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Columbia: The market of outdoor shoes

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This study was conducted as part of an ongoing marketing research called Staps, which was related to "Sport Management". The goal was to learn to behave professionally, as a research officer. This involved learning the skills to work accurately, using marketing tools. For this, we chose to describe the political marketing of Columbia Sportswear Company, a segment of the footwear brand. This choice was made because we are naturally attracted to the outdoor market. The outdoor footwear market is booming, and has an interesting description.

For this analysis, we will first describe the Columbia Company and then the market where it positioned itself with the footwear range - the outdoor footwear market. Finally, we focussed on the description of the marketing policy. It was described in four points: the product; price; distribution and communication. To conclude, we provided a critical look at the brand and its positioning in the outdoor footwear market.

Lanfrom Paul and Mary, two German immigrants, who fled from the Nazis with their daughter Gert, decided to engage in the hat trade. They created their company in Portland, Oregon, and named it Columbia Hat Company.

However, the company played a key role with respect to distribution, and was satisfied with its manufacturers and distributors. Lanfrom Paul then turned to a process of self-production of the goods. In 1938, the brand Columbia Sportswear Company was created and the company was developed gradually.

In 1948, Gert married Neal Boyle, and the latter entered the family business. He even became the president of the company when its founder died in 1963. Meanwhile, the brand was beginning to have a place in the market in clothing with respect to hunting and fishing. Neal Boyle strived to increase the brand presence in the market of clothing for hunting and fishing. His role as a president, however, ended abruptly when he succumbed to a heart attack in 1970. At that point, even if the values of the sales amounted to 600,000 dollars, the company would suffer a finacial loss. Banks were reluctant about borrowings and stores refused to stock the branded goods.

Columbia Sportswear Company was a global leader in the outdoor sector with a turnover amounting to 1.287 billion dollars in 2006. Moreover, it was the number one brand with respect to ski wear in the United States. This figure represented an increase of 11.4% compared to the results of the previous year and also an increase in the sales over the period 2000-2006 by almost 210%. This corresponded to an average growth of 30% per year. The company continued to grow very strongly and its sales increased exponentially in seven years.

Columbia Sportswear Company is present in 70 countries (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand) and works with more than 13,800 retailers around the world (including 43.5% in the United States and Canada). The head office and the local distribution center is located in Portland while the European distribution center is based at Cambrai, France.

The number of employees were 2810 people in 2006: 1291 are based in the United States, 1079 in Asia, 324 in Europe and 116 in Canada.With the increasing number of practitioners and the evolution of sports practices, there is a rapid development of the outdoor market in France and worldwide.

Tags: Sport Management, Columbia Sportswear Company, footwear market, Columbia Hat Company, United States, development

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