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Direct Response Marketing

Production House: The Top 10 Factors to Selling Fitness: Part II

1 Apr, 2014 By: Collette Stohler, Concepts TV Productions Response


As she looked in the mirror, she tried to layer winter clothing over her body to cover the fat that had accumulated around her waistline. While she was embarrassed by the way she looked, she was more embarrassed by the way she felt. That former sexiness that exuded from her had vanished. In place of confidence was shame. She shuddered and slipped away as her husband tried to put his hands around her waist.

When it comes to selling fitness in the DR world, there are many important factors to consider prior to putting your product on the air. In the second of this two-part series (Response, January), here are five more of the top 10 factors to consider when selling fitness via DRTV:

  1. Visceral Reaction: Fitness products are never just about a body. Our psyches have amalgamated our bodies and our minds. Therefore, when showing a negative, show how the person feels. Is that wife ashamed of her muffin top and she pushes her husband away? Does that middle-aged man keep his shirt on at the beach because he is embarrassed of his beer belly? Focus on the visceral reaction that a user feels in the negative, as well as in the positive. If that same wife now welcomes a smooth touch from her husband with the help of your product, you have a lifelong customer.
  2. Viral Video: DR marketing splits its sales between the airwaves and the Internet, the latter being today’s breadwinner for marketers. But the Internet has never been the initial way to grab sales — until now. If you want to capture the eyeballs of the next generation, you have to be culturally and socially relevant. “TwerkOut Werk Out” is a fitness DVD series that grabbed eyeballs through YouTube and quickly spread through the Web’s crazy maze during Miley Cyrus’ “twerk” phase. This DRTV product appealed to a much younger generation, therefore “TwerkOut” needed to get in the faces of that demographic.
  3. Science: There is a reason why certain coaches produce better athletes than other coaches. Often it is because they rely on a scientific method. What is the science behind your product? Why will this product work when nothing else has? You need to show the viewer the science behind the spot. And you should have the scientific documentation to back up the theory behind the program. If you can enlist the endorsements of trainers, physical therapists, exercise physiologists and doctors, so much the better. A dramatic demonstration with equipment that measures performance adds credibility to any regimen. But, be careful. Greg Sater, a partner at Venable LLP, says that he is not the most popular person on set because as the attorney, he is “there to make sure his client’s claims don’t push the envelope too much.” Sater says marketers must find out earlier rather than later whether they’ve got adequate substantiation for the claims they want to make, or if they might have to rephrase them or come up with different claims.
  4. Animation: While you are explaining your product, it is imperative that you give the at-home viewer solid visuals that will anchor the message. For fitness products, animation is key. The average viewer at home is not an expert in human anatomy. But if you highlight muscles that are working on a real human or in complete animation, it clicks in their brain. This shows the at-home user what they have to do to get from point A — the couch — to point B — the results.
  5. Ease of Use: The consumer wants to know whether or not they have the ability to use the product and will enjoy it. Demonstrating ease of use through product demo, animation and testimonials is key. Sure you expect to sweat and work hard but a smile and a happy user tells a very important tale. But while you’re telling your tale, remember to turn off your microphone in between takes. Brett Hoebel, international fitness celebrity and former trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” remembers the time he was shooting a fitness DVD program and happened to say a choice word or two about the director. Little did he know his microphone was still on! Luckily, a nice sound guy informed him, and Brett quickly learned how to mute his microphone!

While there’s more to consider (Does the product work over time? Is it safe? Do you provide proper instructions on use? Do you have an iron-clad money-back guarantee?), it’s an art form to inspire a couch potato to pick up the phone and take the first step. These 10 tips are a great start at completing your work of art. ■


About the Author: Collette Stohler


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