On Memorial Day weekend of this year, my brother, cousin and I completed a 32-mile section over 48 hours through the heart of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. We started our journey at Newfound Gap near Clingsmans Dome and finished at the Big Creek Ranger Station near Cosby, TN. What a journey it was!

What stood out to me as the highlight of the trip happened just 4 miles into the hike as we discovered Charlies Bunion overlook. The mountain is characterized by a large boulder-like protrusion just below the summit on its otherwise-sheer northern face. The mountain standing at 5,565 feet is a rare instance of a bare-rock summit in the Smokies. The views are stunning to say the least, making Charlies Bunion one of the most popular sections of the A.T.

Every year between 2-3 million people hike a portion of the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail. The hikers are comprised of day hikers, section hikers, and thru-hikers. Only about 25% completely hike the entire trail.

As one would expect, the age of most of the thru-hikers are in their 20’s. Section hikers tend to be older, with a median age of 40. Interestingly, one person was 81 years old when he completed his 5th hike of the entire A.T. Teens comprise about four percent of thru-hikers; a very small number of children have completed the A.T. with their parents. A very diverse group for sure.

Now, if you’re wondering why all the references to age of the hikers, well here’s the reason…demographics! If you think about it, demographics, which is the study of a population’s age, race, sex, economic status, level of education, income level and employment, among others, is important to every business.

As a marketing professional, it is my business to not only know the demographics of my client’s target customer, but to create the right marketing message in order to reach the correct audience. As I meandered along the tree scattered forest floor, I was reminded of this fact through the old philosophical question: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

From a marketing perspective, I’m not too concerned that philosophers have been asking this question for centuries, because it depends on how we choose to interpret the use of the word ‘sound’. My brain begins to hurt when I think about this quantum theory. What I am concerned about is the fact there are many businesses whose marketing communications are falling on deaf ears! They’re definitely making a sound, but no one is around to hear it.

Are your marketing messages making a sound AND is your target audience around to hear it? If you’re not so sure, call on the team at High Road Digital. We will sit down with you in the woods, office, or anywhere in between and listen to your needs. Together, we will create a content strategy using the right marketing channels to efficiently reach your customer. It’s what we do best!

By the way, I figure by the time I am well into my 80’s, good Lord willing, I will have completed the entire length of the A.T. considering the frequency and mileage that I have been hiking over the last 4 years. I hope my knees hold out and I am still around for my great grandchildren to hear about it!