Remember Mom When Marketing to Teen Athletes

Remember Mom When Marketing to Teen Athletes

Many sports, fitness and activity-oriented brands and marketing strategies focus directly on teen athletes, as the teens are considered the primary decision maker.  But, as I show in my book Tuning Into Mom, the current generation of teens and young adults involve their moms in purchase decisions across a wide range of categories, and athletics are no exception. And many moms are actively involved with the research into the products that support their teen’s decisions. At the very least, brands should approach their marketing strategies recognizing moms’ role as a funder (providing the money), or purchasing agent for their teens. Ideally, these brands will identify marketing strategies that help both Mom and her teen partner in the decision. Ignoring Mom altogether is not a winning strategy.

A personalized NikeiD shoeNikeiD is a great case study into a brand that focuses on the teen athlete but also brings Mom into the decision-making process through their innovative website.The NikeiD offering successfully delivers the benefit of performance along with the excitement of customization. NikeiD allows an athlete the ability to design the shoe that fits his or her needs and desired image. The service also promises personalization. This personalization is accomplished through a choice of independent sizing for right and left shoes, a choice of shoe width, a choice of colors, and the addition of a Personalized iD (PiD) that the customer specifies.

Nike’s marketing approach appeals directly to the athlete, but as we can see from mom Karly’s story below, the NikeiD service also appeals to moms:

A customized NikeiD shoe“Nike has put out a site where you can customize a football shoe now– wide, extra wide, both physical appearance and internal structure. Tanner pointed it out. And we used the site together to order a shoe…. When I saw the Nike web site, I thought, ‘It’s about time.’ It’s a great marketing tool. It’s a no-brainer.”
– Karly, mom of two teenagers

Karly must not be the only mom impressed with NikeiD. Fortune reported on Feb. 27, 2012:

“[The] Nike iD online store, where customers could design their own shoes, became a surprise hit, reaching $100 million in sales within a few years.”

By developing an offering that appeals to recent generations’ desire for customization and personalization, along with making the process collaborative between teens and moms, Nike has obviously discovered a winning marketing strategy. Other brands can certainly learn a lot from Nike’s efforts.


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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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