a lesson in how to properly target your audience

Andrei Marks · July 24, 2010

Sky Blue Hexagon Surprise Bullseye

I just read through an article called “Talking Money With Your Significant Other” on the Mint.com blog, by Nick Kennedy.

The article had sound advice for the most part, there wasn’t much wrong with it aside from some odd phrasing. There was even a little bit of devious psych work in there, which I liked:

If there’s one specific area you two think you should tackle (like putting more in savings or setting up a budget), give your spouse credit for coming up with the idea. It’s much easier to get somebody to “buy in” to an idea when they think it’s their idea.

Otherwise, just some good, solid advice. Make sure to acknowledge your own mistakes so they don’t get in the way of the discussion. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do with your budget. Stick to the topic of money and don’t get nudged off track by unrelated relationship issues.

Then at the bottom I see this:

Talking Money With Your Significant Other adapted from AskMen.com content.

My very first thought was, what does “Adapted from [other website’s] content” mean? Is that some sort of pirate code for “Stolen from this site?” Can I just lift things from other blogs, not use quotations, and slap this “adapted from” on? Naturally, I click on through.

At first I thought I’d hit it right on the nose. Aside from a couple words omitted from the headings, the article was the same, word for word. Curious, I looked at the author, and saw that it was once again Nick Kennedy, who seems to be a Personal Finance Correspondent over at AskMen.com. So I figured, “Oh, okay. It’s the same guy. Mystery solved. He’s absolved, right?”

But then, why the “adapted from” language? Why not just say, “also at,” or simply not include the reference at all?

Then I read through to the second page, and found some missing material:

AskMen.com: Acknowledge Her LimitationsAha.

This section is really a roller coaster ride. First you’re hit with the title, bam! That’s Grade-A 1950s stuff right there.

Then you get to the opening sentence and bullet points. Okay, okay, that’s not too unreasonable, some guys might be in that position too.

You keep nodding your head through the next paragraph, “a financial blind spot” and otherwise “perfectly intelligent in other areas.” Keeping up with times.

But just before you can rest assured it’s a perfectly neutral article: don’t “get frustrated” trying “to teach her”:

she may not be teachable, especially if she doesn't want to learn. In fact, it may be best for both of you if you just took control of her finances.

And fin.

Jesus, Nick. Now, if he was smart he’d turn around, reverse all the gendered pronouns, and sell that article to Pink Magazine.

So, lesson #1 in how to properly target your audience, courtesy of Nick Kennedy:

  • Adapt your articles in order to make sure your gender bashing is insulated from the Greater Internet.

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