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Education and Affirmation in Marketing to Reinforce Revenue

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Education and Affirmation

Education and affirmation play tremendous roles in sourcing more reluctant individuals as new members or clients of your fitness business. 

Despite the strength of your business’s brand, messaging across the industry is not targeted enough to people who lack the level of self-efficacy to act on their health goals. Or to individuals who are considering change but still researching fitness brands, products and services. 

Opportunities emerge if we layer marketing campaigns with education and affirmation to:

  1. Educate
  2. Affirm a person’s self-efficacy
  3. Target people in specific behavior change stages 

Doing so can influence individuals to:

  • Invest in their health via physical activity.
  • Believe in their capabilities of reaching fitness or health goals.
  • Trust your product or service will enable them to reach defined goals.
  • Overcome self-perceived objections or made-up excuses.

The question we should be asking is what can we do in the fitness industry with our marketing and advertising teams in order to show that fitness can truly be for everyone?

Looking at elements most emphasized in fitness marketing, through a more critical lens, advances our peripheral vision, beyond siloed beliefs, to realize what seeds can be planted. Fitness marketing traditionally illuminates community, that fitness is fun, supportive staff, and before and after testimonials as reasoning for consumers to utilize our establishments.

Joined together at local, national, and global fitness conferences, we present on human behavior, the importance of a community focus, and brand loyalty. But we fail to connect the dots.  

Incorporating education in marketing and advertising, with respect to behavior change theory and, especially, self-efficacy as related to decision making, can shepherd more reluctant individuals through our doors. 

Different stages of behavior change decide a person’s motivation and action to change. Many people have desires to change. But if self-efficacy is low, then there is little, or no, courage or confidence to command change. 

The self-efficacy theory, originated in 1977 by Albert Bandura, states “peoples’ beliefs concerning their ability to initiate difficult behaviors predict their accomplishment of those behaviors.”

Exercise routines are undoubtedly difficult to initiate and maintain for myriads of reasons.  Layers of objections, such as time, convenience, cost, spouse, location and commitment, buried under layers of excuses from bad weather, only thirty minutes to exercise, an hour to spend at the gym is too long, I need to grab groceries, etc., amount to nearly impossible to achieve feats. 

High confidence in ability to achieve a weight loss goal generates a person to initiate and, most importantly, adhere to exercise routines necessary to achieve such a goal. 

What if an individual has low self-efficacy? How can fitness brands help build the notion that they are capable?

Self-efficacy can be built, enhanced or lessened through:

  • Performing a certain behavior or repeating an act.
  • Watching or observing similar looking individuals perform a behavior, lending to vicarious experiences.
  • Verbal persuasion or listening to encouraging words of a trusted person.
  • Physiological arousal states.

How does this relate to marketing and advertising efforts? 

Can personas influence your marketing strongly enough to instigate someone to fill out a web form, call the club or walk in through your doors? Most likely, they are confident enough, to a degree, that they can achieve certain goals. They may also be in preparation or action phases of behavior change, as related to the transtheoretical model. 

Transtheoretical model implies individuals in different phases of change require unique messaging to propel forward movement into the succeeding phase. For example, someone in precontemplation will not be enticed from certain advertising because they are not thinking anything needs to change about themselves.  Whereas individuals in preparation need messaging oriented towards how to go about achieving change, for example “exercising for 20 minutes a day can help you lose weight.”

If we approach marketing and advertising with a layered effect – having messaging for stages of contemplation, preparation, action and even maintenance – we bolster our services as top selection when consumers are ready to change. Although it may be six or nine months down the road, you still need and want the profit. Messaging should contain an educational and affirmative component. 

Education differentiates your product or service, while affirmation persuades individuals to act.

References:

Ben-Ami, M., Hornik, J., Eden, J., and Kaplan, O. (2010). “Boosting consumers’ self-efficacy by repositioning the self.”  European Journal of Marketing. Vol. 48 No. 11/12, pp. 1914-1938

Berry, T., Howe, B., (2005). “The Effects of Exercise Advertising on Self-efficacy and Decisional Balance.” American Journal of Health Behavior. Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 117-126

Helper, T., Chase, M., (2008). “Relationship between decision-making self-efficacy, task self-efficacy, and the performance of a sport skill.” Journal of Sports Science. Vol. 26 No. 6, pp. 603-610.

Brannon, L., Feist, J. Feist, P. (2010).  Health Psychology: An Introduction to Behavioral and Health.  Wadsworth Inc. 7th Edition. 

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Brooklyn Esposito

Brooklyn Esposito is the strategic relations coordinator for City Fitness. She oversees the Corporate Partnership Program.

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