Optimisation through personalisation - UnderArmour

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How frustrating would it be to be faced with a big opportunity, but being held up by several hurdles? This is exactly what UnderArmour went through. In an already highly competitive environment, they also had to struggle with building brand awareness.

UnderArmour is a manufacturer of fashionable sports apparel. With an apparent growth of interest in the sports scene in China, UnderArmour expanded to China in 2010. Starting off with only a website, the following year their first brand store opened in 2011.

Creating Brand Awareness

One thing UnderArmour has done well to implement is the difference between Chinese customers and Western customers. Chinese customers tend to be more susceptible to celebrities. Instead of being a supporter of an entire team, they are more centred towards the individual. Basketball has an immense popularity and UnderArmour played into this by focussing a campaign around Steven Curry. This has resulted in achieving loads of brand awareness for their brand.

Keeping Up

So UnderArmour is an example for other foreign companies entering China? Yes and no: even though UnderArmour implemented an effective campaign, they recognised that this would not be enough. With harsh competition from Nike, Adidas and Li Ning who cover most of the market, it inevitably had to distinguish itself. Their aim was to have personalised customer interaction. However, this was proven to be quite the feat according to Deloitte China report 2014.

Enter, Webpower!

To succeed in this personalisation, UnderArmour reached out to Webpower. Active for over 10 years in the online market of China, the expertise will assist UnderArmour to reach their objectives.

Lifecycle campaigns were implemented to reach out to the customer with relevant content at the right timing. In order to effectively roll out these lifecycle campaigns, goals were determined what results the campaign should return. This made it clearer how the campaign should be put together. The goal was to improve the customer journey and engage them at every level. The campaigns were focussed on keeping the customer interested and looking forward to the next email.

Progressive profiling was used to keep the experience as personalised as possible. It registered click behaviour based on where the customer clicks the most, the least, how often and what time. This was then used to determine customer preference, and based on that preference bestsellers are sent.

In practice

Two lifecycle campaigns were created: one for registration and one for online purchase.


The goal for this campaign was to guide the customer from registration to purchase. The campaign was divided into 5 different mailings in a timespan of 30 days. By registering the customer shows that he/she has an interest in the product. The first email that was part of the campaign was a welcome email. This shows appreciation and conveys a confirmation. A few days later the first promotional email is sent out to highlight their “Hero” collection. This was to give an insight into the product portfolio and gather information from the click behaviour. The third email was sent out containing training tips and information about the UnderArmour App.

This keeps the customer engaged with the brand without seeming too pushy, also it shows genuine interest in sports instead of just making a profit. Meanwhile, all clicks are registered and customers are segmented into groups based on their preferences. Then an email was sent with best-sellers related to those preferences. The last email of this campaign was a survey that collected customer information and feedback. The feedback and information were used to enrich the customer profile.

Online purchase

The goal of this campaign is to maintain customer satisfaction and retention. Again, the campaign was divided into 4 different mailings in a timespan of 30 days. As this campaign focuses on post-purchase customers, the emails are structured with the intention of increasing satisfaction instead of sales oriented.

Firstly, a transactional email was sent out after the purchase to confirm the status and thank the customer for the purchase. Some companies drop the ball at this point and are satisfied with the purchase; not UnderArmour. They are in for the long-run and keep in touch to gain customer satisfaction and retention. So another email is sent after a few days promoting the UnderArmour app. The app supports the sport-routine and keeps the customer interacted with UnderArmour. The customer feels delighted after receiving this attention and this positively affects the brand awareness. But, don’t be getting overconfident and strive for the next sales opportunity. One more email is sent with training tips, again this shows engagement and doesn’t make the customer feel he has to purchase. Remember the objective: keep the interaction and gain more customer insight. The next email is for information gathering and contains a survey in which you can evaluate your progress. Now that you have gathered all the information and you took your time, it is finally time. The customer is now part of the company and ready to receive a sales email. With all the knowledge you obtained you can send best sellers related to the customer’s preference. By knowing their preference you can send the most relevant content and if the time is right, obtain another purchase.


Both of these campaigns were successful and increased sales. However, it also told a lot about their customers. The statistics were also highly positive. Compared to the industrial benchmarks the Unique Open Rate were higher with 20% and 16%, respectively. The Click To Open rate had a similar increase of 16% and 18%, respectively. This increase can be attributed to the increased knowledge and customer engagement.

  • Increased customer insight
  • Higher Sales
  • More engagement
  • Higher customer retention
  • Customer loyalty
  • Brand ambassadors

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