Case Study MKT 113 Christina Visesio Southern New Hampshire University

| March 30, 2014

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Read or view the case study ?Prince Sports, Inc.? from Chapter 9, pages 239?241. Answer the following questions (located at the end of the case study) using the attached case study template.

1:I n the twenty-first century, what trends in the environmental forces (social, economic, technological, competitive, and regulatory) (a) work for and (b) work against Prince Sports in the tennis industry?

2: Because sales of Prince Sports in tennis-related products depend heavily on the growth of the tennis industry, what marketing activities might the company use in the United States to promote tennis playing?

3: What promotional activities might Prince use to reach (a) recreational players and (b) junior players?

4: What might Prince do to help it gain distribution and sales in (a) mass merchandisers like Target and Walmart and (b) specialty tennis shops?

5: In reaching global markets outside of the United States, (a) what are some criteria that Prince should use to select countries in which to market aggressively, (b) what three or four countries meet these criteria best, and (c) what are some of the marketing actions Prince might use to reach these markets?

Case Study information pages 239-241.

PRINCE SPORTS IN TODAY’S CHANGING WORLD
?Today?particularly in reaching younger consumers?we’re now focusing so much more on social marketing and social networks, be it Facebook, Twitter, or internationally with Hi5, Bebo, and Orkut,? she adds.
Linda Glassel’s comments are a snapshot look at what Prince Sports faces in the changing world of tennis in the 21st century.
Prince Sports is a racquet sports company whose portfolio of brands includes Prince (tennis, squash, and badminton), Ektelon (racquetball), and Viking (platform/paddle tennis). Its complete line of tennis products alone is astounding: more than 150 racquet models; more than 50 tennis strings; over 50 footwear models; and countless types of bags, apparel, and other accessories.
Prince prides itself on its history of innovation in tennis?including inventing the first ?oversize? and ?longbody? racquets, the first ?synthetic gut? tennis string, and the first ?Natural Foot Shape? tennis shoe. Its challenge today is to continue to innovate to meet the needs of all levels of tennis players.
?One favorable thing for Prince these days is the dramatic growth in tennis participation?higher than it’s been in many years,? says Nick Skally (center in the photo below), senior marketing manager. A recent study by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association confirms this point: Tennis participation in the United States was up 43 percent?the fastest growing traditional individual sport in the country.
Page 240
TAMING TECHNOLOGY TO MEET PLAYERS’ NEEDS
Every tennis player wants the same thing: to play better. But they don’t all have the same skills, or the same ability to swing a racquet fast. So adult tennis players fall very broadly into three groups, each with special needs:
Those with shorter, slower strokes. They want maximum power in a lightweight frame.
Those with moderate to full strokes. They want the perfect blend of power and control.
Those with longer, faster strokes. They want greater control with less power.
To satisfy all these needs in one racquet is a big order.
?When we design tennis racquets, it involves an extensive amount of market research on players at all levels,? explains Tyler Herring, global business director for performance tennis racquets. Prince’s research led it to introduce its breakthrough O3 technology. ?Our O3 technology solved an inherent contradiction between racquet speed and sweet spot,? he says. Never before had a racquet been designed that simultaneously delivers faster racquet speed with a dramatically increased ?sweet spot.? The ?sweet spot? in a racquet is the middle of the frame that gives the most power and consistency when hitting. Recently, Prince introduced its latest evolution of the O3 platform called EXO3. Its newly patented design suspends the string bed from the racquet frame?thereby increasing the sweet spot by up to 83 percent while reducing frame vibration up to 50 percent.
SEGMENTING THE TENNIS MARKET
?The three primary market segments for our tennis racquets are our performance line, our recreational line, and our junior line,? says Herring. He explains that within each of these segments Prince makes difficult design trade-offs to balance (1) the price a player is willing to pay, (2) what playing features (speed versus spin, sweet spot versus control, and so on) they want, and (3) what technology can be built into the racquet for the price point.
Within each of these three primary market segments, there are at least two subsegments?sometimes overlapping! Figure 1 gives an overview of Prince’s market segmentation strategy and identifies sample racquet models. The three right-hand columns show the design variations of length, unstrung weight, and head size. The table shows the complexities Prince faces in converting its technology into a racquet with physical features that satisfy players’ needs.
FIGURE 1
Prince targets racquets at specific market segments
DISTRIBUTION AND PROMOTION STRATEGIES
?Prince has a number of different distribution channels?from mass merchants like Walmart and Target, to sporting goods chains, to smaller specialty tennis shops,? says Nick Skally. For the large chains Prince contributes co-op advertising for its in-store circulars, point-of-purchase displays, in-store signage, consumer brochures, and even ?space planograms? to help the retailer plan the layout of Prince products in its tennis area. Prince aids for small tennis specialty shops include a supply of demo racquets, detailed catalogs, posters, racquet and string guides, merchandising fixtures, and hardware, such as racquet hooks and footwear shelves, in addition to other items. Prince also provides these shops with ?player standees,? which are corregated life-size cutouts of professional tennis players.
Prince reaches tennis players directly through its website (www.princetennis.com), which gives product information, tennis tips, and the latest tennis news. Besides using social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Prince runs ads in regional and national tennis publications and develops advertising campaigns for online sites and broadcast outlets.

In addition to its in-store activities, advertising, and online marketing, Prince invests heavily in its Teaching Pro program. These sponsored teaching pros receive all the latest product information, demo racquets, and equipment from Prince, so they can truly be Prince ambassadors in their community. Aside from their regular lessons, instructors and teaching professionals hold local ?Prince Demo events? around the country to give potential customers a hands-on opportunity to see and try various Prince racquets, strings, and grips.
Page 241
Prince also sponsors over 100 professional tennis players who appear in marquee events such as the four Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon and the Australian, French, and U.S. Opens). TV viewers can watch Russia’s Maria Sharapova walk onto a tennis court carrying a Prince racquet bag or France’s Gael Monfils hit a service ace using his Prince racquet.

Where is Prince headed in the 21st century? ?As a marketer, one of the biggest challenges is staying ahead of the curve,? says Glassel. And she stresses, ?It’s learning, it’s studying, it’s talking to people who understand where the market is going.?
Questions
In the 21st century what trends in the environmental forces (social, economic, technological, competitive, and regulatory) (a) work for and (b) work against success for Prince Sports in the tennis industry?
Because sales of Prince Sports in tennis-related products depends heavily on growth of the tennis industry, what marketing activities might it use in the United States to promote tennis playing?
What promotional activities might Prince use to reach (a) recreational players and (b) junior players?
What might Prince do to help it gain distribution and sales in (a) mass merchandisers like Target and Walmart and (b) specialty tennis shops?
In reaching global markets outside the United States (a) what are some criteria that Prince should use to select countries in which to market aggressively, (b) what three or four countries meet these criteria best, and (c) what are some marketing actions Prince might use to reach these markets?
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