Of all the industries that serve the needs of consumers, the diet and fitness industry seems to be the one with both the most interest and the widest variety of verticals.
From weight loss supplements to home gym equipment to pre-packaged diet plans, diet and fitness companies run the gamut. Marketing in this industry creates a desire for the products or services – but marketers also must tread carefully to not mislead or overstate benefits.
A thriving and powerful industry. The annual revenue of the U.S. weight loss market topped out at $59.8 billion in 2014. According to reporting from Marketdata, the DIY dieting trend will fuel a growth of 1.4% during the coming year. The report included details on the latest dieter trends – including DIY – as well as an evaluation of the campaigns of major brands like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and NutriSystem.
The report noted that women spend an average of 17 years of their lives trying to lose weight, and 91% of college age women reported that they were trying to lose weight. However, programs and products that can be used by both men and women tend to perform best.
Weight loss industry in a new phase. Overall, the weight loss market is experiencing a phase of flat to low growth as a result of the overall economy, as well as a shift toward the DIY approach. Marketdata’s analysis noted that although there’s a DIY trend, some brands are doing well, and there are untapped niches.
Diet and fitness marketing campaigns can impact consumer purchasing habits directly. For example, as early as the late 1970s scientists found a strong link between high-fiber diets and a reduced risk of cancer. However, it wasn’t until the mid 1980s, when advertising connected the two, that consumers begun buying.
Remembering the consumer. While not all successful marketing campaigns are based on scientific studies, those that are successful keep one thing in mind – the consumer. Marketdata’s report noted that there was a general shift away from diet products and toward services – coaching, clinics and other programs that help people reach their fitness goals.
This customization of the diet and fitness experience is something that consumers are looking for in other industries – so it’s worthwhile to emphasize this in advertising. Appealing to the customization factor through diet and fitness marketing is likely to continue to appeal to consumers in all niches.
Interest in health and wellness is growing rapidly. In addition to customization, overall health and wellness is becoming a bigger part of the diet and fitness industry. A growing portion of this market is seeing their weight loss and exercise efforts as part of an overall desire for wellness and not just a shrinking number on the scale. Traditional diet plans may be phased out as people explore options for integrating health more naturally into their lifestyle. Taking a more wellness-based approach rather than weight loss approach in diet and fitness advertising can pay off.
Technology in the world of diet and fitness. In addition, technology has begun to play a larger role in the diet and fitness industry. Consumers are looking for wearable health trackers, digital calorie tracking and other tools to help them manage their healthy lifestyle. Companies that want to leverage diet and fitness marketing can benefit by playing up their tech capabilities or electronic options. If none exist, the convenience factor of a product or service can be used as a selling point.
Direct response advertising campaigns on television, in print and online can help diet and fitness companies position themselves for new industry trends as well as current dieter demographics. By appealing to the desire for customization, wellness and technology, diet and fitness companies can successfully use marketing strategies to stay ahead of the pack.