ABT, TRS, TFS … and SIS! Does this look like a spoonful of alphabet soup?
Perhaps. But it really refers to Rollerblade’s technologies, programs, and commitment to providing in-line skaters with the best quality of skates and skating experiences possible. Or “by providing benefits beyond what people are expecting to have,” as Jeremy Stonier, Rollerblade’s director of product marketing, describes it. In fact, Rollerblade’s leading-edge technology is covered by more than 200 patents, with more on the way.
At Rollerblade’s launch two decades ago only one in-line skate manufacturer existed–Rollerblade. The company had only a single skate line and there were few sales. No one had only a single skate line and there were few sales. No one had heard of in-line skating! So Rollerblade used a “guerrilla marketing” campaign to get the word out. It used a tiny budget to develop attention-getting promotions to make people aware of the skates and to try them. Promotions ranged from “Demo Vans” in supermarket parking lots, where prospects could try the skates for a half hour, to putting Rollerblade skates on Minnesota Viking cheerleaders at a football game or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Marketing research was almost limited to what skaters told the Demo Van drivers.
A skate line for each segment
From the outset in-line skaters have been united by a common experience: the thrill and fun of the speed and freedom that comes from almost frictionless wheels on their feet. “As the market has matured, it has settled into four core groups of users,” says Stonier. Each requires a number of unique skate features.
“The trickiest segment we sell to is probably the ‘street/vert’ skater–the 14- to 22-year-old in your neighborhood who is doing tricks you might see on ESPN’s X Games,” says Stonier. Members of Team Rollerblade, a skating group that gives demonstrations around the country, suggest and test new technologies that find their way first into skates for this segment. The TRS–for Team Rolerblade Series–line of skates contains everything from a PFS Specialized form-fit memory foot liner gel insert for extreme shock absorption to CoolMax fabric to keep the skater’s feet cool and dry. [...]
Source: Marketing, 8th edition, Kerin, Hartley, Berkowitz, and Rudelius, Irwin/McGraw Hill, pages 26-27.