The pandemic has changed many things for all of us. No doubt it has had a profound and lasting effect on the way we live our lives today, both personally and professionally. Many companies have had to pivot and change their service offerings and business models in order to stay alive. 

One of the rare industries that has thrived during this time is the at-home fitness industry. Health and fitness equipment revenues more than doubled from March to October 2020.1 Many of us have seen commercials and other advertisements for up-and-coming fitness companies like Mirror and Tonal that have done much better than expected during this time. Fitness app downloads have soared, and companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods have seen same store sales jump by double digits during the fourth quarter of 2020.1

When talking with friends, family and colleagues, the name that I’ve heard over and over again when it comes to at-home fitness is Peloton.

The race to success

Image: 5 marketing themes that advisors can incorporate into their post-COVID-19 strategies

Peloton reported a 232% revenue increase during 2020 over the previous year.1 Even as the economy starts to open up again slowly but surely, Peloton appears to be positioned for continued success, with captivating marketing and product strategies, plus a loyal fan base. 

After many months of being persuaded by our four adult Peloton-enthusiast kids, my wife, Nancy, and I agreed to take the Peloton plunge. Having now experienced the Peloton phenomenon firsthand (which has been invigorating), I’ve noticed a number of their marketing strategies that can be valuable to financial advisors too. 

Here are five marketing themes that I believe are the most impactful to focus on in the post-COVID-19 environment.

Community focus

On the Company section of Peloton’s website is the following: “Millions of members use our platform to connect, bond, inspire and grow stronger together."

One of the most important parts of the Peloton experience is the feeling of belonging to a community. Members have the opportunity to join different hashtag groups, high-five other riders to motivate them during the classes and participate in various monthly challenges — all of which has helped bring many people together during these trying times. 

Financial advisors can take advantage of some of these tactics themselves, and can offer them to their clients as well. For example:

  • Advisors can become a member of an advisor community or study group in which like-minded peers share best practices, new ideas and problem-solving techniques (if you haven’t already).
  • Try hosting virtual events where your clients can get to know each other. How about scheduling a regular 30-minute ride or class with notable Peloton personalities Jenn Sherman or Cody Rigsby? You can vary the class selection and schedule based on different target segments and personas. 
  • Another idea is to create different online user groups in which clients can interact and collaborate with each other. 

Brand experience

Peloton’s brand experience is what keeps members engaged and helps the company increase memberships month after month.1 Peloton easily highlights its differentiators and has a wide variety of offerings for all types of people: the bike, the treadmill and the app, which allows users to access additional class types, including strength, yoga, stretching and more. There’s even a calculator that lets you see the potential savings of financing a bike or tread. The way that Peloton promotes its brand makes it seem like a no-brainer for consumers — and they give the incentive of a 30-day free trial for their equipment and app. Did I also mention that they have a referral program? 

The way that Peloton members feel about the brand is how we want our clients to speak about our brand — and make them champions of our firms. In order to do so, it’s important that your clients are aware of any new services or programs that you are launching. Make sure that you are continually highlighting your differentiators so that your clients can easily communicate them to other prospective customers. 

In a recent guest blog post, Shauna Mace, a growth coach, discusses and shares a framework for communicating your firm’s value and what differentiates you.

Personalization and options

The beauty of Peloton’s programming is that it’s customizable and personalized. There are endless class types and numerous instructors for you to choose from. You can take intense classes like “HIIT and Hills” or “Intervals and Climb” if you are feeling particularly motivated one day, and then a low-impact ride if you are feeling sluggish and tired the next. You can select classes based on length, music, class type, instructor, etc. You can also take performance tests, track your performance, celebrate personal highs, shift course and diversify your training program if you are not meeting your goals or improving. Peloton makes it easy for members to establish and stick to a regular a fitness plan. 

Personalization is a key area of focus for advisors — especially during the economic uncertainty and market volatility of the pandemic. Peloton’s copious class offerings enable members to personalize and diversify their programs. Likewise, it’s important for advisors to:  

  • Reinforce to their clients the flexibility of their customized service offerings and their dedication to assisting clients in meeting their goals. 
  • Show progress relative to client goals. It’s one way of demonstrating an advisor’s value.  
  • Remember that they need discipline too – follow your own goals toward developing and implementing your marketing plan and monthly activity calendar. 

Influencers and partnerships

Much of Peloton’s continued success is the result of successful partnerships and the cult-like following of their instructors. To that end, Peloton instructors have significantly increased their social following. Peloton highlights its instructors and the interesting paths that brought them where they are today — humanizing the experience for members and reinforcing that anything is possible. Peloton instructors have had profiles featured in the likes of GQ, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, and have launched many partnerships with influencers like Beyonce and Shonda Rhimes and an apparel partnership with Adidas. 

While it might not be possible for financial advisors to partner with Beyonce, they can reconnect with their centers of influence and other referral networks to boost their following and help one another in the current environment while identifying new prospects. Furthermore, ensure that your clients and prospects know who your advisory team is to establish even tighter firm connections. Showcase individual profiles of your team members on your website and establish a social media strategy to build a following. This will demonstrate their importance and the value you place on them.  

Continuous innovation

Peloton has continually added to its impressive repertoire of products and digital offerings since the initial bike launch. It has now launched a treadmill, app and apparel lines, and has enhanced the digital experience with exciting class types, like the artist series, unique instructor experiences and live session betas in which members can take on-demand classes with a smaller, live audience. Peloton has also invested in additional companies to further its innovation and enhance digital experiences, including artificial intelligence (AI) and wearable devices companies. 

The importance of product and digital innovation should not be news to you — it is imperative to communicate the service enhancements that you are making in these areas. Exploring new digital channels, including refreshing your website, can help you communicate your message while building your brand. Also, consider expanding into areas in your marketing strategy that you may not currently be trying, such as virtual events, webinars, live demonstration sessions, blogging and podcasts. Adopting a “test-and-learn” marketing philosophy can make a difference in conveying your firm’s commitment to innovation while building loyalty and tighter connections.

A disciplined and fresh marketing approach can make a difference

Peloton’s mission is: “Peloton uses technology and design to connect the world through fitness, empowering people to be the best version of themselves anywhere, anytime.” Peloton has been able to achieve its mission, catapulting the company to monumental success and invigorating its members. 

The more advisors can focus on innovative ways to market their brand and personalize the client experience, while reconnecting to influencers and building a community, the more they too can achieve monumental success coming out of the pandemic and set themselves up for a brighter future. Enjoy the ride.

Sources:

  • 1Hamza Shaban, “The pandemic’s home-workout revolution may be here to stay,” The Washington Post (Jan. 7, 2021) 
  • Medium.com: Peleton’s Insane Retention Rate Boiled Down to 4 Steps. 
  • Times Square Investment Journal: Peloton’s secret weapon: its fitness instructors and their social clout
  • PYMNT.com: Peloton Breaks Out Checkbook For AI, Hardware Acquisitions

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