Maybe you can be all things to all people…

Maybe you can be all things to all people…

In 1970, chants of, “Pre, Pre, Pre,” could be heard echoing off the bleachers at the University or Oregon’s Hayward Field while 

Runner’s World created a list of the Best Running Shoes in 2014. Of the 18 shoes on the list, the company started by runners in the early 70’s has only one shoe. While other popular running brands like Adidas, Saucony, Brooks and Asics have multiple offerings.

So, has Nike lost focus?

If growing from $6.4 billion in sales in 1996 to $29.76 billion in 2014 is losing focus, let me lose focus too!

And Nike is still a powerhouse in running. In the 2013 New York City Marathon, Nike was worn by the top 5 finishers, while Nike and Adidas were the most popular brands among the top 100 finishers

So, how has Nike stayed on top in so many product categories?

  • Be relevant: not only in their products but in their endorsements from the very beginning. Remember a cat named Jordan? You don’t need to pay for expensive endorsements, but I’ll bet you have current customers who have very relevant stories to tell. 
  • Innovate: The Waffle Racer was the first sleek, light, fast track shoe without spikes. The Nike Air was the first “gizmo” shoe before other companies started adding gel and springs and lasers (well, no lasers yet).
  • Put the customer at the center of everything: While Nike began with a focus trying to get “average” people to want to “be like Mike,” they have evolved to a focus of empowering average people to be better average people.



    • Customize: Nike created NikeiD, a series of shoes that you could completely customize from the lining to the laces to the soles. Do you have customers that use checking accounts in different ways? Can you “package” them to feel customized? What about e-banking customers, can you put a package together to make them feel special?
    • Track: Nike also created Nike+, a chip that goes in your running shoe and Nike Fuelband both track an athlete’s daily activity and report back, not only to the athlete to improve their performance, but to Nike to improve product development. Is there a way you can learn about your customer’s spending habits and help them out?
  • They’re everywhere … aren’t they?: When was the last time you saw a Nike ad? Think hard. Nike invested heavily in traditional advertising early on. They truly focus on integrated marketing. But in reality, Nike’s investment in print and TV has declined by nearly 40% in three years while their marketing budget has climbed to a record $2.4 billion. They are now focusing on social media and search engine marketing. Rather then spending $100 million to sponsor one sporting event, they are now reaching the same number of people for less online.
You’re likely not juggling jockstrap, shoulder pad and sports bra product lines, but you may be balancing savings products, smarter access tools, direct and indirect loans.
You can be like Nike by compartmentalizing and segmenting each individual offering. Like Prefontaine, you need to run from the front … innovate, keep up with your customer’s needs and find new ways to provide them. And, you don’t need to spend like Nike to have their success. But, like Nike, you can “feel” like you’re everywhere in your individual neighborhood with smart targeting and segmentation. 
You can be like Nike … You can improve your performance … Just do it!


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