When gyms closed during the lockdowns, demand for at-home exercise equipment increased.
Nautilus, which owns a portfolio of home gym brands, including Bowflex and Schwinn Fitness, experienced a nearly 94% increase in net sales in Q2.
“It was one of our best quarters ever,” said Becky Alseth, VP of marketing and direct at Nautilus.
In August, the company launched a new bike called the Bowflex VeloCore which includes a leaning mode option that simulates the feeling of cycling outside. Built into the experience is a membership-only workout app called JRNY that creates personalized workouts based on a cyclist’s preferences, fitness level and even mood.
“We’ve started to pivot from a physical equipment company only into a hardware and software company,” Alseth said.
The launch campaign to promote the VeloCore featured ad spots shot in New Jersey with instructions shared remotely live over Zoom by Bowflex’s creative director from his home office in Vancouver, Washington.
AdExchanger spoke with Alseth, whose exercise routine includes a three-mile walk at 6 am around her neighborhood in Montana.
AdExchanger: What’s your targeting strategy for Bowflex?
BECKY ALSETH: Bowflex has been in home fitness for more than 30 years, and for the past 10 or so we’ve been very focused on people who are just starting out on their fitness journey, whether that’s to deal with a health problem, for example, or because they simply haven’t been very active in the past.
Although we’re going to stick with our current customers, we also recently did a segmentation study to learn about a new type of customer, which is people who already love working out.
What did you learn during the study?
The segmentation that we’ve done is attitudinal as opposed to demographic. People usually want to go to the gym or take fitness classes away from home for multiple reasons. Maybe they don’t have the space, they don’t have the motivation or they want to exercise with friends and be with a community.
We’re finding that people of all ages and demographics go to the gym, but when COVID happened, more and more people began seeking out home fitness as an alternative.
What are the main ingredients in your marketing mix?
Historically, we spent a lot of money on direct response TV. Over the past couple of years, though, we’ve been shifting to a more balanced mix. We still do TV for brand awareness, but now we also do a lot of search, social and digital, including video and pre-roll, and we especially focus on PR and product reviews.
Home fitness is a fairly complicated category to shop and people often don’t know what a good piece of equipment should cost or what they’re getting for their money. That’s why we’re really getting into reviews, because we want to stay in the consumer’s consideration set as they make their decision. It could be a 60-day cycle between when someone decides to buy home fitness equipment and when they actually make the purchase.
How do you approach