|"All that meat and no potatoes, just ain't right|
like green tomatoes" - Fats Waller
After the actual board, the most important piece of equipment are the shoes that you wear. The basic requirement is that they be flat-soled and flexible. Like much of the items available in our everyday capitalist American lives, we have control over which brand of shoes we can have. This is the reason why there is a whole world of skate shoe manufacturers offering many different takes on the basic construction needs of a skateboarding shoe. Some of the more famous brands include: DC, Etnies, Adio, Converse, and my personal favorite, Vans.
This is where the marketing concepts come in. Chapter 6 of our textbook is titled "Creating Value for Target Customers." Now why would I choose to spend way more money than I should on several pairs of skate shoes when I could buy one really cheap pair at a department store? This is due to Vans approach to the idea of Market Segmentation which is the process of dividing a market into smaller segments of buyers with distinct needs, characteristics, or behaviors that might require separate marketing strategies or mixes. Within this there is the concept of Market Targeting which is deciding what segments are most attractive to enter. There are also variables that go along with Market Segmentation. These variables are geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral. So where does Vans stand on these ideas?
Vans clearly targeted the skate shoe market as its segment. The company makes use of all of the variables but I believe it mainly focuses on the psychographic aspect. The psychographic variable deals with social class, lifestyle, and personality. The lifestyle it goes for is the free-spirited skateboarder. The personality it goes for (well, basically what I see as my personality) is the independent person who likes a stylish shoe that says something about who they are.
Through targeting these segments Vans hopes to differentiate itself from its competitors and create value and gain loyalty from its customers. The competitive aspect will be explored in the future of this blog so for now I leave with one of my favorite punk bands ever: The Suicide Machines-The Vans Song