Under Armour: Pricing Strategy of a Successful Company
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Competition in the marketplace is becoming more complex every day. Entrepreneurs can feel increasingly intimidated by their competitors’ many business innovations, bold products, clever marketing plans, and greedy sales strategies. The inspiring trajectory of the North American market leader Under Armour shows us how it outperformed its competitors with valuable lessons and strategies worth studying.
The renowned sporting goods store Under Armour was founded in 1996 by former University of Maryland soccer player Kelvin Plank. Plank started his projects with a great idea: sportswear that absorbs moisture and keeps athletes ventilated while practicing their preferred physical activity. After numerous attempts, he created his first prototype Under Armour T-shirt, composed of a microfiber fabric and a tighter fit on the athlete’s body.
Confident that their plans had a bright future, Plank and their colleague Fulks drew up precisely a marketing plan of where to market the innovative products and shirts. He used savings, such as cutting grass and selling roses on campus. Also, He secured cash advances from credit cards totaling US $ 40,000.00 to officially launch his brand, Under Armour Athletic Apparel.
His contacts and friendships in the college and professional sports leagues were essential to the start of his sales. He began sending samples of his range of products to college sports teams across the country for product recognition. By the end of the company’s first year, 500 Under Armour HeatGear T-shirts, the famous revolutionary sweat-resistant T-shirts, had been sold, totaling about $17,000 in sales.
Under Armour continued with great pricing strategies and revolutionary product developments, which will be discussed in this article. Today, the company’s clothing line is divided into fabric segments: HeatGear, ColdGear, and AllSeasonGear. There are different categories, such as TurfGear, StreetGear, and Scent Control Warm. HeatGear has functions to be more humid. It should be used in the heat. ColdGear is thermally prepared for the cold, and AllSeasonGear can be used at any temperature.
Under Armour uses a Marketing mix that covers the 4Ps: Price, Product, Place, and Promotion. These innovative strategies help the brand be highly successful in the competitive marketplace, achieving its business goals and objectives.
Under Armour Pricing Strategy
Under Armour’s Market Plan is intrinsically linked with the values and excellence of its products. Under Armour uses a pricing strategy based on the value of its products since the brand is recognized in the market for its excellent quality. In the market, there are numerous sportswear competitors. However, Under Armour is qualified to charge more for its products based on their outstanding quality and innovations. Its target audience consists of athletes and players, amateur or professional, because they aim above all at the technological quality of the fabrics. This is one reason that justifies pricing their products above the average of their competitors.
This pricing strategy and promotional pricing allow the company to continue to improve its products and charge more for them, being as competitive in the market as Reebok, Adidas, Nike, and other big competitors.
The strategy is also based on prices and costs. It is necessary to calculate all the essentials for the production of your product to clearly establish the profit margin. The price margin is also based on the customer’s perception of value. Your potential customer will see the real benefits of product quality and comparison to the competitor’s product.
For brands like Under Armour, which is already well established in the market, increasing prices in the future will be acceptable. There is an unusual way of promotional pricing: launching a new product with a loss margin or a shallow profit margin to stand out among competitors. This way, a lot of visibility in the market is undoubtedly achieved.
The combination of good product quality at a fair price is seen as reasonable value pricing. This tactic works not only with Under Armour but almost any product segment. Under Armor matches competitors’ prices and strives to reduce its operations costs, thus increasing its profit margin. The competition is studied by the company because it is through the competition that we base our prices.
Premium prices are valid. Products with new technologies and unique features in the market can have a higher value than usual and stand out among their competitors, making their products stand out in the segment. Just like Under Armour did with its sweat-absorbing clothes, for example.
Your product has value, and according to Under Armour’s strategies, it is broad. For their customers, product values extend to sales services, product repair, word-of-mouth referrals, availability, quality, seeing the product, and payment methods, among others. These concepts enable marketing managers to add value to their products over competitors.
Design and Test Phases. In product design, customers seek the value it can add to their lives. And then, you adopt a value-based pricing strategy. Like the material, its differentiation in the market, and pricing. In the testing phase, evaluations are focused on the most common requirements.
When launching the product, numerous decisions must be taken into account. Just like pricing, marketing strategies, communication channel management, and post-purchase support, thus generating customer satisfaction.
The product life cycle is essential. The company needs to manage the life cycle of its products, such as introduction, growth strategy, and decline. This is the natural cycle that most products follow. It would be best to track how your products have reacted in the past to have a margin of predictability.
The distribution of Under Armour’s marketing is a set of processes. It is carried out through its stores and online shopping sites. The site offers its products to more than 200 countries across North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Therefore, Under Armour serves the international market.
The Marketing and Distribution channels do the logistics services, providing the customers with the characteristics of the products. Giving consumers many options, such as width, length, depth, colors, and customizations, also guarantees the quality of their products.
There are a few systems to implement the distribution system, be it Direct, Indirect, or both. The direct distribution system is how you use your channel to reach your customers directly. You achieve this now in your store or by selling your products online.
In the indirect distribution system, partnerships exist between distribution channels and price channels, such as wholesale distribution, retailers, and other logistics companies.
The Hybrid system, where both direct and indirect approaches are present. It is implemented when your company oversees secondary functions like logistics, warehousing, and store management. These functions are delegated to various channel partners.
A crucial cost to be analyzed is the cost of the place where the product is stored. If the storage price is high, you must look for suitable and cheaper locations for your goods. You need to reorganize and reduce your product stock if this is impossible.
The promotion strategy integrates various elements: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. These five forms of persuasion are used by Under Armour as a means of persuading its customers.
Observing tips that will help your online promotions will be critical in your Marketing to impact your sales is necessary.
- Mission: delimit what the objectives of your marketing strategy are;
- Market: establish who your target or potential audience is. Intensify your efforts to reach these audiences;
- Media: Establish the most effective media for broadcasting your promotions. They can be diverse, including social media, email, phone calls, window displays, etc.
- Message: This is the most specific part of this process, where you put the characteristics of the product, the value, and the promotion to reach your potential customer.
- Money: Remember that the budget for marketing must be limited. You have to figure out how to spend less to get more funds for that promotion done by the company.
- Measurement: here, we will analyze the data. It is essential to observe the impacts caused by the promotion. The variation in the results can be measured. For example, how many products went out of stock and are still in stock. This way, you can compare with other promotions and compare the actual effectiveness.
Email is a great way to do marketing, including promotions. Email marketing has a direct target audience, with the data gathered from your stores’ registrations. Thus, it is possible to direct advertisements that interest the customer. For example, when a customer buys from Under Armour, he can leave his email address on file.
Another way to reach customers for your promotions is through the advertising vehicle. In this marketing medium, products are shown to customers based on their browsing search history. Like the email marketing mentioned above, reaching potential customers is efficient. The correlation with other similar products highlights mainly the product’s quality, essential features, and if there is any promotion.
Enhancing Social Media Campaigns
It is undeniable that the market in which Under Armour participates is highly competitive. In this sense, the company needs to capture through marketing its potential customer, so it looks for something other than the competitor.
Under Armour created social media campaigns about its product updates to retain its younger customers. Making them feel like they belong to the company, not just a consumer of its products. Hiring at the very beginning of the social media campaign is recommended.
This specialist can actively follow up on the issues raised by your potential customers. Remember that platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be essential, especially with hashtags (#). In addition, at the end of the online advertising campaign, the people who interact most with the company may have the opportunity to speak directly with the CEO to answer their questions.
The benefits of marketing campaigns like these provided by Under Armour are numerous. Consumer loyalty to the brand increases as its participation in the global market increases. One of the main objectives that can be achieved is for the company to explore new markets beyond North America.
Four Famous Under Armour Campaigns
- Protect This House: This campaign was made in 2003, where sports teams were shown protecting their house from other rival teams. The phrase “Protect This House” was focused on the male audience, trying to make it viral. Since the campaign began airing, Under Armour has received about 500,000 responses via phone and email from its customers, making it a successful campaign.
- I Will What I Want: In 2014, Under Armour had limited access to the female audience. Women did not see the brand as appealing to them. In this context, the company started a campaign focused on its female audience. This campaign raised about $3 billion, surpassing the giant Adidas. Several women athletes participated in this campaign, with testimonials about the adversities they went through to achieve their success.
- Rule Yourself: from 2015 to 2016, this campaign was held to emphasize that you are the sum of all your training. It featured big names from the American Ballet Theatre and players from the NBA and the NFL.
- The Only Way is Through: Under Armor launched this campaign in the first quarter of 2020 in the middle of a performance summit, where 180 digital influencers were present. Many sports stars were current in this campaign, such as Olympic gold medalist O’Hara, Michael Phelps, Tom Brady, and NBA champion Steph Curry.
The real meaning of this campaign referred to the extreme effort that athletes put in on their own. During the campaign, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the entire world. Therefore, they changed “The Only Way is Through” to “Through This Together.”
Encouraging their customers to exercise at home during this delicate time we were going through.
It is admirable how the renowned Under Armour company faithfully represents many qualities that its competitors leave out. Their strategies are simple, but ignoring a step-by-step plan, such as promotion, will make you less engaged and well-regarded by your customers.
Pricing strategies follow details, simple or complex, that must be applied, observed, and put to the test. We hope you have admired this company as much as we have throughout this article.
Paul Martinez is the founder of EcomSidekick.com. He is an expert in the areas of finance, real estate, eCommerce, traffic and conversion.
Join him on EcomSidekick.com to learn how to improve your financial life and excel in these areas. Before starting this media site, Paul built from scratch and managed two multi-million dollar companies. One in the real estate sector and one in the eCommerce sector.