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Table of Contents 1.

Company Description - Pg. 3


Strategic Focus - Pg. 5


Situation Analysis - Pg. 6


Market Focus - Pg. 8


Strategies for the Marketing Mix - Pg. 10


Integrated Marketing - Pg. 13


Works Cited - Pg. 16



Company Description Vans is a corporation that was started in Anaheim, California by two brothers Paul Van Doren James Van Doren. These two brothers partnered up with three others to create and open up their very first store. Their company titled Van Doren Rubber Company built a name for themselves in the early years by being one of the only stores of their kind, in which they would manufacture shoes and sell them directly to the customer. If a customer would come in and order a pair of shoes in the morning they would be ready for pick up in the afternoon. This was back in 1966, and the company continued to go strong well into the 1970s. The canvas shoes with a rubber sole had taken the world by a storm. They started to gain a reputation with what were called skater boys. The rubber soles had the perfect amount of traction for skateboarding all around California. By this time there were two types of Vans, the Authentic and the Era. Eras were the skateboarding generation’s preferred brand. However, in 1976 the new slip on canvas shoe became the latest style for any cool youth.

By the 1980s Vans became the shoe for a number of sports. Those sports included

skateboarding, wakeboarding, motor cross, and surfing. They were successfully competing with the big name athletic shoes of the time. The more than ever popular slip on Vans also caught the eye of stardom and Hollywood, when Sean Penn was seen wearing them in the indie hit Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, just because Vans from an outsider’s point of view seemed to be doing very well, didn’t mean there were internal problems.

The company was not ready for the instant success, especially since it was not a

well rounded success. Vans made the decision to create a variation of styles in hope that they would appeal to a wider audience. However, what actually happened was that only certain styles were successful, and the revenue brought in from those styles was not enough to support manufacturing and resources needed to create the many other styles. 3

! The company had no other choice but to declare bankruptcy in 1983. Three long years went by for the failing company until they could successfully pay the creditors back in full. Finally it seemed like Vans was seeing a glimmer of hope. Two years later in 1988, the original owners including Paul and James Van Doren sold the company to an investment company, which led to a long line of purchasing and selling to and from dierent companies. The most recent sell was to VF Corporation.

Since that sell to VF Corporation, the Vans Company has closed their factory in

California, and now exports labor overseas. The original family is also still involved. Steve Van Doren (son of Paul Van Doren) and his sister Cheryl and daughter Kristy are still active members of the Vans team. Today, Vans also has kept its skater boy style and even in 2002 opened an enclosed skate park in Orlando Florida. Finally, in 2004 Vans again made an innovative decision and created a “Customize� link on their website. This is where a customer could come and create their perfect pair of Vans.



Strategic Focus

Vans is a lifestyle footwear and apparel company, targeting youth and the young at

heart. A typical Vans customer is active, and identifies with the brand as a statement about their individual values.

The majority of Vans owners are in their teens or early twenties and, despite the brand identity of a male-dominated skate and surf image, about 60% female according to Spectra Infinet data. This 60-40 split could be in part due to the fact that women on average own more shoes than men.



Situation Analysis Macro Environment:

US consumers are increasingly demanding products that have aďŹƒliation with charitable

causes. In fact in a September 2010 study conducted by Cone Research & Insights, 83% of US consumers want products, services and retailers to support more causes. Americans, especially the youth, are taking to cause-based products such as Toms shoes to try and benefit those who are less fortunate than themselves. The economy of the United States is also bouncing back, and shoppers are finding more discretionary income in their pockets. This means more spending on fashion, which is good for Vans.


Micro Environment:

There are many competitors in Vans’ marketplace, the top five according to rank of

index among our target consumer are as follows: Etnies, DC shoes, Keds, Toms, and Converse Chuck Taylors. Etnies and DC are skateboarding lifestyle brands, and Keds, Toms, and Chuck Talyors are brands that are popular for targeting youth and the charitably inclined. Vans has an international presence, but sells the American image of California-based skate and surf lifestyle.

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! STRENGTHS • Strong brand awareness • Well-established fan following • Lifestyle brand means customers are repeat buyers • Growing product line

OPPORTUNITIES • Growing Hispanic population • Popularity of inexpensive, customizable shoes • Young mens’ attitude towards shopping is shifting, leading more to be fashion conscious

WEAKNESSES • Very niche market • Appeals to younger buyers, who have less buying power

THREATS • Consumers looking for cause-based fashion items




Market Focus Marketing Objectives:

We are attempting to increase ownership among the teenage Hispanic and Latino

American demographic. As the chart below shows that group is the second largest in terms of percentage of total owners, but they are almost 50% more likely than other races to buy a pair of Vans. The “Other� group also makes up a small percentage, but indexes very highly, indicating that Vans are popular among youth with mixed ethnic backgrounds. By targeting

our message towards Hispanic/Latino youth and placing our campaign in a visible manner will grow the already substantial group closer to 30% of total owners. Increasing appeal to the Hispanic/Latino market is a smart move due to the growing of this population in America. It is also smart to appeal to a racially diverse youth, since our younger generations are more mixed now than ever.



! ! Target Markets:

There are many competitors in Vans’ marketplace, and the top five primary competitors

according to ownership index among our target consumer are as follows: Etnies, DC shoes, Keds, Toms, and Converse Chuck Taylors. Etnies and DC are skateboarding lifestyle brands, and Keds, Toms, and Chuck Talyors are brands that are popular for targeting youth and the charitably inclined. Keds, Toms and Chuck Taylors also appeal to those who like to customize their shoes and are often crafty.

Secondary target market competitors are lifestyle brands such as Levis, Carhartt,

Quicksilver and are American influenced. They compete less directly with Vans’ core competency, shoes, but still compete in the youth targeting fashion marketplace. These brands appeal for the same reasons Vans products do, which is they give the buyer a feeling of a genuine and quality American product.

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Strategies for the Marketing Mix Vans have been around for 46 years, and they have still managed to keep their identity. They are the one skating shoe all skaters know they can rely on. They are known for their fashionable and comfortable canvas and rubber soled shoe. Since then they have expanded to many styles made for women, men and even children.

The first style is of course the Classic styles. These include the occasional high top and

of course the slip on canvas shoe. There is also the classic lace canvas shoe as well. These are made for women and men and range from $45 – 85 for men and $45 – 80 for women. Vans has also come a long way since the simple canvas and rubber and now offer many classic styles for men and women in suede and leather. The next style is the Skate style. These too are made in the classic canvas as well as leather and suede. Men and women can enjoy these styles and price ranges are $55 – 85 for men and $50 – 80 for women. The third style is the Surf Style. These again are available in suede, leather and canvas. This Surf style is very relaxed have a bohemian feel to them. Then there are two styles that are only available for men. The first is the Off the Wall style, or also known as OTW. These styles run from $75 – 140. These styles of shoes are considered a more dressy type of male shoe. They are not made from the signature canvas but instead use wool, suede and leather to achieve this more ‘formal’ shoe. The second is the most recent launch from Vans called LXVI, or in Roman Numerals 66. They were named because 66 was the year that the Doren brothers first created their company. These run from $70 – 125, and are very clean and sleek looking. They are branded as the future of Vans, and definitely are a combination of the Surf, Skate and Classic shoe. The last style is one only available to women and it is the Lifestyle. These shoes are made for comfort and causal lifestyle. They use a mixture of materials ranging from canvas to suede. The price range is $55 – 70, making them a very affordable shoe. The customizing of


! shoes can run from $60 to anywhere in the hundreds, it all depends on whether or not you add more or less to the shoe.

Price of the shoe obviously does not matter if there is no place to purchase the shoe.

Vans sells their shoes in three different ways. The first and most popular is online at their website This is where you can get any style and anything you want from Vans. It is where the ‘Customize Your Shoes’ section is and where you can purchase the accessories and apparel. The second place in which Vans can be purchased is their own independent store fronts. They can be found in a number of places, and they have about 50 some stores all over the U.S. The last place they sell their product is in participating stores. This means that some stores have negotiated deals with Vans, and both parties agreed to sell the Vans product in the store. Some of the major stores that are included in this are Kohl’s, Journeys, Zumies, Tillys, Station, Hot Topic, Pac-Sun, Delias, and Torrid. This is the most limited way of distributing their product to the public. Some stores only will carry certain styles, which also mean the selection may not be very wide either. So, though they may be sold in these participating stores, avid Vans buyers will probably not be shopping at those stores because they cannot get what they want.

Promotion for Vans is definitely one of their stronger points. Even when they first

started they had a very large backing of a one particular market, and they knew how to work that. Vans even made their way into 80s cult movies such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High starring an up and coming star Sean Penn. In the movie the lead played by Sean Penn was sporting a pair of Vans as a part of his everyday wear. Though of course that was in the early 80s, today many stars and movies are using Vans as well. Many stars including Jimmy Fallon, Ryan Reynolds, Ashley Rickards, and Liam Hemsworth all can be spotted wearing a pair of Vans on their days off. Though they are popular among the stars themselves, they are also used in movies and TV shows. Vans are usually worn by the outcast or rebel. In the MTV hit show, Awkward, Jenna (Ashley Rickards) plays a character that is a little different than her classmates. She is a quirky type of girl, and dances to her own tune if you will. In the show she is seen wearing Vans almost every episode. It enforces that whole idea of being the rebel


! artistic type, that Vans have captured so greatly through their shoes and skateboarding history.

The other way that Vans are promoted is through sponsorship. The Warped Tour has been teaming with Vans for the last 17 years. The partnership started in 1995 by a similar interest in the skating and music scene. The Warped Tour allowed Vans to be integrated into the very lifestyle they were trying to portray for their brand. Along with the sponsorship for Warped Tour, Vans also sponsor amateur, pro, and legendary skaters. Some of their clients include: Andrew Allen, Johnny Layton, Dustin Dollin, Tony Alva, Je Grosso, and Daniel Luthern. As with any sponsorship Vans was able to get their name out there and be heavily prevalent in the Skating world while also helping skaters with their careers. It was good exposure for both parties.



Integrated Marketing The brand Vans obviously has a very distinctive style and taste. They are the ultimate skating shoe. They are known by almost every extreme sport, and are very popular by the younger generation. However, what some do not know is that Vans also focuses on the creative side of business.

It is no secret that Vans struggled in the past to stay above bankruptcy. The Doren

brothers almost lost their business in 1983, but luckily in three years later they were able to pay back the creditors and continue their business. With that renewed hope came a very successful future. Vans began picking up popularity rapidly through the professional skating world. They were the top shoe for any extreme sport. However, they knew it would not last forever, hence the Doren brothers made the decision to sell the company to the VF Corporation. In doing this the Doren brothers allowed Vans to grow into the expansive company it is now.

The shortage of styles that once caused Vans to declare bankruptcy was soon

rectified, and is continuing to grow. Production grew when they moved to overseas factory production, allowing there to be more inventory to choose from as a customer, including an apparel and accessory line. They now are the largest sponsors of one of the largest musical festivals in the nation, the Warped Tour, as well as sponsors to some of the hottest names in skating. All of these changes made Vans big competitor is athletic footwear. But, the most recent step is the most interesting.

In 2004, Vans launched the ‘Customize Your Shoes’ section of their website. This

allowed customers to visit the website, and create their own pair of shoes. If a potential buyer was looking on the website and could not find a shoe they liked, they would only have to click


! on the ‘Custom Shoes’ link, and it would lead them to a page where they could design a one of a kind shoe. For the first time, Vans was saying to the customer that they could pick the style and express themselves anyway they wanted. They allowed customers to decide what shoe should be sold to them, instead of restricting the customer to only what is available. From this idea of expressing the customer’s creativity also sprouted a demand for custom made Vans that were not purchased from the Vans website. People would buy pairs of Vans that were plain from the website, a storefront, or department store and they would paint them, color them and more, and then sell them for their own profit. They would sell them on websites such as, a website for custom made items. This is bad for the Vans Company simply because it is a third party that is selling Vans shoes, but Vans is not getting the total sale. In order to stop this we have created a promotion that hopefully will continue to support the customer’s creative expressions, but will also be profitable for the company.

The new promotional idea is a contest that will test the creativity of participants. It will

be advertised on the Vans website, store fronts, and stores that sell Vans. It will also be advertised in skating magazines. Participants will have to create a design for the regular solid white canvas slip on shoe. It can be painted, print screened or drawn. The two guidelines are that they need to be able to be replicated and they need to capture the style and vibe of Vans. Contestants will have two months to create and send in pictures and details of shoes. Following the initial two months there will be another two months that will be a voting period. During this time contestants will need to promote their own styles using various methods of social media. We hope to collaborate with websites such as,, and to help contestants promote their shoes and gain voters. There will also be a place to vote on the Vans website. Voters will be allowed to vote on their favorite shoe design, and after the two month voting period is over a winner with the majority of votes will win. The winner will receive a chance to sell their custom shoe on the Vans website for a limited time. They will also receive an internship in the design department for Vans. They must be 18 years or older to enter.

In creating this contest, we are encouraging customers to express their creativity and

promote our custom shoe line. We also, want to expose fresh new faces and creative minds in


! the company and hiring young design interns is a good way to do this. It will also hopefully cut down on the selling of custom shoes on other websites that Vans is not aďŹƒliated with, though we know we will never truly be able to stop this. We also know this is a great opportunity for Vans to get their name in places that may or may not be their target market. and Pinterest are places in which products, ideas, and crafts reach millions each day, and this would be great exposure for the company. Finally, it also encourages young designers to be a part of something that could launch them in the right direction for their future career. Though it is not necessarily a charitable cause that Americans find when they purchase a pair of Toms, it is supporting young designers in America, thus giving the Vans name a cause in which to support. This should help Vans gain the cause-based characteristic that is trending. All of this should in return make the company more profitable.

This Vans contest as described above, could ultimately lead to a very successful

venture for Vans, and an increase in their potential reach. In order to figure the if this venture is success, the sales of the first couple of years in which the contest is held will need to be looked at. And, not until after about three or four years will the Vans Company actually know if it was successful. It is like launching a new line of shoes. We need to wait out the cycle. We need to make sure that it catches on and it will take about two years of repeating the contest, to see if this happens. Then we need to do it about two more years and see if sales increase or not. If they do however, we will know that it is a good venture and that the company will be profiting from this contest.

There are risks that are involved in doing this contest. The first and most important, it

will cost the company money. It may not be worth it to continue it if there is no immediate improvement in sales because it could be a case of we are spending more money on promotion than we are profiting. The other risk is the human error risk. The winner that is ultimately chosen could be a great designer but not a good fit for the company. Or it could be as simple as the intern could just be ready to take on such an important job. The other risk is that the contest could be a complete flop, and that it would not get the recognition Vans needs it to get. Taking into consideration these risks though, we think it is a good idea and worth a try because the potential definitely outweighs the risks.


Works Cited “Fashion Industry Report”, Trendwatching, 2012.


“Summer 2012 NCHS Adult Survey 12-Month” Simmons Experian OneView, 2012.


“The TRU Study: 2012 U.S. Spring Update Teen & Twenty-something Edition” TRU Research & Insights, Spring 2012.

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Vans paper