The paper "Strategic Marketing at North Face Inc" is an outstanding example of a marketing case study. The North Face (TNF) Inc. is an outdoor product company which was established in 1968. Based in San Leandro, California, the North Face specializes in fleece, outwears, footwear’ s, shirts, and various camping equipment including sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks. By 1980s, the company added skiwear to its line of products. The company’ s competitive advantages are based on its high quality, fashionable, superior designs products and its excellent brand image. In addition, the company focuses less on price competitiveness and more on the production of durable products.
These aspects can as well be transferred into the ski clothing market. The North Face expansion into the ski clothing market is appropriate because this will enable the company to grow. Other growth factors include entry into other markets such as China. 1.0 Introduction The North Face (TNF) Inc. is an outdoor product company which was established in 1968. Based in San Leandro, California, the North Face specializes in fleece, outwears, footwear’ s, shirts, and various camping equipment including sleeping bags, tents, and backpacks.
By 1980s, the company added skiwear to its line of products. The equipment and clothing lines are established towards climbers, wilderness chic, skiers, mountaineers, hikers, snowboarders, and endurance athletes who are sponsored by the company (White, 1996). The sponsored athlete program has enabled the company to maintain a strong linkage with the external community. Currently, the North Face is an entirely possessed subordinate of the VF Corporation. Together with JanSport, which is the globe’ s main backpack maker, the two companies generally produce almost half of the backpacks which are traded in the United States (White, 1996).
This report will evaluate the resources, distinctive competencies and capabilities that presently contribute to The North Face competitive advantages. In addition, the report will evaluate whether these competencies and competitive advantages are operable and transferable in the ski clothing market, examining whether the ski wear move is appropriate for the company. Lastly, the report will assess other growth alternatives which may be considered and appropriate for The North Face Inc. This information will assist the marketing consultant to make business decisions for the company including recommending future strategic options. 2.0 Resources, capabilities and distinctive competencies contributing to The North Face competitive advantages Like any other company, The North Face operates in an industry that is highly competitive.
The North Face competitive advantage was initially targeted at meeting the needs of a specific niche market, which is the extreme athlete. Therefore, The North Face was considered to be a market leader in providing products for the speciality market (Aaker and McLoughlin, 2010). As the company expanded into the broader market, its competitive environment had to change as well (Kotler and Armstrong 2010).
To be able to compete with other casual sportswear producers, The North Face had to create the A5 series line that would enable it to identify itself as a mainstream producer of casual sportswear. The development of the A5 product line has enabled the company to enter into a very competitive industry where all the companies participating in this industry have the major goal of becoming leaders in the market. However, The North Face competitive advantage is grounded on the production of durable products that can withstand the violent and harsh outdoor environment.
In addition, the pricing strategy applied by The North Face for the casual outdoor attires is generally similar to that applied by its competitors. One of the major competitors of The North Face by market share and sales volume is Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex products have a higher price range compared to The North Face’ s price range, though they promise to be more technical and high-performance materials. When compared to The North Face’ s A5 line of products, Gore-Tex attires are more of a city-wear or rather modern orientation.
However, The North Face’ s A5 series line is made from cotton, which makes these products more breathable and durable compared to the competing products available in the market (Aaker and McLoughlin, 2010).
Aaker, D. and McLoughlin, D. 2010. Strategic Market Management – Global Perspectives. West
Sussex: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
George J., Taryn, W. and John, S. 1994. Forecasting and Market Analysis Techniques: A
Practical Approach. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.
Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. 2010. Principles of marketing. London: Prentice Hall
Pride, W. & Ferell, C. 2006. Marketing: concepts and strategies. Sydney: Cengage Learning.
Pride, W., Runle-Thiele, S. & Waller, D. et al 2006. Marketing: Asia-Pacific Edition. Sydney:
John Wiley & Sons Australia
The North Face, 2011. http://www.thenorthface.com.au/ [Accessed September 7, 2011]
Lockley, M., 2011. ‘Where are the best prices for ski wear?’ The guardian, 13 January
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/jan/13/best-prices-ski-wear [Accessed September7, 2011].
White, C.C. R. 1996. ‘The North Face's Tekware’ New York Times, April 16, p. B14.