Health and Fitbits: Marketing to the New Fitness Consumer

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By: 321

January 6, 2016

2015 brought with it an array of fitness and health trends, from boutique gyms to wearable fitness monitors, at a caliber unlike previous years. Long ago are the days of workout videos and at-home treadmills. Instead, people are willing to spend more money and invest more time on fitness trends, whether that be technology, specialized workouts, or organic and ethical food products. In fact, experts have predicted that the business of health and wellness will be the next trillion dollar industry. If that’s the case then it’s time to hop on the health wagon and develop new marketing plans for the new fitness buff by studying consumer mindset, demographics, and where they are going for their fitness information. So let’s turn those “New Year, New Me” health resolutions into New Year, new marketing opportunities for 2016.

Seaweed is the New Kale

I think we can all relate to having a love-hate relationship with food, especially so shortly after the holiday season. A recent health survey reports that 42% of Americans are health-conscious and follow dietary plans for a variety of reasons. Surprisingly, more men than women make diet choices for weight loss, while other major reasons include health-related issues and ethical responsibility. Many are buying into fads publicized by celebrities such as  Gwenyth Paltrow (macrobiotic), Matthew McConaughey (Paleo), and Megan Fox (5-Factor). The same diet research determined that 42% of health-minded consumers view even gluten-free as on the trendy radar. That’s not even considering juicing, dietary supplements, fasts, and cleanses. Womens Health Magazine pegged the top food trends of 2016 as eating out of bowls, Matcha green tea, nutmilks, and ‘seaweed as the new kale’ among others.  Are these trends something to be avoided or do they open new opportunities to reach out to health food fanatics?

As people are constantly looking for a new nut, fruit, or berry to be the product of their latest obsession, stay ahead of the trends instead of just buying into them! Real research and data driven statistics on little-known food groups or diets can have a real impact on those who are tired of their current meal plans. For those changing their diet for ethical reasons, focus on organic and socially conscious food in your marketing techniques instead of just diets that eliminate a food group. Thousands, if not millions, of social media accounts (particularly Instagram) are dedicated strictly to healthy food and living, so use that to your benefit. Take advantage of health-related hashtags such as #EatClean, #HealthyEating, and #EatRight among others.

Orange Theory is the New YMCA

Just as simple diets are so yesterday, the same can be said of classic family gyms such as Lifestyle or LA Fitness. In their place are boutique fitness studios with niche specialities such as the “interval fitness concept” of Orange Theory, the ballet style of Pure Barre, or centers teaching distinct practices like boxing, boot-camp, yoga, crossfit, spin, and more.  And they don’t come at a cheap price. Most members of the “new gym” are willing to pay anywhere from $200 a month to year long memberships in the thousands of dollars. Furthermore, a recent fitness industry report concluded that the demographics have changed for those utilizing membership fitness centers. While it used to be concentrated on the 18-34 age range, new endeavors to regain youth and vitality have increased popularity among Americans over 50 and even children and teenagers. Therefore, age might not be the primary demographic to focus on when marketing to the new gym rat. As is the case for any form of marketing in this generation, we have the opportunity to reach people on various platforms, through various mediums, and to specific targets. Don’t just connect with the health-conscious consumer. Connect with the new yogi, boxer, boot-camper, and spin cycler.

Many boutique gym members are seeking a personal touch to their workout experience and a sense of community. Interviews with local Barre members in Orlando revealed their reasons for choosing these exclusive clubs as less intimidation, a sense of comfort, and mutual encouragement with fellow club goers. Let your brand or the product/service you are promoting evoke the same feelings, attitudes, and interests that your audience is seeking. Motivational quotes, self-actualizing encouragement, and speaking to the consumer as an individual instead of a group will offer the inspiration that they seek.

FitBit is the New Treadmill

Possibly the most rapidly growing trend in the fitness world is the use of wearable technology that tells more than just how many steps you’ve taken today. As another key player in the “Age of Big Data,” current trends in wearables such as Nike Fuelbands, Fitbits, and Apple Watches make fitness and health more trackable and a seemingly more rewarded behavior. Just as the tablet revolutionized the way people used mobile devices, wearable fitness technology is quickly trumping old-school pedometers and even personal trainers. Suddenly, one device can be customized for individual schedules, needs, habits, and preferences. The trend is predominantly adopted by consumers 44 years or younger and studies show that 50% in the 18-29 age group are at least slightly likely to adopt it in the next 3 months. Smart wearables bring together all aspects of physical activity by using better personal data to align an individual’s exercise and habits with their wellness goals when used correctly.

The wearable user is at least a bit tech-savvy and values real data and factual evidence to back up their health habits. So when marketing to this group give them just that. Make fitness technology as exciting as getting a new laptop or cellphone and support your product, service, or brand with statistical results that they can really use to better their health habits. This consumer is smart and to market to them effectively you need to get on their level.

Health and Fitness is an all-encompassing industry that covers what people eat, where they go, and what technology they use. The key to marketing to the new fitness consumer is to recognize and hone in on their specific niches, specialities, and interests so you can become a lean, mean marketing machine.

Here at 321, we’re grateful to have worked with some great local health & fitness clients and continue to learn from this ever-evolving industry. If you have a project in mind that you’d like to work with us on, or if you just want to pick our brains – shoot us an email. 

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