COM0014 – Blog post #3 – New shoes, fresh from the oven

I’m a girl. I wear 2-inch high heels on most days. I also lift weights.

After three years, I hit a ‘plateau’ with my front squat. It was frustrating to struggle with something I knew I should be better at, until one day my trainer asked: “Do you wear heels?”

He explained how wearing heels keeps your calf muscles tightened (“High heels ‘shrink calf muscle fibres’”, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10651020), which may restrict range of movement in squats. I started stretching my calf muscles regularly, but it wasn’t enough. My trainer suggested I test out his Olympic weightlifting shoes that have a slightly elevated heel. Wow, what a difference they made! I could squat with heavier weight and still maintain proper form!

Now to find a pair…

I found shoes online and started calling local stores. Understandably they’d be difficult to find, but it was frustrating that some stores sold men’s and not women’s. With more women joining crossfit gyms, why weren’t these shoes available?

When a product has a very specific market, it’s easier to reach just that market. Consider the marketing campaign for the Reebok All-Terrain Series shoes. This shoe, branded as the “Official Shoe of Spartans”, is being marketed to participants of the obstacle course race called the Spartan Race. The shoe is featured prominently on the Spartan Race blog (http://blog.spartanrace.com/the-reebok-all-terrain-series-the-shoe-of-spartan-race/); Spartan team members receive promotional emails; rotating banner ads feature it on the Reebok home page (http://shop.reebok.com/us/); and there is a youTube promotional video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPI0FwPK8i8). For me, the dramatic video was especially effective, resembling a movie trailer by ending with the words: “Coming March 2014”.

I ended up purchasing Reebok shoes—Crossfit Lifters—online (and enjoyed putting them in the oven to mold to the shape of my feet!). If I was marketing these lifters, I’d mirror the Spartan shoe marketing plan, with a target audience of “youngish” (early-to-mid thirties), active, health-conscious, professional women who have disposable income to afford gym memberships and the corresponding trendy clothing. I’d work with a high heel shoe company to offer a discount if women bought both heels and lifters. The footwear would also be readily available in stores.

I am not the Oly shoe’s original target audience, which was why I had such difficulty finding them; the marketing is directed at men who readily buy products online, but I believe target audiences can change.

Thoughts? Have you ever delighted in baking your own shoes?

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