Nike is arguably one of the most iconic brands in the world, next to other giants like Apple, Mcdonald’s, and Coca-Cola. They have risen to dominate the athletic market. Recent numbers show that Nike dominates 48% of general athletic footwear and up to 96% of footwear used in basketball. We’ll be taking a look at Nike’s positioning, segmentation, and targeting in marketing. Additionally, we will give you a brief overview of the factors that have made them so successful, which will hopefully inspire you as you build your business. 



Nike’s Positioning Segmentation and Targeting in Marketing


If we asked you what you think makes Nike so successful, you may think – celebrity endorsements? While this is a factor, Nike’s strategy goes much deeper than that. Much of their marketing has set the tone for many brands, thanks to their sense of creativity and innovations. 


How Does Nike Do It?


So what exactly makes Nike’s marketing so special? The list could go on and on, but we’ve condensed their strategy into three main points. 


Selling The Story


The first aspect of Nike’s marketing brilliance is the ability to cultivate meaningful stories and sell them well to their fan base. This is so central to their marketing that their ads rarely ever mention actual products. You might also call this “emotional branding.”


Their emotional branding often comes in the form of a hero’s story. Nike’s here typically strives to overcome their circumstances or adversities. With sheer passion, determination, and hard work, they emerge triumphantly and achieve their goals. 


One consistent example you’ll recognise is their tagline. The iconic Just Do It


Several other Nike quotes include; “If you have a body, you’re an athlete,” “Better For It” and “Find your greatness.”


Emotional branding and compelling storytelling have added the benefit of getting their customers talking about their brand. If your business isn’t working and not being talked about, it’s time to start doing something. You want to capture customer’s attention and make them want to be a part of your story and culture. 


Epic Content


Another reason Nike’s marketing has become so iconic and memorable is its ability to create epic content. Some examples include Nike’s “Phenomenal Shot” campaign and their Youtube Original series, “Margot and Lily.” More than 500,00 “Phenomenal Moments” were created and Margot and Lily garnered over 80 million views. 


These are creative and innovative ways to promote Nike’s brand without actually creating an ad. By creating epic content, Nike manages to leave its name in the minds of millions of people, increasing both their memorability and visibility. Evidently, their numbers don’t lie either. After these were released, Nike saw increased downloads of Nike+Run and Training Club, as well as increased purchases. 


Social Consciousness and Innovation


Lastly, Nike never forgets to prioritise their social consciousness and innovation. In an economy where consumers are increasingly aware of sustainability, Nike has gotten this right. Many people these days expect responsible brands with an initiative to leave a positive impact. 


Nike has created a number of community outreach programs. More notably, they continue to innovate new technologies, like self-lacing shoes, which have the potential to benefit people with disabilities or conditions that take away from their dexterity. This enables them to reach a wider audience while staying ahead of the game technologically. 


Innovations in Nike’s shoes have also paved the way for a whole new era for high performance. For this reason, their basketball shoes have become staples on the court, and their running shoes are boosting records to new heights.


Understanding The Basics – Positioning Segmentation and Targeting in Marketing


Positioning, segmentation, and targeting in marketing are all essential modern tactics. These are used to refine marketing models. How it works is that this helps select the most relevant and valuable segments for a particular business. 


Marketers need to be able to prioritise their tactics for specific audiences and develop personalised messaging relevant to the business. Nike’s marketing, for instance, would not be relevant to older people or infants, nor would it be relevant to the finance or food industry. 


The point is not to reach everyone. You can’t be all things at once. What matters is to effectively reach relevant audiences. 




Product positioning involves establishing yourself in a particular market you fit. For example, Nike positions itself as a leader in sports equipment. Positioning will help your brand decide how to proceed in terms of consumers perceptions of what your brand is. You also need to position yourself against close competitors and figure out what you do differently from the rest. 




Market segmentation is where you break down exactly who your audience is or who you are selling to. Typically, audiences are segmented into the following:


  • Demographic – Age, gender, ethnicity, family life
  • Geographic – World region, country, city, climate
  • Psychographic – Lifestyle, personality, activities, interests, opinions
  • Socioeconomic – Income, education, occupation
  • Behavioural – Purchasing frequency and customer loyalty
  • Benefits Sought – Customer needs and desired product features


Nike’s target market includes a demographic of those aged 11-45 but put a greater emphasis on teens to cultivate long-term customers. 


Their psychographic segment includes active, fashionable individuals that consider physical activity as part of their lifestyle. Geographic targeting is also varied based on what’s popular in each given region – meaning branding and advertising will be different from one country to the next. 


Benefits that are sought involve a specific need that is satisfied with every purchase. Nike targets three aspects within this segment; utility, style, and technology




Targeting follows after segmentation. This is when you decide on segments that suit your business goal best and then you can effectively establish your target market. 


Markets are evaluated based on size, reachability, measurability, and behaviour. Nike has found a niche market that allows them to offer specialized and innovative products which meet their needs for high performance and style. 


Their branding also takes psychological factors into consideration, which ties into our discussion of emotional branding. They are aggressive and on top of trends, which includes sustainability, forward-thinking innovation, and customisation. 


Implications – Positioning Segmentation and Targeting in Marketing


  • Nike is a pioneer in sports apparel and equipment, putting innovation at the forefront of their brand
  • They have made themselves icons through ingenious branding and creative content
  • Businesses can learn from their marketing prowess, which starts of by building a solid strategy that includes positioning, segmentation, and targeting
  • Because of a solid positioning, segmentation, and targeting, Nike is able to adapt its strategy to suit each region they are in, which allows them to tailor its ads to different cultures and markets




In conclusion, one of the most evident markers of Nike’s success is its clear understanding of positioning, segmentation, and targeting in marketing. They thoroughly understand their markets and know how to utilise this data to tailor their content and marketing strategies for each segment. 


Businesses can learn many vital lessons from Nike’s strategy. This starts with understanding strengths and leveraging market gaps in order to fill niche’s that you can command. 


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