9 Marketing Lessons From Under Armour Founder

Kevin Plank—founder of the projected-$3-billion-in-sales company, Under Armour—started in his grandmother’s townhouse in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. In a Q&A (and video) on The Washington Post site a few days ago, Plank tells a story about one of his early marketing coups, when director Oliver Stone needed shirts for his football movie, Any Given Sunday.

“I sent them some samples, and they loved the product, said it was some of the best they had seen and they asked us to send them a thousand of these, a thousand of those,” Plank said. “I thought, ‘this is great,’ but then I asked where to send the invoice. They were like, ‘Invoice, are you kidding?’

“I’m looking around Grandma’s basement, yelling turn down The Price is Right [their constant background noise], thinking we have a big order on the line. It’s a little-known fact, but…for all the exposure that we got from Cameron Diaz to Jamie Foxx’s jockstrap with the Under Armour logo in the center of it, that was something they paid over $40,000 for all the product that they bought from us.

“What I hear over and over again is ‘this is good marketing,’ ‘you gotta give it away,’ or ‘I’m giving it away only for a little bit.’ Don’t ever, ever devalue your product. Ever. It’s the worst thing anyone can do to hurt your brand. I had people threaten that if we didn’t give it to them, they wouldn’t wear it. But I’ve found that, if you make a great product, and you charge a fair price, there will be a market for it.”

Here are 9 business lessons from Plank’s interview:

1. It’s worth repeating—“don’t ever, ever devalue your product. Ever. It’s the worst thing anyone can do to hurt your brand.”

2. Perception can be reality. The National Football League called Plank one morning early on and said they’re in Washington and want to visit his office. Instead of inviting them to Grandma’s basement, Plank suggested lunch at Morton’s on his dime. (He had to rush out to the bank.) “Everything was about projecting yourself as being more—the company you see yourself as, not the company you were.”

3. Remember the basics. Plank thought that when USA Today featured athletes on its cover wearing Under Armour mock turtlenecks it would be his breakout moment. But “nobody knew what it was or how to get a hold of us.”

4. “Put the freaking pen down and go do something.” Plank started by taking special fabric and a Hanes T-shirt to a local tailor and asked him to make shirts like this one. “Sometimes entrepreneurs can get caught up with theorizing, hypothesizing, business, planning…Go find out if you can make your product. Once you make it, stop projecting…and go find out whether your product can sell.”

5. Limit your cash and credit outlay at the beginning. SIPA member Bob Coleman just told me about his new and successful seminar business. The rule that guided him? “Don’t do any new product unless you [can earn] cash within 30 days.” Plank would agree and advises to just “go sell…If it doesn’t sell, there’s probably something wrong with your business.”

6. “Don’t forget to sell shirts and shoes.” That’s the only slogan that Plank puts up in red ink on his office whiteboard. It’s easy to get caught up in other things—for publishers that could be social media, intricate design or complicated marketing. Remember what “rings the register.”

7. Hold on to good people. Plank doesn’t believe in the saying that you need new people to take that next big jump in your business. “It’s just the best people you know to accomplish the task at hand…”

8. Aim high. Written on the Under Armour wall: “Let’s be the greatest company in the history of the world.”

9. Grab serendipity when you see it. Plank had been toying with the name Body Armor, until his big brother came to take him to lunch one day and asked, “How’s that company you’re working on, uhh…Under Armor?” He quickly trademarked it, adding the “u” for the phone number—888-4ARMOUR.

Side note: In today’s Post, in-vogue ballerina Misty Copeland talks about her upcoming star-turn in Swan Lake for The Washington Ballet: “It’s what so great about the Under Armour ad [she stars in]…” So let’s add 10. Get free publicity.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.


Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

A unique B2B media event focusing on performance growth, changing business models and multi-platform content delivery

The Information Industry Network will convene top B2B publishing, information and media industry executives at the Business Media Insights 2014 conference. The event, which will be held on 22nd October at One Wimpole Street in London, will feature top executives IIN Logofrom Haymarket Business Media, Financial Times, Pearson, Incisive Media, Centaur Media, EMAP and more.

Delegates will get the opportunity to explore new insights in content creation, content platforms and B2B social media. Sessions laid on will also enable media professionals to get the inside track on new digital technologydevelopments that enable new launches and improvements in existing products.

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The programme for the day includes three key tracks looking at:

Performance Growth Strategies - including:

  • Caroline Frost, from Informa discussing how getting the right people  and developing them will help your business grow;
Caroline Frost

Caroline Frost

  • EMAP‘s Andy Baker, discussing how the launch of their information service, HSJ Intelligence is helping drive growth for the brand;
  • Denzil Rankine of AMR International chairing an experienced panel of mergers & acquisition specialists including David Johnston (RBP Online), David Westgarth (Prism Consult) and Martin Wright (Media Mergers) as they discuss the process of evaluating acquisition targets in the business information sector.

 Boosting Sales & Marketing - including:

  • Sharon Doubleday from Euromoney and Paul Quigley of NewsWhip Media presenting case examples of social media strategies for B2B success;
  • Mike Hepburn from Jaywing, Andrew Davies from idio, Andy Oakes from The Drum, and Neil Stoneman from Velocity Partners discussing how content marketing drives customer engagement and sales;

    Adrian Barrick

    Adrian Barrick

  • Arno Langbehn, CEO of B.Behr’s Verlag presenting the techniques his organisation used to develop breakthrough products and services through customer research and insight.

Empowering Content & Technology – including:

  • Haymarket Business Media‘s  Adrian Barrick, explaining techniques for B2B content creation to drive engagement and communities, and Tom Hall, from Pearson explaining how technology helped to transform a once a year product into a 24 hour /365 day service;
  • Financial Times CTO, John O’Donovan looks at how to integrate disparate data sources into a consistent content offering, and what the technologies are to enable this;
  • Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing, Phil Clark, ex-UBM, now of Fillip Media and David Shepherd of XpertHR , RBI discuss with Carolyn Morgan of Penmaen Media, how the role of the editor and content professional is changing and its impact.

Business Media Insights 2014 also includes keynote sessions with experienced industry specialists such as Peter Rigby, ex-Informa CEO, Centaur Media‘s Simon Middelboe, Tim Weller from Incisive Media, Helmut Graf from VNR Verlag and publishing expert and media non-Exec Director, Colin Morrison.

Peter Rigby

Peter Rigby

The event also includes useful additional benefits including a special lunchtime training session on  “How to lead a sales team in today’s marketplace” run by Flume Training, and after the event, all delegates will receive Outsell Inc.’s annual Outlook report, which is one of their most comprehensive offerings highlighting where the B2B information, publishing and media industry is going and the key players leading change.

For a complete schedule of events, visit: http://siia.net/london/2014/schedule.asp

To find out more about the event, please contact Patrick Angell, Executive Director, Information Industry Network on pangell@siia,net  

 

To attend  click: 

Register

Click here

 

 

 

 

…or call the registrations team 01158 456 413 

 

 

  Event SummaryDMIC crowd pic

  WHO:      The Information Industry Network (IIN)

  WHAT:    Business Media Insights 2014 #bmi2014conf

  WHEN:   Wednesday, 22 October 2014 – 8 am – 7.00 pm

  WHERE: One Wimpole Street, London, W1G 0AE.

 

 

 


Patrick AngellPatrick Angell is the Executive Director of the Information Industry Network. SIIA’s European division for  publishing, information and media organisations across Europe. The Information Industry Network aims to assist  members understand current issues facing them via conferences, seminars, and online events, we also assist in  helping them share experiences, build business relationships and connect with others across Europe and cross- Atlantic. Follow us on @iin_europe and visit our LinkedIn group

UK’s Unique New B2B Media Event will Focus on Performance Growth, Changing Business Models and Multi-Platform Content Delivery

The Information Industry Network  will convene top B2B publishing, information and media industry executives at the Business Media Insights 2014 conference.  Held 22 October at One Wimpole Street in London, the event will feature top executives from Haymarket Business Media, Financial Times, Pearson, Incisive Media, Centaur Media, EMAP and more.

Business Media Insights 2014 will address trends in in boosting sales, gaining customers insights from data, content platforms, social media and marketing as well as how to improve business performance in an era of unprecedented transformation and disruption.

Conference highlights include:

  • Content masterclass presentations from Adrian Barrick, Editorial Director at Haymarket Business Media, and Tom Hall, VP, Strategic Partnerships & Technology Delivery at Pearson;
  • Presentation by Financial Times CTO John O’Donovan, who will discuss the integration of disparate data sources into a consistent content offering;
  • Presentation by Caroline Frost, Global Director of Learning and Development at Informa, who will discuss how getting the right people and developing them will help your business grow; and
  • Informative keynote sessions moderated by Colin Morrison, chairman to a range of media companies in the UK and Australia.  One session will be an interview with Peter Rigby, former CEO of Informa, who oversaw its growth from a company valued at a few million pounds to a business with a market capitalization exceeding £3bn, and will discuss the changing media and information landscape, new content distribution channels, branding and digital development. The other keynote session will be a special panel discussion focusing on the B2B media industry’s most pressing issues.  This keynote discussion will feature:

o   Helmut Graf, Chief Executive Officer, VNR Verlag fur die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG

o   Simon Middelboe, Managing Director, Centaur Media

o   Tim Weller, Founder and Group Chief Executive, Incisive Media

For a complete schedule of events, visit: http://siia.net/london/2014/schedule.asp

WHO:           The Information Industry Network (IIN)
WHAT:         Business Media Insights 2014 #bmi2014conf
WHEN:         Wednesday, 22 October 2014 from 8 a.m. – 19.00 pm
WHERE:       One Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE

Sponsors and partners of the event include Flume Training, MarkLogic, Adestra, Research Information, InPublishing, What’s New in Publishing, Prism Consult, and Outsell, Inc.


Patrick AngellPatrick Angell is the Executive Director of the Information Industry Network. SIIA’s European division for  publishing, information and media organisations across Europe. The Information Industry Network aims to assist  members understand current issues facing them via conferences, seminars, and online events, we also assist in  helping them share experiences, build business relationships and connect with others across Europe and cross- Atlantic. Follow us on @iin_europe and visit our LinkedIn group

Execs from Google, Thomson Reuters, Forbes, CQ Roll Call, & More to Address Top Issues Facing Digital Content & B2B Media

Top executives from some of the country’s leading digital content and B2B media companies will convene in Miami, Fla., Nov. 10-12 for the first Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS). The new event, hosted by the SIIA will explore emerging challenges as big data, marketing, digital media and advertising become increasingly integrated.

During BIMS, executives from Thomson Reuters, Forbes, Google Enterprise, Penton, CQ-Roll Call Group, Randall-Reilly and more will offer insight on topics shaping the future of the information industry, including:

  • The Future of Data: How existing data products are evolving in conjunction with new products being created.
  • The Global Data Challenge:  The opportunity and logistics involved in collecting data on a global scale.
  • Gaining a Competitive Advantage in a Digital Age: Enabling powerful, streamlined collaboration across the world-wide value chain.
  • Customer Modeling and Behavioral Targeting: Data’s role in driving sales.
  • Multichannel Marketing: How the environment for successful marketing campaigns has fundamentally changed.

BIMS will also feature the following keynote speakers:

Arundel will discuss “How to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Digital Age” by identifying new ways to achieve competitive advantage in consumer and business markets as she evaluates the value of globalization and low-cost outsourced labor.

Leading the largest privately held business information services company in North America, Kieselstein has driven Penton’s rapid transformation by focusing on innovation and growth.

Reilly has made several strategic changes to transform Randall-Reilly into a top marketing services company which provides insights into specific market segments and then engages those audiences through targeted platforms.

BIMS combines three former conferences – the Specialized Information Publishers Association’s Marketing Conference, the American Business Media’s Executive Forum, and InfoCommerce Group’s DataContent Conference – into one comprehensive event that examines the trends of the changing B2B media industry.

WHO:           The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
WHAT:         SIIA’s Business Information & Media Summit 2014 #BIMS14
WHEN:         November 10-12, 2014
WHERE:       The Fontainebleau, Miami, FL

For a complete schedule of events, visit: http://siia.net/bims/2014/schedule.asp. Updates in advance of the event are available using the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #BIMS14.

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9 Ways to Get Technology and Marketing Working Together

“Is moving this graphic from here to here really going to make a difference in your market?” asked Rob Paciorek, senior VP/CIO for Access Intelligence, speaking at a session on The New CIO-CMO Partnership at the recent SIPA 2014 Conference. “I think not, but if you can give us a compelling reason why it would, then we’ll spend the time there. These are the conversations we have. We try to sort through the noise and put some measurements to it. Let’s do a test; let’s do one page where we move it and one page we don’t. Maybe that will help us answer this the next time.”

The key is communication, Paciorek said. He presented with his colleague Heather Farley, divisional president, Access Intelligence. After giving an example of the hard but rewarding work involved in bringing their departments together, Paciorek said with a chuckle, “There’s a reason that our offices are right next to each other; it hasn’t always been like that.”

Here are 9 highlights from this excellent session, available—like all the other SIPA 2014 sessions—to members through the SIPA website.

1. Improve engagement. “This is a huge issue for us,” Farley said. “We spend a lot of time on our web design and user interface. This is where it really starts. There’s a great team that sits in New York and they can go through our sites and say, ‘This is where your content is sticky, this is where people are spending the most time on—this kind of content. Here’s your heat map, here’s how people are moving through your site.’ [If you can] understand those things and be able to tweak both on design and the kind of content you’re using, that gives you that higher level of engagement.”

2. Find the right people. “The holy grail for my team is finding technology people who understand business,” Paciorek said. “For instance, one member found a little team of freelancers to work on things he couldn’t get to. So now he’s also a project manager. There’s a technology person willing to give up a little piece for advancement of the company.”

3. Use quizzes. Access has been very successful with quizzes, provided through a technology company called SnapApp. “These really test your knowledge and have been great engagement tools,” said Paciorek. “It’s fun content.” Farley added that they are also sponsored and provide page views for advertisers. “We also get tremendous feedback. Editors will hear from readership, ‘it’s too easy,’ ‘it’s impossible.’ I hear from our CEO when he gets 100% on his quiz.”

4. Ease conversion. “We’ve been able to use pre-populated forms so that when you come it’s easier for you to buy,” said Farley. “There also might be a way to pay through your Amazon account. The easier we can make it, the better.”

5. Facilitate online chats. Shopping cart abandonment, they both said, can be frustrating. One answer has been the implementation of an online chat service. Paciorek said that might be something you identify more with a Verizon, but it only costs about $200 a month. “And we don’t have a huge customer service team—just 3 or 4 people man the chats for all of our websites, so it’s something you can manage.” He showed a chat that produced a subscription. They use a company called Boldchat.

6. Foster retention. Farley said that not enough attention is paid to renewals. “In our world, we’re totally focused on analytics at the corporate level. Technology needs to work with marketing more on this. It’s the difference between nice to know and need to know. This is what marketers care about. We need more of this [engagement] data. How do we take this piece [of information], boil it down and make it consumable. It helps to get our marketers focused. How do you bring them up the spectrum to understand what the important numbers are?

7. Hold get-togethers. “It’s not always easy,” Paciorek said. He talked about a time when a relationship between a key technology person and key marketing person was broken. “It was costing productivity for [Heather’s] and my team. So we got the best people together for half-day team meeting. We gave both teams the opportunity to express what was happening. There [emerged] a better understanding of what the problems were. We shared expertise. The marketers were impressed by a digital person who said, here’s a cool project I do on my own time. A marketer said here’s all the revenue I drive. The key is we recognized something wasn’t working.” They’ll try to hold these once a quarter now.

8. What if your organization doesn’t have a CIO? “You have to make sure somebody is managing technology,” Paciorek said. “Reach out to all of your friends who found technology solutions. How did implementation go? Did you use a consultant? Create some other kind of group in your company. Use SIPA conferences for this. Reach out. And try to find your own references at SIPA…Do your due diligence.”

9. The new challenge. Farley said that they’ve talked about launching a series of micro-sessions for their employees. Technology might give a demo or show how to analyze a piece of data. “With the goal of moving people up the technology chain,” she said. “Folks under age 35 are so sharp, but technology is the marketing [for them]. Technology can’t be your strategy. So it’s more of a challenge,” especially as more people from that generation join your company.

Again, here’s the link to this excellent session and others like it.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.


Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Editorial and Marketing Collaboration Opens New Doors

Last January, “we felt we weren’t communicating enough [as a staff],” recalled Mike Grebb, executive editor of Access Intelligence’s CableFAX. “So we had a retreat with all the editors and writers, marketing people, ad sales and subscriptions, and laid it all on the table.”

Grebb was speaking at a session at SIPA’s recent marketing conference in Las Vegas titled Your New Best Friend, the Editorial-Marketing Relationship. “One thing that came out is [that we should] have a daily meeting. When it came up, everyone groaned and rolled their eyes, but it was the best thing we’ve ever done.

“We keep it to 15-20 minutes,” Grebb (pictured here) continued. “When we started, it was just about social media, who’s posting what, etc. But it has evolved into a general planning meeting. Now every day I can check with marketing, how we are doing on that webinar, how many registrations do we have? Is there anything editorial can be doing? Can we do a Q&A with one of the speakers to help promote that?”

Ten or 15 years ago, the idea of editorial and marketing singing Kumbaya by the campfire would have felt quite far-fetched. But today, silos are mostly disappearing—the SIPA Annual Conference June 4-6 will focus on this in greater detail—and most departments in publishers big and small must work together to prosper. New products can’t be developed without IT; customer service has to know the products as well as those who created them. And so on.

It’s called economic reality. Advertisers are not beating doors down anymore; they’re opening them slightly and seeing what might fit their plan. For Grebb it means being open to doing a sponsored report or survey, listening to marketing advise him what subjects are popping on social media, writing descriptions of webinars and coming up with panel topics for conferences. “We’re more in the trenches; we’ll have an easier time writing that stuff.”

Of course, there still has to be some church/state-like lines, Grebb said. Integrity matters. You can’t sacrifice short-term gains for long-term credibility. “How I would put it? While the line is blurred, we haven’t sold our souls yet.” So you might see him agreeing to an advertiser’s request to do a special report on lifestyle programming. But he will approach it like editorial does for any story, talking to many competitors to present a balanced view. “[Marketing is] not asking to see it or making edits…As long as it’s my decision to do it…that’s the key.”

Grebb also knows that from the outside, the company is one entity—so employees needs to think holistically. If editorial doesn’t help marketing write a great email blast, it’s CableFAX that looks bad. Because of that, “everyone has to buy into the idea on the editorial side.” That means being clear to reporters about where their paychecks come from. In addition, he realizes that they “have to listen more than any time in the past about what people want us to cover,” he said.

Oh and about those daily meetings—Grebb said they have made people respect each other more and even become friends. A lot easier to help each other that way and harder to fly off the handle.

The marketing, advertising and editorial staff of CableFAX now collaborate on several initiatives:
- General engagement through marketing copy, email and session descriptions.
- Promotions for Webinars.
- Awards programs. “If we’re inducting a bunch of people into the Hall of Fame like we do each year, we can do Q&As with those guys or write an article about something they’re working on”—with a registration teaser at the end and a link to sign up, Grebb said.
- Sponsored surveys. They just started these. If a sponsor needs to find out something from the client base, CableFAX will work with them on questions and use the results to write an article.
- Social media. This “has really helped to bring us together,” said Grebb. Editorial has access to all branded accounts, one for each social media channel. Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest, while LinkedIn mostly helps them find speakers for events. But marketing also has access to these accounts for promotion purposes. “One reason we all have access to that is we want a mix, not all editorial and not all constant promotion,” Grebb said.
- New initiatives. They will soon be starting a Diversions page on the website where executives will be featured doing fun things like skiing and playing guitar or recommending their favorite restaurant. “This kind of thing really plays well on social media,” Grebb said.
- Conferences. A huge amount of coordination is required.
- Brand promotion.
- Tracking the competition. “Marketing will hear things and tell us,” Grebb said. Maybe someone’s doing something innovative that they can adapt.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.


Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline

 

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