What does it take to compete in the athletic shoe busi¬ness? Some experts think you need lots of celebrities hawking products, an incredible array of products for every form of exercise and recreation, gimmicks such as lighted heels, and hundreds of millions of dollars for ad¬vertising. If so, who would believe that a young woman named Sheri Poe of Massachusetts could succeed by sell¬ing a limited line of athletic shoes with no money for ad¬vertising? Maybe no one, but after eight years of hard work, that young woman 's company, RYKA, is finally profitable, and its sales are growing at more than 40 per¬cent a year. By combining niche marketing, a good un¬derstanding of customers, creative promotion, and…show more content… In every box of shoes, RYKA places a tag with the telephone number of the National Victim Center In¬folink (1-800-FYI-CALL), a set of safety rules for women, and an explanation of the company 's commit¬ment to supporting women. The tag advises:
For some people, exercise is a form of release. For others, it can be a personal salvation. While a shoe can only offer support, the nature of that support can make all the difference. RYKA athletic shoes are the first to be made for women, by women. They are also the first athletic shoes to offer a sup¬port system for women, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Be Strong. RYKA
1. Describe RYKA 's segmentation and positioning strategies. Why would these be successful?
2. By visibly supporting causes, such as ending vio¬lence against women, Sheri Poe involves the RYKA Company in "passion" or "cause" marketing. Is this sort of marketing appropriate? Will it be enough to carry RYKA in the face of increased competition from Nike and Reebok?
3. Do you agree that the RYKA ad described in the case goes too far in attacking violence against women? In your opinion, why would this ad be criticized?
4. In your opinion, will RYKA 's aquatic aerobics shoe be a success? Why or why