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Polaris’ Pam Kermisch on marketing past assumptions in the powersports space

When you think of powersports — all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, watercrafts, etc. — you may think of a certain demographic of consumer for the category. Polaris, a leader in the space, had to overcome those assumptions in its marketing, according to Chief Customer Growth Officer Pam Kermisch.

Kermisch says on The Current Podcast that 40% of Polaris’ customers are multicultural, as opposed to the older, white male consumer base that may have historically dominated the category.

She also touches on how research showed that multicultural customers were attracted to the company’s three-wheel vehicle Slingshot for its style rather than performance, as she had assumed.

“Sometimes you think you know, and one of the number one rules of marketing is: You don’t know,” Kermisch says. “Don’t make assumptions. You need to actually listen to customers, learn from them and be willing to adapt. That really opened our eyes to the opportunity within power sports.”

She also discusses how young people play a surprising role in the outdoors market and how Polaris grew during the pandemic.