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Marketing & Sales News

A Marketer’s Dream

Debbie Lee.

Debbie Lee.

Angel Rodriguez enters the room with a bit of nervous anticipation about his new movie role. After all, he’s a Gainesville Health & Fitness member, not an actor. So what motivates Angel to take on this assignment? His journey to lose 100 pounds is filled with passion — feelings so powerful he cannot help sharing with others. And, there’s really no acting involved in a testimonial.

A marketer’s dream is having a product that delivers results so compelling, people talk about it. I like to call it creating the buzz.

The buzz began last summer when we received the innovative X-Force negative training machines from Sweden. We brought in Dr. Ellington Darden to create and execute a six, 12 and 24-week exercise study. The results were beyond amazing, not only for the fat lost and muscle gained, but the social community that developed through the process.

We found ourselves with everything we needed to create a compelling campaign focusing on weight loss — valid measurements, professional before and after photos that presented stunning visual results and, permission to use all materials in advertising.

My marketing team went to work creating a broadcast, print and social media campaign to launch in January, just in time for the weight loss mania that happens this time of year. The message was consistent in all external advertising, which included TV, print (local direct mail magazine), website, Facebook, YouTube and internal promotion to members. We’ve found over the years that it’s best to drive one message to the marketplace across all mediums.

We created and produced television spots using iMovie and iStock music to present a compilation of the best before and after photos along with fat lost. Using the same production resources, we also produced individual member stories about losing weight and how GHF helped them do it. We identified the members and interviewed each of them using a series of questions prompting the content we needed for the 30-second spot.

Our questions centered around two concepts: what was their life like before the weight loss, and what can they do now that they’ve lost weight? We wanted to capture the feelings and emotions of both phases of their lives, not just the facts. We researched what other well-branded companies were doing for product testimonials and decided on a simple, clean presentation, with a white background, and music with a more whimsical feel. You can check out the commercials at ghfc.com/commercials.

Now, for the offers. We began in January with an offer for a free trial pass (one day) to be redeemed on our website. We placed our commercial and offer on our home page so that it was easy to find. In mid-January we changed the offer to join for $1, memberships less than $13 a week, and we directed them to the website. We used these offers in all external advertising.

After a few hours in the editing room (our advertising office) we had a complete campaign with our own members’ before and after results. We are moving towards using real images in all of our advertising, not stock photos or videos. Our goal is to create an authentic message that people will believe. Having our members and staff talking about the real before and after stories is priceless.

In the social media area, we created a Facebook group and invited all members participating in the exercise study to join. The members quickly took over the conversations that still continue today. Most of those members are still involved in X-Force training, and subsequent studies. The power of this strategy is serving as a model for other social marketing groups within our clubs.

We couldn’t have created this campaign without the exercise study or iMovie, and music resources to produce the television spots ourselves. It allowed us to create a powerful message that’s perfect for those looking to join a gym and get the help they need to get great results.


By Debbie Lee, the marketing director for GHF.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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