Just Cut To It – Nike’s Cutting-Edge Approach To Marketing

Nike’s new approach to their global marketing has had their competitors and fans alike wondering whether a new era in massive-brand marketing has come about. If so; is it working?

Nike is one of the few major sports labels that has truly embraced the digital generation. They recently changed their core target market to seventeen-year-olds, citing that the age group spends 20% more on shoes than their older counterparts. This shift in perspective has brought about an entirely new approach to their communication with their fans because marketing nowadays is all about communication. As Mark Parker (Nike CEO) said, “Connecting today is a dialogue.”

Nike launched the Fuelband, a wristband that enables sports-lovers to track their progress through an interactive website. Not only did the Fuelband receive massive success but it also spawned an online community that revolved around Nike bringing sports into people’s everyday lives. Another positive (and rather sneaky) benefit to the Fuelband online community is that it acts as a constant marketing survey for Nike products and Nike’s market, regularly letting Nike know what people like about what they sell and which sports are most popular.

In 2006, Nike+ was conceived. Partnering with Apple and riding on the wave of success the iPod created, Nike added yet another aspect to their online interaction. Fortune’s Scott Cendrowski explains it best:

“Powered by a sensor inside running shoes, the service both monitors a runner’s performance and provides digital coaching. A voice lets runners know how much farther they have to go; the PowerSong function generates a musical blast for extra motivation. At the end, it logs details of the workout onto Nikeplus.com, where users can store and analyze the data, get training tips, and share workouts with friends.”

Another online community, another way to find out Nike consumers’ workout and behavioural patterns and musical tastes and generally another way to find out how they live their lives. Nike has perfected the art of getting in touch with the people that support them.

Nike realised that they had to go where their target market was going and talk to them on their level – basic marketing principles but it lead to a completely new brand personality for Nike. Their international Facebook page now has 8,938,010 likes. Their Nike Footballs Facebook page boasts a staggering 11,807,328 likes. The Nike Facebook app has 360,000 monthly users – that’s 360,000 people updating Nike’s market research every single month and that’s not even the entire picture. Their Nike Chance Facebook app has 250,000 monthly users and their Nike Free Run iD has 80,000 monthly users. A very impressive transition into the digital world and it shows that Nike really understand how the social networking world operates.

On Twitter, they have a slightly disappointing 377,367 followers. Then again, the tweets results page is constantly flooded with mentions.

In 2010, Nike really put their stamp on the social-media map when they hosted their ‘Write the Future campaign’. Operating from their Nike Football Facebook page, the campaign revolved around hearing what their fans had to say about their favourite football players. A tab on the page let users choose from a selection of internationally-recognised footballs players and write a 43-character tag-line. The most popular or catchy tag-lines were screened at a pre-determined time on the Life Centre, using an LED screen the approximate size of half a football field. Tag-lines could also be entered through Twitter, using the #NIKEFUTURE hashtag.

The campaign not only let Nike know who their fans’ favourite football players were but also used the idea of recognition as a reward instead of tangible give-aways, which probably worked better than any Nike package could have.

Not only did the campaign receive international acclaim for being innovative, edgy and modern but it also ensured Nike’s place as a big brand name in the South African market – a market that is too often neglected. Write The Future showed the world that Nike was in-tune with the new digital age that has lead many other international brands to miss out on the younger market.

Nike has now drastically reduced the portion of their marketing budget spent on traditional, off-line advertising. However, this doesn’t mean that they’ve reduced their marketing budget in general. Rather, Nike has poured their funding into marketing that works now instead of marketing that worked before. They spent a record-breaking $2.4 billion dollars on marketing in 2011, the majority of it for their online interaction. Adverts for Nike now flight first on their Facebook stage, as opposed to the traditional way of putting them on TV and later making the advert available online. It’s an approach that other companies are often far too scared to try – but it’s working.

The world now awaits Nike’s next move. We’re all betting it will be a completely new take on the social media connection, definitely a topic of conversation and once again wow Nike fans and clients across the globe with its interactive approach and edgy design.

Small Business Owners: Low Cost Marketing Strategies to Increase Profits

Have you ever wondered if you could think of a marketing idea that can propel your business to sky. Like, Wendy’s commercial in the 1980’s ‘Where’s the beef’, Coke ad about it being the ‘The Real Thing’ and Nike selling tennis shoes by spreading the word of ‘Just Do It’. How ingenuous of those companies.

When people think of marketing they tend to think of advertising which can be expensive, ineffective image-based advertising. There are many ways to position yourself as an expert and build a personal connection to attract new clients, customers and patients.

Effective marketing is not cheap; however, there are strategies you can implement for little or no cost. Low cost strategy is a pricing strategy in which a company offers a relatively low price to stimulate demand and gain market share (increase the number of customers), it is usually employed where the product has few or no competitive advantage. This leaves many small business owners wondering how can I compete, with razor thin margins.

Ideally, a small business owner should spend around 35 – 50% of their time marketing their product. If you have a marketing department to support your business make sure it looks like the customers you are serving. The power of hiring people from many different cultures, products and industries to come together and create products for your consumers is powerful. The depth of ideas, understandings, insights, creativity and the blending of cultures can bring out the best solutions for your business to make more money is awesome.

Below is a list of 10 low cost strategies that can help you improve your profits.

1- Join your areas Chamber of Commerce and participate in community service events. Get involved in your community by volunteering, donating to and/or sponsor local events. It gives you the opportunity to network with other business owners and maybe cross promote with other local. These monthly meetings let you know what going on economically in your area.

2- Social Media: the ability to provide information about your products all over the web.

Share what you do and what merchants you love. Completed a new project, offering a new product, and have a customer testimonial.
Write about it on twitter, website, Facebook, LinkedIn or on a industry blog. Photos and videos helps others to understand who you are, what you do and how it can help them solve a problem.

3- Tell your story in 90 seconds.

a. Develop an elevator pitch story to inform others about your business. Your story should contain the following elements.

Who you are
What you do
Why your different from your competitors
Why should they care about your products or service (what’s in it for them)

Does your message create an emotional response from your target audience demographics. Hint, use plain English in creating your message

Example: We help to make your life easier by (explain your product or service).

Note: People are unlikely to want to use your product unless they understand what it does and how it helps them. Using simple language is the best way to get them there.

Selecting a business name that sells for your business doesn’t cost a penny. Your name should tell prospective customers exactly what you do and why they should do business with you.

Remember, the product that you are offering serves a need or satisfies a want. Use customer testimonials to persuade your customers to purchase from you. Ask for them from satisfied customers and use them, make sure they are genuine and go into a little detail with real names.

4- Develop a simple marketing plan for your business

There are (4) secrets to marketing commitment, investment, communicate, consistency. It’s difficult to maintain all (4) four without some basic plan.
Make sure your plan describes how well the product or service meet the customers need or problem?
Make sure your logo and marketing message use words that paint a picture of an experience using your product that creates an imagination in the customer that generate a profit (that makes them want to buy your product or service).
It could consist of ordering business cards, attending networking opportunities, book speaking engagements and submit press releases about your product offerings.
Create an email signature, with web links to your business website and twitter link. Also, include your company name, most current achievement, telephone number and email address and tag line if your company has one.
Exit strategy, what will happen if the customers don’t buy the product.

5- Put together a list of previous customers and send them new information and promotional offers to reactivate some of them.

Reward loyal customers with discounts. It will keep them coming back and help generate referrals. Good referrals from satisfied customers is often more effective than expensive advertising.
Use social media, to offer SMS marketing (texting) to provide existing customers with new information about ‘must have’ discounted or liquidating items.

Improve Customer Service

Customer Service is a form of advertising. You’re advertising that you care, that gets noticed

Use your vehicle

Vehicle Graphics are seen by thousands of people each day. Turn your vehicle into a mobile billboard.

6- Offer free public seminars or workshops to general public to come and find out how you can solve a problem for them and show them how approachable and helpful you are.

Expensive and exposure does not necessarily translate to increased sales

Rule of Thumb:

Your target customers need to hear your marketing messages at least 7 times to influence buying decisions. Example, you can craft your message a public service radio announcement to get it played for free on the radio stations and small internet radio stations

Get a Piggy Back

Hitching a ride on the marketing of another company can save your small business time and money.

Example: Locating near a Wal-Mart to be near price conscious consumers on a low budget

Low attendance at seminars, charge $5 bucks

Always charge a fee for all you marketing events. Fee-paid seminars and workshops almost always generate more participants than free events. The fee implies (2) things (1) there’s something of value and the get more than what they will pay for, (2) it shows customer commitment to show up

7- Stimulate Customer Senses

Talk to your customers about how they feel about your product and store experience, why they buy from you versus other stores, they will be honest with you.
Continually educate your customers about the benefits of buying your products from you.
The more comfortable we keep our customers, the longer they’ll stay, the more memorable experience they’ll have and the more they’ll spend or pass on positive word-of-mouth.

Example:

Do you think the smell of fresh baking bread flowing throughout the grocery store or music is playing by choice? (duh)

Retail businesses have been going out of their way for years to stimulate shoppers and keep them browsing scented bathroom spray works better than disinfectant.

Did you know that Disney, which is known for its films, animation and theme parks, is very well known for its cleanliness, order and friendliness from employees.

8- Make Yourself Newsworthy

Get a mention of your company in the right media

For doing a good deed in the community or a humorous tie-in with a sports event
Develop a relationship with your industry trade publications (magazines) they are always looking for ‘free relevant content’, write and article for them. It can help you to appear as an ‘expert’ to others in your industry.

9- Form a joint venture

Forging an alliance with a group of small companies or big company, give you ‘biggest bang for the buck’. Lowering your costs to enter new markets and create new distribution opportunities.
Make offers to other businesses that serve people in your target markets to pay them for referrals or sharing their list with you
Support Fundraisers

Donating your products or services to select charitable events is a great way to get your name out into the community. Be sure your target market will be attending and that your brand will be well represented.

10- Under Your Nose

Are your vendors doing business with you? No, call them and everyone you do business with. If your product is not a current match to there needs, he or she probably knows someone who should be doing business with you. At minimum, ask to display your business cards and flyers at their office. Oops, I forgot, take a moment and make sure people in your immediate personal circle understand what you are selling.

Get out and walk

1. Look for underutilized store front windows in high foot traffic areas. Approach the owner and offer to pay a small fee to advertise your business in their window or reverse it, and do the some for a fellow business owner.

2. Scan your friends social media sites Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Ask them to send out a advertisement on the friends page about your business. Ask a friend if you can place an ad on his business website.

Marketing can be really creative and fun to implement to get the message out about how great your product is and how it will help other people lives to be better.

It can take a lifetime to build a business reputation, but 20 seconds to tear it down with the wrong message in your marketing campaign or an employee doing that reflects badly on your business. You, small business owner are the ‘gatekeeper’ of the image of the company you are trying to build. Monitor all communications that is released to the press about your business, you and someone else review all media coverage and commercials about your business image, to make sure it is consistent with what your business is all about. Most importantly, be honest in all communications, dishonesty can boomerang on you in a nightmarish way.

Finally, marketing is about making the customer aware of your product and building a trusting relationship with the customer, and hopefully grow with the customer needs, as they expand.

Easy profits in your pocket!