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Marketing Analysis of Oakley I

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Marketing Analysis of Oakley I


For my strategic sports marketing project, I decided to report on the sports marketing activities of a particular corporation. I specifically wanted to report on the marketing operations of a rather diverse company; one that offers more than one product line for more than one sport. Oakley, Inc. is a company that offers several different products for a wide range of sports. I will now briefly describe the company and its operations, as well as its primary sports marketing goals and objectives.

Company Info.

Oakley, Inc. is a Washington corporation formed in March 1994 to succeed to the assets and liabilities of Oakley, Inc., a California corporation, which commenced operations in 1977 and began to sell sunglasses in 1984 (Scott, 1998). The company is an innovation-driven designer, manufacturer and distributor of consumer products, including high-performance eyewear, footwear, watches and athletic equipment. Oakley's principal strength is its ability to develop products which demonstrate superior performance and comfort through the combination of patented and other proprietary technology and unique styling. The company has focused on eyewear innovations for sports applications, and its products are worn by a variety of athletes, such as skiers, cyclists, runners, surfers, golfers, tennis and baseball players and motocross riders. In addition, the company's products, which are currently sold in over 70 countries worldwide, have become increasingly popular with fashion-oriented consumers in the larger nonsports, or recreational, segment of the sunglass market. Oakley's products currently include sunglasses (e.g., Frogskins, M Frames, Zeros, Wires, Jackets, X Metal, Fives, and Topcoat), goggles, face shields for use with sports helmets, sunglass accessories, gear bags and a limited range of athletic footwear, technical apparel and premium timepieces (Scott, 1998).

With focus on consumers for the next generation, the company has established itself as a legitimate world brand with unique expertise in product design, performance and production.

Product Design & Development

State-of-the-art technology allows Oakley to shorten dramatically its product development cycle. Stereolithographic computer modeling is combined with CAD/CAM liquid laser prototyping to create fully detailed, wearable prototypes of eyewear and footwear (, 1999). Rapid iteration of working models allows for extensive testing and perfecting of product design before introduction to the public. After the development stage is complete, the final sculpture can be used directly in preparation of production tooling. Utilizing these processes, the company is capable of introducing a new product line within four months of initial concept.

Oakley has obtained hundreds of patents worldwide to protects its proprietary manufacturing methods and product features. Among the company's most important patents are those which guard its achievements in torodial single-lens geometry and the associated manufacturing techniques, dual-spherical lens technology and the associated optical advances, and innovations in frame design and functionality (, 1999). The proprietary technologies employed in lens cutting, etching, and coating, as well as the company's significant investments in specialized equipment, are matched with exclusive formulations of production materials to produce the superior optical quality, safety and performance of Oakley eyewear (Mayes, 1998).

Oakley's historical success is attributable to its introduction of products that represent improvements in performance and style over goods available on the market. To that end, the company strives to develop methods of production that provide greater precision and less cost than its competition.

Establishing itself as a global brand, Oakley has diversified beyond the eyewear market. The utilization of advanced technologies in fabrics and fabrication has placed Oakley at the forefront of innovation in the design and production of apparel. In addition to clothing, Oakley has also entered the performance footwear market. The initial footwear release was marked by a reinvention of current styles and sciences.

The company continues to expand the limits of today's technologies, most recently by introducing wristwatches that merge critical innovations in gearing, bearings and microcircuitry from around the world (, 1999). The company intends to introduce other product line extensions and new product lines in the future, in order to attract additional consumers to the brand. This type of diversity is part of the reason why Oakley has been so successful.

Sales & Marketing

The primary functions of Oakley's sales force are to sell to each retailer the appropriate mix and quantity of Oakley products, ensure that products are displayed effectively and educate retailers about the quality and features of Oakley products and Oakley's sales and marketing philosophies. The company believes that its relationships with its customers, effective marketing and superior customer service are critical elements of their success (Walker, 1999).

While Oakley uses traditional marketing methods in some instances, the company attributes much of its success to the use of less conventional methods, including sports marketing, targeted product allocation, advertorials and in-store display aids (, 1999). Oakley has used sports marketing extensively to achieve consistent, authentic exposure that equates into strong brand recognition on a global level. Oakley utilizes the exposure generated by its athletes as an editorial endorsement of Oakley's eyewear rather than a commercial endorsement.

The sports marketing division consists of 25 sports marketing experts domestically, with an additional 20 managers positioned in direct offices and with distributors internationally. These experts specialize in each market segment and niche to negotiate contracts with athletes, identify and develop relationships with undiscovered talent, coordinate exposure with the media, educate and train these Oakley 'ambassadors' about Oakley products and support them at all events and public forums where they wear Oakley products (Ryan, 1999).

Oakley's sports marketing staff is diverse enough to understand and effectively market all sports, regardless of the sport's image and special equipment needs. Oakley earns the respect of its athletes even in the most core of sports such as surf and snowboard, yet continues to expand successfully into more traditional sports such as golf, tennis and baseball.

Advertising & Promotion

Oakley retains significant control over its promotional programs and is able to deliver a consistent, well-recognized advertising message at substantial cost savings compared to complete reliance on outside agencies (Zimmerman, 1997). Localized strategies of marketing and distribution are managed by direct operations in Europe, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, and Canada. In other parts of the world, the integrity of the brand is safeguarded by carefully selected distributors who present Oakley products to their markets with local expertise (

Oakley's primary method of enhancing brand recognition is sports marketing, which places the Oakley brand before consumers through the endorsements of influential athletes and other personalities, some of whom have formal arrangements with the company. Some of these athletes include Michael Jordan, Mark McGwire, Dennis Rodman, and David Duval. The effectiveness of this promotional strategy is believed to outweigh that of direct advertising, which often lacks the impact and recognition of athletic endorsement. The company believes that direct advertising can be useful, but only in situations that do not lead to competition with editorial coverage (Woodson, 1998). <...

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Keywords: oakley marketing strategy, oakley marketing, oakley marketing director, oakley marketing department, oakley marketing contact

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