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Sports & Fitness

Web Marketing Works Out

1 Jan, 2011 By: Jackie Jones Response

As health and fitness continues to dominate the DRTV space, marketers find increased success by expanding into online and digital platforms.


As far back as direct response marketers can remember, health and fitness has always been a staple of success in the industry, and 2010 didn’t differ. With P90X by Beachbody, Body Makeover by Provida Life Sciences and Total Gym by Total Gym Fitness claiming the top three spots in the 2010 IMS Top 50 Long-Form Rankings, and big-brand names such as Shake Weight, eDiets, Bowflex and NordicTrack earning high honors among the top 50 spots in the IMS National Cable DR Spot Rankings, it’s clear health and fitness has kept up its stamina in the world of DR.

Many marketers are using tried-and-true DRTV methods to drive new evolving DR platforms while learning just how mutually beneficial the online sector and DRTV can be for products and programs in the health and fitness space.

“2010 has been a unique year for direct response. Trends have changed and fragmentation is more prevalent than ever. For marketers to stay ahead, covering all communication channels in their advertising efforts is extremely important,” says Olga Ackad, vice president of client services for Mercury Media’s long-form division. “The shift from phone orders to Web orders has been a huge contributor to the change in trends and it’s extremely important to consider orders from both avenues to truly gauge the success of a DRTV campaign.”

Honing in on Home

Even amid economic struggles, the health and fitness industry continues to see success because of the intrinsic motivation behind most consumers’ decisions to purchase a product.

“People want to take care of themselves, they want to treat themselves to a product that will make them better,” says David Savage, executive vice president of R2C Group and Cmedia and a member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board. “Even in tough times, one of the societal trends is that people are taking better care of themselves. People watch and research and purchase because they know these products can help them reach their goals.”

Direct response — both through DRTV and other emerging platforms — provides the perfect avenue for brands to connect with consumers in this mindset.

“The longer formats of DR — whether it’s 60 seconds or a half-hour — give room for the before and after’s, the results and depictions, and the testimonials of people saying, ‘Wow, I really love this product,’” Savage says.

Weight-loss services provider eDiets.com — ranked No. 8 in the IMS Top 50 Spots of 2010 — is one brand that continues to see growth. Just in time for the holidays — prime time for most to pack on the pounds — eDiets.com launched two new 30-, 60- and 120-second DRTV campaigns developed by R2C Group. The television spots offer consumer testimonials and drive customers to both a toll-free phone number and URL, where they can claim a one-week trial of free food to be delivered to their homes. The marketer’s Web site also features online lifestyle modification support to further help consumers lose weight.

“They’ve got multiple campaigns going on — both the home-delivery campaign and ‘The Biggest Loser’ meal plan supplied by eDiets.com,” Savage says. “They’ve experienced extreme growth in their business.”

A good mix of traditional DRTV and digital marketing has served eDiets well. Revenues for the marketer’s third-quarter 2010 were $6 million, a 42-percent increase from the $4.2 million of 3Q 2009, and early numbers from fourth quarter showed similar promise. In mid-November, eDiets reported meal-delivery sales of approximately $1.8 million for the month of October, compared to the $1.7 million of the entire fourth quarter of 2009, according to Kevin McGrath, president and CEO of eDiets.com.

“We are very pleased with the continued growth in our meal delivery business,” McGrath said at the time. “Our focus on expanding our customer base and improving gross margins continues to be effective.”

A continued mix of short- and long-form spots is the most effective strategy for health and fitness marketers, according to Savage.

“Many of the most successful marketers in health and fitness are using both short- and long-form: long to launch a product and short for front-end sales and to drive retail,” Savage says. “Long- and short-form really complement one another in this industry.”

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