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3 Things Marketers Can Learn From Sneaker Brand Marketing | WMI

12 Feb 2016 Ann D'Adamo

in Fashion,

WMI_Sneaker_Header.jpgEver since Carrie Bradshaw stepped out in her beloved Manolo Blahniks, designer shoes have become an obsession for millions of women. But now, it seems that sneakers may have stolen some of the hype. A pair of $250 Adidas Yeezy Boost sneakers created by Kanye West can set collectors back thousands in the resale market. In the U.S., sneakers are now a $34 billion business, with Millennials contributing $21 billion to the category. To better understand how top-selling brands are fueling demand for their products, we looked at the key brand marketing strategies Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour are using to hype the hottest styles.


Nothing creates demand for products like exclusivity. Footwear brands excel in creating rare, limited edition sneakers that sell out within days. This is particularly appealing to image-conscious Millennials and GenZ teens, who desire unique, one-of-a-kind products. In addition to generating buzz through influencers and social media campaigns, the brands allow each retailer to receive only a limited number of units made available through an in-store lottery system. Controlling both retailer supply and the consumer’s ability to purchase the shoes has been a successful strategy for generating excitement about limited edition drops.

Style and Innovation  

Global footwear brands are focusing on offering the most stylish and innovative products. Trends include bright color, hologram effects, and textured fabrications. In addition to proprietary colorways, brands are offering consumers the ability to create bespoke sneakers with customized color and pattern. Sneaker marketers are also jumping on their consumer’s love for the latest tech gadgetry with sometimes gimmicky innovations that include self-lacing sneakers, 3-D printing, and embedded computer chips that measures distance, stride, and calories burned.


Although celebrity endorsements aren’t the marketing win they once were, this is one category where sports and music stars continue to shine. From Michael Jordan to Kanye, Rihanna to Demi Lovato, celebrities sell sneakers. Why? Authenticity is key. Instead of just enlisting a star-of-the-moment, brands are collaborating with celebrities and sports superstars who embody the ethos of the brand and making sure the collaborator’s vision is expressed in the design.  

Athletic footwear brands have tapped consumers’ passion for exclusive, innovative, and authentic products. Brands that develop insightful consumer personas, have a clear understanding of their path-to-purchase, and at the heart of their strategy, a media plan to reach them, will win. Women’s Marketing can help you reach your target when and where they’ll be most receptive to your message.

Sources: Transparency Market Research Global Athletic Footwear Market Affected by Counterfeiting of Products, August 2015, Statistic Brain Footwear Industry Statistics 2015, The Washington Post, Sneaker Wars: How Basketball Shoes became a billion dollar business, January 2016