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How Nike Women's Marathon Wins the Gold in Marketing to Women

by Marti Barletta  |  
October 23, 2007
  |  15,009 views

On October 21, Nike will have hosted its 4th annual Women's Marathon in San Francisco... and, friends, this is no ordinary marathon.

Yes, it's still 26.2 miles of courage and pain, but this course is also full of female-friendly delights and surprises. Specifically designed with women in mind, the Nike Women's Marathon motivates women to bring their body, mind, spirit, and camaraderie to run their best race.

Let's take a look at the core marketing-to-women strategies that Nike is using to elevate the impact of this event: Surprise & Delight, Community, Corporate Halo, Storytelling, Emotional Connection, and Inclusiveness.

Surprise & Delight

Random acts of kindness are wonderful ways to connect with your female audience, create a great memory, and give them something to tell their friends about. In fact, in this age of word-of-mouth marketing, the Surprise & Delight strategy is consistently the most effective way to create positive word of mouth—your most powerful marketing multiplier.


From the spectacular views along the course to the sweet treats during the Chocolate Mile to the foot-pampering pedicure stations, Nike has designed every detail of the Nike Women's Marathon to delight the women runners.

On Thursday night before the big weekend, participants are invited to the Ladies Night happy hour, featuring drinks, appetizers, and special raffles, including a chance to win diamond earrings from Tiffany & Co. At the Nike Expotique, the racers can indulge in free massages and manicures, tune up with Nike+ trials, fitness consultations, training and nutrition seminars, and have some fun at the hair and make-up stylist stations. Post-race, there's a big party at the finish line with music, more free massages, and lots of good food.

At the end of the 26.2 miles, each runner gets a Finisher's necklace from Tiffany, a little bit of bling that serves as a badge of honor for every woman who fights her way to the finish line. As one blogger put it, "Crossing the finish line and having a tall, handsome man in a tuxedo hand you a little blue box makes it worth all of your hard work!"


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Marti Barletta is the founder and CEO of consulting think-tank The TrendSight Group  (www.trendsight.com) and the author of PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds, and Business of Boomer Big Spenders (Jan. 2007) and Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment (Dec. 2002). Reach her at marti.barletta@trendsight.com.

Are you a Premium Plus member of MarketingProfs?  You can replay our 90-minute virtual seminar with Marti, Reach the Big Spenders:  How to Market wo Women from 50 to 75.

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