Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The "Moment of Sweat" is Critical to Your Success

By Hannah Leone

As a Fitness Executive, you need your members to actively track and evaluate all aspects of their fitness profile.  Being connected with your users is absolutely essential in order for your company to survive and thrive.  As a graduate student at Northwestern University in the Integrated Marketing Communications program, I have found two articles that I think reveal the immense potential of connecting with users on a mobile platform in the health and fitness industry and would also like to offer some suggestions about how to foster even deeper user engagement.

The first article, entitled “Helping Brands Engage in Connected Fitness,” explains the concept of connected fitness, which is the use of technology “to make fitness social, fun, effective, and rewarding.”  Author and General Manager of MapMyFitness, Christopher Glode discusses the importance of the “Moment of Sweat.”  The idea is that if a brand is able to connect with, congratulate, or reward people at their proudest moments, upon completion of a 10k, for example, that interaction will foster a brilliant connection.  MapMyFitness has built a platform that easily enables these types of meaningful connections between various users as well as between brands and their users.

This is the MapMyFitness mobile user interface, displaying the various capabilities of the app.

The second article, “How Brands Use Connected Health to Engage Consumers,” details the vast amount of lifestyle data that users are logging on the MapMyFitness platform.  The opportunity for brands in the health and fitness industry to create extremely deep connections with their consumers and generate terrific brand loyalty is immense.  Using challenges that log points, display leaderboards, award prizes, and give badges of completion help to increase the level of user engagement and create lasting, meaningful relationships with consumers.

Upon reviewing these two articles and applying my learnings from the Integrated Marketing Communications program, I think that MapMyFitness has done a wonderful job of capitalizing on the consumer shift to mobile and finding ways to engage with users on this platform.  That being said, I would like to suggest three things that MapMyFitness and other companies in the high tech health and fitness industry can do to foster even greater user engagement.

First, put more emphasis on the concept of gamification. 
By creating interaction based on the principles of wanting to compete in a game, your product or service can become an integrated experience that penetrates multiple aspects of your users’ lives.  Once you have established yourself as an integral part of their lives, it is hard for them not to think about you, talk about you, or live without you.

Second, consider adding coupons into your social media plan.  
Research has shown that 65% of people who engage with companies through social media do it primarily for coupons or information on sales.

Third, listen to your users. 
Fostering engagement through challenges or contests is one thing, but your company must also listen and respond to what consumers are saying. They are interacting with each other in virtual communities and can offer very useful insight into problems, desired product offerings, and much more.

With mobile usage on the rise, staying connected and creating deeper user engagement through constant interaction with consumers is becoming easier.  Now is the time for CMOs to take advantage of the opportunities here and develop a large, loyal user base ahead of your competition. 

Hannah Leone is pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications.  Having been a student for nearly the entirety of her life, she is ready to head out into the “real world,” ideally in the high-tech health and fitness industry.  Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @hannahrleone or via LinkedIn.


Image Source:
MapMyFitness Mobile App Home Screen

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