Market Well: New Year Marketing Resolutions To Grow Your Wellness Brand

Our must-read column, Market Well, explores the key marketing strategies that are essential for the growth of a wellness business.

Every month, Vicky Ellison, who is also the Senior Marketing Manager for Equinox in the UK and Canada, examines how brands can create and maintain a marketing campaign that connects with both their intended audience and potential investors.

Providing valuable insight into the methods, services, and tools needed for both new and established businesses to drive exposure and boost brand value, this month Vicky is focusing on New Year marketing resolutions…

As we approach the end of the year it’s common to look towards the New Year as a time for a fresh start. In fact, it’s a huge reason why the wellness industry thrives in January, with so many healthy intentions being set.

But, while consumers look to upgrade their personal health and wellbeing, for business owners the New Year marks a time for them to consider their marketing plans for the coming year.

To help your wellness brand grow, here are a few suggestions to consider when thinking about your 2017 marketing plan.

Create online campaigns with meaning

 2016 has seen a lot of talk about ad blockers, with more and more consumers opting out of being ‘spammed’ by relentless digital adverts that they didn’t ask to see.

A few brands have pushed back, understandably concerned by their loss of revenue, which the consumer perhaps doesn’t fully appreciate.

There have been rumours of Ticketmaster only releasing tickets to certain events to consumers who don’t use ad blockers, or British newspaper The Independent limiting the content available to readers blocking ads. While consumer education might be necessary, and these brands are paving the way in that area, perhaps the best approach is for brand owners to resolve to create more meaningful content.

Try limiting advertising to products and services that your target consumer will gain something from, that way perhaps they won’t feel it necessary to block out content. The additional benefit is the impact this type of content will have on your natural search ranking, as search engine algorithms continue to evolve to favour strong content.

This isn’t an easy or quick fix, but it’s a positive start.

Focus on insights over data

We are lucky to live in an age of marketing where it’s possible to acquire more data than ever before. We can track so much when it comes to consumer behaviour, from how they take their coffee in the morning to where their best friends went on holiday – it can be fascinating, scary and overwhelming all at once.

But, what value does this data hold if business owners aren’t using it to gain useful insights?

Be careful not to focus purely on the stats. Data should be a starting point, for example, if you spot a trend in your figures, take the next step and ask your customers for feedback – you might be surprised by what you find. Resolve to get qualitative in your approach to support those quantitative findings.

Lululemon is one company that has avoided using data to learn about its customers, instead, according to a 2012 Wall Street Journal report, the athletic wear brand employs more subtle tactics.

Eavesdropping on customer complaints, and inviting customers to leave suggestions on chalkboards inside stores, are just two of the initiatives the brand uses.

Consider relevance over personalisation 

The last Market Well column touched on the motivations of the millennial consumer and the importance they place on meaningful brand messaging. In line with that, personalisation has become a big theme this year.

Read more: Market Well: Three Things That Should Be In Your Marketing Plan But Aren’t

Personalised products are one thing, but brands are also feeling the pressure to personalise any and all communication.

Starbucks, for example, has enjoyed an increase in sales thanks to targeted communications sent to customers via email. But, depending on the size of your organisation and the data you store on your customers, that may or may not be possible.

Don’t obsess about personalising if you don’t have the capabilities to do so, but rather look at being relevant.

What is your brand purpose? Why do people come to you and what ties them together? Is it really their age or income bracket, or is it something more behavioural?

Unilever’s Asian Soupy Snax provides a relevant example. Sales of the microwavable soup were flagging until they got specific and targeted tired office workers with a ‘Soupy Snax – 4pm’ name change and messaging. It proved a successful strategy and a purpose brand was born. Nothing was personalised, but the messaging and images of tired office workers becoming revived resonated, because it was relevant to the target audience.

Prioritise mobile

With Google phasing out websites not optimised for mobile, and the use of handheld devices growing exponentially, brands that do not focus on mobile search, optimisation and advertising will fall behind.

In the UK 60% of our time spent on the internet is carried out via a mobile device, and of that 85% it is spent using apps. If relevant to your brand, and you have the capacity, building your own dedicated app may enable you to create an even more convenient customer journey.

Under Armour are ahead of the game in this area having added MyFitnessPal and Map My Fitness to their portfolio, as well as UA Record for performance tracking and Endomondo for motivation.

By offering consumers a connected fitness experience Under Armour can keep them in brand-owned apps enabling them to gather more data and behavioural insights.

Perhaps a branded app is something to consider for your long-term planning if it’s relevant to your brand.

Think long term

It’s not uncommon to hear wellness brand founders candidly admit that they didn’t know what they were doing with their marketing at first, however a series of short-term campaigns came together to create business success. But, in an age of greater connection and choice, brand owners need to focus on building trust through consumer engagement.

Effective audience segmentation allows companies to interact in ways that show they are a trusted partner. But, as with the previous resolutions, this type of marketing should be part of a long-term strategy. Influencer relationships and brand partnerships both fall under this longer-term lens.

With authenticity gaining importance, long-term relationships with influencers will help the advocacy of your brand go beyond a quick campaign-based mention. These type of partnerships should become a genuine endorsement that they believe in, whether they’re paid to be involved or not.

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