2008 Business Pulse: Mike on Nike Part 2

Before I start, let me first congratulate our friend, Michael Jackson, on his recent promotion to General Manager of China Basketball and Global Business Development. His new role will be responsible for driving market leadership and growth for all aspects of Nike basketball in China. Best wishes on your new challenge Michael!

Michael’s promotion flows into the second takeaway from his presentation…Know Your Target! I am surmising that one of the reasons for Michael’s promotion is that Nike Basketball has a very clear idea of their two key markets; China and the United States. His leadership will give Nike a talent-based advantage in a key target. Smart move!

In addition to a geographic target market, Nike also has a very clear target demographic. Michael clearly articulated Nike’s target in his presentation: males and females age 16. During the Q&A, someone questioned the target as being too narrow. Michael’s response was clear. No exceptions. Males and females age 16. It was clear, though Michael didn’t say it, that Nike believes that their brand loyalty will carry across demographics and brand categories if they can earn your loyalty at age 16.
From this target, Michael talked about a few key strategies, one of which is cultural relevance. In business-speak, it’s called knowing your audience. Without a focused target, Nike could be spinning their wheels, chasing after different targets in different categories. A very good recipe for failure. When you have a focused target, strategies and tactics also become more focused.

One of the keys of a successful company is knowing precisely who or what your target market is. It is rare that a company can succeed without a razor-sharp focus on the exact market that you want to go after. A clear target focuses a company and its leaders and allows them to ignore potential distractions of “the next big thing”.

A challenge to you is to re-look your stated target market(s). Are you and your key people focused on that target with everything that you do? Do all your employees CLEARLY know who your target market is? Or are you just chasing after whatever?

We have all veered off track occasionally. The key is to stay focused and disciplined.

Lastly, “Just do it”!

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