by Matt Weik
When you think of all the marketing dollars being spent in the supplement industry, there is one marketing strategy I feel more supplement brands would benefit from. What marketing strategy am I talking about? It’s community events.
You see brands running all sorts of Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads, yet what are they doing to REALLY connect with their audience? I’ll answer that for you – next to nothing. Yes, they are patting them on the butt and high-fiving them virtually through social media, but that’s not a truly meaningful experience. If brands want to get in front of their audience and build brand loyalty, they need to physically get in front of their audience.
Sure, you could say having booths at the expos such as the Arnold Classic and the Olympia are great ways to get a brand in front of a bunch of eyeballs, but the tough thing with that is it’s not personable. I don’t care how much you say you connect with your fans and audience at expos, you’re really not. You’re moving the lines as quickly as you can like you’re herding cattle.
If you want a long-lasting, monumental experience, you need to get out in the community. It’s a time where no other brands are there fighting for everyone’s attention.
What Kind of Community Events Should Brands Consider?
There are a few different things you can do to set up community events. The reason I feel that not many brands do what I’m about to mention is that it takes time, planning, and money. But yet, they have no problem blowing nearly $100,000 a month on online advertising. So, I feel it’s a great way to differentiate themselves from the other brands trying to grab their customer’s attention.
Here’s what I would recommend…
Gym and Large Supplement Retailer Demos
This is nothing new (and probably one of the more boring examples we’re going to discuss), yet I see less and less supplement brands setting them up. More times than not, it seems like the retailers are begging to have brands come out, but it falls on deaf ears. What better way to get your brand and products out in front of an audience than at a demo where you can sample out a wide variety of products and help build sales at a given gym or retailer? On top of that, you can help educate people on why they need your products.
Not only does it build loyalty with the customers but also the gyms and retailers for showing that supplement brands are supporting them and want to see their products sell in the locations rather than the owners and staff needing to push products just to move them off of the shelves or coolers.
Heck, even consider running a promotion during the demo days. And don’t forget to promote the event. Supplement brands shouldn’t simply put it on the shoulders of the gym or retailer to promote and get the word out. Push it on social media, blast it out to your email lists, shout it from the mountain top if you have to – just get the word out and create a buzz surrounding the event.
One type of community event that I think is really cool is workout meet-ups. This is exactly what it sounds like – a meet-up where you get to work out with your audience. One brand that does a great job of this is Animal. They hold ABC events which are their Animal Barbell Club. This is such a great idea and builds a community surrounding the brand as well as brand loyalty.
Just about every big show such as the Arnold Classic or the Olympia, they hold an ABC event where everyone has the opportunity to come work out with them at a local gym in the area. Throughout the year, they also hold various ABC events in different cities and invite people to come out and join them. Some are local while some drive hours just to be a part of the event. It’s a cool culture that they are creating with these types of community events.
The last of the community events that I would like to see more brands holding are parties. Yes, I’m talking big bashes that bring in a ton of people. While not a “supplement brand,” Natural Body in New York does a great job of this. NutraBio has jumped in and held some events as well.
Speaking of NutraBio, let’s go off on a little tangent and this could actually be the fourth community event on the list, but I’d like to see supplement brands holding tours. While I understand some brands don’t want to show off their secrets, NutraBio has no problem opening up their doors and giving anyone who visits the grand tour of the facility and allow them to watch the manufacturing process step by step (which I personally think is really cool).
Back on topic, parties bring out huge groups of people. Mention you’re going to have giveaways, food, beverages, swag, cake (you got to have cake… Mmmmm), and maybe even some special guests and you have yourself the making of something big.
This is a supplement brand’s opportunity to mingle with their fans and customers. Bring out the brand team, bring out the local sales team for the area, bring out the marketing team, invite distributors, invite retailers. Obviously, everyone is going to need to pay their own way but make it a big deal. Go above and beyond to make it something memorable. Best of all, talk to everyone who is there. Those are the people buying the products and they may have some great ideas that you can implement into the brand to help it grow. After all, you want to make sure you provide your customers with what they want so they stay loyal, right? This is a win-win for everyone involved.