Under Armour: Where Do We Go From Here?

Under Armour (UA) was launched in 1996, initially featured breathable wicking materials in their clothing line, and originally positioned their brand based on a tough-guy and football image. (UV7147) The company initially built its brand focused mainly by serving the male segment of the market. In July 2014, however, Under Armour broke into the female market segment by launching their global women’s marketing campaign, “I Will What I Want.” (Murray)

After the success of their first women’s ad campaign, UA quickly launched the second phase of the campaign by featuring a supermodel boxing. The video caused a backlash on social media, however. Under Armour leveraged the backlash and negative comments to reinforce and further their message about celebrating women who have the physical and mental strength to chart their course regardless of what external pressures they might face. (Murray)

The campaign was a massive success as it produced 5 billion media impressions worldwide, also earning $35 million in earned impressions. The campaign increased sales in the women’s category by 28% and sent 42% more traffic to UA.com. The ending result of the marketing campaigns now equates for a total of 30% of Under Armour’s total sales, which is in the women’s category. (Murray)

5 Key Takeaways When Implementing Segmentation Strategies:

  • Be Specific – Set goals which are clearly defined and outline who it is you are going after by utilizing the four bases: Demographic, Geographic, Psychographic, and Behavioral. (Kardes)
  • Don’t be afraid to “Stir the pot” – UA’s women’s campaign received flak for using a supermodel boxing. However, even though they received negative attention, comments and remarks; sometimes polarizing your audience, when positioned correctly, is exactly what you want to do to allow the people’s reactions to inherently reinforcing your message further.
  • Take the four pricing segmentations into account. If you have a high perceived value message but have the items categorized in the low perceived pain and convenience segment, this could lead to conflicting messaging in the consumer’s mind, which could hurt sales.
  • Positioning – How you position your brand, and it’s products matter. UA unique placed their branding based on the usage situations. The positioning was an excellent logical choice, as the benefits were specific to usage.
  • Don’t be afraid to Reposition if consumers don’t perceive your brand to be where you want it to be. Using Perceptual mapping, marketers, and business can get a better understanding of the efficacy of their marketing messages and make adjustments accordingly.

Net Market Segment & Direction To Possibly Pursue

One new market segment I’ve noticed recently is a set of commercial ads for Hawthorn (https://hawthorne.co/) – customized products for Cologne, Deodorant, and body wash – Are those who are between 20-35, appealing to aspirers, thinkers, innovators, achievers, experiencers, and makers.

UA might choose to reach a similar market by offering more experience-based customization of their products, based on skin types, desires, types of work-outs, etc. Segmenting their products for different kinds of people based on their wants, needs, and use cases. Using a simple marketing funnel where they can easily use AI to help bring relevant products after the prospect has answered a few questions.

The custom shopping experience helps prospective customers learn about new products they might directly be interested in based on their own use cases. This market segment is a mix of value & convenience. This is because consumers are conveniently presented products more akin to what they might be looking for, and the value segment is increased in the minds of the prospects as the products are tailored for their specific activities.

References:

Kardes, F., Cronley, M., & Cline, T. (2012). Consumer behavior (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Murray, M., & Saghian, M. (2019, September 13). Under Armour’s Willful Digital Moves. Harvard