I’m a runner. I’ve been a runner for over a decade now, moving forward yet traveling nowhere in a hurry. I fall into a category called “snail’s pace” runners- we’re slow, steady and rarely at the front of the pack. In terms of time, if I’m running a 10-minute mile, that’s just about lightening speed for me.
Running feeds my soul as much as it does my body good. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about, literally, pounding the pavement to start or end a day. Just me and Beyonce, or sometimes Flo Rida or, often times, Eminem- the two of us, we get it done.
In actuality, running is a pretty singular sport, but magically, incredibly inclusive. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, ages and ethnicities. Some are fast; others slow, some flashy (like in the Color Run pictured above), while others are all about utility. You don’t need a lot of money to run and you need very little in terms of gear. The simplicity of the sport holds great appeal to a community of people all working very hard to get themselves across the virtual finish line. The power of the individual is the focus, yes, but the running community often serves as a motivational power source that cheers runners on towards today’s goal and tomorrows. It’s a force that smart marketers can tap into, or at least learn from, as they explore community building and social marketing within the running population and beyond.
Social Marketing Lessons From the Running Community
Runners like to connect
According to Running USA, the number of race finishers has skyrocketed since 1990, growing 300%. The total number of U.S. running events reached 28,000 in 2015. These impressive facts and figures show runners continued desire to stretch themselves and connect with like-minded athletes to achieve a shared goal.
Women run, then go home and hold the wallet
Women control 80% of household spending, and they also run. Female runners dominated road races in 5K, 10K and half marathons in 2015- the marathon is the only distance where men participated in larger numbers (57%) than their female counterparts (43%).
Performance isn’t always primary
I’d be out and out lying if I said running isn’t competitive, but not every runner is performance driven. Community and camaraderie is top of mind for those of us looking to enjoy the process rather than snag a place in the winner’s circle. Many runners enlist friends or family to accompany them or at least cheer them on. There is a great opportunity for marketers to connect with runners who serve as social marketing influencers within their community.
Feeling sexy even while sweating
According to Brooks’ Run Happy Nation Report, the after-run glow is contagious: 41% of Americans reveal they feel “frisky” after hitting the pavement. That should validate your hunch that jogging strollers seem to be multiplying. In all seriousness, the sexy side of running is still largely untapped. Fabletics brings sporty and sexy together with their on-trend athletic wear, but how about you? How can your brand add a little after-glow to its program?