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9. Market Segmentation and Target Marketing



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References

  1. ^ **====

    Blue Ribbon Sports Targets Distance Runners

  2. ^

    ==

    The unique needs of distance runners

  3. ^ **====

    The Waffle Revolution

  4. ^ **====

    Launching and Expanding the Nike Brand

  5. ^ **====

    World Cup 2002





Details


====[1] Blue Ribbon Sports Targets Distance Runners **
  • It was 1964. Phil Knight, a recent graduate of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and a former University of Oregon runner with a 4:10 personal best in the mile, and the legendary Bill Bowerman, Knight’s former track coach at the University of Oregon, were passionate about distance running.
  • They believed that the German-made shoes that most competitive runners wore at the time were too expensive and not designed with distance runners’ needs in mind.
  • They saw an opportunity to design better running shoes in the United States, have them manufactured in Asia, and sell them in America at prices lower than the German shoes.

====[2] The unique needs of distance runners

Distance runners such as Knight and Bowerman had different footwear needs than other athletes.

To become conditioned enough to run a 26-mile marathon or even a one-mile or two-mile race at an intercollegiate track meet, distance runners ran several miles per day and sometimes more than 100 miles in a week.

Often, these miles were spent on rough trails, where rocks and other natural obstacles led to ankle sprains and other injuries, or along country roads, where the miles and miles of impact led sometimes to shin splints or even stress fractures of the bones in their legs and ankles.

Bowerman, a lifelong innovator who made shoes in his garage for his runners, believed that distance runners needed lighter and more flexible shoes, not heavy leather or stiff soles.

They needed shoes with better lateral stability, to protect against ankle sprains, and more cushioning, to help the runner’s body cope with miles and miles of repetitive impact.

====----
[3] The Waffle Revolution
Though real success took several years to materialise, the story of Bowerman’s vision of a better shoe for distance runners is now entrepreneurial lore.

With his wife’s waffle iron and some latex, Bowerman invented the waffle outsole that would ultimately revolutionise the running shoe.

The lightweight, yet durable and stable sole set a new standard for shoe performance for distance runners.

Knight, the business person and visionary, had written in a class assignment at Stanford a plan for developing a business to sell American-designed, Asian-made shoes to distance runners.

Knight and Bowerman each chipped in $500 to form Blue Ribbon Sports and found a Japanese company, Onitsuka Tiger, to manufacture the shoes they designed.

For years, wherever there was running going on, Knight could be found selling his shoes out of the back of his station wagon.

By 1969, Knight was able to quit his day job as an accountant and devote all of his energies to the growing business, which then had 20 employees and several retail outlets.

====
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[4] Launching and Expanding the Nike Brand
In 1972, Blue Ribbon Sports launched its Nike brand at the US Olympic trials after a dispute between Blue Ribbon and Tiger led to a breakup of their relationship.

In the 1972 Olympic marathon, four of the top seven finishers wore Nike shoes.

By 1974, after 10 years of dogged effort to build the company, the Nike shoe with Bowerman’s waffle sole was America’s best-selling training shoe, and the Nike brand was on its way to stardom.

In 1978, tennis great John McEnroe signed with the company, which had changed its name to Nike, Inc., and tennis shoes became a prominent part of the product line.

In 1985, a promising Chicago Bulls basketball rookie named Michael Jordan endorsed a line of Air Jordan shoes and apparel.

By 1986, Nike’s worldwide sales passed the billion-dollar mark and Nike had become the acknowledged technological leader in the footwear industry.

====**----
[5] World Cup 2002
Among Nike’s target markets by the turn of the millennium was football – soccer to Americans – the world’s most-played sport.

With World Cup 2002 scheduled in Korea and Japan, Nike’s product developers knew that extreme heat and humidity would call for uniforms that would help players compete at top speed and still keep their body temperature down.

Working for two years with the Korean team, Nike developed its new Cool Motion technology, a material with a ‘two-layer structure designed to maximize thermal comfort and ventilation,’ said Nike’s Creative Product Designer for Football, Craig Buglass.

The uniform’s inner layer pulled perspiration away from the skin and spread it over a wide area for quick evaporation.

Its water-repellent outer layer helped to keep the uniform dry under extreme humidity during intense aerobic activity.

Did the uniforms perform? Korea, never known as a football power, surprised many by winning third place.

Their relentless pressure and unending team speed impressed many observers. The high-tech uniforms surely didn’t hurt.




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