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How to Market Online: Nike Gets It

Copyright Nike

Want to push a ton of product to a target demographic? Then follow Nike’s lead. Unwilling to settle for just one award-winning, mind-blowing, heart-thumping flash site, Nike has been assembling an armada of flash-based product demos that all come together in their hub site. What follows is a recipe for marketing success in the changing new media landscape.

Let’s say this first: I’m not a Nike rep, I don’t wear Nike shoes, sport Nike golf clubs, or own stock in Nike. I’m just a young, “plugged in” designer who’s been keeping an eye on Nike’s advances into the new media picture via a set of some pretty hot websites. It seems like a month doesn’t go by when I don’t find Nike gathering a new award or developing hype around a new product. It’s not their products that excite me, it’s their strategy.

Nike Hub

See, Nike seems to just get it (pun intended). They understand their target demographic’s relationship with technology and the Internet, and they’ve had the forward vision to pioneer into Internet country while other competitors have held back cautiously. They didn’t just stop at one great site though, they’ve developed an entire network of sites that allows them the flexibility to give each product its own outstanding online presence. Then they link it back up with their central hub which naturally links to stores. The end result? More traffic, more buzz, and, ultimately, more sales (online and off).

To companies that have been hesitant to embrace the full power of the Internet I would say this: the time when the “Internet demographic” has just been kids and 20-somethings is expiring, quickly. For every year that goes by, consumers are becoming more comfortable with integrating web-surfing into their daily routines. Less people are getting their nightly ad-dose from television and print ads. As our daily lives become more and more hectic, more consumers are watching television online, which translates to less couch-potatoes and more internet-potatoes.

What does this mean for brand awareness? It means that it’s just not enough anymore to barrage the traditional marketing channels to trigger buying impulses from consumers. You simply must be on the Internet (like, duh).

Now, that same advice could be given from 90% of the population, you might say, so what’s so exciting about what Nike is doing? Here it is: Nike is treating the Internet the same way they are treating the rest of their marketing plan. Would a huge international sport label settle with just one store for the full distribution of their product? No way! Would that same company develop one single generic television commercial to speak for its entire product mix? No again. This is just common knowledge in the television or print-based marketing fields… so why should it not apply to new media? My answer is that it should. In fact, I’ll go beyond that and say this: For a company that sells its products to consumers through a broad distribution chain, to thrive for the next 10 years they must develop a diverse body of Internet marketing campaigns that pivot on well designed product-centric sites, not company-centric ones.

So, want to see what I mean? Check it out, here’s just a few of Nike’s award winners:

JumpMan | NikeID | NikeAir | NikeBasketball | NikeGolf

The Hub: