Foot inserts and the future of personal computing

Ever since I finished reading Bob Gilbreath’s “The Next Evolution of Marketing,” I have been on the hunt for marketing efforts that are providing solutions for people’s lives, connections through experiences and entertainment, or achievement by empowering people to make a difference in the world. Finding these types of marketing is tougher than it might seem; however, they are out there. You just have to look for them. I ran into two of them this last week, one totally by accident, the other one was hard to miss.

Earlier this week, Cassie, my beautiful and amazing wife, decided that she had to do something to fix the pain she had been experiencing in her foot for the last couple months. I had suggested that she visit a podiatrist, but she was a little stubborn and refused to go. When she couldn’t stand it any longer she broke down and asked her general practitioner. He politely informed her that she has high insteps and that she could either get special shoes or she could look for a good set of inserts. Dr. Scholl’s popped into her mind.Dr Scholl's Custom Fit System

Our local supermarket actually has the official Dr. Scholl’s Footmapping system by their pharmacy. Cassie had seen it before and we finally had a good reason to go take a look. Now let’s get something straight – you can get shoe inserts almost anywhere and most stores sell them for a reasonable amount of money (anywhere from $5-20). But what Dr. Scholls has done with their footmapping technology is incredibly meaningful. Instead of hoping that you select “the right insert,” the company is providing consumers with a tool that maps their foot and then helps them select the correct custom-fit insert for their particular foot type.

Cassie tried it out and was amazed. The footmapping technology was easy to use and it did not take much time to do. More importantly, Cassie loved the inserts and has found that her feet are no longer bothering her.

Dr. Scholls has found a significant way to stand out from other shoe-insert producers and by providing a meaningful solution, they are able to charge a premium price for their product (around $50 per set). They are also first to market with a solution that most retailers will only want one of in their stores.

The other example of meaningful marketing that I ran into this week was hard for pretty much anyone to miss. As you are probably aware, Apple launched the iPad earlier this week. It has been interesting to watch all the discussion surround the launch, both prior and after, but one thing is certain, Apple has changed the game yet again. Apple iPad

Like the cell phone makers that berated the iPhone, there are many laptop and PC users out there who are now bashing on the iPad. The problem these guys face is that all of them keep building products their way and then expect consumers to fit their lives around the products. Apple doesn’t approach it this way. The company’s designers look closely at consumers’ lives then create amazing products that fit them.

Apple first did this with the iPod. The figured out how consumers were listening to music and how it fit into their lives. They then created a product for them that made music listening fun, easy and convenient.

The iPad is a similar product. It’s unlike any computer we’ve ever seen before. More importantly, it is made to fit our lives, not the other way around. It won’t be replacing our laptops or desktops. It will fit nicely into another part of our life – casual computer and Internet use. But I am apprehensive about saying too much. Given the iPad’s app development, it is hard to say just where people will go with it. My best guess is that we will be seeing them used in a lot more places and ways than we could ever image.

If you haven’t seen the launch video, it is worth a look.

Bonus read: Who got more buzz this week – Gates or Obama? Find out.

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