Outdoor Marketing Trends
Consumers of outdoor gear come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and the marketing around outdoor gear has started to shift as well to appease traditional customers and connect with new ones.
The outdoor category houses so many different activities – backpacking, climbing, skiing, water sports, and many more. The outdoor category also caters to a more leisurely crowd; someone who wants to stroll by a lake, barbecue, or extravagantly car camp and bring the comforts of the indoors to their tent. There are many types of outdoor enthusiasts to cater to in messaging, and the consumer market has broadened in the last 15 years.
“Shrink it and pink it” was the broadly used term describing how outdoor retailers approached women’s clothing, and plus-sizing was not even a consideration. Thankfully, retailers have now moved beyond the idea that one-type-fits-all with outdoor gear. Now, consumers of outdoor gear are coming from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and the marketing around outdoor gear has started to shift as well. Many people newer to outdoor goods are perhaps not even planning to use their gear outside, but for dynamic activity indoors, such as rock climbing or Crossfit gyms.
Connecting with the newer consumers of outdoor goods while also appeasing its traditional customer has been a challenge for the outdoor industry, and the messaging continues to evolve.
Outdoor Email Reporting Data
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Outdoor Industry Trends
Scratch Your Wanderlust Itch
Sent by REI
With the outdoor industry as it stands, it’s no wonder that brands are taking things outside of their storefronts (if they even have them). Pop-up shops, brand ambassador events, and other experiential marketing is key for the outdoor industry. Brands also delve into areas associated with their customer, but not necessarily their product. You might find some outdoor brands at music festivals and farmer’s markets, for instance. Similarly, brands are starting to host different trips and events of their own, such as REI’s Adventures and Luna Bar’s film festival LUNAFEST.
Be Good, Feel Good
Goodbye, Waste—New Teca Fleece Colorways
Sent by Cotopaxi
With the outdoor industry on the rise, companies are catering to their new millennial market with the blend of corporate activism, inclusivity, sustainability, and influencer-driven awareness. Brands like REI, Patagonia, and Mountain Hardware regularly promote their corporate partnerships with nonprofits to increase their credibility as “one of the good guys” in the retail world. Brands align with current events and global concerns like climate change and gender parity. This builds trust with the consumer, and the consumer can feel good about shopping. In conjunction, brands are aware that consumers want to feel like they are purchasing products that are environmentally friendly and humanely created, so it has become a bigger focus for outdoor brands, such as the push for sustainable design from startup Cotopaxi.
Our Ambassadors' Gift Picks
Sent by YETI
Outdoor brands frequently rely on sponsorships with athletes and popular Instagram influencers to promote their clothing. Influencers and social sharing is important when credibility is king. Such sponsors advertise on their own platforms, but are also featured in the company’s own marketing, email included. Dovetailing into brand awareness is the encouragement of inclusivity, showing diverse body types and expanding their range to include plus sizes (an underserved market in the industry). Brands like YETI also source user-generated content to share on their own platforms, bringing the consumer into their story.
Urban explorer: City Tech edition
Sent by Marmot
An emerging trend is the urban outdoors – the industry wants to welcome a new consumer who may not associate themselves with being “outdoorsy”, but participates in activities where functional gear is important, like this example from Marmot. Brands are also honing in on underserved markets and partnering with non-profits to bring urban youth outside. This builds community, which is a foundational part of the outdoor industry.
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Outdoor Promotional Trends and Sending Behavior
MailCharts Outdoor Data From 2019
Almost half of the emails sent in Outdoor in 2019 included a promotion. This was on par with promotional activity in 2018.
Over one-third of the promotions included in Outdoor emails in 2019 were percentage-off discounts. The least popular promotion type was BOGO (Buy One, Get One) offers.
Most Popular Send Day
Outdoor brands are known for sending campaigns often. Monday was the most popular send day in 2019, as brands got a head start on the week’s messaging.
Most Popular Send Time
Mornings are one of the most popular and effective send time for companies, and this was no different for Outdoor brands in 2019.
Start Planning Today
Join MailCharts to view the latest email data from the brands you are looking for. MailCharts tracks and offers reporting on over 30,000 brands, including hundreds of Outdoor companies. Access email data from 2019, 2018 and earlier to help you plan and build your strategy.
Outdoor Promotion & Email Activity
Mailcharts Outdoor Data From 2019
Most promotional week
Nov. 24-30, 2019
The week of Thanksgiving in 2019 was the most promotional for Outdoor brands. During that week, they sent the most emails that included a promotion.
Most active week
Nov. 24-30, 2019
Outdoor brands sent the most emails in the week following Thanksgiving in 2019 as shoppers started checking gifts off their list.
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Strategies for Outdoor Messaging in Emails
Create a Community
Review your gear and enter to win!
Sent by Smartwool
Let your customers speak for themselves – utilize user-generated images and customer reviews. No one tells the story of your product better than your customers. Customers should be getting emails to leave a review, like this example from Smartwool, and talk about their product on social media.
Use the Data
Your Personalized Recommendations.
Sent by Timberland
Segmentation: target customers who have bought certain categories (ski, rock climbing) and market new lines to that audience, like this example from Timberland. Encourage top tier spenders an exclusive look at a sale. Recapture customers who haven’t opened emails. Send hiking or camping recommendations to local users, along with product suggestions. Going to rain this week? Highlight wet-weather gear.
Harness the Power of FOMO
Comfort in a nutshell
Sent by Patagonia
Sweeping visuals, inclusive models – brands like Patagonia make emails that bring your user into the wild. An aspirational email should also tell your user how they can make this happen, either by joining an existing group or excursion, or by showing the products that make the look possible. Don’t be afraid to sweat the details, like giving a recipe for the best camping breakfast or pointing out the product details that makes the activity more accessible or exciting.
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