Sneaker marketing
2 min read

Sneaker marketing

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 4,265 creators get better at content creation and strategy in less than 5 minutes. This week's episode is a replay from October 2021.

I’m a sneakerhead.

If you’re unfamiliar with that term, it basically means that I love sneakers and I know a lot about them.

Nikes, Air Jordans, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok, Creative Recreation, ASICS, Converse – all of ‘em.

(It’s to the point that I can name pretty much any Air Jordan model and colorway on sight. If I ever make it on Jeopardy, hopefully that’s a category.)

I love the stories behind them, the design elements used, and the materials used as sneaker technology matured.

I know what’s available, the value of what’s available, and where to get what I want.

Translation to B2B talk: I’m an educated buyer. I know the market, the vendor landscape, and the value of what’s available.

Because of this, the time from awareness to evaluation to purchase is very fast.

So it’s incredibly rare that I get sold. I don’t walk into FootLocker and leave with something unexpected. I drive the buying process.

But notice I never said never.

Last year I saw this article, Those Superfast Nike Shoes Are Creating a Problem.

(Great title by the way. Shoes do a lot of things, but causing problems isn’t usually one of them. The author instantly incites curiosity. What problems??)

Eliud Kipchoge completed a marathon in 1 hour 59 minutes – the first ever to do so in under two hours.

This caused the International Association of Athletics Federations to investigate his shoes to make sure they were legal. They quickly shared that Kipchoge's use of the new Nike Vaporfly Next% gave Kipoche an “unfair advantage." Their response was to seriously consider banning the shoe from competition.

At this point you might be thinking this killed the shoe. I mean, how can you sell and market an illegal shoe?

But the opposite happened. Word spread like wildfire in the athletic and shoe community, and the shoe sold out.


Because word on the street was these new shoes made people faster.

And anyone who runs – casually or competitively – is definitely interested in getting an edge and cutting down their mile time.

I was sold on the spot. I had to know – would they really make me faster?

Here's the thing: You don't have to go out and get your product banned (in fact, I don’t recommend it.)

But it teaches a valuable lesson:

Word of mouth marketing is the most effective way to create awareness and educate your audience.

And those conversations can sell people for you, IF the message is right.

But beware: People buy results, not features.

If people were talking about how Vaporfly Next%'s midsole is thicker than most running shoes, how the materials are lighter, and blah blah blah – no one would remember, let alone care.

But tell them a story about how the shoes made a fast guy even faster, and people will swipe their credit cards to see for themselves.

This is how you make your offer – blogs, social posts, events, courses, etc – irresistible.

  1. Get your audience talking about your offering
  2. Wrap it up in a story
  3. Center it around results, not features

This is how you create demand – even for the most educated buyers.

Holler at you next week,

PS: I can’t say for sure that the shoes made me faster, but I did clock my fastest mile AND my longest run in them. Causation or correlation? Doesn’t matter. I’m happy I bought them, and Nike is too.

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