Back in September, we took a look at how Reebok planned to use nostalgia to sell more sneakers, an interesting move considering the forward-looking product marketing strategies utilized by most other footwear brands.

Well guess what? For me (and others like me) nostalgia was in fact a great selling point.

In a search for a new shoe to support my broken jump shot and minimal vertical leap (“Mom I touched the net!”), I turned to

After traveling through time back to middle school (when I still had a broken jump shot and rec-specs) I found five pairs of retro and retro-inspired kicks I loved. My fiancé was no help in choosing a winner (“they all look nice I guess”), so I turned to Facebook:

Reebok FB

I got a surprising number of comments—a bunch of my friends also enjoyed the nostalgia trip—and I ended up settling on the new Reebok Q96, a remix of my favorite sneaker from 1996.


I still won’t be good at basketball, but at least my feet will look cool.

For marketers, this is really a story about product attributes. On the surface, and in a typical product catalog, all five of these shoes would be considered “men’s” “athletic” “basketball” sneakers in the traditional attribute sense. But digging deeper, the true psychographic attribute that links these products for me and people like me is the fact that they’re all retro-inspired products. At the same time, a few of those same products may be appealing to someone else for some other reason (but apparently not my fiance, who guesses they all look nice.)

The phenomenon of these non-standard product attributes spans verticals. I may only care about a certain frying pan’s standard “non-stick” attribute, while my fiancé actually knows (and cares) that this is one of Rachael Ray’s favorite items. Likewise, my dad appreciates a certain credit-card’s “flexible payment terms” while I fixate on its “accelerated rewards points.”

So, how can marketers capitalize?

First, they must be able to easily create groups of products sharing common, non-standard attributes. Many folks I speak with bemoan the process of adding attributes to a product feed—thus, good personalization platforms should enable marketers to do this in minutes, without any technical work on the product feed.

Second, they must easily be able to connect these attributes to the visitor segments that care about them. A great onsite experience would involve visitors who frequently browse “retro-inspired sneakers” being led down a path to similar products, while other visitor segments see different product callouts that may resonate more strongly with them. These bifurcated experiences must be done without technical bottlenecks, so that the strategy of aligning product attributes to visitor segments can scale.

In reality, there’s more to your products, solutions, and customers than meets the eye. It’s time to seize the opportunity to differentiate from your competitors and win business by helping your consumers find what they actually care about.