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Material Fitness: How New Data Is Improving Health and Wellness Marketing

Wellness technology is being unveiled by tech titans each year. Google is developing “smart” contact lenses that can detect glucose levels based on a user’s tears. Apple has filed a patent for earbuds that measure blood-oxygen ratios. Scientists at MIT have developed an app that can alert mental health providers to the possibility of a manic episode.

With such exciting developments on the horizon, and plenty of data on health and wellness already available, how are marketing teams interpreting trends and responding to this seismic uptick in living a healthy lifestyle?

Wear It Out

Wearable technology might be the industry credited with the rise of interest in measuring one’s health and fitness across a series of continuums, tracked on a daily basis, digested for personal analysis, and shared among friends (and strangers).

Fitbit, Apple, and Jawbone all pioneered fitness trackers that quickly became ubiquitous to the tune of 68 million-plus wearable devices shipped in 2015 and an industry worth $50 billion this year. An increase in developed fitness apps has led to mass adoption, with an estimated 81.7 million users using GPS-enabled gadgets, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, and other wearable fitness trackers.

Though more peer-reviewed studies are craved by industry analysts and the public alike, the available studies – such as the one highlighting the Dayton (Ohio) Regional Transport Authority’s saving $2.3 million on projected costs over two years of Fitbit usage by their bus drivers – are optimistic in nature, often citing the positive effects of the social nature of wearable devices.

Work and Wellness

Many of these trackers are being given as awards or gifts from employers to their employees. An influential if controversial 2010 report by Harvard University health economists showed a $3.27 savings per each dollar invested in an employee wellness program, giving executives serious food for thought on how they treated their employees’ health regarding financial planning.

While no study – scientific, case, or otherwise –  has come close to replicating those impressive figures, even critics have conceded the value in providing healthy incentives to employees to quit smoking, reduce obesity, and exercise more.

The Society for Human Resource Management estimates that a $500 investment per employee annually will result in a 2:1 return on investment after only three years, and human resources consulting firm Springbuk analyzed three years of corporate wellness programs to find a savings of $1,300 per employee engaged in an employer’s program versus those who opted out. These are true win-win scenarios for management and employees.

Here’s the Skinny

Effective marketing will utilize the social nature of many of these fitness devices and wellness programs. Those who lose weight, decrease their cholesterol, and reach their health goals are likely to share their methods with others. Social media is a primary source for this sort of inspirational and motivational messaging, and understanding which platforms and apps are being used by your target market is the best way to tap into this world of wellness.

Furthermore, many top-of-the-line fitness apps, devices, and programs have cultivated a following based in part on their ability to collate, organize, display, and compare the mass amounts of data they collect. Most wearables are paired with an app that quickly shows via a dashboard a person’s rate of fitness over time, vitals, and goals. Many also provide access to competitions and contests, recipes for healthier living, and even instructional videos on how to improve even further.

Tapping into the portion of the public that treats fitness as a core function of their improved lifestyle, rather than an occasional chore to undertake, will result in a fully engaged and responsive consumer base.

Are your health and wellness marketing efforts shaped by your customers actions? We can help you sort through the noise and find effective ways of reaching your target audience.

Category: Health & Wellness, Market Research, Marketing
Tags: Health apps, Marketing strategy

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