in 1996, a football player from the University of Maryland thought he could do better when it came to athletic apparel. More specifically, founder Kevin Plank, thought he could do better by creating a t-shirt that wasn’t cotton, and one that he wouldn’t have to change multiple times during football two a days. He successfully created this t-shirt in his grandmother’s basement and now, 20 years later, his brand Under Armour is one of the top sellers of athletic apparel in the world. His dream was originally born on the football field and has been changing athletes lives everyday, ever since.
Under Armour was founded on the mission to make athletes better through passion, design, and the relentless pursuit of innovation. Below, you’ll find how Under Armour and Kevin Plank, have built on their mission to become extremely successful in today’s sport and fitness industry.
The Marketing Basics
Since 1996, Under Armour has strived to make the best, innovative athletic apparel in the world. It all started with the simple idea to design a t-shirt that allowed athletes to remain comfortable in all types of weather, one that kept them cool, dry, and feeling light. Under Armour saw a need in the market and decided to act upon that need and design products based on what the consumers wanted. They have continued to do so over the past 20 years while making sure their products appeal to a wide range of consumers, in a wide range of areas.
When Under Armour first entered the market, Plank used market penetration as his initial pricing strategy. He wanted to introduce his product at a lower price, to give consumers the opportunity to try his product in hopes of gaining future market share. Today, Plank is able to use competitive pricing, as he was able to establish his brand and products in the market, and keeps his prices similar to his competitors, such as Nike and Adidas. Plank ensures he doesn’t charge higher than his competitors prices, but similar to where he can still find success in sales and make a profit.
Although, Under Armour has many stores worldwide, the brand has found their real success in finding buyers for their products. You can find Under Armour products at stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Champs, and so many more, all over the world. In addition to traditional forms of shopping, Under Armour is also available via online for shopping. The Under Armour website is fully functional from all computers, phones, and tablets, and designed for easy navigation. The checkout process is quick and easy to use, as well as great customer service and consumer relation features for any questions or concerns. Under Armour has also globalized their brand in markets outside of the United States, all over the world.
Under Armour has found true success because of the audience they target their products to. Plank makes sure his products appeal to all athletes of all genders and all age groups. As of lately, he has also targeted his products at professional athletes and organizations in hopes of creating more brand awareness for his company. Under Armor currently holds contracts with top athletes such as Stephen Curry, Jordan Spieth, Tom Brady, and so many more. Under Armour hopes that by having these athletes represent his brand, more people will want to purchase their products and represent them too.
Although, many US sports/fitness brands have found it challenging to find success in this industry, Under Armour has truly solved the marketing challenge by using their contracts with professional athletes and organizations to their advantage. They say you have to spend money to make money, and spending money on people like the 2015 NBA Champion, the 2015 Super Bowl Champion, and two-time major winner are well worth the costs. Having top athletes such as these guys represent the Under Armour brand is all the publicity and marketing they’ll ever need. Under Armour earned these contracts by offering top of the line products and great endorsement deals to these athletes, and now, they’re reaping the benefits of consumers who want to dress and look just like their favorite sport icons.
One of Under Armour’s best marketing platforms is their use of social media, more specifically, Twitter. Under Armour’s main official Twitter account has around 727.3 thousand followers. They also have official accounts for Under Armour Golf, Under Armour UK, Under Armour Women, and so on. These accounts are very interactive with the consumers as they post video advertisements about upcoming products, services, and events. As well as, serve as another form of customer service regarding products. As you can see in the examples provided below, Under Armour’s Twitter account is available for questions/concerns regarding products. They also, utilize Twitter hash tags to help promote campaigns, such as the #SC30AsiaTour where Stephen Curry traveled to 4 cities around Asia in 5 days.
Another social media platform that Under Armour utilizes, quite whell too, is Instagram. A huge jump from their Twitter followers, Under Armour has around 2.6 million followers on Instagram. This social media platform is less customer service, and more of a way for consumers to check out what their favorite athletes and organizations that are sponsored by Under Armour are up to. Under Armour had a lot of fun keeping the consumers up to date during the Olympics, as athletes such as Natasha Hastings and Michael Phelps represented them. Under Armour was also able to incorporate the hashtag #RuleYourself during the Olympics with their athletes. Another way Under Armour utilizes Intagram is by promoting new clothing collections in their post, they’re even able to post the link in their bios so that consumers are only one click away from shopping the newest collections.
By engaging in social media platforms and utilizing their professional athlete endorsements, Under Armor has been able to reach a wide variety of consumers with their products, which is what makes them so successful in today’s sport/fitness industry.
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