Sunday, January 10, 2010

Know Your Audience

After taking four days off in an attempt to kill this cold, I really couldn't take it anymore. Today, I snuck out for 5 miles. As expected, I didn't feel great. Lots of creaks and a lot of snot. Unfortunately, not all the snot came out. Still not feeling great. Hopefully, soon.

Instead of running, I've been using some of that time to read about running, specifically Trail Runner Magazine. It should come as no surprise that I'm a couple issues behind. Today, while D was running and the Little Lady was napping, I was reading the November issue, which featured an article on how to dress for cold weather running. Now, in any magazine, even one as niched as Trail Runner, not every article is going to appeal to every reader, but, in this case, I found this particular article way off the mark. The article, "Become One with the Cold" outlined what to wear in cold weather, e.g. multiple layers, and the various options for shoes. The entire subject and tone of article was targeted at neophytes. This makes no sense at all. It seems very unlikely that a newbie would be reading Trail Runner. Everything about the magazine is focused towards the committed athlete. In fact, it's fairly ultrarunning focused. So, I think we can safely assume that very few neophytes would read this magazine. What was this article doing in Trail Runner? Perhaps my ire arose from the fact that I'm a marketing guy for my day job, and I spend a great deal of time ensuring that I'm focusing on the correct target audience. If you're not talking to the correct audience, you're wasting your time and money. To me, this article didn't even come close to the target audience, and it struck me as tremendously lazy, as well. The content was so basic that I doubt it took more than two hours to put this whole article together. Everyone who has ever run outside knows that when the temperature drops adding layers is the way to go. What would have been more useful would be to provide actual reviews of cold weather gear: tights, jackets, shoes, etc. (Interestingly enough, the same issue has an article which reviews tights, socks and calf sleeves.) "This jacket breathed well, but lacked pockets." Or something to that effect, would have been much more useful to the target audience. I'm not ready to ditch my Trail Runner subscription, but they are on probation. In fact, I thought the rest of the issue was pretty solid, especially the articles on nutrition and their "Bucket List."

OK, off soapbox...for now.


Jamie said...

When I worked at MSNBC, weird out of place stories would sometimes find their way on air. These were often pitched by very good looking 20 year old female interns who were sleeping with the 50-something year old executive producers. I'm guessing the sex had something to do with it.

middle.professor said...

I think running (or ski) jackets are the most useless piece of clothing that I've ever bought. But they look cool at the post run (ski) social.

sn0m8n said...

The seedy underbelly of Trail Runner! I bet it's quite the soap opera.

Jeff - Maybe you just haven't found the right shell yet. A good gear review could have helped you.

middle.professor said...

My body runs too hot. I use the sporthill shirt with a windproof front from about 15F and higher and if it's colder than that I'll just throw on a thin smartwool layer underneath. I did wear a craft jacket one day at Bretton Woods - 5F was the high (at 9AM) and 40 mph winds. But I could have just thrown another layer underneath. Again, I don't know what a jacket offers that a good Craft wind shirt or Sporthill wind shirt doesn't have and I can wear these over a far, far broader Temp range than a jacket.

sn0m8n said...

If you're too hot, just wear the shell zipped down three quarters. Chicks dig that.