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Equator Pack product concept | UO Sports Product Management application


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Product concept I put together for my University of Oregon M.S. Sports Product Management application. It's pretty interesting to see how aligned I was to the product creation process prior to enrolling into the program, yet what I've learned over the last 15 months would allow me to refine and improve this initial concept pitch. Especially when it comes to telling a story! (Please excuse the typos :/ )

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Equator Pack product concept | UO Sports Product Management application

  1. 1. EQUATOR PACK Tapping into a Growing Market Segment With Modular Running Pack Solutions Presented by Steve McQuaide
  2. 2. 1. Introduction 2. Market Opportunity & Trends 3. Primary Research 4. Product Concept 5. Go to Market Plan OUTLINE
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION Trail running continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of sports products. Innovation continues to thrive in this market as demonstrated by the adoption of Hoka One One maximalist shoes, new hydration concepts, and apparel innovations. As trail runners continue to test the limits of human endurance, a need has arisen for packs that support self-sustained multi-day adventures.
  5. 5. INTRODUCTION While trail running has seen attempts at breaking into the fastpacking1 pack market, most are either running hydration packs with oversized storage capacity, or modified backpacking packs with reduced capacities – nothing truly designed for multi-day running adventures. There is demand for running packs that can both function as a day-to-day running pack, as well as support the athlete over multi-day adventures. This product concept looks to achieve that goal.
  7. 7. GOOGLE TRENDS Trail running in the United States experienced a boom in interest beginning in 2011 and that interest has remained steady since. As of July 2016, there were a reported 145 100-mile races in the United States alone, and interest in Ultra Marathons (races longer than 26.2 miles) is surging while interest in road races is declining. In 1992, the inaugural Hardrock 100 allowed entry to “anyone with a pulse”, and 24 years later in 2016 there were 1,639 entries into the lottery for the coveted 152 race bibs.2
  8. 8. GOOGLE TRENDS Worldwide, trail running has had a steady growth in search interest since 2008. Ultramarathons and ultralight backpacking have not seen the same growth in interest. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Trail running: (Worldwide) Ultramarathon: (Worldwide) Ultralight backpacking: (Worldwide) 2004 2008 2012 2016
  9. 9. GOOGLE TRENDS In the United States, we see a drastic increase of interest in trail running in 2011, which reflects the opportunity of the market. As interest in Ultralight backpacking and Ultramarathon intersect in 2016, we can infer that runners are becoming more interested in exploring outside of race settings. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Trail running: (United States) Ultramarathon: (United States) Ultralight backpacking: (United States) 2004 2008 2012 2016
  10. 10. MARKET OPPORTUNITY & TENDS While interest in ultra-distance running is surging, there are barriers to participation in ultramarathons such as race entry caps, prohibitive cost factors for race entry and travel, and seemingly large leaps in race distances offered: from 100k to 100 mile, 100 mile to 200 mile, and so on. These barriers are leading to athletes exploring their perceived limitations through self-sustained long distance runs outside of race settings. This interest is no better demonstrated than through the explosion of interest in FKTs (fastest known times) – record attempts for established trails like the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Appalachian Trail to name a few. Runners are already exploring these options, it is time they have a pack that meets their unique demands.
  11. 11. MARKET ANALYSIS A Google US search for “Fastpacking Packs” yielded: • 22,600 results – Not highly competitive • Google Shopping – indicating retailers are bidding on the term • Most organic results are articles discussing fastpacking, not product results • We also see the presence of forum questions like “a good fastpack?” indicating users are looking for product.
  12. 12. MARKET ANALYSIS • The lower half of page 1 Google results for a “fastpacking pack” search shows additional article and forum content. • We see product reviews, but no brand presence for this search term demonstrating that brands are not optimizing their website for this topic • This reveals the competition within the market place is not high, and it would be fairly easy for a brand to rank well for fastpacking terms.
  13. 13. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH In a 2016 Forbes article, Adidas revealed their trail running pre- orders were up 62% over the previous year. Industry-wide, Outdoor Industry Association revealed that trail running grew as a segment by 11% over the last 3 years.3 This data demonstrates a continued and steady growth pattern that is projected to continue into the next decade.
  15. 15. PRIMARY RESEARCH A survey was conducted within a group of 84 self-identified runners, many of which had significant experience in trail running. Questions asked during this survey looked for general demographic information, running experience, hydration pack preferences, and gauged interest in multi-day running trips. The following slides explore the information discovered through this survey.
  16. 16. COMMUNITY SURVEY 84 44Male 40Female 76%Between Ages 30-49 96%College Educated or Higher Respondents DEMOGRAPHICS
  17. 17. COMMUNITY SURVEYRUNNING EXPERIENCE 20% 25% 28% 13% 14% RUNNING MILES PER WEEK 0-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 40+ 4 0 11 1 3 23 20 13 6 2 3 10k or less 15k 21k (Half Marathon) 25k 30k 42k (Marathon) 50k 50 Mile 100k 100 Mile More than 100 Miles 0 5 10 15 20 25 LONGEST RACE DISTANCE
  18. 18. COMMUNITY SURVEYHYDRATION PACK PREFERENCES 22% 51% 11% 16% DO YOU USE A DIFFERENT HYDRATION SYSTEM FOR TRAINING VERSUS RACING? Yes, I have different hydration systems for training and racing No, I use the same hydration system for training and racing I do not use a hydration system during racing I do not use a hydration system at all 4.06 3.73 4.58 4.03 4.35 2.6 2.71 3.37 2.93 Liquid Capacity Storage Capacity Fit & Adjustability Weight Stability (Low Bounce) Style/Color Options Weather Resistance Price Versatility (Road, Trail, Backpacking, etc.) 0 1 2 3 4 5 RATING (1-5) OF PACK CHARACTERISTICS
  20. 20. COMMUNITY SURVEY 52% 54% Of respondents… INTEREST IN MULTI-DAY RUNNING Have gone on a backpacking trip of more than 1 day Are familiar with Fastpacking 56% Have considered an overnight self- supported running trip (run, camp, run, etc.)
  21. 21. COMMUNITY SURVEY While the sample size of this survey is not large enough to be statistically significant, we can use this data directionally to infer interest in the sport of fastpacking, as well as the need for a pack designed for multi-day runners. • Fewer than half of the runners surveyed have run 50 miles or further • Over 56% of those same respondents expressed interest in multi-day running adventures. • 51% of respondents use the same pack for training and racing These observations led to the concept of a modular pack that can be stripped down for short runs and races, and can be built up for multi-day excursions.
  23. 23. IDEATION There are a number of pack solutions that are designed specifically for run training or racing, and packs that are designed for light weight or ultralight backpacking – but they have significant flaws that prevent from being appropriate for fastpacking Running Pack/Hydration Pack Cons • Lack of storage capacity • Lack of essential outdoor survival tools • No sleep system integration • Lack of gear organization Ultralight Pack Cons • Lack of oscillation stability • Lack of accessible storage • Lack of fit adjustability • Lack of gear organization
  24. 24. MISSION Equator Packs aims to produce running packs that provide superior fit and adjustability, intelligently designed storage solutions, and modular component integrations for a variety of running adventures.
  25. 25. CONCEPT EquatorPack is a running pack that can be stripped down to the most streamlined racing pack with minimal storage, weight, and hydration capacity. It can also be built out to support runners on multi-day adventures by integrating essential outdoor gear, shelter, and bear canisters. The versatility of the module design makes this pack appropriate for any running distance and duration up to 4 days.
  26. 26. CONCEPT A key component of fit and adjustability is fabric and material selection. Fabrics must provide a soft feel to the body, function well for breathability and moisture wicking, provide water-resistance when necessary. Below are some proposed materials selected for the base vest, pockets, straps, and modular components. • Base-Vest: Open weave technical mesh for breathability and moisture management. • Base-Storage: Core vest pockets of stretch mesh • Modular Stuffsacks: Cuben fiber for weight reduction and water-resistance • Straps: Nylon, stretch nylon, and paracord for adjustability and payload stability
  27. 27. CONCEPT • The front of the base vest has two core pocket solutions: on the shoulders and beneath the EquatorAdaptor (modular component adaptor) • The base vest is secured with adjustable elastic chest straps • The base vest also has adaptors for a hip belt to stabilize larger payloads. • Elastic trekking pole dock allows users to secure trekking poles for hands-free carry.
  28. 28. CONCEPT • The front of the base vest has two EquatorAdaptors for modular components • Default component is two water bottle attachments • Additional components • Large waterproof zippered pocket • Small waterproof zippered pocket • 1200 lumen rechargeable LED spot- light
  29. 29. CONCEPT Rear pack design • EquatorClips separate the rear component grid • Components can snap in vertically, horizontally, or on quarters of the grid. • Components can be stacked out with additional straps that integrate into the core clips.
  30. 30. CONCEPT Rear components: • Large horizontal stuffsack • Small quarter stuffsack • Horizontal kangaroo pouch of stretch mesh • Bear canister straps • First Aid Kit with outdoors essentials Large Stuffsack Small Stuffsack Small Stuffsack Bear Canister S t r a p S t r a p
  31. 31. CONCEPT Rear accessories: • Compression webbing • Hook attachments to paracord loops to secure payload to body and reduce oscillation. • Compression webbing doubles as guy line for a-frame shelter • Shelter/rain cover • A cuben fiber tarp system can be staked out from the guy line to create a simple a-frame shelter • Creative folding pattern creates a waterproof rain cover for the pack that is secured beneath the compression webbing
  33. 33. GO TO MARKET PLAN As with any innovative product and new product category, a strong go-to-market strategy is essential to create demand where the market may not have known they had a need before. The following considerations would be primary focus points of the EquatorPack go-to-market plan.
  34. 34. GO TO MARKET PLAN Design considerations • While style and color were not rating as being primary decision points by survey respondents, we must consider the gender profile of the market and consider creating gender specific packs to achieve superior fit and comfort. Messaging • Capturing the mission of the brand in a tagline is important to connect with consumers • Tagline: Upgrade distance in a snap
  35. 35. GO TO MARKET PLAN Direct to consumer distribution • As with most start-ups, gaining retail distribution can be challenging. • To begin, EquatorPack will be offered direct to consumers online and through race expos. • Digital marketing and promotion will be important in the early stages of the brand. Retail exploration • Once better established, explore retail distribution through specialty running and outdoor retailers.
  36. 36. GO TO MARKET PLAN Marketing Mix • As stated, most of the marketing will focus on digital with some print integrations through PR • Establishing an authoritative website takes time, and a key component in accomplishing that is content creation. • Website content should integration seamlessly through social media outlets and relevant digital publications (,, etc.) • Targeting influential and highly relevant print publications like Trail Runner, Ultrarunning Magazine, and Backpacker can ease entry into the market with content creation and brand mentions within articles • Offlline marketing would be limited to race expos, ambassador programs, and sponsorship
  37. 37. GO TO MARKET PLAN Educational Content • Since many runners may not know the adventures they’re thinking about is called Fastpacking, it is very important to educate the consumers on the branded website, and on offsite web properties as well. • Long form content can work well for content placement offsite – perhaps a story of an athlete using the gear on a recent trip • Video content and podcasts are rich media that users consumer more easily than standard content. • Video should be a primary component of the educational content created.