Capstone Project: Identifying Opportunities to Capitalize on the Emerging Female Sporting Goods Market

Pages: 20 (4294 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Business: Marketing  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] (p. 106)

Other recent trends that have implications for the company’s future marketing initiatives include changes in the peak age of participation in team sporting activities. Research has shown that participating in team sports reaches at peak at age 11 years and declines thereafter among both boys and girls, but more girls are remaining active in these sports than in years past (Woods, 2017). Although the precise reasons for this recent relative decline in participation by boys and relative increase in the percentage of girls remaining active in sports team activities remain unclear, there have been several potential reasons for these trends advanced by market analysts including the following::

· Overemphasis on winning as the objective with resulting increases in pressure to win and achieve;

· Stress on high performance that translates into longer hours of practice, longer seasons, and specialization in one sport at an early age;

· Expenses of participation, traveling teams, sport camps, sport academies, coaching, and equipment that are out of reach of middle-class families;

· Increased injury incidence due to inordinate demands on young bodies;

· Increased participation in alternative sports by young people who are turned off by traditional adult-organized programs;

· Lack of training for youth coaches and the resulting frustration of kids who take orders from well-intentioned but misguided coaches;

· Earlier starts in youth sport (sometimes as young as 3 or 4 years of age); children simply grow bored with a sport after a number of years (Woods, 2016, p. 107).

Other studies have also identified some important trends in sports preferences among youth people with implications for the company’s future marketing efforts. For example a study conducted by the Women’s Sports Foundation found that nearly three-quarters (72%) of American young people were either currently participating in a sport or had done so within the past year, while 15% had never played sports and another 12% had dropped out of their sporting activity (Woods, 2016). These findings suggest that a majority of North American youth remain active in the types of sporting activities for which the company already markets equipment and supplies.

There were some interesting differences in sports participation levels, including differences in gender levels depending on the geographic region and race, but boys continue to play more multiple sports compared to girls and boys tend to begin their participation in sports earlier than girls (6.8 years versus 7.4 years, respectively) (Woods, 2016). Here again, although the precise reasons for these differences remain the subject to investigation, the prevailing theory concerning these differences involves social and geographic factors. For example, according to Woods (2016):

Youth sports are racially and ethnically diverse and at many ages, boys of color tend to have higher participation rates in sport than Caucasians. However, the picture for girls of color is not encouraging. They seem to be hit by both gender and skin color discrimination, and their participation levels fall significantly below those of Caucasian girls. The reasons for this are a combination of culture, family responsibilities, income level, and living locations. (p. 108)

Likewise, and perhaps not surprisingly, girls were more likely to participate in sports such as dance, volleyball, soccer, cycling, lacrosse, field hockey, ultimate Frisbee, cheerleading, double Dutch, and competitive rope jumping and compared to their male counterparts who remained active in traditional sporting activities such as football, basketball, baseball and soccer (Woods, 2016). At present, the company markets products in these sporting categories as shown in Table 3 below.

Table 3

Current female-oriented sports products offered by Bill and Fred’s Sporting Goods, Inc.

Product

Description

Comments

Dance

No relevant product offerings

Volleyball

Amateur volleyball sets and volleyballs

These are the only two relevant products offered in this category.

Soccer

No relevant major product offerings.

The company does offer a giant 6-foot novelty soccer ball for team practice and events ($120).

Cycling

No relevant major product offerings.

The company offers two types of bicycle locks only.

Lacrosse

No relevant product offerings

Field hockey

No relevant product offerings

Ultimate Frisbee

No relevant product offerings

Cheerleading

No relevant product offerings

The above listing underscores the current focus on the company’s traditional target market of young North American males, but it is reasonable to suggest that the company is also missing out on some lucrative market niches that it continues to ignore or undervalue. Responding to these recent trends in sports and participation levels in an efficient and effective fashion will therefore require ongoing vigilance concerning opportunities to grow the company’s business in its primary North American market as well as beyond. Such responses, however, are currently constrained by the lingering aftereffects of the company’s merger with its former major competitor, including forging a new organizational culture that combines the best of both enterprises. Taken together, it is clear that these foregoing issues and trends have significant implications for the future of the company and underscore the need for timely leadership today in order to sustain and improve Bill and Fred’s competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive and dynamic marketplace as discussed further below.

4. Evaluation concerning how each of the three areas of responsibility is impacted by the overall challenges

Leadership. Notwithstanding the current CEO proven abilities to guide this multinational enterprise during periods of changes in consumer preferences and economic downturns, it is reasonable to suggest that at some point, Bill will need to permanently retire due to physical infirmities, diminished cognitive abilities, age-related disorders or for personal reasons. In any event, implementing a leadership transition program will require corresponding leadership on the part of the key executives in the company to convince the current CEO of its necessity and urgency as well as the individuals who is tasked with creating the program and the ad hoc committee that will be used to identify potential candidates and formulate an appropriate transition strategy.

Likewise, the current – and future CEO as identified above – will need to be educated concerning the growing popularity of sports-themed video games and recent trends in female participation in group and individual sporting activities as well as the need to develop informed responses and redefine the company’s current (and historic) male-oriented target market.

Administration. Collaboration between the company’s human resource, new product planning and development and marketing divisions will be needed together with their representation on the ad hoc committees. While the composition of the ad hoc committees may change over time as their progress proceeds and new requirements are identified, the original representation on the two ad hoc committees for the two business challenges outlined above will be as follows:

Ad hoc committee #1 (executive search committee): Business problem task: Develop and implement a transition program to groom a replacement for the current CEO.

· Project leader (this will be a member of the board of directors);

· Director, human resources division (assistant project leader and recording secretary);

· Assistant director, human resources division;

· Director, marketing;

· Director, communications; and,

· Expert input from staff and outside counsel as needed.

The designation of a member of the board of directors as the project team leader for this business problem is consistent with the guidance provided by one executive search consultancy that emphasizes, “The selection of a chief executive officer is one of the most important decisions the Board will ever make. Thus, it makes sense to populate the Committee with current board members who are the most attentive to and knowledgeable of the work of the organization” (Who should be represented on the search committee, 2018).

Ad hoc committee #2: Business problem task: Create a marketing division focusing on female-oriented sporting goods and services, including sports-related video games.

· Project leader (director, marketing);

· Chief, new product development (assistant project leader and recording secretary);

· Chief, U.S. marketing;

· Chief; Canadian marketing; and,

· Expert input from staff and outside counsel as needed.

Delegation. Project leaders will be assigned to head the two ad hoc committees as noted above that will be formed to implement the recommendations that are described below following a discussion concerning how these solutions will address the above-stated business challenges in these three areas of responsibility.

5. Solution to address the business challenges involving each of the three areas of responsibility

Leadership. As noted above, project leaders will be assigned to each of the two business challenges (i.e., develop and implement a transition program to groom a replacement for the current CEO and Create a marketing division focusing on female-oriented sporting goods and services, including sports-related video games) including heading an ad hoc committee that will be tasked with appropriate responsibilities.

Administration. An ad hoc committee will be created for each business challenge headed by the project leaders noted above.

Delegation. An assistant project leader for each ad hoc committee will be delegated specific tasks by the project leader as the need… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Chicago Format

"Identifying Opportunities to Capitalize on the Emerging Female Sporting Goods Market."  Essaytown.com.  February 22, 2018.  Accessed September 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/identifying-opportunities-capitalize/1794663.