Current Marketing Topic
Muscling Into the Mainstream
Summary of Article
The title of my article is called “Muscling Into the Mainstream,” and it was written in the New York Times on August 7, 2008. What this article is trying to discuss is how Under Armour is steadily moving itself into the mainstream of selling performance and/or sportswear. It talks about what target markets that Under Armour is pursuing and what strategies it has used or is currently using to reach out to those target markets. It also talks about how Under Armour has strictly controlled its distribution to sporting goods stores, military-base exchanges, and sports- and military-oriented outlets. Finally, the article discusses how Under Armour plans to embark in uncharted territories to steadily expand itself and further compete with other sportswear giants like Nike and Adidas. History
Under Armour Inc. was created in 1996 by Kevin Plank. He went to the University of Maryland and played on the football team as a running back. Long practices and hot weather caused his sweat saturated underwear to stick to his skin and feel 2-3 pounds heavier than what they originally were. He desperately searched for something lighter and cooler and came up with moisture-absorbing athletic underwear. Today, Under Armour is engaged in the design, development, marketing, and distribution of branded performance products for men, women, and youth. It designs and sells active wear, sportswear, and most recently footwear that utilize synthetic microfiber material which wick away perspiration from the skin, help regulate body temperature, enhance comfort and mobility, and improve performance regardless of weather conditions. With the headquarters of Under Armour lying in Baltimore, this product is a hot commodity and favored among many college football teams such as Auburn, South Carolina, Texas Tech, and most recently, Maryland. Identification and Evaluation of Strategies
Before you can enter the market, you have to first identify yourself so you can use strategies based on your perceived position. In this case, there were two strategies that Under Armour could approach to gaining power in the market. They could avoid the large market and focus on leading in the small market as Market Nichers or they could attack the leader and other competitors in an aggressive bid for further market share as Market Challengers. It came as a surprise that they would use both strategies to solidify itself as a market power, but I would say that they are about 70% Market Nicher and 30% Market Challenger. Market Nicher
As a market nicher, Under Armour’s bread and butter and basis for which the company started is Niche Marketing. An alternative to being a follower in a large market is to be a leader in a small market, or niche. Smaller firms normally avoid competing with larger firms by targeting small markets of little or no interest to the larger firms. In this case, the market was apparel that wicks away perspiration. Obviously, this market was not important enough for Nike, Reebok, Adidas, and Converse to pursue because the shoe business was where they competed in so Under Armour stepped in and first specialized in sportswear that wicked away your perspiration to keep you comfortable. Very soon after, the company exploded because not only did their product work, it also provided a unique fashion sense that made you stand out from the rest. According to Colman, Under Armour took what was a niche market—they took the undergarment, your under-sports apparel—into something you actually wanted to wear. (Colman 2008) Now that Under Armour created this niche, then expanded this niche, it now has to protect this niche. To increase its chance for survival, multiple niches are to be created just in case certain niches dry up. These multiple created niches will later be explained through the marketing mixes used by...