Why you should avoid being a runner’s first shoe brand

… or maybe better: why injury prevention is the best retention program.

Researcher Tim Smits shares my passion for counter-intuitive consumer insights (or, ‘mindfucks’). Today, he told me a recent finding from his research about running shoes and how brands face an important but easily overlooked problem in building a long term relationship with starting runners.

So, let’s say you decided to start running. What shoes do you choose?
Chance is, you either use the shoes you already possess or that you buy shoes that look flashy and/or have familiair brands.

And chance is, that with all your new found passion and enthousiasm, you might be a little too ambitious in your running goals.
That there’s the moment of your first running injury.

When you get injured, the cause may lay in two things:
There’s either something wrong with your material or with you.
And of course, it isn’t you. There is no way that you trained too much or too fast. No way that not sticking to your training schedule caused that injury.
And no way that your friend that told you to ease and slow down in your first week of running, could have been right.
It must have been those damn shoes.

Logical next step is to buy another brand of shoes. Ideally, a brand that designs shoes specifically for runners.

That means a substantial amount of runners switch brand during or after their first injury. Mostly not because their first brand of shoes was bad, but because they falsely blame their brand of shoes for their first running injury.

I loved it when Tim told me.
It means the customer retention challenge there isn’t about building a complex CRM system, a nifty newsletter, gathering likes or launching a new app (which is never de solution of a retention challenge by the way), but it suddenly becomes an injury prevention program. Talking about acts, not ads.
I would love to get my hands on that challenge.

So, knowing this, what would be your next move be?

1 comment
  1. Goed verhaal Polle. Ooit via Nike bij ASICS uitgekomen (nog voor mijn werk daar). Daar gebleven, ondanks blessures. Herken wel de twijfel en de blik over de schutting naar andere merken.

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