Columbia Sportswear Marketing Strategy & Marketing Mix (4Ps)
Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: November 26, 2017
Marketing Strategy of Columbia Sportswear analyses the brand with the marketing mix framework which covers the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion). There are several marketing strategies like product innovation, pricing approach, promotion planning etc. These business strategies, based on Columbia Sportswear marketing mix, help the brand succeed.
Columbia Sportswear marketing strategy helps the brand/company to position itself competitively in the market and achieve its business goals & objectives.
Let us start the Columbia Sportswear Marketing Strategy & Mix to understand its product, pricing, advertising & distribution strategies:
Columbia Sportswear Product Strategy:
The product strategy and mix in Columbia Sportswear marketing strategy can be explained as follows:
Columbia Sportswear is a leading sportswear company. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, United States, the company offers a vast variety of products in its marketing mix ranging from outdoor apparel and footwear, casual sportswear, snowboarding apparel, skiwear, ski-goggles, hunting and fishing clothing, sunglasses, gloves, hats and mittens. Columbia Sportswear distributes its products in more than 90 countries and 13,000 retailers. The goal of the company is to keep everybody warm, dry, cool and protected in the outdoors. Its main competitors are other similar outdoor oriented brands such as Timberland, The North face and Patagonia. Columbia Sportswear views product innovation as a critical factor that helps a company grow. They use technology like Browzwear to make their processes more efficient. Browzwear is technology that enables the company to develop their products in a digital format and respond to customer trends and demands faster, giving them a competitive advantage in the industry. Columbia Sportswear company also has a special range of omni-heat electric products including jackets, gloves and footwear. This omni-heat electric technology helps the customer keeps warm even in the coldest weather and comes with an easy to use and durable control system. The customer can activate the heating system just with the push of a button. The power packs that are used to charge the heating batteries are USB compatible and also can be used to charge phones and iPods. Such technological and product innovations differentiate Columbia Sportswear from other competing brands.
Columbia Sportswear Price/Pricing Strategy:
Below is the pricing strategy in Columbia Sportswear marketing strategy:
Columbia Sportswear’s aim is to provide access to their consumers to good quality and durable products at an accessible price.
It adopts the value pricing strategy in its marketing mix which means it tries to strike a balance between the quality of its products and the price it charges for them. Columbia Sportswear believes in sourcing high quality materials and charges a standard markup on each product depending on the general price range of similar products. Some of its special products like the Bugaboo range that includes jackets, gloves and footwear, are a little more expensive because of the omni- heat reflective technology that is used in such products which is designed to keep you warm even in the coldest weather. Columbia Sportswear also offers sale on some of its products ranging between 40-60% which is an added bonus to the consumers.
Columbia Sportswear Place & Distribution Strategy:
Following is the distribution strategy in the Columbia Sportswear marketing mix:
Being headquartered in Portland, Columbia Sportswear’s products are sold in North America and over 90 other countries worldwide. The company generates majority of its sales in the United States which accounts to as much as 65%, 20% from Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, Africa and Europe account for 10% and the remaining 5% comes from Canada. The company has always strived to expand its geographic presence all over the world. It has tie-ups with wholesale distributors in many countries that supply to the major retail chains and sports goods stores. Columbia Sportswear also sells directly to the customers through their domestic and international stores and retail outlets as well as from their official online website. The company also sometimes partners with brands that maybe entering a new product category, especially to reduce its dependency on just cold-weather products and to expand its global presence.
For example, in 2015, it signed an agreement with Delta Galil Industries, which would produce and distribute underwear under the Columbia Sportswear brand.
Columbia Sportswear Promotion & Advertising Strategy:
The promotional and advertising strategy in the Columbia Sportswear marketing strategy is as follows:
Columbia Sportswear promotes and markets its products through various channels including print media, television, online advertising as well as social media sites. One of their ads has Macklemore, who is an American rapper promoting their OutDry ECO Jacket, which is made from a 100% recycled materials, 21 plastic bottles in total, with no perfluorinated compounds (PFC’s) used in the making of the jacket, by utilizing dye-free fabric and saving over 13 gallons of water per jacket. Such a product helps in promoting the brand as an environmentally responsible brand. Another one of their ads stars Zac and Dylan Efron as their brand ambassadors, along with Gert Boyle herself who is seen interviewing the two brothers for the role of the company’s new gear testers. Columbia Sportswear also engages in various event sponsorships and operates its branded retail stores in high-profile locations to promote their brand. The company also has its Columbia x Manchester United Outerwear Collection which promotes the brand among football fans. This concludes the marketing mix of Columbia Sportswear.
About Columbia Sportswear:
Columbia Sportswear is the largest outerwear manufacturer in the world. It was founded in the year 1938 by Paul Lamfrom. He and his wife had purchased a small hat company and named it ‘Columbia Hat Company’. Later, the business was taken over by their son-in-law, Neal Boyle. He diversified the hat business into outerwear for skiers, hunters and fishermen and renamed the company to ‘Columbia Sportswear’. After his death in 1970, the business was taken over by his wife, Gert Boyle.
Currently, Columbia sportswear is run by Gert as the chairman and her son, Tim Boyle, who is the CEO and the president of the company. Gert Boyle’s tough mother persona has made Columbia the global sportswear company that it is today.
This article has been researched & authored by the Content & Research Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.
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