Why Sport Chek is commanding the attention of marketers around the world.

By Jeanie Hendrie

First there was Sheryl Sandberg and then came the Wall Street Journal. After two years of double-digit comp growth, Canadian sporting goods retailer Sport Chek is making waves across the globe.

Last week, Frederick Lecoq (VP Marketing & Digital, FGL Sports) and Luke Sklar (Partner, Sklar Wilton) opened the doors of Sport Chek’s Toronto-based lab store to speak about the retailer’s journey from good to great.

From award winning advertising to immersive retail to new sport technology – there were plenty of success stories they could have shared. Instead, the duo took us back to the very beginning. Back to 2011, when one small but important question changed it all.

“Who must we win with?”

Ah, segmentation, a concept as old as marketing itself. But this wasn’t going to be just any segmentation. No, this study had to provide the strategic groundwork that would fuel the next 3 years of business decisions. And fuel them it did.

Sport Chek knew where the money was – in the wallets of a narrow band of the population that spend a shockingly large amount on sporting goods. With the discipline of any true athlete, Sport Chek identified the opportunity, set the course and worked very, very hard to win over these customers.

Getting these guys wasn’t easy. Yes, they spend more but they also demand more. Sport Chek had to become more digital, more engaging, more passionate. From the new 70,000 square foot West Edmonton flagship to the two weeks the entire marketing budget went digital to the company’s sponsorship of the Olympic Games – Sport Chek has made bold statement after bold statement. And while each is a little different, they all say ‘we’re here to win’.

Frederick Lecoq and Luke Sklar speak at Sport Chek's Toronto Lab Store

Over the last 3 years, a deep understanding of the core target has kept Sport Chek laser focused on the prize. The decision of who to win with (and equally important, who not to win with) has helped the company sharpen its advertising, build better stores and partner with the right organizations. “Who must we win with?”, innocuous as it may sound, can and should be a game-changing question for any organization.

With countless industry awards and double-digit sales growth, it’d be easy to say that Sport Chek has arrived at its destination on the journey from good to great…but hearing Frederick talk about what the retailer has in store for the future, it’s clear this is only the beginning.