In order to be successful, a retail company has to attract and maintain customers while persisting in the environment of intense competition. Doing so requires a consistent and effective approach to customer relations management (CRM), and, in particular, the marketing strategy that would target specific customer groups by correctly identifying and satisfying their needs. Research suggests that Foot Locker UK should focus on millennials and generation Z in its marketing efforts, highlighting the brand’s global nature and its firm commitment to positive social change.
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Roles and Responsibilities of Marketing
A marketing department is generally responsible for establishing and promoting the brand and ensuring that it is recognizable, known to the customer, and invokes positive associations that increase the intent to buy. To facilitate the brand’s popularity, the marketing department develops campaigns and campaign materials targeting intended customer groups and designed to appeal to them (Baek et al., 2017). Apart from that, a marketing department also has the responsibility to promote the overall image of the brand. In the contemporary age, when customers generally expect companies to adhere to the principles of corporate social responsibility, this promotion involves associating the company with a good cause (Baek et al., 2017). Hence, one can sum up the principal functions and responsibilities of a marketing department as promoting the brand while also developing campaigns to target the intended customer groups, stressing the satisfaction of their needs.
Identifying Customer Needs
As a branch of the sportswear and footwear retailer, the intended customer base for Foot Locker UK consists primarily of the younger people who are more likely to engage in sports actively. In terms of generations, one can separate today’s young adults into two generational cohorts: millennials, or those born between 1980 and 2000, and Generation Z, or those born from 2000 onward (Baek et al., 2017). Hence, being a successful sportswear and footwear retailer in 2021 requires a company to identify the needs of these particular customer groups correctly.
While sociologically belonging to different generational cohorts, millennials and Generation Z have several traits in common. Firstly, they are largely digital natives and, thus, are more likely to be interested in or at least affected by global brands with strong digital presence (Baek et al., 2017). Secondly, they demonstrate a stronger propensity for ethical consumption than the previous generations. According to Baek et al. (2017), approximately half of the millennials are inclined to make purchases motivated by ethical concerns, as opposed to the preceding generations. Moreover, millennials are even willing to pay more for the products coming from the companies associated with ethical business practices and social responsibility (Baek et al., 2017). Therefore, a retail company seeking to attract millennial and Generation Z customers needs to keep these preferences in mind when designing its marketing strategies.
Satisfying Customer Needs
As mentioned above, millennial and Generation Z customers are more likely to make purchases based on ethical considerations associated with a given brand than those belonging to previous generations. Therefore, a retail company targeting these consumer groups should aim at satisfying their need to partake in ethical consumption. Research shows that customers, in general, and millennials, in particular, demonstrate a stronger reaction to positive social contributions on a brand’s part if said brand is perceived as global (Baek et al., 2017). Thus, in order to satisfy its customers’ needs, Foot Locker UK would do well to promote its global image in association with the brand’s commitment to positive social change.
Target Market Strategies
Appealing to millennial and Generation Z customers requires designing marketing campaigns associative the brand with a positive cause of global importance. As shown by Baek et al. (2017), such programs are the most effective when focusing on specific social causes positively perceived by the target customer groups. One possible market strategy is to focus on diversity and, specifically, the LGBTQ+ community in a marketing campaign. Another possible cause to address is the physical inactivity pandemic, as in Nike’s “Designed to Move” program (Baek et al., 2017). To represent the campaigns as philanthropic rather than merely marketing, campaign materials should focus on the cause promoted while portraying Foot Locker UK as highly congruent with it. Foot Locker Europe’s ongoing campaign “Shoes Don’t Change the World. You Do” is a fitting example of what to strive for in this respect (Palmieri, 2020). In all cases, a marketing strategy should have a considerable digital presence and involve social media influencers that can potentially sway the opinions of millennial and Generation Z customers (Palmieri, 2020). With these conditions met, one can reasonably assume that Foot Locker UK’s marketing would satisfy the younger customers’ need to partake in ethical consumption.
As a sportswear and footwear retailer, Foot Locker UK should target millennial and Generation Z customers as the groups that are most likely to engage in sports or support an athletic lifestyle. Both categories are more likely to make purchases based on moral considerations, and Foot Locker UK should associate the brand with positive social causes to satisfy this need to shop ethically. Marketing strategies designed to achieve it should focus on globally recognized social causes, such as combating physical inactivity or endorsing diversity, and involve cause-appropriate influencers that are likely to impact the intended customer groups.
Baek, W., Byon, K. K., Choi, Y., & Park, C. (2017). Millennial consumers’ perception of sportswear brand globalness impacts purchase intention in cause-related product marketing. Social Behavior and Personality, 45(8), 1319-1336.
Palmieri, J. E. (2020). Foot Locker Europe launching diverse marketing campaign. WWD.