Advertising must yield positive results
It’s impossible to know unless you tried them all, and made copious measurements for each. Of course, there just isn’t enough time or money for that!
The only alternative is to whittle down the options so that you eliminate the ones that are too broad for your audience.
- Posting your trail run to an international trail running Facebook group will not have the same relevance as if you posted to your local regional group.
- And conversely, paying for an ad in a local newspaper will largely be wasted money if your product is a physical one sold through your website.
It makes sense to use different approaches to reach the right people through the right media.
At TRAIL, we aim to connect South African-based trail running brands with South African trail runners. That’s our primary mandate, to connect people who love trail running, and those who love serving trail runners. We also occasionally work with international events keen to target mainly South African runners.
Past and present advertisers
Here’s a list of some of the brands and events we’ve worked with since 2011:
32Gi, adidas, Addo Elephant Trail Run (2016-2019), AfricanX Trailrun, Altra, Asics, Biogen, Brooks, Bryton, Camelbak, Capestorm, Chariot Carriers, Columbia, Compressport, Dodo Trail (Mauritius), Enduren, Featherbed Trail Run, Feetures, First Ascent, Giant’s Cup Trail Run, Glencairn Trail Run, Golden Gate Challenge, Harrismith Mountain Race, Hi-Tec, Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Run (India), Hoka One One, Iamsuperbar, IceBreaker, Injinji, inov-8, Julbo, K-Way, Knysna Oyster Festival, KZN Trail Running, KURO-Bo, Leatherman, Ledlenser, Lisa Raleigh/Super Scoop, Mac Mac Ultra 2019, Magnetic South, Merrell, NAKD bars, Nativa/Go!/Turbovite, New Balance, Nuzest, On shoes, Otter African Trail Run, Oxpecker Trail Run, Pekant, Pure Adventures, racefood, Reebok, Royal Raid (Mauritius), Rugani, Runtheberg, Rushbar, Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge, Salomon, Saucony, Skyrun, SPOT, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, Stagger Trail, StaminoGro, Suunto, Tekkie Town, The North Face, TomTom, Trailnuggets, Trek bars, Ultra-trail Cape Town, Ultra-Trail Drakensberg, Vivobarefoot, Warrior Race, Wildtrail, Wild Series, Wildlands Conservation Trust, Wolkberg Trail Run, Zini Beach ‘n Bush, and several more.
How should I advertise?
It’s common sense that there is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution.
So we focus on being as good as we can at being effective for both of our customers (advertisers and readers). We strive to help readers find the solutions to their trail running needs. And we work with those with services and products get them to our readers in the most cost- and time-effective way.
- Social media
- Website (this one!)
- Competitions combining some or all the above
- Surveys (2020 Reader Survey coming December 2019)
When should I advertise?
Placing advertising in TRAIL magazine should be one of your top marketing choices if you:
- Are a trail running event organiser with an event to promote in the next month to several months.
- Sell trail running products like apparel, electronic training devices, eyewear, hydration, running shoes, sunblock, and sports nutrition on a long-term basis.
Even under the TRAIL magazine umbrella, there will be options that will perform better than others. Print will be better than digital for some marketing, and yet it won’t perform well for others.
When should I not advertise?
We reserve the right to decline advertising requests, and have done so several times in the past. These included:
- A miracle crystal wrist band that would make you stronger and more flexible. It was bogus.
- A vitamin blood infusion to boost recovery, done via saline drip for R900 to R1,600 a pop. We feel needles should not be part of a healthy lifestyle.
- Brands that create products that exploit people, involve animal cruelty, and/or unethical natural resource exploitation. Enough said.
When is the right time to advertise?
Timing and consistency are important ingredients in the recipe for success.
- A 100 miler event needs more preparation and planning from a reader, so there’s no point advertising yours two months before race day. You need a long-term view.
- And ditto for products. A flash-in-the-pan approach where you appear for one issue a year isn’t going to be as effective as consistently showing up in multiple issues.
My job is to help you decide on the best choice for you. That might mean I suggest you don’t advertise through TRAIL at all. You won’t be the first person I’ve pointed in another direction.
That’s because I believe in treating others the way I’d like to be treated. You may have run the gauntlet of poor advice from plumbers, roof repair companies, car salesmen, life insurance brokers, and the like. I have too, and don’t want you having that experience with TRAIL magazine. For me, it’s about building a reputation of authenticity, based on… surprise… authenticity!
My job is to help you navigate the options using my 22 years of magazine marketing experience, and advise you honestly and ethically.
Deon Braun, TRAIL magazine founder
“We have had more enquiries via our website in the last month from runners than we have had all year, and we are pretty sure that this is because of our ads in your fab mag. We are super chuffed.” Emma Brown, Trailnuggets.
“I want to thank you for your input, words of encouragement, and expertise you share with me. It is and will always be highly appreciated. Since the campaign launched I received 15 orders for R20,000. Thank you!” Terblanche Fourie, Weekend Warriors (Aonijie hydration brand).
Traditional advertising is dead… but long live marketing!
- 6,000 print copy circulation. Published four times a year.
- Estimated readership of 12,000+ from sold and post-newsstand back copies via retailers, existing subscriptions (we have not sold new subscriptions since March 2018, but existing subscribers are being serviced), back issue sales, partner sales, and event complimentaries.
- Launch date: December 2011
- Issues to date: 33
TRAIL is quarterly. Deadlines for 2020 are:
- Apr/May/Jun (T35) – Booking 27 Jan 2020, Material 10 Feb, Sale Mon 30 Mar 2020
- Jul/Aug/Sep (T36) – Booking 27 Apr, Material 4 May, Sale Mon 22 Jun
- Oct/Nov/Dec (T37) – Booking 27 Jul, Material 10 Aug, Sale Mon 21 Sep
- Jan/Feb/Mar 2021 (T38) – Booking 26 Oct, Material 2 Nov, On sale Mon 14 Dec
Special emphasis themes for 2019/2020
- T35 Apr/May/Jun 2020 – AUTUMN GUIDE – lighting, compression, run shorts, food bars
- T36 Jul/Aug/Sep 2020 – WINTER GUIDE – cold weather apparel, energy supplements
- T37 Oct/Nov/Dec – SPRING GUIDE – rain jackets, eyewear, navigation/HRM units
- T38 Jan/Feb/Mar 2021 – CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE – good gifts, socks, summer apparel, trail and road shoes
Popular products like apparel, nutrition, and shoes appear in every issue, but the theme issues may have more of the categories listed. Products are not arranged by themess, but in ascending price order.
Contact Deon Braun for the latest advertising rates for print, digital, and competitions.
Enquire if your brand seeks exclusive survey insights for our 2021 survey, conducted in Q4 of 2020.
Advertise with TRAIL magazine to:
- Inform trail runners about your useful products and services.
- Capture the attention of new potential followers.
- Change lives – and the immediate world – for the better, with your offering.
- Show new potential buyers what your products and services can do for them.
- Reinforce the benefits of using your products to people who already know about you.
- Remind current customers that you will continue to help them with new offerings, or backup their existing products.
Partner with TRAIL magazine, and you’ll promote your brand in print, the magazine’s digital editions, and our social media.
Who reads TRAIL magazine?
TRAIL readers are upper LSM, adventurous, fun-loving people. They place a high premium on being outdoors. They love running, hiking, and being active, fit, and healthy.
TRAIL magazine distribution
Retail. Sold through 600+ stockists including Spar, Clicks, CNA, Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books, Shell petrol stations (from issue 34), and specialist retailers in South Africa.
Digital. Available worldwide through:
- App Store (direct from Apple)
- App Store (TRAIL app managed by Audience Media, via Zinio)
- Google Play
I’ve had the privilege of working with dozens of marketing managers over the 22 years I’ve published three endurance sport magazine titles.
There are two things I notice time and time again when it comes to the niche brands.
1. Advertising can only amplify (your reputation)
If you sell gardening tools, you need to speak to people interested in gardening. And regularly.
But there are times that advertising can actually hurt a brand.
What I’ve seen happen over the years: Scenario 1: If the product/service is a superior one and is popular with consumers, advertising boosts the public’s awareness and increases word of mouth. Result: increased sales. Think Apple, BMW, Cremora, and #Veganuary for their campaigns over the years. Scenario 2: If the product has a bad reputation or doesn’t solve a problem, advertising boosts the negativity through word of mouth. Result: plummeting sales and/or brand failure. One example I recall is Power Balance (although they are still sold, go figure!). They tried to advertise in Go Multi, a publication I previously published, and I politely declined. I’m still grateful I went with my gut instinct.
2. Focus on solutions and benefits
Another thing I notice is how many marketers still make the big mistake of emphasising features instead of benefits. When I receive a PDF with a bullet list of features and tech jargon to be used as a product description, I know their marketing awareness in five milliseconds.
“Buy this XYZ washing machine! It has a Digital Inverter and a Direct Drive!” Does that make you reach for your wallet? I know that I am not swayed by that message.
But how about: “Let our XYZ washing machines save you at least R600 a year (that’s just R50 a month) on your energy bill (they’re 34% more efficient than similar-priced rivals). You’ll also love that they’re 25% quieter and independent tests show they last two years longer than rival brands. So over 10 years, you will have saved R6,000 in electricity. Our washing machine model X costs just R5,000. Do the maths!” You bet I would think about that.
So, do you tell your customers about what problem your product can help them solve, or benefit it will give them – or do you still try selling them features the R&D department stuck in a Powerpoint presentation?
The first works, the second fails.