Does Under Armour think I am a woman?

Neil Martin, Commercial Director at Euler, shares his experience as a consumer of when personalised comms don’t quite hit the mark.

I have been very active all my life. I played football and rugby to a good standard in my earlier days and to an extent now. Over this time I have also developed an enjoyable relationship with the gym. After having children and moving away from my local rugby club I built my new passion, golf.  I still run, gym, swim and cycle and mix this together with my coaching responsibilities for my son’s under 12s football team, my daughters swimming activities and all the other enjoyable and active things life throws my way. I lead a pretty active lifestyle – rain or shine.

During my sporting life, I have grown an affinity with Under Armour as a brand. Partly, because every time I enter the gym in my Under Armour gear I believe some of Anthony Joshua’s spirit stays with me. It gets me through the challenges ahead and I secretly hope I will come out of the gym after that session looking like him. But no doubt AJ eats more protein than the rest of the UK put together, trains almost all hours under the sun and doesn’t have an unhealthy appetite for peanut M&Ms. (But peanut M&M’s have plenty of protein in them… right?!)

I like the Under Armour clothing range though, it’s comfortable and stylish, and not just for the gym. Their golf range is good too and each time I head to do something active, there is a consistency of a certain look and feel that sits well with me.

So, you can imagine how surprised I was to receive an email one day out of the blue.

Now I know I’m not as chiselled as I was in my twenties, but come on Under Armour. I don’t think my moobs are big enough to justify a sports bra! So what gives? How come you’ve suddenly decided I have an interest in women’s sportswear?

In the email, my email address begins with “neil_”. Now I am almost certain Neil has and always has been a male name (apologies any ladies called Neil). I have always bought male Under Armour clothing, I haven’t been snooping around the ladies area of their site and I’ve never bought my wife (or myself for that matter) any female clothing online at all.

I did a little more research to look at how Under Armour are using data. I found several articles explaining how Under Armour uses big data to know more about their customer and provide added value, build interconnectivity and increase personalisation.

So what’s happened then?  If their data lake and predictive analytics was correct, I should be getting a regular stream of Jordon Spieth and AJ photos sporting their latest wears. As a certified Under Armour fanboy, I’d eagerly open those e-mails and probably end up splurging even more money on my 26th Under Armour training top.

Not having a go, but sort out your data and analytics

Don’t get me wrong this is not me having a go at Under Armour: far from it.


…what it does highlight is the need to get your data and analytics right. Consider, for instance, that 25% of people unsubscribe from emails when the content isn’t relevant. Luckily for Under Armour, I’m properly on-board with their brand so I’ll forgive them. But you do have to ask the questions; what sales have they lost because of this mistake; how many other people has this affected; and, how many customers have they lost?

Bringing in and using big data, connecting multiple data sources, online and offline convergence and then turning this into actionable insight is the key to marketing innovation. But all this needs to be done within a robust framework, using verifiable data quality and integration rules with leading-edge monitoring and checks. That way you can reduce unnecessary emails sends for ladies’ gym wear to a middle-aged man.

If there is anyone from Under Armour reading, then please do get in touch as I would love to be part of a focus group (for free stuff!) and offer my advice and opinion and I’d also like to help improve your data strategy.

Neil (Definitely a middle-aged man)