You’d be hard-pressed to ask anyone who Nike is and not get an instant response. Whether you’re a diehard fan of a particular team, a fitness freak or just a stylish consumer looking for athletic apparel, Nike is absolutely a force to be reckoned with. From a marketing perspective, the company excels both online and offline, utilizing celebrity sponsors in both digital and print ads.
When visiting Nike’s website, there are different push and pull techniques used that are easily visible.
From a push perspective, the site features large scrolling ads on the main screen that show a variety of product lines. For example, it switches between customizable cleats to sport-specific gear (tennis) to event-specific gear (Super Bowl). This exemplifies the push technique in that the company is promoting different product lines to potential customers. As I highlighted in my group discussion post this week, Nike’s website creates exposure for new products and generates a level of excitement and interest among those who visit the site.
Nike doesn’t just engage in push marketing on its site. This article highlights Nike’s strong efforts to make a big push in the women’s athletic apparel segment. The company debuted a new line of sports bras, tights and other apparel at an event in the upscale SoHo neighborhood.
Taking the product to the customer and creating exposure is a perfect example of push marketing. And once Nike generates that awareness and a demand for this new product line, it can use pull marketing strategies to target specific female demographics using social media and other interactive strategies.
On that note, Nike’s pull marketing efforts on its website are also equally strong. To me, something as simple as having the message “What are you looking for?” in the search bar is a prime example of customer-initiated marketing. In addition, the site allows users to sign into their Nike accounts where they can access other sections like Nike+, the company’s own social network site. Of course, they also maintain active social media platforms that encompass a wide audience.
From an off-site view, Nike’s pull marketing efforts are evident through its strong branding with the Swoosh symbol. This can be seen on billboards, posters and other promotional items. That symbol, along with the company’s signature slogan “Just Do It” is extremely recognizable that it can drum up interest in the brand without having a specific product shown.
From an aesthetic standpoint, Nike’s website is top-notch. It’s easy to navigate, doesn’t feature a ton of clutter and has a modern, sleek feel. To me, it’s built for athletes with that clean design. There are simple tabs that direct you toward a particular segment (men, women, kids, explore) as well as two tabs to join or log in to your Nike account.
Other key sections can be found on the bottom that deals with the customer service aspect. To the right, there are social media buttons to Nike’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts. I find this to be well-placed because it emphasizes the importance of visiting the website rather than going directly to their social media accounts.
Nike’s website features a “News” section that is actually full of just that. There’s daily content surrounding new product releases and other brand-related news, including an entire section devoted to company news such as earnings, leadership and retail. The layout is clean and easy to navigate just like the rest of the site.
One interesting aspect of Nike’s main website is that it encourages mobile participation. The company actually encourages users to download sport-specific apps for your phone as shown here:
Again, I think that’s a great example of marketing, as customers with particular interests can find more content through those specific apps. Considering the popularity of smartphones today and the growing demand for mobile apps, this is a great feature of the Nike brand.
Another aspect that the site features that we discussed in IMC is reviews. Nike has a tab right at the top that’s entitled “Site Feedback.” If you click on it, you can leave a rating in the form of one to five stars along with feedback about the purpose of your visit, the results of your visit and specific feedback. That interactive feature is a great example of showing customer appreciation and interaction. As we talked about in Week 3, this form of experiential contact can go a long way toward reinforcing positive brand associations while helping customers deal with any potential problems.
From an improvement standpoint, I think Nike’s site is quite strong. However, there’s always something that could be done better. From an aesthetic standpoint, I think the fonts could be slightly larger, as it can be hard to read. From an IMC view, I think there could be a better use of multimedia. There are some great images and graphics, but I had a hard time finding any video content.
Considering the number of high-profile Nike endorsers like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, I’m surprised there aren’t more videos on the main site. Maybe this is because the company wants to focus on its products more than the athletes, but I think those two go hand in hand. Keeping fresh digital content in the form of video, audio and photos is essential to capturing an audience’s interest in today’s technology-driven age.