5th Oct 2021

Why marketers should be integrating health and fitness perks into customer engagement strategies.


Over a year since the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions across the UK, now is the perfect time to analyse the behavioural trends that arose as a result. And if there’s one trend that sticks out further than others, it’s fitness. So, what can you take from this?

In this article, our Managing Director, Michael Kalli, reveals why marketers should be integrating health and wellbeing perks into customer engagement strategies.

Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people – yourself included perhaps – attempted 5k runs, on-demand fitness classes, bike rides, at-home boot camps, and more. We were essentially living in a fitness-mad alternate universe.

But the reality is this: we all needed something to keep us busy and boost our physical and mental health throughout the biggest shake-up to our daily lives in recent memory. So let me shine a light on what I believe marketers can do to capitalise on the growing health and wellbeing trend.

1: Provide fitness-related perks.

From fully funded gym memberships to smaller-scale fitness class offerings – fitness perks are fantastic for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

Providing these perks is worth it. Our latest study told us 43% of UK people exercise more than four times per week. Spending on health and fitness apps soared 70% in 2020, and more than 50% of UK consumers purchased home workout products during the pandemic – rewarding your customers with fitness perks is an obvious choice.

There’s just one pressing question: why aren’t brands and marketers making the most of these perks when it comes to customer loyalty schemes?

When times are tough, ‘nice to haves’ – such as gym memberships – tend to be the first things to go. Again, our research backs this up. We found that 25% of people wouldn’t pay for a fitness app or website because they couldn’t afford it. Imagine if customers didn’t have to worry about this and were gifted fitness perks as a reward for simply being a loyal customer.

Loyalty programmes of the future will give customers something that makes a difference in their lives. No longer should they be about point collecting and money-off vouchers. Health and wellbeing perks are a step in the right direction.

2: How can marketers integrate this type of perk with their current loyalty offering?

First, you need to work out whether it’s right for you.

A great loyalty and engagement strategy starts with thorough research, and considering your audience is essential. You might have a potential new offering that you’re excited about, but if your brand predominantly sells to a 65+ audience, then a fitness perk probably won’t go down as great as you think. But don’t assume that fitness perks only suit super-fit, mid-20s athletes either. You need to know your customer and tailor the fitness offering that suits them.

So, you’ve decided on what type of perk will suit your target customer group; now it’s time to use data to make it bespoke. In our case, the preliminary research for our new fitness product, MyGym, found that strength and conditioning, HIIT, and yoga are our customers most popular exercise groups.

Collect data from your offered perk and use it to continue to strengthen your customer engagement strategies. Your customers might be more likely to exercise between 5-7pm, so this may not be the best time to get in touch with them. Similarly, you may also find that they enjoy high-intensity workouts in the morning and relaxing yoga sessions in the evening – again, this provides you with insight to change how and when you communicate with your customers.

3: Implement challenges that help boost engagement.

There’s nothing quite like a bit of healthy competition, and health and wellbeing perks provide the perfect platform for this. They give brands the chance to show their human side and connect with customers on a personal level.

With nearly a third of UK adults wearing a fitness tracker, why not motivate your customers to train by setting them challenges? Providing customers with rewards for simple competitions – such as the most miles walked, highest elevation, or the total number of workouts – helps to increase engagement and helps to keep the competitors fit in the process. It’s a win-win.

Why not tie this engagement into your CSR strategy? If appropriate, you could raise funds for worthy causes at the same time. You could get some of your team to join in and ‘compete’ against customers. It’s a rewarding opportunity that shows customers the human element of your brand while getting your team motivated and fit in the process.

4: Great integration is essential.

If you want your loyalty programmes to be effective, they need to be strategic, measurable and relate to your other efforts. Many brands find it challenging to smoothly integrate a new offering into a multi-product loyalty scheme. But with fitness progressing into the digital world over the past few years – particularly during the pandemic – it has made this a lot easier.

Brands can now easily integrate fitness offerings into existing loyalty programmes now that many have moved online. We recommend working with a provider who allows you to brand the offering as your own, through your consumer-facing app or website, for example.

If you and your brand get this integration right, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised by the impact of weaving health and wellbeing-focused perks into your loyalty strategies. Health is wealth, as they say.

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