Creating a proper marketing plan can be a strenuous but necessary task for company executives. To promote the organization’s growth and secure larger outputs, it is often imperative to devise a strategy to increase the current efficiency levels by appropriately utilizing the available strengths while eliminating the potential risks. In addition, it is crucial to determine the major characteristics of the environment surrounding the firm, acting in accordance with the uncovered information. For the Under Armour corporation, one of the leaders in sportswear production and distribution, SWOT analysis and an overview of the macro-and microenvironment features would be especially beneficial when devising an appropriate marketing plan. Thus, to create a promising promotion strategy, Under Armour should utilize a marketing plan that includes the introduction of a Customer Card product, using behavioral and demographic segmentation strategies, as well as Marketing Mix elements.
General Information and Situational Analysis
The Under Armour company represents a highly well-recognized brand that offers sports clothing and equipment of incredibly high quality. The corporation was founded in 1996 in the USA, steadily developing to become an international firm that occupies a substantial portion of the contemporary sports clothing market (Under Armour, n.d.). The company describes itself as a sporting brand that provides high-quality sporting goods for exercising or professional sporting events which can be used by amateur and professional athletes (Under Armour, n.d.). The main goods offered are sports clothes for men, women, and children, manufactured with attention to the specifics of sports activities and thus priced above the average market price. The firm’s main competitors are Nike and Adidas, corporations that also develop their own sports clothing brands. Although these enterprises produce high-quality sporting goods, their target population is significantly wider, and a wider variety of price ranges is accessible.
Completing a SWOT analysis for Under Armour can illuminate the marketing opportunities accessible for development. The SWOT framework includes the elements of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and can be extremely insightful when assessing an organization’s internal and external environment (Sarsby, 2016). As such, the Strengths and Weaknesses elements refer to the firm’s internal environment, being the factors that can be managed and influenced by the executives (Sarsby, 2016). For Under Armour, its Strength is its current reputation among the customers, as the brand is well-known for its clothing’s quality and the focus on offering durable sporting goods. In contrast, Nike and Adidas are typically viewed as less expensive brands, therefore having lower quality garments (James & Whitney, 2018). As a result, most consumers perceive this brand as a credible sports clothing manufacturer and are likely to consider purchasing its products when searching for high-quality items.
Nevertheless, another aspect of the SWOT analysis, Weaknesses, highlights the limitations of the current strategic approach chosen by Under Armour. Customer-oriented initiatives are currently very scarce, and no additional benefits are offered to the clients. Even though there are gift cards and promo codes, such services are only aimed at a small portion of customers seeking to purchase gifts, while consumer loyalty is not addressed (Under Armour, n.d.). This strategy promotes high customer value, and Under Armour’s competitors are already employing this method to attain better results (James & Whitney, 2018). Therefore, it would be exceptionally advantageous for Under Armour to introduce similar initiatives.
Alternatively, the Opportunities and Threats aspects of SWOT consider the company’s external environment. Although the executives cannot control these factors, they are vital to examine to obtain higher efficiency levels (Sarsby, 2016). For example, as more people begin to become involved in the trend to use digital technologies for exercising at home, the need for high-quality sports clothes increases substantially, creating additional demand to be addressed (Nyenhuis et al., 2020). However, properly manufactured sporting merchandise can be especially costly, and individuals might not be encouraged to purchase such products at Under Armour given its high prices. Therefore, Under Armour might benefit from acknowledging the increasing demand for sports clothing and making its merchandise more accessible.
Finally, the Threats element of SWOT focuses on the analysis of external factors that could harm the company’s standing. As such, contemporary mass production trends could stipulate a crucial problem for Under Armour. Given that producing a high amount of sports clothing became significantly easier with the introduction of mass production, Under Armour’s competitors gained the opportunity to offer the consumers the needed equipment at lower prices (James & Whitney, 2018). However, as the merchandiser’s quality suffers when utilizing this method, Under Armour cannot efficiently incorporate it into its practices (Under Armour, n.d.). From this perspective, while mass production trends increase the accessibility of cheap sports clothing, they also present an obstacle for under Armour’s popularity with potential customers.
Based on the performed analysis, Under Armour could especially benefit by attending to the customers’ purchasing needs. Given the outlined lack of customer-oriented initiatives and an opportunity to use the contemporary fitness trend, a proposed strategy is to introduce a unique Under Armour Customer Card. This product would allow consistent clients to gain additional benefits when completing purchases at the store. In addition to improving consumer loyalty, this technique is highly efficient when attempting to enhance the brand’s image and ensure its products will continue to be sold (Thabit & Raewf, 2018). Considering that Under Armour is one of the few sports brands that do not offer exclusive discounts based on loyalty, this strategy could tremendously increase the consumers’ interest in the company.
Evaluation of Under Armour’s Macro- and Microenvironment
To properly understand the factors surrounding the marketing environment of a given firm, it is also essential to undertake a macro and microenvironment analysis. These elements are typically divided into actors and forces, which are exceptionally important to evaluate (White, 2019). In the microenvironment, stakeholders and competitors are the two actors whose actions and preferences can greatly affect the corporation’s standing (White, 2019). For instance, the board members’ attitudes towards the marketing strategy must be carefully considered, while the employees’ knowledge of the Customer Card’s attributes and benefits will be crucial for the successful introduction of the product. However, the competitors’ reactions to the Customer Card’s introduction should also be considered, as novel items’ additions signify development, and competitors might interpret the event as a call for action to re-establish their market position.
After that, the microenvironment’s forces are the strategic moves performed by the competitors, as well as the changes in consumer behavior. The Customer Card might potentially interest the competitors’ audience and compel them to change their buying patterns, meaning that it will be crucial to consider the competitors’ possible retaliation methods. In addition, the changes in consumer behavior might significantly impact Under Armour’s marketing approach (White, 2019). For instance, if the trend of home exercising through the use of digital devices were to seize, the demand for sports clothing would diminish, eliminating the need for buying sporting merchandise. Therefore, Under Armour should be prepared to utilize a different opportunity to promote its Customer Card.
As for the macroenvironment’s actors, leaders in culture and technology development can often aid the promotion techniques adopted. Collaborating with famous sports stars is a frequently implemented marketing strategy that is successfully being used by Nike and Adidas (James & Whitney, 2018). For Under Armour, the proposed marketing approach could be the opportunity to cooperate with sports celebrities in order to promote the Customer Card and ensure the emergence of the public’s interest. Furthermore, technological developments could be used to create digital versions of the Card, simplifying the process of obtaining and implementing the product.
Vital forces to address when analyzing the macroenvironment are globalization and media. These factors can drastically hinder or promote the marketing strategy chosen and, therefore, must be adequately accounted for during planning (White, 2019). While globalization is a perfect opportunity for Under Armour to enforce its influence overseas, media can be a useful instrument in this endeavor. Given that media spans large continents and involves a variety of audiences, it could be used to promote the Customer Card in various geographical regions, thus achieving higher rates of success.
The Marketing Plan
Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning (STP)
In order to effectively execute the marketing strategy, such elements as segmentation, targeting, and positioning must be explored. Segmentation is a critical aspect to consider when introducing a product or service aimed at a particular customer cohort (White, 2019). Nonetheless, it is essential for Under Armour to choose a segmentation strategy that will cover the needed section of the market and properly adhere to the consumers’ needs. As such, it might be possible to use geographic segmentation in order to identify the target population for the marketing strategy, distinguishing customer groups based on location. However, such a method does not appropriately define the audience that might be interested in the described product, especially with the influence of globalization and Internet mass media (Camilleri, 2018). Therefore, behavioral segmentation is a more practical technique to apply. According to this approach, consumers will be divided into distinct groups based on their purchasing needs and preferences. It will be possible for Under Armour to target clients interested in receiving loyalty benefits as a reward for continuous shopping in Under Armour.
Nevertheless, in light of the customer cohort’s specifics and the focus on digital technologies, it is imperative for Under Armour to select a particular generation that will be targeted during the campaign. For example, while generations preceding baby boomers rarely use digital services and high-quality branded exercise clothing, cohorts from generations Z to baby boomers can be successfully addressed (White, 2019). Finally, a psychographic segmentation approach should be incorporated into Under Armour’s segmentation strategy. Considering that the corporation caters to a variety of audiences, including both professional and nonprofessional athletes, creating an image of a perfectly suiting customer population could be incredibly insightful.
Based on this information, it is possible to devise a positioning statement for the marketing campaign. For the target market, the Customer Card might be of significant value if it included promotional coupons and discounts that allowed decreasing the price of a given product. As such, the Customer Card could provide such a possibility, which would only be available for frequent Under Armour customers, who could receive loyalty points based on their previous purchase sums. In this regard, the Customer Card would be a unique product that allows buying particular items at lower prices.
The Marketing Mix
The marketing mix is a beneficial strategy for developing a suitable marketing campaign. This approach allows for considering the internal and external factors in order to devise the most appropriate resolution for presenting the Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (Camilleri, 2018). As such, the product concept that is being proposed is a digital item that grants access to special promotions and discounts, and it is distributed to customers who consistently buy clothing for Under Armor. The core product is an Under Armour Customer Card, stored digitally in the client’s personal account. The extended product is a Golden Customer Card, offered to consumers who spent more than a given amount of money on the brand’s merchandise. These individuals can use the Golden Card to secure additional benefits unavailable to the holders of the ordinary Card.
After that, it is imperative to achieve competitive differentiation, create customer value, and promote the product. The first step is to address branding concerns, increasing the clients’ awareness of the Customer Card and interest in it, in the long term establishing a connection to the product (Camilleri, 2018). A branding campaign that advertises Under Armour’s Customer Card and its potential for saving finances could be especially effective. Furthermore, this strategy might focus on the potential customers that would be interested in purchasing clothing but are reluctant due to the lack of products that will maintain a link between them and the brand.
Another aspect to be considered, packaging, can be extremely simple to realize in the digital era. Unique Card designs for the digital product could be offered, allowing the consumers to create an individual Card. Both branding and packaging are needed to encourage loyalty to the brand and demonstrate that Under Armour will continue to support its customers even after they have purchased an item at the store (White, 2019). Such an initiative is especially helpful in demonstrating the enterprise’s readiness to continuously assist the consumers. However, the quality of the Card must remain high, for example, by offering truly profitable promotions that can help the customers save money.
To initiate Card acquisition, the Cards could be offered to the customers for free when buying items, the cost of which surpasses a particular level. After that, based on the products’ success, the price could be increased accordingly (Thabit & Raewf, 2018). However, it is important to note that the Cards would be distributed and stored digitally, meaning that access to them would be provided in the location where the purchase is made.
Given the contemporary trends in marketing, using digital media for promoting the Customer Card would be a highly appropriate solution. In the digital media marketing campaign, website advertisements are especially useful, particularly if they are placed on frequently visited websites with elevated customer traffic (Camilleri, 2018). Furthermore, the integrated marketing communications (IMC) approach can allow for unifying the marketing strategy’s elements to adhere to the same positioning statement and values (Camilleri, 2018). As such, all advertisements and promotions should be consistent, coherent, continuous, and complementary, stating Under Armour’s attention to quality while highlighting the introduced opportunity to purchase clothing at lower prices.
Global and Ethical Considerations
To efficiently execute the suggested strategy, its implementation should be examined according to the demands of the global market. For instance, when launching a Customer Card initiative in a foreign country, Under Armour would be forced to account for such factors as the brand’s popularity, the population’s financial standing, and the attitude towards sports. If Under Armour is not well-known in the targeted nation, it would first be essential to establish a stronger presence. After that, the community’s funds must be considered when selecting the purchase sum suitable for receiving the Customer Card. Finally, if the given culture does not include sports and exercising, the interest in the merchandise might be lowered.
Another concern to address is the fulfillment of green initiatives that allow for the sustainable production of clothing. Considering that clothes production is highly toxic for the planet, sustainability efforts must be made to ensure that the increased availability of Under Armour products will not lead to elevated environmental hazards. It is the enterprise’s responsibility to integrate these ideas when initiating the marketing campaign; for instance, emphasizing the benefits of digital Cards or redirecting some of the finances secured to improve the corporation’s sustainability. Finally, Under Armour must ensure that no unethical practices are conducted when programming and distributing the Customer Card, as well as promoting the product. Given the influence of advertisement, it should remain respectful to the audiences, excluding any unethical remarks or topics.
To conclude, a marketing plan for the Under Armour corporation was suggested in this essay, utilizing SWOT, micro-and macroenvironment, and the Marketing Mix frameworks to justify the introduction of the Customer Card product concept. The lack of customer-oriented initiatives and the threat of mass production appear to be the major areas to be addressed by the corporation to overcome the competitors. Under Armour could tremendously improve its standing among the customers by launching a Customer Card that allows for the acquisition of special offers and discounts. Furthermore, branding, packaging, support, and quality should be incorporated into the marketing strategy with regard to sustainability efforts to ensure compliance with environmental responsibility.
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