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Marketing Communication Mix
The marketing communication mix is a specific blend of tools used to meet marketing communication objectives. The tools include: advertising, personal sales, direct marketing, sales promotion, and public relations (Trimble, C., March, 2008). Under Armour® utilizes advertising, direct marketing, sales promotions, and public relations to communicate its product to consumers. We did not find any evidence of Under Armour® using personal sales to promote its products.
Under Armour® uses numerous approaches to advertise their products. Advertising is a paid, non-personal presentation that is usually the most widely used tool in the marketing communication mix (Trimble, C., March, 2008). The primary source of Under Armour®’s advertising comes from television commercials. However, their first actual television advertising campaign did not start until 2002, seven years after Kevin Plank founded the company in 1995 (Under Armour Launches First-Ever Television Commercial, 2008). Although television is the primary source of advertising, they also have advertisements in magazines and on billboards. It seems that they’re primary target market is football players because of their wide use of the “Protect This House” and “Click-Clack” campaign slogans on such advertisements. Under Armour® also advertises on their official web site and in sporting goods catalogs such as Eastbay.
Direct marketing is a tailored, personal (not interpersonal), paid presentation (Trimble, C., March, 2008). Some examples include telemarketing, direct mail and e-mail. Under Armour® uses direct marketing to communicate with potential consumers and entice them to order their merchandise from their official web site online, or attract them to visit their nearest sporting goods store to purchase their products. Under Armour® mainly uses e-mail, direct mail, and catalogs to directly market to potential consumers. The company actually won the Interactive Advertising Official Honoree award for e-mail marketing in 2007 (UABiz.com, 2008). You can also easily request a catalog from Under Armour’s official web site by simply putting your name and address into their system. In addition, they also give you the option to leave your e-mail address so they can keep you in the loop for special Under Armour
® news and promotions
® Official Website Catalog Retrieval
Out of the three that they primarily use, sales promotion is probably the marketing communication tool that is the least used by Under Armour
®. Sales promotions are defined as short-term sales incentives
that usually work very effectively, but are subject to price sensitivity (Trimble, C., March, 2008). Although Under Armour
® does not usually use sales promotions to sell their products; they do subtle things that can be considered promotions. One promotion that they have is if you order $150 or more on their website, shipping is free. This is probably an oft-used promotional opportunity because avid shoppers of Under Armour® products can easily spend $150 if they need multiple items for a particular sport or sports. Also, if you order online frequently you will be sent coupons and rebates on later purchases (Under Armour® Official Website, 2008). In retail outlets that carry Under Armour® there are often point of purchase promotions, but that is typically on all store merchandise and not specifically Under Armour® products.
Described as an earned presentation used to create and maintain relationships with an organization’s publics, Under Armour® contributes great effort into the use of public relations (Trimble, C., March, 2008). To be more specific, Under Armour® seeks to maintain positive relationships with its investors, also called investor relations. On the Under Armour® web site (UABiz.com) a link is available for investors to track the performance of the company. It is important for Under Armour® to maintain quality investor relations to ensure that current and potential shareholders continue to supply the company with funds. Under Armour® supplies information such as stock price, press releases, financial standings, and quarterly reports in an attempt to secure the publics trust in the company. One of the main purposes of using public relations is for the public to develop a greater level of trust in a company. Because Under Armour® voluntarily and consistently releases information on the happenings of the company, they are building on the trust that shareholders currently have.
Public relations and personal sales are not important parts of Under Armour®’s marketing communication mix. Public relations is defined as earned presentations used to create and maintain positive relationships with an organization's publics and personal sales is paid, personal presentation that is interpersonal (Trimble, C., March, 2008). Although we found evidence of some press conferences from Under Armour® representatives, they mostly announced the releases of future television advertisements and didn’t really announce anything about their products. Also, Under Armour® does not use one-on-one or face-to-face sales to attract customers to their products, so personal sales is not an applicable tool for them to use.
The following graph will exemplify our group’s estimate of Under Armour®’s use of each marketing communication tool:
mc tool usage.bmp
Promotion Mix Strategy
Under Armour® uses a pull strategy, which means that the demand for the product is being pulled from the bottom down. Customers do not need much assistance in purchasing the product (Trimble, C., March, 2008). If a consumer is looking to by Heat Gear, they already know its use. They will not need any assistance to make a purchasing decision. Typical of a pull strategy, Under Armour® uses a good amount of advertising to promote the product. Commercials will be seen very often on networks commonly viewed by potential consumers such as ESPN. They also advertise in sports magazines and websites.
Market Coverage Strategy
A market coverage strategy is a plan of promotion tailored to fit the particular target market that interests the planner (Trimble, C., March, 2008). Some companies use a strategy that fits a wide variety of people, while others focus on a small population. Under Armour® uses what is called a differentiated strategy. In this strategy, a different promotional offer is made to fit each segment (Trimble, C., March, 2008. Under Armour® offers a variety of products, Heat Gear being one of them. When they want to promote Heat Gear, commercials or other methods of communication are seen to promote this specific line of products. This is also the case with its other lines such as Cold Gear and All Season Gear. Because these products differ in their benefits, Under Armour® tailors its marketing mix to each individual gear line. As for Heat Gear, they make use of commercials by displaying athletes in very warm climates. This would not be a suitable means of advertising if they were attempting to sell a different line of products.
Our team feels that the Under Armour® has a solid marketing communication mix. They have made good use of advertising through catchy phrases viewed on billboards, e-mail, and commercials. Being that they have a pull promotion mix strategy, they have used the marketing communication tools that are most effective to promote Heat Gear. It would be a waste of capital to hire a personal sales staff. Public relations is a good addition to marketing communication mix that is present. Maintaining this form of communication is essential to ensure the flow of capital from investors. Generally, it is athletes who purchase Heat Gear. It is purchased for a variety of reasons, but the same type of people do the purchasing. Therefore, it is most efficient and productive to use advertising direct marketing, and public relations as ways to communicate to the target market. It is most beneficial to have a differentiated market coverage strategy due to the various lines of apparel offered by Under Armour
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